Two powerhouses of architecture are celebrated in impressively illustrated books this season.

David Adjaye—Works 1995–2007: Houses, Pavilions, Installations, Buildings

David Adjaye, edited by Peter Allison (Thames & Hudson)

ISBN 978-0-500-34351-7, $90

Acclaimed architect David Adjaye is known for his artistic sensitivity and his deft use of space and inexpensive, unexpected materials. Adjaye, who designed Washington, D.C.’s National Museum for African American History and Culture, has almost 20 years of practice and a raft of high-profile projects around the world, and this book looks back on the houses and buildings of his early career. Adjaye’s early commissions were the test sites for what would become his unique, celebrated, and highly sought-after brand of critical regionalism. From London to Brooklyn, in private houses and public buildings, his urban interventions abound: roof-level living space is added to a factory-turned-studio, a sunken courtyard encases a tower-like house, and basalt stone extends a basement dining area to a roofless gazebo. The book features 500 photographs and illustrations of Adjaye’s work.

Philip Johnson: A Visual Biography

Ian Volner (Phaidon)

ISBN 978-0-7148-7682-5, $150

Volner, a recipient of the 2016 DAM Architecture Book Award for This Is Frank Lloyd Wright, provides a visual biography of celebrated architect and 20th-century cultural icon Philip Johnson, lushly illustrated with hundreds of images and documents, many published for the first time. Among Johnson’s best-known architectural achievements are the New York State Theater in Manhattan’s Lincoln Center (now known as the David H. Koch Theater), Pittsburgh’s PPG Place, the storied Four Seasons restaurant (now closed), and his own former home, the Glass House in New Caanan, Conn. (now open to the public). With his elegant suits and trademark round black glasses, Johnson—a witty, wealthy, and well-connected architect—was for many years a powerful figure in the society and politics of his profession. This book traces his seven decades of influence, innovation, and controversy in the realm of architecture and beyond.

Art & Design

This array of stunning books may help wipe out the blues from this year’s pandemic-related museum closures.

The 99% Invisible City: A Field Guide to the Hidden World of Everyday Design

Roman Mars and Kurt Kohlstedt (HMH)

ISBN 978-0-358-12660-7, $30

Based on Mars and Kohlstedt’s 99% Invisible podcast, which ponders such small-seeming things as who gets to name the streets we walk along and the dancing inflatable figures in front of car dealerships, this book zooms in on various elements that make our cities work. The authors explore the stories behind a broad swath of city elements and fixtures—power grids, fire escapes, drinking fountains, and street signs, to name a few—and tell tales of the designers and people impacted by these innovations, which range from stories of accidental inspiration to perfect unions of design and function. Line drawings accompany the well-researched entries.

Alex Katz

Carter Ratcliff and Vincent Katz (Rizzoli Electa)

ISBN 978-0-8478-6618-2, $150

With more than 300 images, many previously unpublished, this slip-cased monograph offers a comprehensive collection of Alex Katz’s works. Ratcliff, an art historian who has studied Katz for more than a half a century, provides an in-depth artist profile. This monograph charts the development of Katz’s highly recognizable American style. Over seven decades, the artist has developed his vision with determination as the tides of avant-garde and academic fashion ebbed and flowed. Working in a representational style while his contemporaries celebrated abstract expressionism, and eschewing slick surfaces for a pared-down view while his peers went glossy with pop art, Katz cleaved to one vision and a select few locations and subjects. Katz’s endurance and commitment to developing an original American style is explored in depth, from his boyhood influences to becoming part of an artistic circle that included John Ashbery, Ted Berrigan, Lois Dodd, Kenneth Koch, Frank O’Hara, Fairfield Porter, Yvonne Rainer, Larry Rivers, and Paul Taylor. Sketches, works on paper, and archival material selected by the artist’s son, poet Vincent Katz, give a fuller picture of the painter and his world.

