Books Aloud – May 2008

The Business of Ferrets: September 29-October 2007
Leia Bell
Richard Goodall Gallery Underground [Street: 2007]
If you live in Salt Lake and are even remotely active in the music scene, chances are you've seen Leia Bell's art on show posters. She's the iconic artist that first gained notoriety for her Kilby Court show posters and since has then evolved into a living legend. It's no surprise that Bell is now known worldwide. The Business of Ferrets includes an interview with Bell from September 2007, all the paintings and drawings from her show at Richard Goodall Gallery Underground in England and a multitude of show posters and art prints that encompasses her career until late 2007. Ferrets is an intensive look into the mind of an exceptional artist. Bell's unique view of animals and people help her stand apart from other artists, and with 175+ full color pages to view, this is a no-brainer purchase. Bell is opening her own poster store here in SLC called Signed & Numbered. The grand opening will take place on the eve of May's Gallery Stoll. ( 221 E. Broadway (under Slowtrain) 6-9p.m.) –Jeremy C. Wilkins

The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars
Jeremy Simmonds
Chicago Review Press [Street: 05.01]
What subject does everyone oppose? Death. When is it okay to talk about death? When we're talking celebrities. Interject the following at some random point in a future conversation: "...or you could choke to death on your own vomit," to which someone will bring up either Jimi Hendrix or Bon Scott. With this frighteningly comprehensive tome, you will be more than prepared to explain these two stories along with every other rock star/not-so-star who died between 1965 and late 2006. "Well, there is still a great deal of controversy surrounding Hendrix's death; many say he was trying to kill himself with those pain pills. Oh man, speaking of overdoses, and did you know that Layne Staley's body was so decomposed that they had to identify him with dental records? Hey can I have your pizza if you're not going to eat it?" Mom always said trivia is useless information––how does it feel to be wrong, mom? – Dave Madden

Love and Rockets: The Education of Hopey Glass
Jaime Hernandez
Fantagraphics [Street: 04.23]
Solo this time around, Jaime Hernandez's novel is an interesting exploration of his most important star, Maggie, without her using her as a protagonist. Instead, two characters, riotgrrl Hopey (best friend of Maggie) and just-a-little-too-old-to-be-in-any-scene Ray Dominguez (Maggie's former live-in lover), both live their lives, plod through the minutia of love and otherwise emotional survival; Hopey tries to reconcile her maturity while maintaining her usual punk-ass stance at a new job as a teacher's assistant; Ray's casual investigation of a recent murder pushes him into a semi-unwilling, empty, yet sexually animalistic relationship with stripper/actress Vivian "Frogmouth" Solis (also a member of the Maggie fan/hateclub). At the end of it all, after both characters make sense of the day's nonsense, Hopey and Ray can't resist the nag of "I wonder what Maggie's up to?" Pulpy yet modern and David Lynchesque, Hernandez, crafts an addictive work that will lead your wallet straight to eBay to gobble up the prequels. – Dave Madden

Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison
Zone Books [Street: 10.31.07]
In its traditional sense, objectivity is the fair and accurate representation of events. But in Objectivity, Daston and Galison trace its multifaceted form from its mid-century observable fact origins through its transformation to "truth-in-nature" to "trained judgment." While each of these new ways of conceiving follows the technological advancement of reproductive technology, they do not supersede each other but, in the 21st century, work together to provide a more accurate, if not wholly aware of its circumscription, picture of the engagement of science and its methods. Copiously illustrated to show the way different conceptions of objectivity inform the way we do and interpret science, Daston and Glaison have created a compelling, incredibly enjoyable and informative book. —Spanther

Pretty Vacant: A History of UK Punk
By Phil Strongman
Chicago Review Press [Street: 04.01]
When I first got this book, I was excited about the prospect of learning about what was going on in England in the late 1970s besides the emergence of the Clash and the Sex Pistols. Turns out this book is mostly about the Clash and the Sex Pistols. What's more, it's a book mostly about the Clash and the Sex Pistols that covers material already covered by other authors in more interesting books. In the introduction, Strongman details his first exposure to the Sex Pistols as a kid in mid-'70s London, and though Strongman was in the UK while the early punk scene was exploding, his personal thoughts don't enter the narrative often enough to make this seem unique to someone living the experience. With books like Please Kill Me already chronicling the early days of punk, Pretty Vacant seems unnecessary. –Ricky Vigil