Claire Takacs. Hardie Grant, ISBN 978-1-74379-352-7
This is a stunning collection of photos of more than 60 of the world’s most beautiful gardens. Among the gardens pictured are Dyffryn Fernant in Wales, Australia’s Cloudehill, the beautiful Edwardian idyll of Bryan’s Ground in Herefordshire, and Kenrokuen, one of Japan’s most beautiful public gardens.
Flowers for Lisa: A Delirium of Photographic Invention
Abelardo Morrell, with Lawrence Weschler. Abrams,
Morrell, whose photographs are in the collections of many museums, uses a variety of techniques in these arresting images. Multiple exposures of bouquets; tableaux that layer painting, photography, and digital imaging; trompe l’oeil constructions; and collage enable him to showcase flowers in inventive ways.
Martha’s Flowers: A Practical Guide to Growing, Gathering, and Enjoying
Martha Stewart and Kevin Sharkey. Clarkson Potter,
Stewart compiles the wisdom of a lifetime spent gardening into a practical yet inspired book. Gorgeous photographs of floral displays in her own home accompany guidance on everything from how and when to plant to building stunning arrangements.
Smithsonian Flora: Inside the Secret World of Plants
DK, with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
This splendid blend of art and science invites you to explore the plant kingdom from the ground up, and from root to leaf tip. An elegant introduction to botany, it is packed with sumptuous photos and crystal-clear illustrations.
Slightly Weird and Very Wonderful
The Golden Ratio: The Divine Beauty of Mathematics
Gary B. Meisner, illus. by Rafael Araujo. Race Point, ISBN 978-1-63106-486-9
The presence of the golden ratio in art and architecture throughout history (as in the pyramids of Giza) as well as in natural forms (from quasicrystals to the proportions of the human face) is examined in this gorgeous book. This mathematical concept has an infinite capacity to generate shapes with exquisite properties, attested to by this book (with lay-flat dimensions that closely approximate the golden ratio), which features clear, enlightening, and entertaining commentary alongside stunning full-color illustrations.
Pit Bull Flower Power
Sophie Gamand. Lantern, ISBN 978-1-59056-582-7
Pit bulls have been much maligned and feared, but Gamand’s photographs show how adorable—and adoptable—they can be. Since 2014 she has visited more than 30 shelters and rescues in the U.S., adorning each of her models with a handmade flower crown.
Specimens of Hair: The Curious Collection of Peter A. Browne
Robert Peck, photos by Rosamond Purcell. ISBN 978-0-922233-49-6
Buried deep in the archives of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia is a remarkable set of 12 bound volumes containing a collection of what one 19th-century amateur naturalist believed—30 years before Charles Darwin’s Descent of Man was published—would unravel the mystery of human evolution: specimens of hair gathered from animals and people from all over the globe, including hair samples from 13 of the first U.S. presidents. More than 100 photographs accompany Peck’s account of the story behind these obsessively handcrafted volumes.
Unusual Sounds: The Hidden History of Library Music
David Hollande. Anthology Editions, ISBN 978-1-944860-12-7
In the heyday of low-budget television and scrappy genre filmmaking, producers who needed soundtracks for their commercial entertainments could reach for a selection of library music: LPs of stock recordings whose contents fit any mood required. Featuring original art by Robert Beatty and an introduction by George A. Romero—whose use of library music in Night of the Living Dead changed film history—here is a deep dive into this hidden musical universe.
For Birders, Tree Huggers, and Other Nature Lovers
The Art of the Fishing Fly
Tony Lolli, with photos by Bruce Curtis. Sterling, ISBN 978-1-4549-2902-4
Among the millions of avid fly fishers is President Jimmy Carter, who provides the foreword for this visual feast and useful reference. At the book’s core are 75 profiles of flies—the soul of the sport—with stunning color photographs of each fly and fascinating stories behind them.
Bob Langrish’s World of Horses: A Master Photographer’s Lifelong Quest to Capture the Most Magnificent Horses in the World
Jane Holderness-Roddam, photos by Bob Langrish. Storey, ISBN 978-1-63586-125-9
Here is the culminating collection of a master photographer who has traveled six continents in search of the most compelling horses in their native habitats.