American Utopia

David Byrne and Maira Kalman (Bloomsbury)

ISBN 978- 1-63557-668-9, $24

This book from former Talking Heads front man Byrne and author, illustrator, and artist Kalman collects a series of Kalman’s drawings that appeared on the theater curtain for Byrne’s American Utopia Broadway show, paired alongside select words and lyrics from the production. Eschewing cynicism, Byrne’s text and more than 150 of Kalman’s colorful paintings are bursting with pathos, humanism, and hope. Together they offer a salvo for kindness and a call for jubilation—a reminder to sing, dance, and waste not a moment.

Daddy-O’s Book of Big-Ass Art

Bob Wade (Texas A&M Univ.)

ISBN 978-1-62349-869-6, $35

Bob “Daddy-O” Wade, a recipient of three NEA grants whose works are exhibited at New York City’s Whitney Museum, the de Menil Collection in Houston, and other venues, started “keeping it weird” in 1961, when he arrived in Austin to study art. Wade’s slicked-back coif and ’51 custom Ford hot rod dragster earned him his trademark moniker. The abstract welded sculptures he fashioned from automobile bumpers in his frat-house basement laid the foundations for the work that would eventually make him famous. Collected here are more than 100 of Wade’s most famous pieces—the 40-foot iguana that perched atop New York’s Lone Star Cafe, the immense cowboy boots outside San Antonio’s North Star Mall, and Dinosaur Bob, who graces the roof of the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature in Abilene, Tex.—along with the wild tales behind each work.

Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa

Marilyn Chase (Chronicle)

ISBN 978- 1-4521-7440-2, $29.95

Journalist and author Chase recounts the incredible life of American sculptor Ruth Asawa (1926–2013). A survivor of Japanese internment during WWII, Asawa went on to thrive at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina. There, she studied with artist Josef Albers, developed a distinctive style of wire sculpture, and met her husband, architect Albert Lanier. Together they moved to San Francisco, where she became a beloved artist and community leader, creating iconic installations throughout the city and working tirelessly to expand art education. Over the course of her long life, she wielded a transformative touch—most notably by turning the barbed wire of prison camps into wire sculptures of astonishing power and delicacy. This compelling biography is richly illustrated with over 60 reproductions of Asawa’s art and archival photos of her life (including portraits shot by her friend, celebrated photographer Imogen Cunningham). Chase mined Asawa’s letters, diaries, sketches, and photos and conducted interviews with those who knew her to tell this inspiring story.

Georgia O’Keeffe: A Life Well Lived

Malcolm Varon (Univ. of New Mexico)

ISBN 978-0-8263-6200-1, $39.95

Featuring 64 full-color photographs, this new work captures Georgia O’Keeffe as she neared her 90th birthday, showcasing her homes and companions at Ghost Ranch and Abiquiú and the landscapes that inspired her. Malcolm Varon was specifically chosen by O’Keeffe to photograph her work in color, and this book is the first to portray O’Keeffe and her surroundings in color. Varon includes a reflection on his experiences with O’Keeffe which brings an intimate context to the photographs. A foreword by Cody Hartley, the director of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and an introduction by Barbara Buhler Lynes, an O’Keeffe scholar, provide further context to Varon’s photographs.

Gerhard Richter: Painting After All

Sheena Wagstaff and Benjamin H. D. Buchloh (Metropolitan Museum)

ISBN 978-1-58839-685-3, $50

This lavishly illustrated monograph explores Richter’s complex relationship to figuration, abstraction, and memory through more than 100 key canvases that span the artist’s six-decade-long career. Essays by leading Richter scholars illuminate the artist’s preoccupation with painting in relation to other modes of representation, especially photography, and emphasize the ongoing importance of painting’s formal and conceptual possibilities in contemporary art.

Lynette Yiadom-Boakye: Fly in League with the Night

Isabella Maidment et al. (Tate)

ISBN 978-1-942884-65-1, $55

Taking inspiration from the techniques of historic European portraiture, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye reinvents the lineage of Goya, Sargent, and Manet, imbuing the Black subjects in her paintings with atmospheric grace and elegance. This volume of nearly 80 paintings, drawings, and prints accompanies the first major survey of her work at the Tate Britain. In addition to the artist’s own writing and poetry, the book includes thematic essays on her development as well as a critical examination of the larger history of portraiture, focusing particularly on the depiction of Black subjects.

