Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Noah's Arch

Title: Colour ~ Travels through the Paintbox
Author: Victoria Finlay
Genre: Art; Non-Fiction

ISBN: 0340733292
# of Pages: 438
Published: 2002, Hodder & Stoughton

Began Reading: January 25th, 2006
Finished Reading: January 30th, 2006
*** I started on my plane ride to Spain so thats why it took so long***

I would love to say that a tenacious force ushered this book into my hands or that am naturally inclined to read herculean size non-fiction works.

Alas, my dear reader, I must disappoint you yet again.

It is truly for primitive reasons - the eye candy that this particular cover provides - that I purchased this detailed history of color. It is by the grace of the gods alone that Finlay's piece happened to not only be a valuable source but a wonderful read. The grace of the gods indeed.

Whats She's Saying: Our sight is something that is often taken for granted. Whereas we may relish in the flavors of pasta primavera and purr to the feel of a lover's caress how often in one day do we appreciate the brilliance of red? Or the purity of white? Finlay's work gives us an opportunity to give this sense of sight the attention and praise it deserves. Colour is both a historical overview & cultural perspective of its namesake. Orche, Yellow, Blue, Red, Purple, Black & Brown, Orange, and more make up the chapter headings. In each of these sections we find not only is our author on an adventure to visit the area of the color in question's natural source but also examines the people around this colors, the traditions in art and in society that revolve around it and how it essentially - though we may be unconscious about it - effects our daily lives. Finlay's journalistic experience metamorphosis into an anthropologists role of living & breathing her subject (and at times even eating it) while remaining a close step behind - far enough to be objective and close enough for intimacy. Something that the sedentary reader oh-so appreciates.

Comments: As was con notated above, this book was a surprise. Usually, I read non-fiction during the day and fiction before bedtime (for nice dreams). This book I opened and could not put it down (except for arriving in Spain & taking a plane where really bad bad things happened to me which won't get into at this time because well... no) . The amazing thing about this book is the way she brings together the most obscure things and, like a recipe, makes it 'taste' good. Her language and style are less then secondary for this work. You are reading this for the fact and it is this same information that is making you turn the page even though your supposed to be studying for a Art History exam on Gothic Art that you have tomorrow morning and haven't attended a single class so are really really screwed.

Best Part: Oh My God! Screw how JFK died... the real beef is with - yes you got it - NAPOLEON! He died from green walls, mold and Italy. No joke. I'm very serious. (page 291-293)

Worst Part: Many of the endnotes should be footnotes. Its so annoying to have to flip back every single time. I had to stop even though promise that I tried really really really hard.

Recommend It To: Everyone really. This is the type of book that makes for great coffee talk, essay writing and personal reflection. It works on a beach and by a fireplace. If your scared of Non-fiction or know someone who is this may be the book that help you get over your phobia.