#Book Reviews – Amazing Gardens of the World / Amazing Theatres of the World; V. Hambly / D. Connolly

Book review stop! Today I’m delighted to be the host for Amazing Gardens of the World and Amazing Theatres of the World, two photography books written by V. Hambly and D. Connolly.

First thing first, let me thank the publisher, Amber Books LTD, for providing me with an e-copy of this book. Much obliged *hat tip* 

MEET THE BOOKS

From the great temperate landscapes of North America to the deserts of North Africa and the subtropical ecosystems of Asia, Amazing Gardens of the World provides a brilliantly-informed snapshot of many of the greatest and best-known formal gardens from around the globe. In this book, wander the 200 hectares (500 acres) of England’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, reputed to have one of the largest and most diverse range of plants in the world; explore New York City’s High Line, where a disused railway track through the city’s Meatpacking District has been turned into a 2.3 kilometre (1.44 mile) elevated park; marvel at Beijing’s Summer Palace, a world heritage site dating from the 12th century, with a layout based on Chinese mythology and arranged according to the ancient principles of feng shui; see the palace complex of the Taj Mahal in Agra, designed in the Mughal style and with gardens planted with roses, narcissi, marigolds and jasmine, offering an intimation of paradise; wonder at the biophilic workspace of the Seattle Spheres, a futuristic office space populated by more than 40,000 plants; and experience the waterlilies and Japanese bridge of Claude Monet’s famous paintings at the great artist’s gardens at Giverny. Illustrated with more than 200 luxuriant images, Amazing Gardens of the World not only champions the splendour of the world’s most magnificent gardens, but also reveals many fascinating stories about the history of these places and the people who created them.

224 pages
Photography
Amber Books
Publication date: 24/05/22
Purchase links

Amazon.com

While often some of the most beautiful, opulent buildings in a town or city, a theatre is so much more than a space for the performance of a play. It is a cultural hub, a meeting place for people from all walks of life and, through the stories told there, brings people together in numerous ways. Indeed, theatres have been doing so for over two millennia. The theatre comes in many forms. From the more rigid and repeated (but no less attractive) designs of Greek and Roman theatres, the buildings that now house our shared cultural output boast some of the finest, most creative structures in the world. Huge and cathedral-like or modest, concrete and futuristic or neo-Renaissance, we are lucky that the physical constructions themselves recapture the ambition of the arts performed within. With chapters organised by continent and featuring theatres and opera houses – and any space for the performing arts – from the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australasia, Amazing Theatres of the World includes modern masterpieces and ancient remains, art deco delights and Baroque classics, taking in centuries of theatre building. Both the exterior and the interior of buildings are examined, as well as behind-the-scenes shots of dressing rooms and the mechanics of putting on a show. In so doing, we catch a glimpse of how the performing arts and their home has evolved over time. Illustrated with more than 190 photographs, Amazing Theatres of the World includes more than 150 of the most stunning theatres and opera houses.

Photography
Amber Books
Publication date: 14/04/22
Purchase links

Amazon.com

READ MY REVIEWS

Cover: I’m so in love with the Gardens cover. Theatres is magnificent too, but it impresses me less in comparison.

Cleaning up the backlog means it’s two-in-one today, on which ‘two’ stands for ‘a couple of impressive photography books’.

The topics couldn’t be any more different: one is about gardens and the other features theatres; nature and architecture are maybe on the opposite side of the spectrum, but I think they can complement each other in a beautiful way.

As it always happens with Amber Books, the quality of each picture is breathtaking. I’d give a fair amount of money to be a fly on the wall when someone from Amber gets to decide which photos they should use and someone else gets to approve the entire thing. Wow.

The structure is pure Amber, too. One continent, one section, that makes for easier browsing. I also appreciate the subtle approach concerning captions.

Complaints, I have two, one for each book. 

Gardens, while I get the reasoning behind protecting PDFs, not letting me download it on the NetGalley app made for a truncated experience. Kindle is not the best when it comes to photography books, as it messes up with the formatting: word to the wise, keep the NetGalley app option open. I spoke with the publisher and they informed me about an issue with the NetGalley app. *goes to complain at the help desk*

Theatres, I had no issues with the app—yay!—but I had a beef with the actual pictures, with the way they were chosen. Interiors are essential, of course, but what about the exteriors? I would have loved to see more of the actual buildings.

5 stars on GR.

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