14 Booklist February 15, 2017 www.booklistreader.com
An astrologer foretold that PK would study,
work with color, marry a girl not from the village, not even from India; that she would also
be an artist, and would, improbably, own a
jungle. Before beginning school, PK had no
understanding of the caste system that both
defined and excluded him. He and his family
were Dalit, the so-called untouchables. After
surviving many years of prejudice, PK attends
art school in the 1970s, always pushed along
by the prophecy. He earns acclaim drawing
portraits in a park, which is where he meets
a Swedish woman, Charlotte von Schendin.
Love blooms quickly, but Lotta must return
home. With nothing but his meager art supplies and his secondhand bicycle, PK sets out
across Asia, bound for Sweden and the woman he loves. A beautiful, epic tale of love and
perseverance. —Andie Paloutzian
Castle: A History of the Architecture
That Shaped Medieval Britain.
By Marc Morris.
Apr. 2017. 272p. Pegasus, $27.95 (9781605983599). 726.
Castle conjures notions of knights and damsels in distress or, conversely, of brutal warfare
involving bows and arrows and boiling oil.
Best-selling historian Morris’ (The Norman
Conquest, 2013; King John, 2015) dynamic history of castle building in England, Scotland,
and Wales focuses on the castle’s medieval
heyday. Following a beautifully articulated
introductory essay on what defines a castle (a
more complicated definition than one would
imagine), Morris discusses castle design,
construction, and function, which he then
broadens into a discussion of how the history
of British castles reflects the history of British
political life, centering on the evolving concept
of who had the right to construct castles. Morris appraises major castle builders, chief among
them King Edward I of England, who built a
string of significant castles across Wales to hold
that quasi-independent principality close to
the English crown. The interdisciplinary aspect
of this educational book, drawing on political,
social, and architectural history, ensures wide
appeal. —Brad Hooper
Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris,
New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London.
By Lauren Elkin.
Feb. 2017. 336p. illus. Farrar, $26 (9780374900328). 758.
Raised on Long Island, writer and critic Elkin
never fully appreciated the joys of a storied city
until she spent a college year in Paris. She soon
discovered a favorite new pastime, that of the
flâneur, “one who wanders aimlessly,” though
the “one” is typically male. Surely women also
strolled and observed, Elkin thought, coining
the term flâneuse and embarking on a gloriously rambling quest to celebrate women worthy
of this designation. Though such excursions
were forbidden for “respectable” women, she
discovered an impressive group of rebellious
gallivanting females. Elkin shares her findings in a smart and shimmering mix of her
own painful and exhilarating adventures in
Paris, London, New York, Venice, and Tokyo,
and those of such literary flâneuses as George
Sand, Jean Rhys, Virginia Woolf (whose character Clarissa Dalloway is “perhaps the greatest
flâneuse of twentieth-century literature”), and
Martha Gellhorn, along with artist Sophie
Calle. Elkin concludes her splendidly discursive homage to intrepid women walkers with
the sobering reminder that, in many places,
“a woman still can’t walk in the city the way a
man can.” —Donna Seaman
By Katey Sagal.
Mar. 2017. 256p. Gallery, $26 (9781476796710); e-book
Readers probably know Sagal from her roles
on Married with Children or Sons of Anarchy,
or maybe even as the voice of Leela on
Futurama. They may not know that Sagal’s first
passion was music and that she sang with
Bette Midler and toured with Etta James.
Or that her father directed television shows
in the 1950s and ’60s, and Norman Lear is
her godfather. Or that she has battled addictions and nearly constant self-doubt, starting
at a very early age. Sagal’s roundabout way
to fame, even though she rubbed shoulders
with the famous since she was a young girl, is
filled with sex, drugs, alcohol, and tragedy—
all the makings of a great celebrity memoir.
