my3books: Skulls!

There's not a lot of explanation necessary, I think, for today's picks. What is interesting is that none of these three books are obvious choices for a spooky Halloween table, despite their covers. Yet they're all due to publish in the 6 weeks or so before Halloween.

The Anatomist: A True Story of Gray’s Anatomy
by Bill Hayes
Bellevue Literary Press (Consortium) | 9781934137215 | $16.95 | Sept 2009

One of my favorite new publishers to come to Consortium over the last couple years, Belleuve Literary Press is housed at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, and is a venture of The Bellevue Literary Review and New York University School of Medicine. Their focus is to publish literary works that connect to the human body, health, illness and healing. Perhaps their best-known book for indie booksellers will be the novel that was published this past winter, Paul Harding's stunning little gem, Tinkers.

The Anatomist was first published in hardcover in 2007 by Ballantine Books and this marks the first paperback edition. If you ask me, this new cover is striking and preferable to the hardcover edition. I'm glad this affordable new edition is coming out - it's the fascinating story of the the two men who created the most influential medical reference book ever - Henry Gray (the author) and Henry Vandyke Carter (the illustrator).

The New Yorker said in their review of the hardcover edition:

"Hayes moves nimbly between the dour streets of Victorian London, where Gray and Carter trained at St. George’s Hospital, and the sunnier classrooms of a West Coast university filled with athletic physical therapists in training, where he enrolls in anatomy classes and discovers that "when done well, dissection is very pleasing aesthetically."


Hamlet: A Novel
by John Marsden
Candlewick Press | 9780763644512 | $16.99 | Aug 2009

The prolific YA author (fresh movie news on his best book: Yesterday, When The War Began) turns his eye on Shakespeare's Hamlet, and brings it to life in a new way for younger teen readers who might not be ready to handle the full complexity of the original language.

Set in a nebulous time, somewhere between Shakespeare's time and the modern era, Hamlet and his friends play soccer on Elsinore's grounds yet when the plot calls for a nice long trip to England for Hamlet and the treacherous Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, they go by sea.

The POV moves restlessly among the main players - Hamlet, his best friend Horatio, his mother Gertrude, his uncle and the new king Claudius, Ophelia - and their internal voices give new readers helpful insight into the tricky plotting.

Readers who have read Hamlet before or seen it performed will appreciate the way Marsden maneuvers his characters into place for the key set pieces but keeps things fresh with inventive descriptive language, showing us a new side of Elsinore.


Vermeer, Rembrandt and the Golden Age of Dutch Art:
Masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum
by Rudd Priem
Douglas & McIntyre (PGW) | 9781553654711 | $39.95 | Sept 2009

Lastly, dive into an exploration of the Golden Age of Dutch Art - the 17th Century. Full color art throughout the book - over 200 images! - bring this era to life again. This book is the catalog for an exhibition that's currently at the Vancouver Art Gallery through September 13.

Banking and the first truly global trade routes generated staggering levels of new wealth that, coupled with political and religious freedom, created a vibrant atmosphere in which the arts flourished... This sumptuous book features Vermeer, Rembrandt, and other Golden Age greats, along with a selection of fine Delft pottery, glassware, and silver that attests to the luxurious refinement of the era.

The art is on loan from the epic collections of The Rijksmuseum in the Netherlands while the museum continues to undergo a massive modernization.


If you've got any more skull-covered book suggestions for a Fall display, post them in the comments!


>> Belluvue Literary Press is on Facebook and their Web site can be found here.

>> Candlewick Press is here on the web. A glance at their site reminded me that I need to write something about my favorite book from their Spring 2009 list, the "Ocean's 11 for Kids" caper, The Dunderheads. Until then, check it out here. Download the Fall 2009 catalog here.

>> Douglas & McIntyre is a Canadian publisher & distributor of authors as diverse as David Suzuki, Emily Carr, and (in Canada) Ishmael Beah and Douglas Coupland. Their catalog is available to download here and you can find them represented on Twitter by Emi here and Alison here.

DISCLAIMER: This post features books from publisher(s) that I represent BUT the point of this blog is to talk about books that I think you should know about, so just take it as a given that in the back of my mind, it has been my secret plan all along to make you want to buy them.