Books bound for a stocking near you

December 18, 2004

The Complete Cartoons of the New Yorker

Edited by Robert Mankoff. Black Dog and Leventhal. 656 pages. $60.

Adolf Hitler, in a 1942 Carl Rose cartoon, genuflecting at a raised dais before a rapt audience. Caption: "I think I can say without fear of contradiction." Sly, understated, explosively funny. Perfect. An unalloyed joy in the literary arts over the last 80 years are New Yorker cartoons, and this book (with CDs) has 'em all.

- Michael Ollove Sun Book Editor

Bicycle: The History

By David V. Herlihy. Yale University Press. 480 pages. $35.

Man may have created no more elegant a machine than the bicycle, but those first crude "mechanical horses" and "boneshakers" of the 19th century were a far cry from today's titanium wonders. David Herlihy's fun and informative book covers a lot of ground (at nearly 4 pounds it's heavier than many of today's racing frames). With wonderful period cartoons, illustrations and photographs. - Bruce Friedland Sun Travel Editor

Oscar Night

By Graydon Carter and David Friend. Alfred A. Knopf. 384 pages. $75

The editors of Vanity Fair, who throw one of Oscar night's biggest bashes, display 75 years of celebrations: a cocky James Cagney, a primping Marilyn Monroe, an exultant Halle Berry. Short of being there, this is as close to Hollywood's annual night of overindulgence as any of us will come.

- Chris Kaltenbach Sun Movie Critic

National Geographic Atlas of the World 8th Edition

National Geographic. 416 pages. $165.

This latest cartographic portrait of Earth, including the ocean floor and the skies, requires staggering amounts of lap-space in exchange for expansive views of almost everything. Travel vicariously from the Aa River (and Aachen, Germany) to Zywiec, Polynesia, in bright colors and clear typography. There are also excursions to other planets.

- Robert Ruby Sun Foreign Editor

They Made America

By Harold Evans, with Gail Buckland and David Lefer. Little Brown and Co. 496 pages. $40.

Evans salutes American innovators such as Sam Colt, mass marketer of guns; Henry Ford, "the people's car" manufacturer; Ira Rosenthal, "Maidenform bra tycoon"; and Ruth Handler, creator of Barbie. "They were entrepreneurs in action," Sir Harold says.

- Carl Schoettler Sun staff

Broadway Musicals: The 101 Greatest Shows of All Time

By Ken Bloom and Frank Vlastnik. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. 336 pages. $34.95.

Pound for pound (it's hefty enough to actually break a leg on opening night) and dollar for dollar (considerably less than the price of an orchestra seat to just one Broadway show), this sumptuous volume is the best value among the season's new theater tomes. With 850 photographs, it chronicles a century of shows, complete with plot summaries, profiles of notable actors, creators and designers, and tidbits of backstage lore.

- J. Wynn Rousuck Sun Theater Critic

Sports Illustrated 50 Years: The Anniversary Book

Sports Illustrated. 308 pages. $29.95

The photos in Sports Illustrated's 50th anniversary edition place you at courtside, ringside or on the 50-yard line. But the words - from SI articles - often offer more colorful imagery than anything that could be caught on 35 mm film.

- Joe Burris Sun staff

Art of Modern Rock: The Poster Explosion

Compiled by Paul Grushkin and Dennis King. Chronicle Books. 489 pages. $75 or $60 through Feb. 28

A vibrantly colorful collection of more than 1,800 reproductions of rock music posters features energetic, visually trippy posters of acts ranging from soul legends Etta James and Aretha Franklin to titanic rock groups Pearl Jam and Phish.

- Rashod D. Ollison Sun Pop Music Critic

The Encyclopedia of Animals: A Complete Visual Guide

Edited by George McKay, Fred Cooke, Stephen Hutchinson, Richard Vogt and Hugh Dingle. University of California Press. 608 pages. $39.95.

What is a monotreme? How do mayflies mate? What's the difference between a sea star and a starfish? This great family resource, provides all those answers and more, with easy-to-read fact boxes, maps that show habitats at a glance and 2,000 vivid illustrations. With 22 pages on lizards and seven on "squirrel-like rodents," it's comprehensive as well as fun.

- Kate Shatzkin Sun staff

The Great Life Photographers

Compiled by the editors of Life. Bulfinch Press. New York. 608 pages. $50.

Life magazine was founded in 1936 on the premise that photographs themselves could tell a story, not just illustrate a text. Over the next four decades, Life helped shape how Americans saw the world and themselves. This beautifully printed book presents classic images by Alfred Eisenstaedt, Robert Capa, Gordon Parks and others who chronicled their times with empathy, wit and humor.

- Glenn McNatt Sun Art Critic

Marcella Says

By Marcella Hazan. HarperCollins. 390 pages. $29.95.

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