This book is a "hoot"! It is not a real demanding read, but an enjoyable romp, nonetheless. Walter Keane was a prolific artist who came to public notice in the late 60's and 70's. Perhaps you remember his sad wide-eyed waifs in your grandmother's or parents' home. More recently, you may have run across his prints in the bargain bins at thrift stores. They were ubiquitous back in the day. They were trashed by "critics" and adored by the public. They also made Walter Keane a very wealthy man. His paintings were snapped up by the likes of Joan Crawford. What Walter failed to mention to anyone at the time was that he was not the artist. That would have been his wife, Margaret, who labored at home while Walter partied with the stars. Much like the Kardashians of today, Walter may have lacked talent, but he knew how to market himself. He garnered fame and fortune on that ability alone. I was thoroughly entertained by this book. It is a great story. But, on another level, it also led me to ponder that age old question..."What IS art?"...and who exactly decides. --WALT
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This is a very cool book for the parents of children under the age of six months. Child development experts agree that newborns may have difficulty changing focus from foreground to background. This mesmerising book could help. What you have here are very bold black and white images created by contemporary artists. Damien Hirst! Keith Haring! It would be a fun baby gift for new parents and a very sweet coffee table book once baby is developmentally ready to move onto other material. An added bonus!! A very nice frameable group of prints in the back..... Sweeeet! --WALT
This lush beautiful volume is an homage to one of America's greatest illustrators, J C Leyendecker. For two decades at the beginning of the twentieth century, Leyendecker was the premier cover artist for the Saturday Evening Post and other popular magazines of the period. He did over 350 covers for the Post alone! That is more than anyone...including Norman Rockwell. He is credited with introducing such Americana as the New Years Baby. His style is very recognizable and his brushwork is quite distinctive. Leaf through this lovely volume, and you will be given a tour of American culture at the turn of the century. On an interesting side note....that handsome young man on the cover is Charles Beach. You will seem him reappear in many of Leyendecker's images. He was the illustrator's muse and long time companion for over 40 years. --Walt
In Soviet Ghosts, photographer Rebecca Litchfield captures the broken buildings and abandoned places of a once vast Soviet Union. Combining her striking photographs with essays about the towns and cities that comprised the Soviet Union, Litchfield gives readers a comprehensive overview of how these places have fallen to decay and the purpose they served when the Soviet Union was at its peak. I'd highly recommend this book to those who have a fascination with history, photography, or both! --Heather H.
Alex Grey's artwork to me is the closest representation of what classic philosophy tries to define as the Sublime, or the highest state of being one can achieve. Net of Being is such a rich compendium of Grey's work and truly represents his voice as an artist. If you like or know the band Tool, chances are you probably already know about this book. If you don't, I highly suggest at least exploring this artist's work if you like metaphysical concepts. Grey has a knack for exploring the beautiful side of human consciousness. --Jordan
For as long as I can remember, I have had a fascination with abandoned things. I've spent countless hours either watching documentaries or scouring the internet for images of places that once thrived. When I saw this book sitting on our shelves, I knew I had to take a look. Andre Govia's photographs pulled me in and captured my attention. From churches to theaters and mental asylums to mansions, Govia has traversed the planet, taking some of the most haunting pictures I have seen to date. Photography experts and novices alike will be able to appreciate Govia's work and the way he has captured the derelict, yet beautiful nature of the things and places he has photographed. --Heather H.
Movie stars just aren't as glamorous as they used to be. The celebrities of yore did everything bigger than their contemporary counterparts. They wore the costliest of couture, made up fantastic pasts, and when they messed up, they did so spectacularly! Anne Helen Peterson, author of the fantastic Classic Hollywood Scandals blog posts on The Hairpin now has a book collecting all of these stories, and I couldn't be happier! Not only does she have a knack for picking great tales, she explains them thoroughly and thoughtfully, showing how different scandals were reflections upon the times in which they occurred. She ties in current events and societal mores of the past and present and has a fresh writing style that keeps it all engaging. I already love old movies, but even if I didn't, my inner rubbernecker would still enjoy this book! Come for the naughty bits, stay for the academic air. --LAUREN
I love fashion, I always have, but when it comes to the glittery, glossy world of High Fashion, I often feel I am on the outside looking in. As much as I would love to, I can't afford Hermes poker cards ($100!), let alone a Birkin bag. And I'll never understand anything avante garde (Bjork, anyone?). But I love clothes and accessories, I love the history and the meaning different items can hold.Worn, a Canadian alternative fashion magazine, is for people like me, and with The Worn Archive, I feel like I've died and gone to heaven! It has beautiful photo spreads (using items from the editors' own closets), profiles of unconventional icons, articles about the historical significance of corsets, and so much more. I couldn't get enough and I'm getting myself a subscription to the bi-annual periodical! Buy this as a treat for yourself or any fashionista who marches to the beat of her (or his) own drum! --LAUREN
If only I had found this book before I went to design school, I could have saved thousands in student debt. Chip Kidd's Go: A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design is a beautifully executed book aimed toward encouraging young would-be designers. However, it is so stunningly and smartly done that a full-grown design nerd, such as myself, can really admire it for the work of art that it is. Kidd explains the various elements of design and uses examples from his portfolio as well as from other great designers. I love that he does not hesitate to have fun with the explanations, nor does he shy away from making jokes at his own expense. Kidd is a remarkable designer and writer and this book illustrates (pun intended) that beautifully. --Chris
