We'd been eyeing the huge book, New Art City, which is about American artists hitting their stride in the mid-20th century New York City. However, we were concerned that at 665 pages, we would throw out our back carrying it back home from the store (or cause UPS to slip a disc) and then it would break out coffee table. John Updike reviewed it this weekend in the NY Times Book Review, and he assuaged our fears: "This is not a coffee-table art book; its illustrations, though numerous, are small, and black-and-white. A dense text rules the textbook-sized pages - 557 of them, not counting notes, acknowledgments and index." The book looks at the famous - Jackson Pollock, David Smith, Willem de Kooning, Joseph Cornell, Andy Warhol, and Donald Judd - and the lesser known - Hans Hofmann, Joan Mitchell, Fairfield Porter, and John Graham. Author Jed Perl will be speaking at a few events here, so it should be interesting if you're at all interested in modern American art.

Buy New Art City on Amazon. And a review in the a Christian Science Monitor review contends that it's "there most thorough account of the 'triumph of American painting' that we have."