Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

Tomorrow (Thursday) sees the opening of a retrospective exhibition of the works of famous pop-art artist Roy Lichtenstein at the Tate Modern. Running until 27th May, the exhibition brings together 125 paintings and sculptures to highlight his enduring legacy. Lichtenstein is renowned for his works based on comic strips and advertising imagery, coloured with his signature hand-painted dots.

An artist with an instantly recognisable style, it may come as a surprise to some of Lichtenstein’s fans to learn that the artist, in his time, created a couple of book covers. Most notably, he produced a specially designed cover, and a second illustration for the frontispiece, exclusively for Frederic Tuten’s TINTIN IN THE NEW WORLD, a witty, avant-garde novel taking the most innocent character of the twentieth-century and dragging him into the too real world of painful love and self-awareness. It is a divisive subject amongst Tintin fans, but was authorised by Herge, the creator of Tintin. It is the novel where Tintin finally grows up.

So just how did Roy Lichtenstein come to create this iconic cover for Tuten’s book? The two were great friends; in an interview with The Brooklyn Rail Tuten describes Lichtenstein as “an artist I revered and… my oldest and closest friend”. Theirs was a friendship that lasted for thirty years, a friendship of mutual esteem for each other as an artist in their own right. It was Lichtenstein who helped Tuten get his start as a novelist, producing the cover image for his first novel THE ADVENTURES OF MAO ON THE LONG MARCH after reading Tuten’s manuscript. Originally published in 1971, it wasn’t until 1993 that Lichtenstein collaborated with Tuten once more, creating the iconic artwork for TINTIN IN THE NEW WORLD.

Of Lichtenstein, Tuten said in an interview with Bookforum:

I have never enjoyed a friend’s company or learned as much as I did with Roy. Our friendship covered more than thirty years. It was a friendship of mutual esteem and good will and humor. Roy once said to me, when an artist goes to make a painting, he or she already has in mind what a work of art should look like. And that, he said was the problem. It is the same problem for writers when they start a novel or a story. Hence, we produce the same novels and stories. Roy was a seeker, an original, and his work inspired me to approach my writing with questions.

Off to the exhibition at the Tate Modern? Get a quick Lichtenstein fix now, and take a look at the stunning cover for TINTIN IN THE NEW WORLD, taken from a collage that Lichtenstein created exclusively for this book.



Souvenir Press gets a makeover

Have you visited our website recently? If you’re a regular visitor, you may have noticed some changes creeping in over the last few days.

We have just added four of our forthcoming Spring titles to the website: Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies? by Jena Pincott, How Puzzles Improve Your Brain by Richard Restak and featuring puzzles by Scott Kim, The Vein of Gold by Julia Cameron, author of the bestselling book The Artist’s Way, and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain – the expanded and updated fourth edition by Betty Edwards.

We have added a brand new In the News section, which features a whole host of topical news stories that tie in with the books on our list. We don’t have anything about horse-meat, I’m afraid. But you’ve probably read enough about that already! But in the past few weeks alone we’ve had British citizenship tests, care quality in the UK, the anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, and mental health clinics for MPs… So hopefully this new section will give you an idea of the huge variety of titles that we publish, and hopefully something there will take your fancy!

Finally, we’ve added a page for our fantastic Independent Voices series, which is dedicated to publishing writers who provide alternative viewpoints and challenge conventional wisdom, making available work that has been unavailable in the UK although it is as relevant today as on its original publication. This series includes, among others, The Book by Alan Watts – our biggest-selling e-book of last year and undoubtedly our ‘Book of the Year 2012′, Randy Shilts’ shattering history of HIV and AIDS, And the Band Played On, and Tintin in the New World by Frederic Tuten, featuring distinctive cover art by Roy Lichtenstein (whose work is subject of a huge retrospective exhibition at the Tate Modern, ongoing until May).

Add to that a few design changes, and suddenly the Souvenir Press website has a slick new look. Take a look, and let us know what you think. Is there anything missing, or anything you think we should do differently? We’d love to hear from you.

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Weekly Round-up

We’ve had some great reviews and some interesting bits and pieces come in this week, so we thought we’d collect them up for you here. Below you will find a couple of great reviews, and a video of one of our authors speaking at a recent event. As always, we’ve got a great mix of titles in here – just another reminder of the fantastic eclectic mix we offer at Souvenir Press.

The Heart of Care – Amanda Waring

The book is packed full of powerful, experiential learning exercises to help readers understand the older person’s perspective and gain insight into the kind of care environment they are and should be providing and the world of someone living with dementia. […] This is a ‘must have’ book for staff, managers and owner’s of services supporting older people in care homes or in their own home. – Relative Matters

Undoing Depression – Richard O’Connor

O’Connor gives the reader a good understanding of such a confusing, misunderstood disease. […] O’Connor says we must behave as if we have the power to control ourselves, because if we don’t, we have no hope. This perfectly sums up his writing – intelligent, insightful, realistic and relatable – but positive in the face of one of life’s hardest challenges. – The Pains of an Overactive Mind blog

The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter – Albie Sachs

In 1988 after decades as an anti-apartheid activist Albie Sachs lost his right arm and an eye when his car was blown up by South African security agents. He was already living in exile and had been imprisoned twice but as he recovered from his injuries he decided that he would write his way to recovery. His book The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter is published by Souvenir Press.

Albie Sachs spoke at TEDxEuston recently, and his inspirational talk is now available to watch online.

Chinese New Year: The Year of the Snake

Tomorrow marks the start of the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Snake. New year celebrations are colourful, elaborate and exciting, as people welcome in the new year and usher out the old. It is a time to turn over a new leaf, a time of new beginnings.

As the Year of the Dragon gives way to the Year of the Snake, let’s take a sneak peek at what this new year has in store for you.

Predictions are taken from the definitive book on Chinese astrology, THE HANDBOOK OF CHINESE HOROSCOPES, seventh edition, by Theodora Lau and Laura Lau, which contains predictions that will take you right through to 2014.

If you were born in the Year of the Rat:

This year will not be as productive as others for the Rat. The Snake will not have a good sense of direction, casting a shadow on its year… Things will not come easy to the Rat in the Year of the Snake.

If you were born in the Year of the Ox:

The Snake brings many rewards to the hardworking Ox this year. It will be a good time for beginnings in the Ox’s life, whether that involves starting a new romance or close friendship or starting a new job.

If you were born in the Year of the Tiger:

A relatively fair year for the Tiger born. Career and finances should be quiet, with no big changes in store for this year. The Tiger should play it cool this year by letting people come to him, rather than pushing his agenda too heavily.

If you were born in the Year of the Rabbit:

The Rabbit will find a year where work will be done, but not much will progress. The Snake will test the Rabbit’s patience and educate him in being more open to change. The Rabbit will find that a positive approach can be the key to a better outcome.

If you were born in the Year of the Dragon:

This will be a fortunate year for the Dragon career-wise and financially, but it will be a balancing act for the Dragon between work and home life. The Dragon should not start new romantic relationships, unless he can make a commitment to carry his weight in the partnership.

If you were born in the Year of the Snake:

While this will be a less productive year for the Snake, here will be opportunities for him to come out ahead. The Snake must avoid becoming too consumed by this year’s distractions.

If you were born in the Year of the Horse:

The Horse faces an uncertain journey in the Year of the Snake. The Horse will be thankful for good friends and family, as he will be calling on them to give him some much needed pep talks when he feels discouraged by setbacks.

If you were born in the Year of the Sheep:

The Sheep will make strong and memorable gains in the year of the Snake. The Sheep will be fortunate to expand his network of personal and professional contacts. The Sheep’s efforts will pay off professionally, with public acknowledgement and even a promotion.

If you were born in the Year of the Monkey:

The Year of the Snake is one in which the Monkey should stay inside of the lines. The monkey often thinks that he can get out of any sticky situation with his creative mind, but he should play it by the book this year.

If you were born in the Year of the Rooster:

It will be a year of stops and starts that will challenge the Rooster, who prefers maximum efficiency. The Rooster’s observant nature can help him avoid problems and allow him to finish the year relatively unscathed.

If you were born in the Year of the Dog:

The Dog will achieve a great deal in the Year of the Snake. By keeping his nose to the grindstone and summoning a great deal of patience, the Dog will find success. With all the prosperity that comes to the Dog’s door this year, he should be thankful for his blessings.

If you were born in the Year of the Boar:

By the end of the year, the Boar will find that he has more than he started with. However, these gains are hard won. The Boar must keep his house ordered in the Year of the Snake by minding his budget and minimizing personal risks to support his loved ones, who need more help than he does.


© THE HANDBOOK OF CHINESE HOROSCOPES, seventh edition, by Theodora Lau and Laura Lau, published by Souvenir Press.

Author Corner: Arthur Plotnik with some timely help for Valentine’s Day

Arthur Plotnik is the author of BETTER THAN GREAT, a unique thesaurus of praise and acclaim. Why settle for “great” when you can say “mind-marmalizing” or “pinnacular”? And in this season of romance, will anything short of superlatives be worthy of expressing your love for that special someone in your life? If you’re lost for words, struggling for the right way to tell them that you care, fear not, for help is at hand. Arthur Plotnik has some timely pointers for you this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Season Special: Worthier Words for Your Loved One

“You’re adorable,” “You’re so fabulous and brilliant,” “My sweet,” “You send me.”

Many are the ways to express admiration of our loved ones, but most of the year we can get away with stock phrases over a red table wine. During Valentine’s season, however, the expectations and stakes go up. Fondue by candlelight. Chocolate truffles. Long-stem roses. An extra allowance of this, a bit more of that.

The season also calls for worthier words in praise of the love object—special words to make your soulmate feel more special than your newest shoes or digital toy.

We are talking about words called “superlatives”: terms that indicate high or utmost degree. Superlatives are the currency of praise; so when it comes to your heart’s desire, why parcel out cheapies like “great” or “amazing”? Especially around V-Day, you’ll want to peel off some big denominations in praise of your darling. I’ll be acclaiming my own true love, for example, as “ensorcelling,” “refulgent,” “enrapturing”; “a tintinnabulation of joy.”

But maybe in these tough times you’re feeling as pinched for words as for everything else. Allow me, then–as the author of a book of 6,000 fresh superlatives—to be of some assistance.

“Beautiful,” “Joy-Giving,” and “Sublime” are among the fifteen categories of acclaim in BETTER THAN GREAT: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives, newly and lovingly published by Souvenir Press. Borrowing from terms in these and other categories, I offer a few dozen examples to inspire your own, upgraded love cries. Use them in cards and texts or over champagne or pillows, but with honorable intentions only—at least when Cupid is watching.

For him:
My love, you are:

fatally handsome
my flambeau of joy
balsamaceous (having healing or restorative properties)
beyond dashing
one big loving cup
a Clydesdale (good-looking stud)
gaupísimo [Spanish: extremely hot-looking]
an artisanal masterwork
boombastic (sexy, hot)
a regalement [banquet] for the heart
my yin and my yang
heapin’ hot
a Michelangelian stud-muffin
a heart-impounding heir to Adonis
my anam cara [soul-friend]
George Clooney [Clive Owen? Theo Wolcott? Daniel Craig?] 2.0

