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The Library

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Staff Picks - November 2020

Metz

The Brief History of the Dead

I really love this book. It has given me a great deal of inspiration and was such a source of respite and solace when I was struggling. It's fiction, but it's also a treatise on how even the briefest of social interactions can leave a lasting impact on one another.

In this book you only stay in "heaven" until the last person on earth who remembers you dies. A pandemic sweeps the globe and within a few weeks the entire world's population is dead EXCEPT one woman, who was on a remote arctic expedition and is now stranded, traversing the ice shelves not aware of the state of the world.

The remaining couple of thousand people in "heaven" all figure out that they're tied to her in some way from an otherwise unrelated and never again encountered woman that as a child the main character saw throw a hissy fit in public. It is a must read and a particularly apropos book related to what we're going through in the world via the COVID-19 pandemic.

Matteo

Brave New World

It has been years since I've re-read Brave New World. This is one of those books you keep in your personal library and pull out to revist from time to time. I thought that this would be the perfect companion piece to Metz' pick. Heartbreaking how eerily our modern, consumerist culture continues to fulfill Huxely's prescient vision.

From the back cover: Aldous Huxley's tour de force, Brave New World is a darkly satiric vision of a "utopian" future—where humans are genetically bred and pharmaceutically anesthetized to passively serve a ruling order. A powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations, it remains remarkably relevant to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying entertainment.



Art

Cindy Sherman (Essential Series)

This text explores the art of Cindy Sherman, which unravels notions of feminity, the body and sexuality. She photographs herself in such roles as Hollywood heroine, fashion model and art historical subject. Other work explores subjects such as fake body parts and horror scenes.

Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills

Cindy Sherman's Untitled Film Stills, a series of 69 black-and-white photographs created between 1977 and 1980, is widely seen as one of the most original and influential achievements in recent art. Witty, provocative and searching, this lively catalogue of female roles inspired by the movies crystallizes widespread concerns in our culture, examining the ways we shape our personal identities and the role of the mass media in our lives. Sherman began making these pictures in 1977 when she was 23 years old. The first six were an experiment: fan-magazine glimpses into the life (or roles) of an imaginary blond actress, played by Sherman herself.

Hiroshi Sugimoto: Seascapes

This edition of Hiroshi Sugimoto's (born 1948) popular photography series is expanded and updated from the out-of-print first edition, including five previously unpublished photographs. For more than 30 years, Sugimoto has traveled the world photographing its seas, producing an extended meditation on the passage of time and the natural history of the earth reduced to its most basic, primordial substances: water and air. Always capturing the sea at a moment of absolute tranquility, Sugimoto has composed all the photographs identically, with the horizon line precisely bifurcating each image.

Photography Changes Everything

Photography Changes Everything offers a provocative rethinking of photography's impact on our culture and our daily lives. Compiling hundreds of images and responses from leading authorities on photography, it offers a brilliant, reader-friendly exploration of the many ways in which photographs package information and values, demand and hold attention, and shape our knowledge of and experience in the world. The volume draws on the extraordinary visual assets of the Smithsonian Institution's museums, science centers and archives to launch an unprecedented interdisciplinary dialogue on photography's capacity to shape and change our experience of the world.

The Photography Book

Arranged in alphabetical order by photographer, The Photography Book brings together 500 inspiring, moving and beautiful images of famous events and people, sensational landscapes, historic moments, sport, wildlife and fashion. Each photograph is discussed in detail, bringing it to life and giving us an understanding of this art form which is so influential in our everyday lives. A simple system of cross-referencing enables easy access to photographers working with a similar approach or using different means to capture the same subject. Glossaries of technical terms are also included, together with an international directory of museums and galleries where photography is regularly on display.

Creating

How to Draw Like a Fashion Designer

Co-authored by Metz and Matteo's amazingly talented friend Dennis Nothdruft. A step-by-step guide for people who enjoy clothes and want to learn the tools to help them express their fashion ideas on paper.

Based on successful fashion-drawing workshops held at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, here are practical drawing exercises that really work. Bold design, color-coded sections, and drawings that will translate to a sheet of paper make this a helpful and inspiring resource.

How to Draw Vintage Fashion

Co-authored by Metz and Matteo's amazingly talented friend Dennis Nothdruft. A step-by-step fashion drawing book for beginners that focuses on finding inspiration in vintage styles.