What elevates Grace Notes is Sagal’s honesty
and wonderfully conversational tone—the
woman loves an exclamation point—which
make it accessible and readable without being gossipy or simple. Chapters on parenting
and getting older, especially as a woman and
actress, are standouts. You don’t have to be a
fan to enjoy this one. —Kathy Sexton
Hollywood Enlists! Propaganda Films of
World War II.
By Ralph Donald.
Mar. 2017. 252p. Rowman & Littlefield, $38
(9781442277267); e-book, $37.99 (9781442277274).
Propaganda by definition is the use of mass
media to call an audience to action. Although
it has an evil connotation, it’s also been used
to educate and motivate target groups about
important causes. Between 1941 and 1945,
Hollywood produced hundreds of films in-
tended to unify the country for the war effort.
In addition to feature films, movie studios
turned out training footage, newsreels, and
fundraisers. Focusing on the feature films,
Donald uses the five appeals of propaganda
(guilt, satanism, illusion of victory, biblical,
territorial) to analyze and categorize more
than 50 of these movies. The author lists
the tenets for each appeal and then uses ex-
amples from these movies as illustrations. For
example, Donald uses the plot and dialogue
from Casablanca to demonstrate how guilt
motivates Humphrey Bogart’s character, Rick
Blaine. Movie buffs will love the detailed ref-
erences, but others may be more inclined to
sample the entries. Of particular interest is
the annotated list of analyzed films, which in-
cludes plot summaries, film information, and
propaganda appeals. This is a handy volume
for film collections. —Candace Smith
Makeup Man: Making Up the Stars from
Rocky to Star Trek.
By Michael Westmore and Jake Page.
Mar. 2017. 320p. illus. Globe Pequot, $29.95
Chronicling Westmore’s life and career as
one of Hollywood’s most renowned makeup
artists, this book will have cinephiles and
film historians on the edge of their seats.
From the foreword by Patrick Stewart to
the book’s final pages, which include photographs of Indian actor Kamal Haasan, this
volume is burgeoning with one anecdote,
juicy tidbit, and entertaining story after
another of behind-the-scenes Hollywood
through the ages. Hailing from a makeup
and special-effects dynasty dating back to
the 1900s, Westmore tells, with coauthor
Page, of his family’s impact on the motion-picture industry in the preface and explains
how it has earned them the name the “Royal
Family of Makeup Artists.” In the pages that
follow, it becomes clear why the moniker
is well deserved. Westmore’s grandfather
George is credited with no less than establishing the makeup industry in Hollywood,
while Westmore’s career includes iconic projects like Blade Runner, Raging Bull, and
TV’s The Munsters. For anyone who loves an
insider’s peek into the golden age of Hollywood and beyond, this book will deliver.
—Glendy X. Mattalia
Strong Is the New Pretty: A Celebration
of Girls Being Themselves.
By Kate T. Parker.
Mar. 2017. 248p. illus. Workman, $30 (9781523500680);
paper, $18.95 (9780761189138). 700.
Professional photographer Parker discovered that the photos she took of her own
two daughters being “messy and funny and
stubborn and joyful and in your face” were
the ones that invariably showed their truest,
authentic selves. From this inspiration grew
a photo series and website that rapidly drew
online attention (and shares a name with this
book). These enchanting new images feature
about 200 girls, kindergartners to high-school
grads, gloriously photographed in black and
white and color, alongside their own words.
For example, 16-year-old Aris pilots a plane,
grinning ear to ear, and says, “The sky is not
the limit—it’s just a view.” Maggie, age 9, still
a little sweaty from her soccer game maybe,
notes simply “I am fearless.” Mia, 8, asks,
“You know that sound when you yell into a
fan? You should try it sometime,” while she
and her friends do just that. Parker shows
how, whether smiling, looking tough, or
helping one another out, these girls of various
ages, pasts, and abilities are strong. Positively
moving and totally glorious. —Annie Bostrom
YA: How about this for bedtime reading?
This all-ages book is full of empowering
messages and fascinating photographs for
young ones. AB.