Tuesday, January 13, 2015
1) Maynard, Chris. Feathers, Form & Function. 2014. Aviva Publishing. Hardbound: 88 pages. Price: $40.00 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: Chris Maynard’s new book, Feathers, Form and Function: what feathers are, how they work, and why we find them alluring offers a quality tabletop book of his art with insight into how feathers grow, how they evolved, what they are made of, and what they do for the birds. He explores how feathers have given humans meaning for millennium.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a bird in flight? What would it feel like to have feathers that could carry you anywhere you wished?
In Feathers, Form, and Function, you’ll find insight into these questions and new ways of seeing through an artist, a biologist’s, a philosopher, and a bird’s eyes. With a small scalpel for a tool, artist Chris Maynard carves bird themes out of feathers. Each design highlights the feathers’ beauty and forms and calls attention to topics important to both us and the birds such as flight, lightness, and attraction. With a creative sense of design and a bit of humor, the artist offers a sense of the lives and movements of the birds he portrays. Chris Maynard is an artist, author, speaker and naturalist in the greater Seattle area. The book is available here: http://www.featherfolio.com/feathers-form-function/
RECOMMENDATION: The artwork alone is worth the price of this book!
2) Sze, Julie. Fantasy Islands: Chinese Dreams and Ecological Fears in an Age of Climate Crisis. 2015. University of California Press. Paperback: 235 pages. Price: $26.95 U.S.
PUBLISHER'S SUMMARY: The rise of China and its status as a leading global factory are altering the way people live and consume. At the same time, the world appears wary of the real costs involved. Fantasy Islands probes Chinese, European, and American eco-desire and eco-technological dreams, and examines the solutions they offer to environmental degradation in this age of global economic change.
Uncovering the stories of sites in China, including the plan for a new eco-city called Dongtan on the island of Chongming, mega-suburbs, and the Shanghai World Expo, Julie Sze explores the flows, fears, and fantasies of Pacific Rim politics that shaped them. She charts how climate change discussions align with US fears of China's ascendancy and the related demise of the American Century, and she considers the motives of financial and political capital for eco-city and ecological development supported by elite power structures in the UK and China. Fantasy Islands shows how ineffectual these efforts are while challenging us to see what a true eco-city would be.
RECOMMENDATION: For those with an interest in Chinese environmental problems.