Books Monthly August 2020 nonfiction books...
  Books Monthly
New Nonfiction Books...


Book of the Month - Sue Sims and Hilary Clare: The Encyclopedia of Girls' School Stories Volume One

 Published by Girls Gone By Publishers 6th August 2020

The Encyclopaedia of Girls’ School Stories was first published in 2000 and is long out of print. We are delighted to announce that this will be reissued by GGBP in a revised and expanded two-volume edition in 2020. We are announcing the first volume now, because we have no idea how many we will sell, so although publication is some way off (February 2020) we do hope you will order Volume One now.

This long-awaited revision of the essential guide for any enthusiast of the girls’ school story is compiled by Sue Sims and Hilary Clare, who are the acknowledged experts in the field and have spent decades researching the subject. They have scoured records and copyright libraries and read thousands of books (Sue has the largest collection of girls’ school stories in private hands in the UK) to compile the most extensive data in existence on girls’ school story writers and their books. Among readers of the genre the first edition acquired such status that it is affectionately known simply as ‘The Book’. Not only does it act as a complete reference guide to any writer and her or his books, but the authors’ scholarly, often humorous and always insightful assessments of the writers are a delight to read, guiding readers towards new writers and helping them view old favourites with fresh enlightenment. Our battered copy of the first edition is in sore need of replacing as it’s been browsed so often to see what it has to say about a new acquisition or simply for the pleasure of the writing.

This wonderful book is an absolute treasure trove of information about one of the most important literary genres - the girls' school story. For a long time it was considered a poor second cousin to the boys' school story, dominated largely by the prolific Frank Richards and his many aliases. Two further volumes are published later in the year, but for now, volume one contains a wealth of first class, spellbinding material on authors A-F, including the incomparable Enid Blyton, of course, together with Elinor M Brent-Dyer and Angela Brazil, and a huge collection of fascinating and beautiful colours, with a centre section of these in colour. I was hooked on the girls' school story from the moment I "borrowed" my older sister's School Friend comic, and have a good collection of my own, many coming from the brilliant GIRLS GONE BY PUBLISHERS. I'm already looking forward to volumes two and three! Staggeringly collectable and brilliant in every way.

DK: A History of Magic, Witchcraft and the Occult

 Published by DK 6th August 2020

Discover the beguiling history of witchcraft, magic, and superstition through the centuries in this stunningly illustrated title.

A History of Magic, Witchcraft and the Occult charts the extraordinary narrative of one of the most interesting and often controversial subjects in the world, covering everything from ancient animal worship and shamanism, through alchemy and divination to modern Wicca and the resurgence of the occult in 21st-century literature, cinema, and television.

Providing readers with a comprehensive, balanced, and unbiased account of everything from Japanese folklore and Indian witchcraft to the differences between black and white magic, and dispelling myths such as those surrounding the voodoo doll and Ouija, the book explores the common human fear of, and fascination with spells, superstition, and the supernatural. The perfect introduction to magic and the occult, it explores forms of divination from astrology and palmistry to the Tarot and runestones, mystical plants and potions such as mandrake, the presence of witchcraft in literature from Shakespeare's Macbeth to the Harry Potter series, and the ways in which magic has interacted with religion.

The most comprehensive illustrated history of witchcraft available, A History of Magic, Witchcraft and the Occult will enthral and fascinate you with its lavish illustrated, accessible entries, whether you are a believer or sceptic.

Oxford Illustrated History of the Book

 Published by Oxford University Press 13th August 2020

In 14 original essays, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Book reveals the history of books in all their various forms, from the ancient world to the digital present. Leading international scholars offer an original and richly illustrated narrative that is global in scope.

The history of the book is the history of millions of written, printed, and illustrated texts, their manufacture, distribution, and reception. Here are different types of production, from clay tablets to scrolls, from inscribed codices to printed books, pamphlets, magazines, and newspapers, from written parchment to digital texts. The history of the book is a history of different methods of circulation and dissemination, all dependent on innovations in transport, from coastal and transoceanic shipping to roads, trains, planes and the internet. It is a history of different modes of reading and reception, from learned debate and individual study to public instruction and entertainment. It is a history of manufacture, craftsmanship, dissemination, reading and debate.

Yet the history of books is not simply a question of material form, nor indeed of the history of reading and reception. The larger question is of the effect of textual production, distribution and reception - of how books themselves made history. To this end, each chapter of this volume, succinctly bounded by period and geography, offers incisive and stimulating insights into the relationship between books and the story of their times.

This is as dry as dust... A short paragraph on books as popular culture in the West, and a brief mention of Penguin Books. The book is purely for academics...

Disney Who's Who

 Published by Disney Press 5th August 2020

In the updated edition of this comprehensive guide, get to know more about your favorite Disney and Disney*Pixar characters-and meet some you may not know. What is the name of Alice's cat? Who is Gilbert Huph? How many hairs does Elsa have on her head? Don't know? You will soon! With more than six hundred character bios and a whole host of fun facts, you'll be a Disney character expert in no time!

Laura Tunbridge: Beethoven - A Life in Nine Pieces

 Published by Viking 16th July 2020

Ludwig van Beethoven: to some, simply the greatest ever composer of Western classical music. Yet his life remains shrouded in myths, and the image persists of him as an eccentric genius shaking his fist at heaven.

Beethoven by Oxford professor Laura Tunbridge cuts through the noise in a refreshing way. Each chapter focuses on a period of his life, a piece of music and a revealing theme, from family to friends, from heroism to liberty. It's a winning combination of rich biographical detail, insight into the music and surprising new angles, all of which can transform how you listen to his works. We discover, for example, Beethoven's oddly modern talent for self-promotion, how he was influenced by factors from European wars to instrument building, and how he was heard by contemporaries.

This tour de force - published for the 250th anniversary of Beethoven's birth - provides a fresh overview and a wealth of material that has never been revealed to the wider public before. It's a compelling, human portrayal of Beethoven and a fascinating journey into one of the world's most amazing creative minds.

Bruce Timm: The Big Tease

 Published by Flesk Publications 5th August 2020

Bruce Timm has been creating elegant drawings of women for over 30 years, and nearly all of these charming nudes were drawn purely for fun after-hours. This book collects his three Teaser collections--released from 2011 to 2013 and long sold out--plus Surrender, My Sweet from 2015. In addition, Timm has created new material especially for this collection and delved into his personal archives to share pieces not shown before. These culminate in more than 75 additional pages of material not reproduced in any of his previous Naughty and Nice collections. In all, over 260 women drawn in pencil, ink or color fill these pages. Timm's art is reproduced at an impressive size and showcased in this oversized format. Mature Warning: The Big Tease contains nudity throughout. This book is intended for ages 18 and up.

J David Spurlock: Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta

 Published by Vanguard 21st July 2020

Discover, or return to, the world's greatest heroic fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta in this landmark art collection entitled, Fantastic Paintings of Frazetta. The New York Times said, "Frazetta helped define fantasy heroes like Conan, Tarzan and John Carter of Mars with signature images of strikingly fierce, hard-bodied heroes and bosomy, callipygian damsels" Frazetta took the sex and violence of the pulp fiction of his youth and added even more action, fantasy and potency, but rendered with a panache seldom seen outside of major works of Fine Art. Despite his fantastic subject matter, the quality of Frazetta's work has not only drawn comparisons to the most brilliant of illustrators, Maxfield Parrish, Frederic Remington, Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth but, even to the most brilliant of fine artists including Rembrandt and Michelangelo and, major Frazetta works sell for millions of dollars, breaking numerous records.

This innovator's work has not only inspired generations of artists, but also movies and directors including the Conan films, John Carter of Mars, the sensationally successful Lord of the Rings trilogy, Robert Rodriguez' films including From Dusk Till Dawn, Ralph Bakshi films, the epic, award-winning Game of Thrones series, Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, Disney's animated Tarzan films, Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now and George Lucas' Star Wars series. The Forbes magazine article Schwarzenegger's Sargent led with the line, "Which artist helped make Arnold governor? Frank Frazetta, the Rembrandt of barbarians."

