City Lights Gift Guide: for the scattered, lost, in need of guidance…

Scattered Poems

Jack Keroauc

Spontaneous poetry by the author of On the Road, gathered from underground and ephemeral publications; including “San Francisco Blues,” the variant texts of “Pull My Daisy,” and American haiku.

 

 

HERE DOWN ON DARK EARTH
before we all go to Heaven
VISIONS OF AMERICA
All that hitchhikin
All that railroadin
All that comin back
to America

-Jack Kerouac

A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Rebecca Solnit

A Field Guide to Getting Lost is about the stories we use to navigate our way through the world and the places we traverse, from wilderness to cities, in finding ourselves or losing ourselves. Written as a series of autobiographical essays, it draws on emblematic moments and relationships in Solnit’s own life to explore issues of uncertainty, trust, loss, memory, desire, and place. – Recommended by Peter, Paul & Eric Z, City Lights Books

Whether she is contemplating the history of walking as a cultural and political experience over the past two hundred years (Wanderlust), or using the life of photographer Eadweard Muybridge as a lens to discuss the transformations of space and time in late nineteenth-century America (River of Shadows), Rebecca Solnit has emerged as an inventive and original writer whose mind is daring in the connections it makes. A Field Guide to Getting Lost draws on emblematic moments and relationships in Solnit’s own life to explore the issues of wandering, being lost, and the uses of the unknown. The result is a distinctive, stimulating, and poignant voyage of discovery.

“A meditation on the pleasures and terrors of getting lost”
The New Yorker

“This indispensable California writer’s most personal book yet.”
San Francisco Chronicle

“An intriguing amalgam of personal memoir, philosophical speculation, natural lore, cultural history, and art criticism . . . a book to set you wandering down strangely fruitful trails of thought.”
Los Angeles Times

 

 The Lost Art of Finding Our Way

John Edward Huth

Long before GPS, Google Earth, and global transit, humans traveled vast distances using only environmental clues and simple instruments. John Huth asks what is lost when modern technology substitutes for our innate capacity to find our way. Encyclopedic in breadth, weaving together astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, and ethnography, The Lost Art of Finding Our Way puts us in the shoes, ships, and sleds of early navigators for whom paying close attention to the environment around them was, quite literally, a matter of life and death.

Haunted by the fate of two young kayakers lost in a fogbank off Nantucket, Huth shows us how to navigate using natural phenomena—the way the Vikings used the sunstone to detect polarization of sunlight, and Arab traders learned to sail into the wind, and Pacific Islanders used underwater lightning and “read” waves to guide their explorations. Huth reminds us that we are all navigators capable of learning techniques ranging from the simplest to the most sophisticated skills of direction-finding. Even today, careful observation of the sun and moon, tides and ocean currents, weather and atmospheric effects can be all we need to find our way.

Lavishly illustrated with nearly 200 specially prepared drawings, Huth’s compelling account of the cultures of navigation will engross readers in a narrative that is part scientific treatise, part personal travelogue, and part vivid re-creation of navigational history. Seeing through the eyes of past voyagers, we bring our own world into sharper view.

 

The Posthuman Dada Guide

Andrei Codrescu

“This is a guide for instructing posthumans in living a Dada life. It is not advisable, nor was it ever, to lead a Dada life.”–The Posthuman Dada Guide

The Posthuman Dada Guide is an impractical handbook for practical living in our posthuman world–all by way of examining the imagined 1916 chess game between Tristan Tzara, the daddy of Dada, and V. I. Lenin, the daddy of communism. This epic game at Zurich’s Café de la Terrasse–a battle between radical visions of art and ideological revolution–lasted for a century and may still be going on, although communism appears dead and Dada stronger than ever. As the poet faces the future mass murderer over the chessboard, neither realizes that they are playing for the world. Taking the match as metaphor for two poles of twentieth- and twenty-first-century thought, politics, and life, Andrei Codrescu has created his own brilliantly Dadaesque guide to Dada–and to what it can teach us about surviving our ultraconnected present and future. Here dadaists Duchamp, Ball, and von Freytag-Loringhoven and communists Trotsky, Radek, and Zinoviev appear live in company with later incarnations, including William Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Gilles Deleuze, and Newt Gingrich. The Posthuman Dada Guide is arranged alphabetically for quick reference and (some) nostalgia for order, with entries such as “eros (women),” “internet(s),” and “war.” Throughout, it is written in the belief “that posthumans lining the road to the future (which looks as if it exists, after all, even though Dada is against it) need the solace offered by the primal raw energy of Dada and its inhuman sources.”

 

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