Innumerable Insects: The Story of the Most Diverse and Myriad Animals on Earth
Michael S. Engel. Sterling, ISBN 978-1-4549-2323-7
In this fascinating look at the world’s most numerous inhabitants, noted entomologist Engel explores insects’ evolution and diversity; the process of metamorphosis; pests, parasites, and plagues; society and language; camouflage; and pollination. More than 180 illustrations from the Rare Book Collection at the American Museum of Natural History’s research library reveal the extraordinary world of insects down to their tiniest, most astonishing details, from butterflies’ iridescent wings to beetles’ vibrant colors.
Pasta for Nightingales: A 17th-Century Handbook of Bird-care and Folklore
Giovanni Pietro Olina, with illustrations from the Paper Museum of Cassiano dal Pozzo, trans. from the Italian by Kate Clayton. Yale Univ., ISBN 978-0-300-23288-2
This beautifully illustrated book brings together the first-ever English translation of one of the earliest studies in ornithology with the original watercolors, now part of the British Royal Collection. Helen MacDonald, the author of H Is for Hawk, contributes a foreword.
For Art’s Sake
Edited by Ann Coxon, Briony Fer, and Maria Müller-Schareck. Yale Univ., ISBN 978-0-300-237252
Joseph Albers: Interaction
Heinz Liesbrock. Yale Univ., ISBN 978-0-300-240832
Two publications from Yale pay attention to both members of this talented wife-and-husband duo.
Anni Albers is a long-overdue reassessment of one of the leading pioneers of 20th-century modernism—a German textile designer, weaver, and printmaker. Her contribution to art history has been overlooked compared to that of her husband. Here, her most important works are examined to fully explore and redefine her significance to 20th-century art.
Joseph Albers: Interaction accompanied a major exhibition in Germany this year and features all aspects of his long career. Also a leading pioneer of modernism, Albers was a teacher, writer, painter, and color theorist. Generously illustrated, this comprehensive biography demonstrates how this great artist transformed modern design by using line, color, surface, and space to challenge the perception of the viewer.
David Dawson, edited by Martin Gayford and Mark Holborn. Phaidon, ISBN 978-0-7148-7526-2
This is an elegant two-volume, slip-cased monograph that celebrates artist Lucian Freud’s many-decade-spanning career, from the 1930s to his death in 2011. It includes nearly 500 reproductions of his paintings, drawings, and etchings, assembled from private collections around the world.
Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
Andrew Bolton et al. Metropolitan Museum of Art, ISBN 978-1-58839-645-7
Exploring fashion’s complex and often controversial relationship with Catholicism by examining the role of spirituality and religion in contemporary culture, this two-volume publication connects significant religious art and artifacts to their sartorial expressions. Essays by art historians and leading religious authorities provide perspective on how dress manifests—or subverts—Catholic values and ideology.
Sacred Spaces: The Awe-Inspiring Architecture of Churches and Cathedrals
Jacques Bosser, photos by Guillaume de Laubier. Abrams, ISBN 978-1-4197-2806-8
This book showcases breathtaking photographs of extraordinary churches and cathedrals, revealing illuminating views of both well- and lesser-known sites such as Sagrad Amilia in Barcelona and St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. Photos are accompanied by text that delves into the stories of the design, construction evolution, and resilience of these structures.
Beauty and Brains
The Global Economy as You’ve Never Seen It: 99 Ingenious Infographics That Put It All Together
Jan Schwochow and Thomas Ramge, with Adrian Garcia-Landa. The Experiment, ISBN 978-1-61519-517-6
With brilliantly illustrated infographics that everyone can understand, infographics specialists Schwochow and Ramge show how the economy works. The varied, information-rich visuals invite the reader to see the economy differently—and to finally understand how economics works.
History of the World Map by Map
DK, ISBN 978-1-4654-7585-5
More than 140 detailed maps tell the story of pivotal episodes in world history, from the first human migrations out of Africa to the space race. In addition, broad, sweeping introductions at key points provide a chance to step back and look at entire periods, such as WWII, or to explore overarching themes, such as the Industrial Revolution.
The Middle Ages in 50 Objects
Elina Gertsman and Barbara H. Rosenwein. Cambridge Univ., ISBN 978-1-107-15038-6
The array of images in this volume reveals the full and rich history of the Middle Ages. Evocatively bringing the medieval world alive, the book unearths buried weapons, decodes enigmatic images, and rewards the curious with details of materials and makers, myths and movements.