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Kirstie Clements' memoir reads like a particularly gossip-y issue of Vogue, full of glossy, expensive people and dishy anecdotes. I've been a devoted reader of the famous magazine since I was a little girl (I pronounced it "Vahg" because it sounded more sophisticated,) and although much is known about the American version and Anna Wintour's exploits, the Australian counterpoint is less famous. Clements tells it all, from her rise up the ladder, to designer snafus and model hissy fits. I could not put this down! --Lauren
I love, love, love this book! I've been reading Jezebel.com daily since its inception and the book (which has fantastic pictures and illustrations) is even better than the website: smart, funny and no arguments between readers in the comment section! This is the kind of coffee table book I actually display on the coffee table and give as gifts. Christmas is just around the corner and this the perfect gift for all your favorite women–and enlightened men! --Lauren
Even a novice knitter like myself can't help but be awestruck by the beautiful designs in this book. Ranging from everyday wear like the insect laced "Metamorphosis" sweater to the die-hard-fan Galadriel hooded dress, Lohr's patterns pay homage to the literary works that inspired them. I can't wait to make the Scout To Kill a Mockingbird cardigan for my daughter! - Danielle
Sit ... Walk ... Write ... with mindful awareness ... learning how to be silent, how to pay attention to your surroundings and record your observations, and how to come back to talking (and pausing from talking) with consciousness so as not to overwhelm self or others. Natalie Goldberg has taught seminars and conducted retreats for 35 years, and The True Secret of Writing takes the reader into the mind of this writer, this teacher, this compassionate and understanding human being. And into his/her own mind! Natalie Goldberg has incorporated writing practice into silent meditation retreats. She helps students transform obsessions, which diminish life, into passions, which enlarge life. So much to practice! So much to learn! So much to experience! Sit. Walk. Write. - Pinna
Brilliant cultural critic Geoff Dyer explores the world of film and his own life through Andrei Tarkovsky's phenomenal film Stalker in this one of a kind book. I highly recommend watching the film and reading the book - it was one of the most extremely enjoyable intellectual exercises I've had lately. If you don't see the film, the book still holds its own - reading Dyer is always interesting, challenging and educational! - Sarah B.
This impressive book is a must-have for the hip-hop fan in your life. Bradley continues exploring the idea of rap as poetry in this extensive anthology, which has introductions by Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Billy Collins, and afterwords by Chuck D. and Common! A landmark work! - Sarah B.
T-Shirts have become a lifestyle. This book celebrates the uniquess of the designs created by the small start-up company: Threadless. Threadless is an essential read/gift for any creative. Not only is this book filled with graphic images from the Threadless portfolio, but it also tells the story of a company founded by two people who stumbled into success and created a community of designers and consumers bonded by good design. - Cindy
It's a book—It's a journal—It's a great gift idea! This unique journal has themed pages that encourage you to write, draw, scribble etc. No need to have a love of reading or writing to enjoy this book. This is one of my favorite gifts for that hard to shop for person. - Michele
WARNING: This book contains Comic Sans. If you are the kind of person who appreciates that warning, I promise you will love this book. It's part history, part love letter to type, and entirely fun. Just My Type explores some of the most common typefaces right along side the history of some of the biggest controversies in typographic design. Simon Garfield is not unbiased, but he does a fantastic job of explaining why some of our most beloved (and hated) typefaces endure, and he encourages anyone, enthusiast or amateur, to explore why the shape of words means so much. This book was obviously written by someone who loves words and after reading this book, you will too. - Heather
For starters, I love the way the pages of The Conference of the Birds feel. And I love the page following the beginning of "Part III - In which the birds fill all the corners of the world." And the birds fill all the corners of the blue page - they are searching for the true king, Simorgh. I love the Tibetan symbols blended into Peter Sís's drawings - they speak of his father's journeys. I love the Hoopoe Bird's comments - "Everyone has ups and downs, little bird. Fly ... clean your heart." This book is an artistic masterpiece. Peter Sis loves to draw pictures of flying - freedom and birds. He took a story by Farid Ud-Din Attar and adapted and illustrated it. Thank you for your most beautiful creation, Mr. Sís. - Pinna
Re-imaginings of fairy tales pop up quite frequently, but The Fairy-Tale Princess is no half-hearted retelling. Artist Su Blackwell gives seven classic tales (Cinderella, The Frog Prince, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, The Princess and the Pea, Snow White, Rapunzel andSleeping Beauty) an added layer of enchantment with her gorgeous paper sculptures. Meticulously designed and crafted, Blackwell's work will capture children and adults alike and quickly become a treasured bedtime read. - Danielle
Every child of the '80’s should read this book. I thought I knew all there was to know about the Brat Pack and John Hughes. I was wrong! I learned things about the individuals and the dynamics I didn’t know about, and remembered things I did. I had to laugh out loud at the behind the scenes antics. This also explained the depth of emotion at the Oscars from the "kids" who worked with John. And the memories it all brought back almost made me wish for shoulder pads and leg warmers again... almost! - Stephanie