Based on successful fashion-drawing workshops held at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, How To Draw Vintage Fashion encourages people to draw inspiration from fashion looks of the past to create their own unique designs. From the 1920s flappers to 80s punk to Hollywood glamour, the book introduces the basics vintage designs and the techniques for drawing them.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it—fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.

Renaissance Secrets: Recipes and Formulas

From recipes for aphrodisiacs to formulas for everything from lip balm to stain removers to paint pigments, this book unveils the secret world of Renaissance lotions and potions. Clothbound with marbled endpapers and superbly illustrated with relevant objects from the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Renaissance Secrets reveals a myriad of concoctions once used to create medicines, cosmetics, printing materials, even amulets meant to ward off the plague.

The Art of Bromoil and Transfer

This 125 page hardcover book is the most complete definitive technical manual of the bromoil and transfer process to be published in more than 30 years. Every stage of the process is covered, including techniques taught to David by the old masters. The book contains 28 plates, including 9 historical reproductions from his collection of old master's work as well as 6 technical illustrations.

You Are Here: An Owner's Manual for Dangerous Minds

When Jenny Lawson is anxious, one of the things she does is to draw. Elaborate doodles, beautiful illustrations, often with captions that she posts online. At her signings, fans show up with printouts of these drawings for Jenny to autograph. And inevitably they ask her when will she publish a whole book of them. That moment has arrived.

You Are Here is something only Jenny could create. A combination of inspiration, therapy, coloring, humor, and advice, this book is filled with Jenny’s amazingly intricate illustrations, all on perforated pages that can be easily torn out, hung up, and shared. Drawing on the tenets of art therapy―which you can do while hiding in the pillow fort under your bed―You Are Here is ready to be made entirely your own.

Finding Direction

Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World

A stunning and timely creative call-to-arms combining four extraordinary written pieces by Neil Gaiman illustrated with the striking four-color artwork of Chris Riddell.

“The world always seems brighter when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before.”—Neil Gaiman

Drawn from Gaiman’s trove of published speeches, poems, and creative manifestos, Art Matters is an embodiment of this remarkable multi-media artist’s vision—an exploration of how reading, imagining, and creating can transform the world and our lives.

Changing for Good

This groundbreaking book offers simple self-assessments, informative case histories, and concrete examples to help clarify each stage and process. Whether your goal is to start saving money, to stop drinking, or to end other self-defeating or addictive behaviors, this revolutionary program will help you implement positive personal change . . . for life.

Make Good Art

In May 2012, bestselling author Neil Gaiman delivered the commencement address at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts, in which he shared his thoughts about creativity, bravery, and strength. He encouraged the fledgling painters, musicians, writers, and dreamers to break rules and think outside the box. Most of all, he encouraged them to make good art.

The book Make Good Art, designed by renowned graphic artist Chip Kidd, contains the full text of Gaiman’s inspiring speech.

Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy

A page-turning novel that is also an exploration of the great philosophical concepts of Western thought, Sophie's World has fired the imagination of readers all over the world, with more than twenty million copies in print.

One day fourteen-year-old Sophie Amundsen comes home from school to find in her mailbox two notes, with one question on each: "Who are you?" and "Where does the world come from?" From that irresistible beginning, Sophie becomes obsessed with questions that take her far beyond what she knows of her Norwegian village.

The Four Agreements

Bestselling author don Miguel Ruiz reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, The Four Agreements offer a powerful code of conduct that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness, and love.

The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable About Following Your Dream

A special 25th anniversary edition of the extraordinary international bestseller, including a new Foreword by Paulo Coelho.

Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.

The Prophet: With Original 1923 Illustrations by the Author

Kahlil Gibran published "The Prophet" in 1923 and saw immediate success, but its real popularity came after his death. It remains popular today, providing insight and spiritual significance to ordinary human experiences. Gibran poetically addresses topics such as "Love" and "Marriage" as well as more mundane ones like "Work" and "Talking." Gibran's "spiritual fiction" does not shy away from deeper aspects of human life, either. Almustafa, the prophet, speaks also about "Good and Evil", "Joy and Sorrow", and even "Death." This compact soft cover edition contains the original illustrations, made by Gibran himself.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, The War of Art is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul.

Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece?

Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.

