Editor's note: Each month we see lots of books. Some of the curiouser arrivals are featured in this space.
J. Shimon and J. Lindemann grew up in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, home of Aluminum Specialty, the company that manufactured that stalwart of hipster holidays, the aluminum Christmas tree. Shimon and Lindemann, both professional photographers, celebrate the tinsel icons of their youth in Season's Gleamings: The Art of the Aluminum Christmas Tree. "Although they can be viewed solely as aesthetically stunning objects," the duo write of their subjects, "their existence will always be informed by each viewer's holiday baggage."
Right. Aluminum trees played a large role in the holidays of my quintessentially 1970s childhood. Sticking all of those branches covered in potentially blinding strips of metal into the tree's wooden base was a time-consuming chore, only slightly less annoying than maneuvering them back into their sheaths at the end of the season. And who can forget the ordeal of having to rethread limbs that became detached from their silver fringe?
Still, the trees are retro-cool in a future-past, Jetsons kind of way, which is why Shimon and Lindemann quietly prowled yard sales and sneaked into attics and basements, eventually collecting 40 trees. Season's Gleamings isn't a decorating guide or history of the trees (though it does include a little background); it's merely an homage to a space-age ideal.