New Release Books by Brian Jay Jones

Brian Jay Jones is the author of Becoming Dr. Seuss (2020), George Lucas (2016), Jim Henson (2013) and Washington Irving (2011).

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Becoming Dr. Seuss

release date: May 26, 2020
Becoming Dr. Seuss
The definitive, fascinating, all-reaching biography of Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss is a classic American icon. Whimsical and wonderful, his work has defined our childhoods and the childhoods of our own children. The silly, simple rhymes are a bottomless well of magic, his illustrations timeless favorites because, quite simply, he makes us laugh. The Grinch, the Cat in the Hat, Horton, and so many more, are his troupe of beloved, and uniquely Seussian, creations. Theodor Geisel, however, had a second, more radical side. It is there that the allure and fasciation of his Dr. Seuss alter ego begins. He had a successful career as an advertising man and then as a political cartoonist, his personal convictions appearing, not always subtly, throughout his books—remember the environmentalist of The Lorax? Geisel was a complicated man on an important mission. He introduced generations to the wonders of reading while teaching young people about empathy and how to treat others well. Agonizing over word choices and rhymes, touching up drawings sometimes for years, he upheld a rigorous standard of perfection for his work. Geisel took his responsibility as a writer for children seriously, talking down to no reader, no matter how small. And with classics like Green Eggs and Ham, and One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Geisel delighted them while they learned. Suddenly, reading became fun. Coming right off the heels of George Lucas and bestselling Jim Henson, Brian Jay Jones is quickly developing a reputation as a master biographer of the creative geniuses of our time.

George Lucas

release date: Dec 06, 2016
George Lucas
The essential biography of the influential and beloved filmmaker George Lucas. On May 25, 1977, a problem-plagued, budget-straining independent science-fiction film opened in a mere thirty-two American movie theaters. Conceived, written, and directed by a little-known filmmaker named George Lucas, the movie originally called The Star Wars quickly drew blocks-long lines, bursting box-office records and ushering in a new way for movies to be made, marketed, and merchandised. It is now one of the most adored-and successful-movie franchises of all time. Now, the author of the bestselling biography Jim Henson delivers a long-awaited, revelatory look into the life and times of the man who created Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Indiana Jones. If Star Wars wasn't game-changing enough, Lucas went on to create another blockbuster series with Indiana Jones, and he completely transformed the world of special effects and the way movies sound. His innovation and ambition forged Pixar and Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic, and THX sound. Lucas's colleagues and competitors offer tantalizing glimpses into his life. His entire career has been stimulated by innovators including Steven Spielberg and Francis Ford Coppola, actors such as Harrison Ford, and the very technologies that enabled the creation of his films-and allowed him to keep tinkering with them long after their original releases. Like his unforgettable characters and stories, his influence is unmatched.

Jim Henson

release date: Sep 26, 2013
Jim Henson
For the first time ever—a comprehensive biography of one of the twentieth-century’s most innovative creative artists: the incomparable, irreplaceable Jim Henson. He was a gentle dreamer whose genial bearded visage was recognized around the world, but most people got to know him only through the iconic characters he created: Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie, Miss Piggy, Big Bird. The Muppets made Jim Henson a household name, but they were only part of his remarkable story. This extraordinary biography--written with the generous cooperation of the Henson family--covers the full arc of Henson’s all-too-brief life: from his childhood in Leland, Mississippi, through the years of burgeoning fame in Washington D.C., New York, and London, to the decade of international celebrity that preceded his untimely death at age fifty-three. Drawing on hundreds of hours of new interviews with Jim Henson's family, friends, and closest collaborators, as well as unprecedented access to private family and company archives--including never-before-seen interviews, business documents, and Henson’s private letters--Brian Jay Jones explores the creation of the Muppets, Henson’s contributions to Sesame Street and Saturday Night Live, and his nearly ten year campaign to bring The Muppet Show to television. Jones provides the imaginative context for Henson’s non-Muppet projects, including the richly imagined worlds of The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth—as well as fascinating misfires like Henson’s dream of opening an inflatable psychedelic nightclub or of staging an elaborate, all-puppet Broadway show. An uncommonly intimate portrait, Jim Henson captures all the facets of this American original: the master craftsman who revolutionized the presentation of puppets on television, the savvy businessman whose deal making prowess won him a reputation as “the new Walt Disney,” and the creative team leader whose collaborative ethos earned him the undying loyalty of everyone who worked for him. Here also is insight into Henson’s intensely private personal life: his Christian Science upbringing; his love of fast cars, high-stakes gambling, and expensive art; and his weakness for women. Though an optimist by nature, Henson was haunted by the notion that he would not have time to do all the things he wanted to do in life—a fear that his heartbreaking final hours would prove all too well-founded. An up-close look at the charmed life of a legend, Jim Henson gives the full measure to a man whose joyful genius transcended age, language, geography, and culture—and continues to beguile audiences worldwide.

Washington Irving

release date: Nov 15, 2011
Washington Irving
A portrait of the 19th-century diplomat and writer best known for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle evaluates his wild popularity, friendships with such contemporaries as Charles Dickens and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and determined efforts to cultivate his own public persona. Reissue.
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