Illumination & Perception

Another Way of Telling

"There are no photographs which can be denied. All photographs have the status of fact. What is to be examined is in what way photography can and cannot give meaning to facts.” With these words, two of our most thoughtful and eloquent interrogators of the visual offer a singular meditation on the ambiguities of what is seemingly our straightforward art form. As constructed by John Berger and the renowned Swiss photographer Jean Mohr, that theory includes images as well as words; not only analysis, but anecdote and memoir.

A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Nonfiction

Terry Pratchett has earned a place in the hearts of readers the world over with his bestselling Discworld series -- but in recent years he has become equally well-known and respected as an outspoken campaigner for causes including Alzheimer's research and animal rights. A Slip of the Keyboard brings together for the first time the finest examples of Pratchett's non fiction writing, both serious and surreal: from musings on mushrooms to what it means to be a writer (and why banana daiquiris are so important); from memories of Granny Pratchett to speculation about Gandalf's love life, and passionate defences of the causes dear to him.

Illuminations: Essays and Reflections

Walter Benjamin was an icon of criticism, renowned for his insight on art, literature, and philosophy. This volume includes his views on Kafka, with whom he felt a close personal affinity; his studies on Baudelaire and Proust; and his essays on Leskov and on Brecht’s epic theater. Illuminations also includes his penetrating study “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” an enlightening discussion of translation as a literary mode, and his theses on the philosophy of history.

On Photography

One of the most highly regarded books of its kind, On Photography first appeared in 1977 and is described by its author as "a progress of essays about the meaning and career of photographs." It begins with the famous "In Plato's Cave" essay, then offers five other prose meditations on this topic, and concludes with a fascinating and far-reaching "Brief Anthology of Quotations."

Perception and Imaging: Photography as a Way of Seeing

When you look at an image, what do you see, think, and feel? How do you want your audience to react when they view your work? For over 30 years the late Richard Zakia helped photographers enrich their creative vision through his classic book, Perception and Imaging. Now he is joined by co-author John Suler who extensively studied and worked with images throughout his career as a clinical psychologist. Together they present their insights into the principles of perception, memory, color, time, space, shapes, illusion, subliminals, rhetoric, personality style, and photo critique.

Ways off Seeing: Based on the BBC Television Series

John Berger's Ways of Seeing is one of the most stimulating and the most influential books on art in any language. First published in 1972, it was based on the BBC television series about which the Sunday Times critic commented: "This is an eye-opener in more ways than one: by concentrating on how we look at paintings . . . he will almost certainly change the way you look at pictures." By now he has.

Memoir

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things

In Furiously Happy, a humor memoir tinged with just enough tragedy and pathos to make it worthwhile, Jenny Lawson examines her own experience with severe depression and a host of other conditions, and explains how it has led her to live life to the fullest:

"I've often thought that people with severe depression have developed such a well for experiencing extreme emotion that they might be able to experience extreme joy in a way that ‘normal people' also might never understand. And that's what Furiously Happy is all about."

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

When Jenny Lawson was little, all she ever wanted was to fit in. That dream was cut short by her fantastically unbalanced father and a morbidly eccentric childhood. It did, however, open up an opportunity for Lawson to find the humor in the strange shame-spiral that is her life, and we are all the better for it.

In the irreverent Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, Lawson’s long-suffering husband and sweet daughter help her uncover the surprising discovery that the most terribly human moments—the ones we want to pretend never happened—are the very same moments that make us the people we are today. For every intellectual misfit who thought they were the only ones to think the things that Lawson dares to say out loud, this is a poignant and hysterical look at the dark, disturbing, yet wonderful moments of our lives.

Zandra Rhodes: 50 Fabulous Years in Fashion

Authored by Metz and Matteo's amazingly talented friend Dennis Nothdruft. Celebrating decades of achievement by one of the foremost names in British fashion, whose vitality and influence continue to shine.

Zandra Rhodes provides a luscious documentary of this leading British designer, spanning her 50-year career in fashion and textile design. The book showcases not only Rhodes’s work but also her vivid personality and creative energy. Both a fashion trailblazer and a consummate textile designer, she has influenced the work of contemporary labels such as Mary Katrantzou and Alice Temperley. The book honors the centrality of textile design in Rhodes’s work, while exploring the versatility of her imagination throughout her long career.