Making the Met, 1870–2020

Edited by Andrea Bayer, with Laura D. Corey (Metropolitan Museum)

ISBN 978-1-58839-709-6, $50

In celebration of the Met’s 150th anniversary, this publication examines the institution’s evolution from an idea—that art can inspire anyone who has access to it—to one of the most beloved art museums in the world. Among the topics explored are the impact of momentous acquisitions, the central importance of education and accessibility, the collaborations that have been born out of international excavations, the museum’s role in preserving cultural heritage, and its interaction with contemporary art and artists. The 12 chapters feature more than 200 seminal works and rarely seen archival images.

Objects: USA 2020

Glenn Adamson (Monacelli)

ISBN 978-1-58093-573-9, $50

In 1969, the Objects: USA exhibition opened at the Smithsonian Institution and defined the American studio craft movement by uniting a cohort of artists who invented new approaches to making art by way of craft media. Subsequently touring to 22 museums across the country, and then to 11 cities in Europe, the exhibition canonized such artists as Anni Albers, Wendell Castle, Wharton Esherick, Sheila Hicks, and George Nakashima, and introduced others including Dale Chihuly and Ron Nagle. This book revisits this revolutionary exhibition by pairing 50 of the original participants with 50 contemporary artists representing the next generation of practitioners to use—and upend—the traditional methods and materials of craft to create new forms of art. The publication coincides with an exhibition of the same title, and features essays by some of the foremost authorities on craft as well as archival photographs of the original exhibition and full-color images of contemporary works.

Rookwood: The Rediscovery and Revival of an American Icon—An Illustrated History

Bob Batchelor (Rockport)

ISBN 978-1-63159-863-0, $45

In commemoration of Rookwood Pottery’s 140th anniversary, cultural historian and biographer Batchelor tells the story of this female-founded, female-owned American art pottery company, which has been operated in the heart of the Ohio River Valley, near Cincinnati, since its founding. Rookwood was the most famous company making art pottery in the U.S. in the late 19th century and into the 20th century, achieving an international reputation and consistently promoting artistic innovation. It is known for its exceptionally fine glazes and successful experimental designs. By assimilating the strengths of myriad aesthetic movements from the American art pottery movement to art nouveau and art deco, Rookwood encouraged decorators to try unusual subjects and to explore new techniques. Today, with a team of just over 70 employees, Rookwood remains committed to cultivating artistic inspiration, giving back to the community, and balancing its rich legacy with forward-thinking momentum.

Watercolor: A History

Marie-Pierre Salé (Abbeville)

ISBN 978-0-78921-373-0, $125.

A curator and specialist in 19th-century drawings, Salé offers a comprehensive illustrated history of watercolor painting from its humble origins as a tool for preparatory studies or as a “feminine pastime” to the Renaissance, when its potential was realized, through the mid-20th-century. Salé’s incisive text takes readers from medieval scriptoria to the studios of early-20th-century modernists, encompassing all types of work—from plein-air sketches to finished studio pieces—and a wide variety of artists. Within are Dürer’s exquisitely detailed animal studies, Turner’s atmospheric landscapes, Cézanne’s tireless explorations of the visible, Sargent’s light-dappled sketches, and much more. Throughout, Salé draws on the personal and professional writings of artists and critics, revealing the rich dialogues that have propelled the development of watercolor. An appendix, also based in primary sources, traces the technical development of the medium. The more than 300 illustrations are printed on Munken paper to capture the vibrancy and texture of the original works

Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama (Abrams)

ISBN 978-1-85437-939-9, $35

Kusama is arguably Japan’s most famous living artist. Her originality, innovation, and powerful desire to communicate have propelled her through a career that has spanned six decades. During this time, Kusama has explored painting, printmaking, photography, collage, film and video, performance and installation, and product design. Now in her ninth decade, her imagination remains richly creative and she continues to extend the range of her practice. Published to accompany the first major retrospective exhibition of the artist’s work in the U.K., this lavishly illustrated book features an introductory essay by Tate Modern director Frances Morris, as well as four additional substantial essays by leading international critics.

