Newsletter 123 – December 2006


Number 123 – December 2006 – ISSN 1470-1863

Graphic design – US Culture – Best-sellers

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0— ‘Penguin by Design’ – elegant new book

When you see the cover designs of your old
favourite paperbacks, doesn’t it bring on a
warm glow of nostalgia?

There’s a veritable *cascade* of visual retro
goodies in Phil Baines’ survey of Penguin jacket
covers, which date from 1935 to the present.

It’s a beautifully designed and illustrated
history of the typography, the cover art, and
the exquisite visual details which went into
marketing these first mass-market paperbacks.

If you have any book-loving friends and buy them
a copy for Xmas – they’ll love you to bits. Full
details in our illustrated review at –

Penguin by Design

And if you missed Joe Kral’s collection of old
Penguin book jackets scanned into Flikr which we
mentioned in the last issue, have a look here:

Penguin jacket covers

0— Pub quiz – Question #1

In which year did Hilary and Tenzing climb Everest?

0— Did you know that …

The king of hearts is the only king without
a moustache on a standard playing card.

0— ‘Natural Selection’ – new book

Guest reviewer John White looks at the connections
between film and jazz in his review of Gary Giddins’
latest collection of essays.

This recent book includes pieces on jazz, but also
illuminating essays on silent movies, film noir,
TV shows, DVD and CD releases, Norman Mailer,
Ralph Ellison, Classics Illustrated, Friedrich
Durrenmatt and the Jewish novelist Soma Morgenstern.

It’s a plump and culturally rich volume covering
half a century of what he sees as essentially
American culture – Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton;
Greta Garbo and Marlon Brando; Glenn Miller and
Billie Holiday. Read the full review here:

Natural Selection

0— Pub quiz – Question #2

What does a red fire extinguisher contain?

0— Did you know that …

A lightning bolt generates temperatures five times
hotter than those found at the sun’s surface.

0— ‘Art is Work: Milton Glaser’

Milton Glaser is a top-flight American
graphic designer. He was responsible for
the well known poster of Bob Dylan with
psychedelic multi-coloured hair, and he
also devised the “I [heart] New York” logo.

This book is both a collection of his
designs, his paintings, posters, and even
his product designs. But it’s a lot more too.

He talks you through the early drafts of
his ideas and shows you how they are
developed until the reach the final cut.

Glaser is an accomplished draughtsman,
a skilled colourist, and an amazingly fecund
source of new design ideas.

I missed this book when it first came out,
but was glad to catch up via an amazingly
cut-price bargain at Amazon.

Art is Work: Milton Glaser

0— Pub quiz – Question #3

How many balls start a game of snooker?

0— Did you know that …

Porcupines float in water.

0— ‘Leonard Woolf: An Autobiography’

Did you know that for the last thirty years of
his life, Leonard Woolf – yes, the saintly husband
of Virginia – shared the wife of his next door neighbour.
She lived with one during the week, and the other
at weekends. Yet another fascinating strand of the
Bloomsbury Group unfurls.

Woolf had an amazingly varied life. He served in the
colonial service, became a journalist, founded the
League of Nations (precursor to UNO) worked as a
political activist, and ran the Hogarth Press almost
single-handedly for half a century.

This memoir is an astonishingly rich chronicle of
the years 1880 to 1969, featuring Victorian and
Edwardian England, pre-Independence Ceylon, the
first and the second world wars, and life in the
anterooms if not the corridors of power.

He emerges as a thoroughly decent, intelligent,
and hard-working man – even if he misses out
some of the spicy bits. Full review at –

Leonard Woolf: An Autobiography

0— Pub quiz – Question #4

Where is the Gadaffi stadium cricket ground?

0— Did you know that …

The penguin is the only bird that can swim, but not fly.

0— ‘Dictionary of Phrase, Saying & Quotation’ – new book

Another potential Xmas stocking-filler here. It’s
the latest edition of a compendium of expressions,
well known phrases, and folk sayings from around
the world.

Each entry is not only explained, but its source
or its original context is given. Entries range from
the Bible and other myths, through to Woody Allen.
Full review and sample entries at –

Dictionary of Phrase, Saying, and Quotation

0— Pub quiz – Question #5

What type of flower is the source of vanilla?

0— Did you know that …

Most dust particles in your house are dead skin.

0— Best-sellers for 2006

Want some more suggestions for your Xmas box?

These books sold more than any others
from our review pages during the last year.

‘Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation’
Rules for spoken conventions from authoritative source.

Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation

‘Writers & Artists Yearbook’
Best-selling guide to everything writers need.

Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook

‘Carrington: A Biography’
Bloomsbury artist, radical, and bi-sexual.

A Life of Dora Carrington

‘Freelance Writers Handbook’
How to make money and enjoy your life.