Ocean Liners: A Visual History
Peter Newall. Seaforth, ISBN 978-1-5267-2316-1
Lushly illustrated with more than 250 photographs, this book by shipping expert and historian Newall describes ocean liners and their routes and interweaves the technical and design developments that powered the world’s principal means of transport before the jet age.
Design for Plebes and Royalty Alike
Wolfgang Joensson. Skyhorse, ISBN 978-1-5107-3039-7
Chronologically organized from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution to the present, Iconix is a comprehensive collection of 100 instantly recognizable product design objects, including objects such as the Coca-Cola bottle and the Sony Walkman, accompanied by well-researched and charming vignettes. Each spread of this richly illustrated book showcases the author’s representation of the chosen design, expressing its essence and capturing its spirit.
Love Colour: Choosing Colours to Live With
Anna Starmer. Ivy, ISBN 978-1-78240-579-5
International color expert Starmer offers a feast for the eyes and provides clear guidance through the often confusing panoply of color combinations to create a home full of color that you love. The book includes a removable chart in booklet form so readers can note and match their perfect colors anytime, anywhere.
May I Come In?
Wendy Goodman. Abrams, ISBN 978-1-4197-3246-1
The design editor of New York magazine takes the reader into 70 homes that capture and express their owner’s spirit and passions. Alba Clemente’s closet is a Renaissance theater; Andrew Solomon houses his guests in an igloo; and Richard Avedon’s private walls were bulletin boards.
Seeing Music’s Greats
Bruce Springsteen: From Asbury Park, to Born to Run, to Born in the USA
David Gahr, with Chris Murray. Rizzoli,
An unprecedented look at a very young Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, from the group’s creation and early New Jersey days to their meteoric rise and seminal Born in the USA tour, in mostly never-before-seen photographs.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Grand Central, ISBN 978-1-5387-4715-5
Compiled by Ono, Imagine tells the inside story of the making of the legendary album. Packed with hitherto-unpublished archive photos and footage sequences of all the key players, together with lyric sheets, here are insights and personal testimonies from Ono and more than 40 of the musicians, engineers, staff, celebrities, artists, and photographers who were there. In addition to this $50 hardcover, there is an expanded, slip-cased $250 collector’s edition, limited to 2,000 copies, that includes a hand-numbered and stamped giclée print by Ono.
Johnny Cash: The Life and Legacy of the Man in Black
Alan Light. Smithsonian, ISBN 978-1-58834-639-1
Music journalist Light traces Johnny Cash’s life story from beginning to end. One hundred pieces of largely unpublished material from the Cash family archives, including handwritten notes, set lists, and photographs offer an intimate look at one of music’s greatest stars.
The Art of Reading
The Art of Reading: An Illustrated History of Books in Paint
Jamie Camplin and Maria Ranauro. Getty, ISBN 978-1-60606-586-0
A delicious treat for the book-cum-art lover, this is a beautifully illustrated survey of the relationship between books, the artist, and Western painting. This work explores the centuries-old story of great painters and the solace-giving, belief-supporting, leisure-enriching, pleasure-delivering medium of all time: the book.
Book Towns: Forty-Five Paradises of the Printed Word
Alex Johnson. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-0-7112-3893-0
This is a richly illustrated tour of 40 of the world’s so-called “book towns”: havens of literature and dream places for book lovers. Locales include Ureña in Spain and Fjaerland in Norway, where bookshops have been set up in such buildings as former ferry waiting rooms and banks, and better-known examples in the U.K. such as Hay, Wigtown, and Sedbergh, as well as further-flung locales including Jimbochu in Japan.
Tales of the Genji: A Visual Companion
Melissa McCormick, Princeton Univ., ISBN 978-0-691-17268-2
Written in the 11th century by the Japanese noblewoman Murasaki Shikibu, The Tale of Genji is a masterpiece of prose and poetry that is widely considered the world’s first novel. This stunning compendium combines discussions of all 54 of its chapters with paintings and calligraphy from the Genji Album (1510) in the Harvard Art Museums, the oldest dated set of Genji illustrations known to exist, here fully reproduced for the first time. English and Japanese transcriptions of the album’s calligraphy are included.
This article has been corrected. The last name of the author of Specimens of Hair was incorrectly listed as McCracken, not Peck. The title of The History of the World Map by Map was also listed incorrectly.