Yoshitoshi: One Hundred Aspectsof the Moon

John Stevenson (Abbeville)

ISBN 978-0-7892-1355-6, $175

Limited to an edition of 3,000, this volume is a faithful facsimile of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi’s One Hundred Aspects of the Moon collection of woodblock prints published between 1892 and 1895. Yoshitoshi is revered by many as the last virtuoso of the Japanese woodblock prints, and One Hundred Aspects of the Moon is considered his crowning achievement. The series of prints—reproduced in their original size with an accompanying explanation by Stevensen—illustrate history, legend, and contemporary life, unified by the motif of the moon. Even as traditional woodblock prints were being supplanted by mass media like lithography, an eager public snapped up Yoshitoshi’s images, many of which sold out on the morning of their publication.

Bookish Books

Almost any book is sure to please the bookish, but a book that can pique the interest of bibliophiles is as precious as a padparadscha sapphire. Here are some such gems.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn: The Norman Rockwell Collector’s Edition

Mark Twain, illus. by Norman Rockwell (Abbeville)

ISBN 978-0-7892-1367-9, $50

In 1936, the Heritage Press, a publisher of fine editions, commissioned Norman Rockwell to illustrate Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; four years later, it requested the same for Huckleberry Finn. For each, Rockwell created eight full-color paintings and numerous pen-and-ink drawings. For years, these illustrated editions were unavailable. Abbeville has now reissued them in a two-volume slip-cased set. The color plates have been reproduced from new photography of the original paintings. Stephanie Haboush Plunkett, deputy director and chief curator of the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass., provides an introduction examining the encounter between these two legends.

Come to Light

Paul Madonna (West Margin)

ISBN 978-1-5132-6305-2, $35.99

Artist and author Paul Madonna pens a mystery novel full of unexpected plot twists and lively characters accompanied by more than 100 strikingly rendered drawings that bring this novel to life. The story stars detective Emit Hopper, a former rock star turned author and artist with a passion for classic detective books and rye whiskey, whose wife goes missing. After the remains of her two hiking companions are found, Emit sets out across Europe, chasing down clues, sketchbook in hand. This tale of love, murder, books, and art is presented in a three-volume box set.

Look of the Book: Jackets, Covers, and Art at the Edges of Literature

Peter Mendelsund and David J. Alworth (Ten Speed)

ISBN 978-0399-58102-1, $50

As the outward face of the text, book covers make an all-important first impression. Fusing word and image, as well as design thinking and literary criticism, this treatise on cover art strives to answer the question of why some book covers instantly grab readers’ attention, while others never get a second glance. Illustrated with hundreds of book covers, this volume examines art at the edges of literature through notable covers and the stories behind them. The coauthors, designer and creative director Peter Mendelsund and scholar David Alworth, also offer an overview of book cover trends throughout history, as well as insights from dozens of literary and design luminaries. This collaboration challenges notions of what a book cover can and should be.

The Oxford Illustrated History of the Book

Edited by James Raven (Oxford Univ.)

ISBN 978-0-19-870298-6, $39.95

In 14 original essays by international scholars, this richly illustrated compendium reveals the global history of books in all their various forms, from the ancient world to the digital present. Featured are different types of printed word productions—clay tablets, scrolls, inscribed codices, printed books, pamphlets, magazines, newspapers, and digital texts. The different methods of circulation and dissemination throughout the ages, all dependent on innovations in transport, from coastal and transoceanic shipping to the internet, are also examined, as is the history of different modes of reading and reception, from learned debate and individual study to public instruction and entertainment. Finally, the book offers insight into how books themselves have made history.

Remarkable Diaries


ISBN 978-0-7440-2043-4, $30

This is a visual exploration of the pages of more than 80 of the world’s great diaries and notebooks, including those of Charles Darwin, Anne Frank, the Goncourt brothers, Magellan, Samuel Pepys, Henry-David Thoreau, and Virginia Woolf. It reveals the experience of everyday thoughts and moments in the lives of these extraordinary artists, explorers, scientists, and writers of the past 2,000 years. Striking images of the original notebooks and manuscripts are complemented by key extracts and close-ups of important details. Feature boxes provide additional biographical information and set the works in their cultural and historical context.

