cover image Everything, Beautiful: A Guide to Finding Hidden Beauty in the World

Everything, Beautiful: A Guide to Finding Hidden Beauty in the World

Ella Frances Sanders. Penguin Life, $20 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-14-313706-1

“It is crucially important that we... find new definitions of beauty that allow us to be fully ourselves, powerfully noticing, and expansively human,” contends Orion columnist and illustrator Sanders (Eating the Sun) in this sweet outing. The author advocates finding the sublime in the ordinary and underscores her insights with her own impressionistic illustrations, which include depictions of a family friend’s rabbit, a moldy lemon, and a recycling bin. She decries the commercialization of beauty alongside portraits of Edward Bernays, founder of public relations, and marketing expert Ernest Dichter, whose insights into consumer habits she blames for kick-starting the process. “Beauty can be made up of, can come from, anything,” she suggests, encouraging readers to ask themselves what qualities cause them to think something’s beautiful. She entreats readers to find “small pins of light” even in tragedy, and describes, as well as illustrates, a moment from a video in which two children in Gaza show off a fish they saved in a jar while missiles fire in the background. The full-color illustrations are charmingly stylized, prioritizing mood over realism and successfully evoking the wonder in the banal. The result offers a whimsical and winsome reconsideration of the mundane. (Aug.)