Freelance Writers Handbook

‘Among the Bohemians’
Unconventional living in the UK 1900-1940.

Among the Bohemians

‘Writer’s Handbook’
Addresses, contacts, resources, and advice for writers.

The Writer’s Handbook

‘Essays and Dissertations’
The basics of academic planning and writing skills.

Essays and Dissertations

‘How to Write’
Basic writing skills explained in easy stages.

How to Write

0— Pub quiz – Question #6

How much milk does it take to make a pound of cheese?

0— Did you know that …

The tooth is the only part of the human
body that can’t repair itself.

0— ‘What They Didn’t Say’ – new book

This is a collection of misquotations,
misattributions, and apocryphal sayings.

Ingrid Bergman never said “Play it again, Sam”
in the film ‘Casablanca’ and Harold Macmillan
never said “Events, dear boy, events”.

It’s amazing how these falsehoods get into
general circulation. Sometimes people
*change* what was said originally, but
other times it is just made up.

This book explains how it happens, what
the original was, and in some cases who
was the culprit for the misquotation.

What They Didn’t Say

0— Pub quiz – Question #7

When did the union of Great Britain
and Ireland come into force?

0— Did you know that …

The tongue is the only muscle attached at one end.

0— ‘Hip Hotels: New York’ – new book

If you’re thinking of a few days holiday in
New York to do your Xmas shopping (well! some
people do – and the exchange rate is favourable
for the UK) you might want to look at this stunning
collection of fashionable hotels.

It’s a ‘portable’ coffee-table photographic
study of modern architecture and interior design,
set in some of the most desirable areas of NY.
And at budget price, it won’t break the bank.

The furnishings and decor are almost all chic
minimalist – but secretly lush beyond belief.

Hip Hotels: New York

0— Pub quiz – Question #8

What two types of instrument are played
in a Japanese Noh drama?

0— Did you know that ..

Sunsets can be green in Antarctica.

0— ‘Grammar for Teachers’ – new book

Do you know the difference between a subjunctive
clause and an adverbial preposition?

Teachers in primary and secondary schools these
days have to include English grammar on the syllabus –
no matter what their subject.

John Seely has put together a guide to the basics
which stays this side of grammatical overkill.

It’s suitable for teachers at primary or secondary
level, or for anyone teaching English as a second
or ‘other’ language. (That’s the politically correct
way of saying a ‘foreign language’.)

Grammar for Teachers

0— Pub quiz – Question #9

How many pounds are there in the slang term a ‘monkey’?

0— Did you know that …?

Adolf Hitler was Time magazine’s Man of the Year for 1938.

0— TittyBangBang! – They’re back!

The BBC have given it no publicity, and they make
it damned hard to find in their listings – but
TittyBangBang! is back for a second series on BBC 3.

It features some of the same characters – the twitching
darters, surgically enhanced Maxine Bendix, Pete Wade
(who has a new job as an estate agent), and the Italian
lady (“Don’t look at me! I’m shyyyyyyyyyyy!”).

But the most inspired is an amazing impersonation of
Tom Cruise by Lucy Montgomery. How does she do it?

Prosthetic help maybe – but her acting skills are
just awe inspiring. It doesn’t have the novelty
value of the first series, but I for one will be
watching every episode – which you can do on line at:


0— Pub quiz – Question #10

What does an orrery illustrate in model form?

0— Did you know that …?

Humphrey Bogart was related to Princess Diana.

0— Bloomsbury Chronology – new resource

This is for those who can’t get enough on
this famous group of writers, artists, and
intellectuals of the early Modernist period
in the UK. It includes the important events,
clickable links to their publications, and
includes the spicy gossipy bits too.

The Bloomsbury Group

0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS

#1 In which year did Hilary and Tenzing climb Everest?
ANSWER: 1953

#2 What does a red fire extinguisher contain?

#3 How many balls start a game of snooker?

#4 Where is the Gadaffi stadium cricket ground?
ANSWER: Lahore, Pakistan

#5 What type of flower is the source of vanilla?
ANSWER: Orchid

#6 How much milk does it take to make a pound of cheese?
ANSWER: A gallon

#7 When did the union of Great Britain
and Ireland come into force?
ANSWER: 1801

#8 What two types of instrument are played
in a Japanese Noh drama?
ANSWER: Drum and flute

#9 How many pounds are there in the slang term a ‘monkey’?

#10 What does an orrery illustrate in model form?
ANSWER: The solar system


The Fundamentals of Typography

Green Architecture

A 2 Z and More Signs

CSS – The Missing Manual

Web Design: Flash Sites

Web Services Essentials

Lytton Strachey – Letters

eBay – The Missing Manual

Yahoo! Hacks

(c) Copyright 2006, MANTEX
All Rights Reserved

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ISSN 1470-1863
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