A Shakespeare Motley: An Illustrated Compendium

Shakespeare Birthplace Trust (Thames & Hudson)

ISBN 978-0-500-02302-0, $19.95

This illustrated collection of fascinating facts, definitions, and quotations relating to the world’s most famous playwright and his works was informed by the scrapbooks and miscellanies in the archives of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, a charity that cares for the Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works. Arranged by alphabetical order, the entries—“Armor,” “Hemlock,” “Kings,” etc.—draw unusual connections and tease out specific references in Shakespeare’s work. The illustrations are culled exclusively from the archives to portray authentic scenes from Shakespearean times.

Flowers & Gardening

This year’s lockdowns have instilled in many a new appreciation for the world’s precious plant life. These books celebrate the magic of flowers and gardens.

Floriography: An Illustrated Guide to the Victorian Language of Flowers

Jessica Roux (Andrews McMeel)

ISBN 978-1-5248-5814-8, $19.99

This full-color guide to the historical uses and secret meanings behind an impressive array of flowers and herbs explores the coded significances associated with various blooms, from flowers for a lover to flowers for an enemy. The use of flowers as a means of secret communication soared in popularity, particularly in Victorian England and the U.S., during the 19th century, when proper etiquette discouraged open displays of emotion. Mysterious and playful, the language of flowers has roots in history and folklore, and even the characteristics of the plants themselves. Researched and illustrated by artist Jessica Roux, Floriography will appeal to those falling in and out of love, witches, and flower-children alike.

Flower Art

Makoto Azuma (Thames & Hudson)

ISBN 978-0-500-21029-1, $50

This book showcases the conceptual and geographical diversity of Japanese floral artist Azuma through photographs and text of his vast oeuvre. Since opening the floral shop Jardins des Fleurs in Japan nearly two decades ago, he has been taking commissions from all over the world. Juxtaposing the timeless yet transient beauty of flowers with striking settings, he has produced work that has adorned Rihanna’s head on the cover of British Vogue and has been exhibited in nearly every corner of the world. Azuma creates floral installations in environments in which flowers could not naturally exist, like frozen tundras, the depths of the ocean, and even the edge of space itself, contrasting blooming flowers with artificial or inhospitable backgrounds.

Flower: Exploring the World in Bloom


ISBN 978-1-83866-085-7, $59.95

Celebrating the beauty and appeal of flowers throughout art, history, and culture, this volume takes readers on a journey across continents and cultures to discover the endless ways artists and image-makers have employed floral motifs throughout history. More than 300 full-color illustrations showcase blooms from such disparate sources as Andy Warhol’s floral screen prints, a Metro-Goldwyn Mayer promotional image of Dorothy asleep in a poppy field from The Wizard of Oz, and a woodcut with color blocks by Utagawa Hiroshige. The book is arranged visually to highlight thought-provoking contrasts and similarities between artists and centuries. Flower spans a wide range of styles and media from art, fashion, botanical illustrations, floral arrangements, film stills, and textiles.

Garden Design Master Class: 100 Lessons from the World’s Finest Designers on the Art of the Garden

Carl Dellatore (Rizzoli)

ISBN 978-0-8478-6666-3, $60

Dellatore brings together 100 essays by some of the top garden designers working today, from acknowledged experts such as Nancy Goslee Power on sunlight and Arabella Lennox-Boyd on borders to tastemakers such as Carolyne Roehm on the pleasures of a vegetable garden. Each essay is illustrated with photos of the respective designer’s work. Spanning styles and genres, principles and tenets, collectively these essays and their accompanying images represent a comprehensive education for the reader, instilling both design advice and philosophy, from practical considerations such as seedlings and pathways to stylistic concerns such as asymmetry and rhythm.

Royal Gardens of the World: 21 of the World’s Most Celebrated Gardens from the Alhambra to Highgrove and Beyond

Mark Lane (Octopus)

ISBN 978-0-85783-801-8, $45

Lane provides a 19th-century style “grand tour” of 21 of the world’s greatest royal gardens. