Tag Archives: New York (State)

Mark Siegel, Sailor Twain or, the Mermaid in the Hudson

(2014-01-26 001)Title: Sailor Twain: or, the Mermaid in the Hudson

Author: Mark Siegel

Publication Information: 1st ed. New York: First Second, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-59643-636-7

Library of Congress Classification: PN6727.S51549

Dewey Classification: 741.5

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Mermaids—Comic books, strips, etc.
Hudson River (N.Y. and N.J.)—Comic books, strips, etc.

This book was written by someone who lives in Tarrytown and who did his research for the book at the Historical Society of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.

Sailor Twain takes place in the late 19th century. Twain is the captain of a river vessel that sails up and down the Hudson from New York City to Albany. He works for a Frenchman, Jacques Henri de Lafayette, who is also his friend. Jacques’ brother Dieudonne later joins him in the business. Jacques mysteriously disappears, and Dieudonne takes control, but he is no businessman like his brother. Dieudonne spends much of his time chasing women–single and married–and leaves Twain much to do whatever he likes.

It gets interesting when Twain finds a wounded mermaid. She becomes his muse and he becomes entranced with her. All I can really say is that Siegel crafts the lore surrounding mermaids into the story. Jacques’ disappearance, Dieudonne’s juggling several  misteresses, and Twain’s obsession with the mermaid all come together in the end. Meanwhile, the poor, wheelchair-bound wife of Twain becomes more neglected over time. (I thought that she was suffering from consumption.) The book ends with an interesting twist.

The illustrations are black and white. The art is rather cartoonish, but it works. It’s understandable why this was a New York Times bestseller. It’s quite entertaining. I didn’t like putting it down because I wanted to see how it ended.

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Matt Adrian, Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds

Adrian-Guide to Troubled Birds (2013-09-30 010)TitleThe Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds

Author: Matt Adrian

Publication Information: The Mincing Mockingbird, Inc., 2012

ISBN: 978-0615593685

Library of Congress Classification: PN6231.B46

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Birds–Humor
Adrian, Matt—Humor
Adrian, Matt—Catalogs
Painting—United States—Catalogs
Birds in art—Catalogs

The Mincing Mockingbird returns! Actually, this book came out before the other two, but this is the first time I’ve seen it.

This time, Matt Adrian write a book for “anyone to quickly identify psychotic, violent or mentally unstable bird species.” As usual, Adrian’s paintings of birds are accompanied by crazy things the birds seem to be saying from the way they look. There are some entries for birds that go on for a page or more.

There are two entires that I spotted for owls, which made me happy.  Of course what’s written about owls is not complementary, but a study in the owl psyche. Like other birds, owls cannot be trusted.

New paintings come to Whimsies, which carries the book as well as the paintings. I was told by Karen that Adrian never does the same paintings; he doesn’t have a set number of this or that bird on hand, he just paints. Apparently, he hasn’t painted any owls lately. The last shipment had two or three different owls in it, so I should have bought then.

So if you like twisted humor and birds, this book is for you.

Matt Adrian, It is Folly to Assume My Awesome Lies Dormant: the Paintings of the Mincing Mockingbird; I Have Heard My Praises Sung In Screams: The Paintings of the Mincing Mockingbird Volume II

Title: The Paintings of the Mincing Mockingbird, Volume I: It is Folly to Assume My Awesome Lies Dormant; Volume II: I Have Heard My Praises Sung in Screams

Author: Matt Adrian

Publication Information: Mincing Mockingbird, 2010, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-615-35804-8 (vol. 1); 978-0-615-79531-7 (vol. 2)

Library of Congress Classification: PN6231.B46

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Birds–Humor
Adrian, Matt—Humor
Adrian, Matt—Catalogs
Painting—United States—Catalogs
Birds in art—Catalogs

Under the name of the Mincing Mockingbird, Matt Adrian sells his paintings of birds. In two books, Adrian has images of his paintings accompanied by odd, bizarre and downright funny captions which, from what I can tell of his web sites, are apparently the titles of the paintings. The Frantic Meerkat, which can be found on the Mockingbird web site, is not only birds but different animals, including humans, with silly captions.

(2013-08-24 007)

The God of the Meadow

My favorite bird has always been the owl, and they are well-represented in the books: the snowy owl who gets tired of leering; the owl believing that he/she is the meadow god sent to punish the sins of mice; another snowy owl that rejects fellowship and admits to being a “dark sun” of rage. There are many different birds, but I could only recognize a few of them. The hummingbird on a sugar high made me laugh as did the profile of the dodo; if cloned, this bird’s first act would be to kill us all. Fair, since humans hunted the species into extinction. Then there’s the bird that didn’t finish high school but kept sea monkeys alive for two weeks (how many of us can say that?) and another who heard the moon laugh (and once was enough).

