In 1972, a couple of young enthusiastic Americans came to Amsterdam, the city where anybody, anything and everything goes, and decided to open a store with American erotic magazines and book remainders bought for 10 cents a pound dry weight. Today the American Book Center has grown into one of the biggest, maybe even the biggest source of American (and British) English-language books and magazines on continental Europe.
For general information about the store and their stock, visit www.abc.nl.
The Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature by Russ Kick
The original Graphic Canon presented classic world literature from ancient to modern times in the form of comics and illustrations, many of them reinstating original details that are still censored today. Now Kick has compiled a new anthology presenting children’s literature reimagined by the world’s best comics artists and illustrators. Many of your favourite fairytales, fables and novels are here, as strange, complex and unsanitised as they were meant to be, making them delightfully unsuitable for children.
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami
On his way home from school, a young boy visits a library. There he meets a strange old man, who leads him to a reading room in the basement and demands that he memorises many books. A beautiful mute girl who talks with her hands and a sheepman who makes excellent doughnuts are his only company. They help him to realise that the man plans to absorb all the information the boy has memorised… by eating his brain. How will he escape? Gloriously illustrated by Chip Kidd, this otherworldly novella is replete with Murakami’s trademark weirdness, magic and wit.
The Skeleton Road by Val McDermid
When a skeleton found in a derelict building in Edinburgh is revealed to be from Croatia, cold case detective Karen Pirie is drawn into an investigation of not just a murder, but also the tragic history of the Balkans: of war crimes, acts of justice and retribution, and secrets darker than she could ever imagine. As the plot moves between Edinburgh, Croatia and Oxford, McDermid draws the seemingly disparate strands of this story together to a shocking conclusion. Full of strong characters and perceptive psychological insights, and dotted with wonderful touches of comic relief, this is darker and better than anything McDermid has written before.
Funny Girl by Nick Hornby
Pick up any of Hornby’s cheerfully jacketed books, and you might peg him as a writer of lightweight comic stories. But when you get to the heart of his stories, to the absolute humanity of them, the huge emotional sucker punch he throws will make you think hard about your own life. And so it is with Funny Girl, which is ostensibly about a simple provincial girl trying to make it in comedy, in an era when the business was dominated by men. Behind the scenes of her TV show, the cast and crew are having the time of their lives. It’s the ‘60s after all. But when the scripts start resembling real life just a little too well and secrets rise to the surface, Sophie and her team must make a difficult choice.
Gray Mountain by John Grisham
Samantha Kofer is a fast-tracked associate attorney when the recession hits the Manhattan law firm she works for and she is let go. On the slim chance that it will help her get her job back, she moves to Appalachia to volunteer at a legal aid clinic. Brady, Virginia, is a tiny mining town, where laws and safety regulations are flouted, and the land and waters around the mines are damaged in the name of profit. In the course of her work, Samantha uncovers terrible secrets and, despite death threats, she is determined to reveal the ugly truths about the connection between small-town politics and Big Coal. Another outstanding thriller from a master, full of his trademark action, suspense and surprises, and a passionate message too.
Let Me Be Frank with You by Richard Ford
The most celebrated everyman in modern American literature returns in these four luminous novellas about modern life. Frank Bascombe visits his former home, now wrecked by Hurricane Sandy, has an unsettling experience with a woman whose family once lived in his current home, visits his ex-wife who has Parkinson’s, and meets a dying former friend. Now 68, Frank is more ruminative, commenting with intelligence, candour and humour on current social and political events, and on issues in his own life: ageing, race, marriage and loss. Ford’s spare eloquent prose has been compared to that of Hemingway, Updike and Faulkner, but Frank’s voice, able to express the things we think but never say, is unique.
The Heineken Story by Barbara Smit
Building on her bestselling biography of Freddy Heineken, Barbara Smit tells the story of a small Amsterdam Brewery that became one of the world’s most recognised companies, holding a portfolio of over 170 beer brands. The story is both remarkable and controversial, with accusations of racism and price fixing, spectacular takeovers, and a kidnapping with a record-breaking ransom. Smit explores the clever marketing campaigns and the business deals, but also goes behind the scenes to show the human stories, the personalities, battles and family drama in an account that’s not just well researched but gripping too.
ISIS: The State of Terror by Jessica Stern & J.M. Berger
Using their access to intelligence sources, law enforcement and research, two respected experts on terrorism explain where ISIS came from, who controls it, and how it intends to succeed in its quest for a new Islamic state. They also give a vital assessment of counterterrorism and make practical suggestions about how governments should respond to the threat now and in the future.
Building Better: Sustainable Architecture for Family Homes by Sofia Borges & Sven Ehmann
In this visual showcase of outstanding environmentally-friendly houses, architects and homeowners talk about their experiences of working together to build family homes that combine sustainability with imaginative design. It includes case studies that demonstrate planning, use of space, renewable building techniques and materials, new technologies to control and improve heating and air conditioning, and provides data and blueprints too. Building Better is a practical, inspirational, comprehensive guide to creating beautiful sustainable homes.
Tom Kelley’s Studio by Tom Kelley Jr & Peter Doggett
Tom Kelley is credited with discovering Marilyn Monroe when, stunned by her beauty, he handed her five dollars and his business card at the scene of a fender bender on Sunset Boulevard. She later visited his studio, and an image he created of her that day became Playboy’s first ever centrefold. This stunning volume dedicated to Kelley’s visionary nudes includes outtakes from that first session and more than 250 other images of models, playmates and film stars from the ‘40s to the ‘70s.
Chop, Sizzle, Wow: The Silver Spoon Comic Cookbook by Tara Stevens
The Silver Spoon is the bestselling Italian cookbook of the last 50 years. Now its authors have created an original and entertaining graphic collection of 50 simple, speedy classic Italian recipes, illustrated, step-by-step, in comic book style. Aimed at young adults, but with appeal to everyone who wants to learn how to cook great food in a fun way, it also contains an irreverent guide to shopping, techniques and ingredients to help you become a superhero in the kitchen.
Cabins by Philip Jodidio
The cabin provides a special challenge for architects. Minimal, compact and in harmony with their surroundings, some of the most innovative modern architecture is showcased by these simple spaces. Cabins with a variety of briefs, uses and locations show inspiring green design solutions in this fresh new book. An insightful text, wonderful photographs and stunning illustrations make it essential for anyone interested in grand designs on a small scale.