The Bootleggers, 1925 by Edward Hopper (1882-1967)
Three panels from “Our History of Art,” by Chris Ware. From the 2005 Pantheon collection The Acme Novelty Library.
Appears the Man, 1980 by Ivan Albright (1897-1983)
Shelter, 2011 by Jennifer Cronin
Girl Reading a Newspaper, 1890 by Louis Anquetin (1861–1932)
Genius of the River Chases Away The Frenzy of Art, 2017 by Jillian Denby (b. 1944)
Nude Reading, 1994 by Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997)
Reader, 1994 by Gerhard Richter (b. 1932)
Volleyballer V, 2009 by Jansson Stegner (b. 1972)
Untitled by Francine van Hove (b. 1942)
Negrophobia by Darius James. Cover design by Katy Homans, employing All Cats Are Black in the Dark by Natasha Xavier. Trade paperback, NYRB, 2019.
Darius James’s Negrophobia, first published in 1992, is ugly, hilarious, abject, and gritty, a deep comic dive into American racism and the ways that massculture and urban living propagate and feed off of racism. NYRB’s blurb rightfully compares the novel to the work of William S. Burroughs and Ishmael Reed, but, in its hallucinatory film script form (an apocalyptic angles), it also recalls Aldous Huxley’s overlooked novel Ape in Essence. I loved it and am too much of a coward to attempt a real review.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. Cover photograph by W. Eugene Smith; designer uncredited. Penguin Classics US trade paperback, 2006.
Jackson’s spooky 1959 novel has some of the best opening lines of a novel I’ve read in recent years. Hills’ final section answers to its weird opening, dramatizing fraught consciousness in turmoil, disintegrating in a ping-pong free indirect style that leaves the reader stunned, puzzled, and wishing for an extra chapter against his better judgment.
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin. English translation by Michael Hoffmann. Book design by Katy Homans, featuring Georg Grosz’s painting Down with Liebknecht (1919). NRYB trade paperback, 2018.
I picked up Döblin’s 1929 Berlin Alexanderplatz on a whim a while ago at a bookstore and picked it up off the shelf today on a different whim and laughed in sympathy through the first two chapters. It’s a long book but I think I’ll keep going.
Watermelon, 1952 by Rufino Tamayo (1899-1991)
Hail to the Pure, 1976 by Ivan Albright (1897-1983)
Woman in Armor, 1938 by Leonor Fini (1908-1996)
Wing Seller, 2006 by Stefan Caltia (b. 1942)
H.D., 2019 by Jolene Lai (b. 1980)