Whimsies Incognito in Tarrytown sells not only Adrian’s books but also his bird paintings. The large selection of bird paintings have contracted over the past several months until only four remain. There were a few really nice paintings of owls. Unfortunately, I did not buy them when they first came and now they are gone. I will have to wait for the next shipment; more bird paintings should be back in stock before the end-of-year holidays.

Adrian’s paintings are very nice, but combined with the titles/captions/whatever in the books, the result is just laugh-out-loud funny.

Look What’s New at the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. There’s a big browsing section of what new books the library bought.

004Title: A New New Testament: a Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts

Editor and Commentator: Hal Taussig

Publication Information: Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-547-79210-1

Library of Congress Classification: BS2361.3

Dewey Decimal Classification: 225.52

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Bible. New Testament—Criticism, interpretation, etc.
Christian literature, Early—History and criticism

Usually I pass right by religious texts, but this one gave me pause and I ended up taking it out.

A New New Testament: a Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts is the traditional New Testament supplemented with ten added works from early Christianity not included in the traditional canon.

Hal Taussig, the editor and commentator, chaired a group of scholars who sat down and decided which ancient texts to add. (Their short bios are included.) Several, like The Gospel of Mary (probably Magdalene) and The Gospel of Thomas, were “lost” until recently discovered, many coming from the Nag Hammadi Library, found outside the Egyptian village in 1945. (Appendix 2 lists the books in each codex.) Of these, several manuscripts may now exist, copied at different times with subtle changes. Other texts, such as The Acts of Paul and Thecla, were never lost, just not included in the canon.

The Acts of Paul and Thecla is surprising. The revered St. Paul does not look so good in this work. He is seen as hesitant and negligent in his dealings with Thecla, a woman who wants to be baptized. Taking matters into her own hands, Thecla BAPTIZES HERSELF then PREACHES the gospels of Jesus to anyone who will listen, becoming a disciple.

No wonder the Christian writer Tertullian attacked this book in the 2nd century. Throughout this book, Thecla is seen as a leader standing up to government authority and cultural biases, all the while maintaining her faith. Ironically, this book was popular throughout the Middle Ages and was viewed as an appropriate reading for women and missionaries.

Taussig refuses to use the term “Christianity” because no one is sure when this term came into existence. Instead, he calls the early Jesus people “Christ movements,” plural because there were many different belief systems in existence early-on. I taught a politics and religion class at Purchase College, the State University of New York, in 2001 and I used the term “Christianities,” but the meaning is the same. There were many different versions of Christianity with radically different views of Jesus and God.

What we have today is Pauline Christianity, that version of Christianity which St. Paul taught and endorsed: Jesus as God, the Trinity, etc. This version of Christianity was adopted by Emperor Constantine; henceforth, all other Christianities were now viewed as heretical. The three major branches of Christianity (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant) and any splinter groups are Pauline Christianity.

There is so much here. Each book, including those in the traditional New Testament, is introduced by Taussig. He includes a short bibliography at the end of every entry. The book also has: an overall introduction; Q&A on typical things asked about the New Testament; a companion section, consisting of nearly 100 pages of research; a bibliography; and subject and scripture indices.

Look What’s New at the Warner Library!

Warner Library serves Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. There’s a big browsing section of what new books the library bought. This book I happened to come across and was happy that I did.

003Title: 101 Classic Toy Trains: Best of the Postwar Years

Author: Roger Carp

Publication Information: Waukesha, Wis.: Kalmbach Books, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-87116-410-0

Library of Congress Classification: TF197

Dewey Decimal Classification: 625.19

Library of Congress Subject Headings:
Railroads—Models—History
Railroads—Models—Collectors and collecting
Models and modelmaking—History

This book is fun.

With all color pictures, Carp lists the 101 best trains and accessories (in his opinion) that have been released in the postwar period. Though Lionel trains dominate the entries, there are other companies whose trains, like Gilbert and Marx, that make the list. Even Plasticville, known to anyone who has anything to do with toy trains, gets a plug as one of the best-created accessories. Each entry not only gives the history of the item being discussed, but some of the corporate history of the toy manufacturer that created it. Carp is the editor of Classic Toy Trains magazine, so he knows his facts.

If you love toy trains, this is the book for you.