cultural history

This autumn most of my reading has been related to work. I’ve published approximately one review per week in the newspaper, and I have been reading quite a lot connected to my work as a teacher in art theory and aesthetics.

This coming week my plan is to read just for fun … (well, the autumn has been a lot of fun too, but this week need not be as organized as the preceding ones).

These are some of the books I’d love to spend some time in/with …

Summary: “Richly illustrated, Eamon Duffy’s fascinating text explores English Books of Hours, the most intimate and widely-used books of the later Middle Ages. Teasing marginalia and personal jottings reveal poignant insights into the minds of their owners, which speak across the centuries of family histories, personal prayers and Reformation struggles”

Summary:  “Flora Mirabilis is an entertaining romp though plant history and exploration, illustrated beautifully with images most people would otherwise never get the chance to see, given that they are from old books of limited distribution. The text touches on many different plants useful to humankind, and on many different episodes in the discovery and use of plants. The vignettes of particular plants provide brief and fascinating glimpses into the world of botany”.

Flora Mirabilis is an illustrated  with more than 200 beautiful and historical colour images, like the one of a coffee plant shown below:

a map by the Venetian cartographer Fra Mauro

Barber & Harpe’s book is made in relation to the exhibition: Magnificent Maps which was presented at the British Library in 2010.

SummaryMaps of the Imagination is a magic carpet ride over terrain both familiar and exotic. Using the map as metaphor, Peter Turchi considers writing as a combination of exploration and presentation, all the while serving as an erudite and charming guide. He compares the way a writer leads a reader through the imaginary world of a story, novel, or poem to the way a mapmaker charts the physical world. “To ask for a map,” says Turchi, “is to say, ‘Tell me a story.’”

How strange – my fun-reading seems to be taking me into the land of cultural history … hopefully some day I will discover:

WHY?

But this week, all I want to do is read!