For her:
Dearest, you are:

amaranthine (unfadingly beautiful)
an attar [perfume] of allure
rejoicement, a
concupiscible (worthy of amorous desire)
mythopoetically [myth-makingly] beautiful
caressably gracile ( slender, willowy)
fallen from the heavenly clouds
lovely to the outrance (French: ” utmost extremity”)
one fine gabwanaha (good-looking woman)
gaga-makingly gorgeous
gazelline (gazelle-like)
an objet d’art
a cascade of happiness
a conjugation of beauty and grace
Kate Middleton [Kiera Knightley? Kate Winslet? Myleen Class?] 2.0


Arthur Plotnik studied writing under Philip Roth in the Iowa Graduate Writers Workshop where, like one of Roth’s characters, he aspired to be “linguistically large.” In addition to his distinguished career as editorial director for the American Library Association, he is the author of nine books, including two U.S. Book-of-the-Month-Club selections. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins praised Better Than Great “as “Amen-Astonishing!”

Munich 1958 – The Day a Team Died

On February 6th 1958 a passenger plane crashed at Munich Airport following a take-off failure. On board was the Manchester United football team and staff, flying back from a European Cup match in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, as well as a host of journalists and a handful of other passengers.

Of the 44 passengers on board, twenty died at the time of the crash, and another three from their resulting injuries. Eight members of the Manchester United first team – the Busby Babes – and three members of backroom staff died in the crash. One of the most promising teams in English – and European – football was all but wiped out.

Frank Taylor was the only journalist to survive the crash, and in his book THE DAY A TEAM DIED he gives a harrowing eye-witness account of the moment of the crash, its devastating aftermath, and the years after the disaster as Manchester United rebuilt their team, going on to eventually win the European Cup ten years later in 1968.

Now, 55 years after the Munich Air Disaster, THE DAY A TEAM DIED is available exclusively as an ebook. This is a remarkable account of a piece of footballing history that shouldn’t be forgotten. In an interview with the BBC, Manchester United’s manager Sir Alex Ferguson has spoken of his memories of that day in February 1958. Unconnected with the club at the time, he still remembers the sense of tragedy and loss that rocked the footballing community.

So at 15:03 today, pause for a moment to remember the lives lost as a result of the crash in Munich on this day in 1958:

Crew members
Captain Kenneth “Ken” Rayment, DFC. Co-pilot.
Tom Cable, cabin steward

Manchester United players
Geoff Bent
Roger Byrne
Eddie Colman
Duncan Edwards (survived the crash, but died in hospital 15 days later)
Mark Jones
David Pegg
Tommy Taylor
Liam “Billy” Whelan

Manchester United staff
Walter Crickmer, club secretary
Tom Curry, trainer
Bert Whalley, chief coach

Alf Clarke, Manchester Evening Chronicle
Donny Davies, Manchester Guardian
George Follows, Daily Herald
Tom Jackson, Manchester Evening News
Archie Ledbrooke, Daily Mirror
Henry Rose, Daily Express
Frank Swift, News of the World (also former England and Manchester City goalkeeper; died on his way to hospital)
Eric Thompson, Daily Mail

Other passengers
Bela Miklos, travel agent
Willie Satinoff, supporter, racecourse owner and close friend of Matt Busby.


Read about how Emily’s digital diet didn’t start as well as she had expected. Time to re-boot!

The Digital Diet

According to Daniel Sieberg’s book THE DIGITAL DIET, the goal is to

“Slim down the use of everything from gadgets to social networks to video games in the hope of making yourself healthier, happier, and whole in the twenty-first century.”

The aim is moderation, not elimination, but it begins with a two-day detox, to put things into perspective. But here’s the problem: I didn’t switch off.

I thought it would be easy – if I timed the first two days of my digital diet with the weekend, then I wouldn’t be using my smartphone for checking train times, checking Facebook or Twitter on the train or at lunch, I probably wouldn’t even switch on a computer. But instead, this is how my weekend went:


Got up, got the train into London. On train, sent some texts to the friend I was meeting, checked Facebook, checked Twitter

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