It probably looked strange to the other folks lined up to meet David Sedaris that I was holding a glossy photo of Billie Holiday. I was happy about it because David Sedaris singing in the style of Billie Holiday is the funniest thing in the world. But that world got cloudy and sad when someone who looked important and official approached me to say, “Oh, he won’t sign that, it’s not his work.” I folded the picture in half and put it in the back of the paperback I brought for him to sign. I was waiting in line to meet him for the first time, even though I’ve been reading Sedaris’ books since I saw Naked on my mom’s bookshelf and she told me I was too young to read it. He’s also been on This American Life more than any other contributor I can think of. His newest book is called Lets Explore Diabetes with Owls and it’s… well… a hoot.
I love bookstores. Nothing compares to wandering the aisles, scanning the shelves, or flipping through art tomes on a meandering afternoon. Yes, many of us lead busy lives and favor the lure of the online book purchase arguing that there’s just as much discovery the further you fall down the “Other Recommended Titles” rabbit hole. But I beg to differ. Holding a book in your hand, feeling a page slide under your fingertips, or even engaging with your local bookseller for recommendations trumps the online experience every time because it’s human. I have hope for the local bookstore industry, though, and even more hope for the future after discovering the wonders of Japan’s Izu Book Cafe.
I discovered the work of illustrator Alexander Wells in the most recent issue of Port Magazine. His illustration work really caught my eye and so I checked out his website to see more of his stuff. It was there that I discovered this incredible series of illustrations he recently produced for The Folio Society’s edition of Isaac Asimov’s highly acclaimed Foundation Trilogy. Released late last year, the books look terrific and Wells’ illustrations really make it come to life!
What do useful everyday objects look like from infancy? How many components link together a camera or chainsaw? These are questions artist and photographer Todd McClellan completely obliterates in his new book Things Come Apart. Taking the closest possible look at the inner workings of enduring design objects, McClellan dissects everything from iPads and telephones to alarm clocks and chainsaws. He then meticulously lays out each item, piece by piece, to give you a different perspective of its usually finished form. Interestingly, the arranged pieces are often more interesting than what they comprise.
Fashionable pink cats, mini helicopters shooting out of a giant golden retriever’s eyeballs, and a trio of famous chefs straddling motorcycles that run on pork broth—this is the wonderfully wacky world of illustrator/comic book artist/podcast extraordinaire Lisa Hanawalt. Though we’re already big fans of her work (remember that hilarious Visions of Thanksgiving drawing?), her new book, My Dirty Dumb Eyes, is particularly exciting, and not just because it’s endorsed by a bevy of comedian types like Patton Oswalt; she’s doing an expansive U.S. book tour, too.
The International Contemporary Furniture Fair, aka ICFF, opens in New York City this weekend (May 18 – 21), and to celebrate, venerable modern furniture company Vitsoe is opening a reading room in their downtown Bond Street store. Launched to celebrate the Vitsoe 620 Chair Programme, a chair originally designed by Dieter Rams in 1962, the company is pairing with culture and photography booksellers (and Vitsoe neighbor) Dashwood Books, to offer the 620 Reading Room, a comfortable and well-heeled respite from your usual weekend stroll. Having visited the Vitsoe showroom myself—primarily to take in their covetable shelving sytems, which remain beautiful yet functional additions to any modern home—I can attest that this pop-up Reading Room will be worth checking out.
Not only does Dashwood carry an astonishing array of unusual and well-curated art tomes, Vitsoe will offer complimentary Intelligentsia pour-overs from Gasoline Alley Coffee. If you happen to be in New York this Friday, May 17 until next Monday, May 20, this will be a rare opportunity to curl up in a legendary piece of contemporary design while sipping free coffee and taking in the fantastic downtown, cobblestone street view. More information and opening hours can be found here.
You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack is the title of a new book by the British cartoonist Tom Gauld. Over the last eight years Gauld has been creating a weekly cartoon for The Guardian and this beautiful hardback book is a compendium of many of his best works. Released through the Canadian publishers Drawn and Quarterly, the book features plenty of cartoons which havn’t been seen outside of the UK before.
Some of you may remember that last March I wrote about the new children’s book publisher Flying Eye Books. Launched in February of this year, the publisher’s first release was the fantastic Welcome to your Awesome Robot by Viviane Schwarz. Three months on and they’ve put out three new titles, each one fantastically different and offering a great choice of reads for kids of any age. I was lucky enough to get my hands on these books and so I thought I’d share with you a little glimpse of what the guys at Flying Eye have been up to!
If you’ve breezed through the children’s book section at your local bookstore lately, you’ll undoubtedly notice an uptick in the amount of picture books. There are so many to choose from and covering every possible genre for the discerning child. I’m not ashamed to say I’m an adult-child who browses this section on a regular basis and am always on the lookout for eye-catching illustrations and a fun story. One book I’m particularly excited about is Monsters Under Bridges, which hits shelves this week.
Canadian illustrator, cartoonist and designer John Martz has just released a new book called Destination X and it’s well worth checking out! Inspired by old pulp sci-fi novels, ghost stories and episodes of The Twilight Zone, Martz’s book is a fantastic sci-fi parable about obsession and single-mindedness.
The comic book tells the story of Sam, the grandson of a world-renowned space adventurer. Impressed by his grandfather’s tales of mysterious planets and alien romance, Sam decides to model his life on his grandfathers, stopping at nothing to fulfill what he believes to be his natural destiny — even if his grandfather’s stories aren’t true.