J. David Spurlock started crafting this book by reviving the original million-selling 1970s mass market art book, Fantastic Art of Frank Frazetta. But, he expanded and revised to include twice as many images and, presents them at a much larger coffee-table book size of 10.5 x 14.625"! The collection is brimming with both classic and previously unpublished works of the subjects Frazetta is best remembered for including barbarians, beasts, and buxom beauties. Game of Thrones creator George R. R. Martin said, "Though he bears only a passing resemblance to the Cimmerian as Robert E. Howard described him, Frazetta's covers of the Conan paperback collections became the definitive picture of the character... still is." Schwarzenegger said, "I have not been intimidated that often in my life. But when I looked at Frazetta's paintings, I tell you, it was intimidating." Game of Thrones, Conan and Aquaman film star Jason Momoa said, "I am a huge Frank Frazetta fan. Both of my parents are painters, so I'd known Frazetta's paintings, that's what I wanted to bring to life." See the revolutionary art that helped inspire Schwarzenegger, Momoa, the Lord of the Rings films and Game of Thrones: FRAZETTA!

Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years

 Published by Damaged Goods Books 22nd July 2020

Celebrate the first 10 years of Marvel Studios movies in this collector's edition featuring all of the films from Iron Man to Captain Marvel!

Includes interviews with Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Pratt and more, plus Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Co-President Louis D'Esposito.

Features stunning photography and in-depth sections on each film, including a guide to each movie's Easter Eggs and end-credits scenes.

Beatlemania: Four Photographers on the Fab Four

 Published by ACC Art Books 7th September 2020

The Beatles ascended like no band before, hurtling to the dizzy heights of international stardom in the early 1960s. Their counter-cultural vibes and unmistakable talent are still the subject of much discussion today - as is the rabid devotion of their fans. But how did one pop group become, as Lennon infamously quipped, "more popular than Jesus"?

The work of four photographers provides an enlightening insight into the band's rise to fame. Ward captured the Fab Four when Beatlemania was still confined to their own home city - the band braved the icy Liverpool streets for a promotional shoot during the Big Freeze of '62-63. O'Neill crossed paths with The Beatles amid the buzz of the Swinging Sixties, resonating with the band in 1963 as a photographer of their generation. Parkinson delivered a deceptively relaxed shoot later that year, when the band were recording their second album; while Bayes captured never-before-published candid shots of The Beatles filming Help! in 1965.

Accompanying these pictures, Tony Barrell's text delves into the Beatlemania phenomenon - the good, the bad, the ugly and the odd. From the creation of their early hit records to the hails of confectionery that peppered stages after John claimed George had eaten his jelly babies, Beatlemania: Four Photographers on the Fab Four reveals how one band became a lasting sensation.

Ryan Yard: Mike Oldfield - Every Album Every Song

 Published by Sonicbond Publishing 27th August 2020

"It can be difficult for an artist to have such overwhelming success so early into their career as was the case for Mike Oldfield. To this day, his name is forever synonymous with the album Tubular Bells. Mike followed this album with three further long form works in the 1970s, before venturing off onto other musical paths. The 1980s saw further success both in the albums and singles charts, while recent years have seen a return to long form music, often via sequels to his most famous work, with his most recent album being Return To Ommadawn in 2017. The music of Mike Oldfield touches listeners in ways that can be hard to describe. It bridges the gap between many musical cultures, whilst staying sharp and alert to current technological trends. In this book, Ryan Yard looks at the entire catalogue of albums to uncover what it is that makes his music so special. Each track from every album is critiqued with the aim of offering long term fans a different perspective whilst enticing new fans to explore and familiarise themselves with such wonderful new music. It makes a wonderful companion as the listener absorbs the music, hopefully offering food for thought as they embark on, or continue, their journey through the music of this remarkable artist.

The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its 22nd year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email at and I'll let you know where to send it.

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