One is about growing old and coping and being
One is a celebration of the depth and diversity of
the collection at the Smithsonian Art Museum.
One is a celebration of all that the words and music
of one of America’s great composers has added to our culture.
All are notable books that will enrich your heart
“Everyman” by Phillip Roth (Houghton Mifflin,
$24.00, 182 pages) is a slim volume. It is also a masterpiece by one
of the great American fiction writers. Both painful and wonderful to
read, “Everyman” is all about the universal experience of coming face
to face with mortality. Roth’s main character, grows up in Elizabeth,
New Jersey, the son of a kindly and well off jeweler. As he moves on
in years “Everyman” is perplexed by his own decline. He is also
keenly affected by deaths of contemporaries and others he cared for
deeply. This is just part of the poignant canvas of the book.
There are scenes and language in “Everyman” that are
haunting like the conversation the protagonist has with a black
gravedigger. It takes place at the cemetery where he will be soon
buried. His parents are already buried there.
Though “Everyman” may make you think thoughts you
would care not to – it is an important and brilliantly written work of
art that you must own.
“America’s Art: Smithsonian American Art Museum”
(Abrams, $65.00, 322 pages) is a grand collection of images from one
of the nation’s great art museums that has more than 40,00 works. This
book celebrates the reopening of the Museum – and features 225 of the
best of the best works.
To turn the pages is to re-live American art and
history, to be there with the great artists and the fascinating
subjects - - all such a special part of Americana. If there was
ever a book created to adorn your coffee table – this is the one.
“Irving Berlin’s Show Business” by David Leopold
(Abrams, $50,00, 239 pages) is a love of a book about the great words
and music man who began in Tin Pan Alley in 1907 and just kept going
through the decades pumping out those glorious, gorgeous, moving,
romantic, wistful, funny tunes. All of them get a place in this book –
a book filled with anecdotes and images of the great American song
writer. A great gift book. A book to treasure.