Books In Brief: Ada on Architecture, Ames’ Alcoholic Adventures

By Stephanie Murg Comment

The new fall books are stacking up. Let’s start with the A’s:

arch alc.jpg⇒ Out this week from Walker & Co. is half a century’s worth of criticism penned by the one, the only, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Ada Louise Huxtable. On Architecture: Collected Reflections of a Century of Change looks at “some of the twentieth century’s best—and worst—architectural masters and projects” and what followed. Come for the primer on skyscraper history, stay for the up close-and-personal look at the Colt Firearms Building. “Looking back, I realize that my career covered an extraordinary period of change,” writes Huxtable. “That I was writing at a time in which architecture was changing slowly but radically—a time when everything about modernism was being incrementally questioned and rejected as we moved into a new kind of thinking and building.”

⇒ On a lighter (and darker) note is The Alcoholic (Vertigo), a graphic novel written by the supercaffeinated Jonathan Ames and illustrated by Dean Haspiel. The book’s protagonist is one Jonathan A., “a boozed-up, coked-out, sexually confused, hopelessly romantic and, of course, entirely fictional novelist who bears only a coincidental resemblance to real-life writer Jonathan Ames.” The real Ames needed little convincing to team up with Haspiel, who illustrated Harvey Pekar‘s The Quitter. “I’ve always been a fan of Charles Bukowski and had seen some stories of his which were accompanied by illustrations by R. Crumb, so the idea of doing something similar with Dean appealed to me,” Ames told recently. The pair worked well together, with Ames describing the collaboration as “dreamily sympathetic.” Haspiel concurred. “Each page I draw is a struggle, especially when I’m collaborating. However, Ames and I hardly butted heads,” he said. “In fact, most of my interpretation of Ames’ script was met with compliments, and sometimes, I haunted Ames with kismet.”