Summer Reading 2003
Summer Reading 2003: Coffeetable books for the screened-in porch.
Wandering among the portraits presented in The Face of Texas (Bright Sky Press, $34.95) by Michael O'Brien, it's not hard to imagine Texas as a Republic. The democracy of legends shoulder to shoulder with schoolteachers and waitresses is compelling, and unlike the pervasive real-people-as-freaks portraiture popularized by photographers like Diane Arbus, O'Brien relies on the pedestrian to resonate the human condition to great effect. The large-type format and unbiased tone of former Life magazine reporter Elizabeth O'Brien's accompanying stories bring an immediacy to the pictures that left us with the feeling that we had walked up and shaken hands with the subjects on the turn of each page. Another wonderful portraitist can be found in James Evans, whose Big Bend Pictures (UT Press, $39.95) brings the great outdoors in on hot afternoons. Combining stark black-and-white photographs of both the vistas and the people of Big Bend, with an insightful forward by Robert Draper, we believe that maybe the sky really is bigger in Texas. Finally, another book worthy of your summer coffee table is Come Fly With Us! (Collectors Press, $24.95) by Johanna Omelia and Michael Waldock. Providing a colorful and detailed history of the 64-year-old profession of the airline hostess, and crammed with pictures from each era, it is a startling reminder of a gentler time, when beautiful hostesses epitomized the glamour of jet travel. -- Anne Harris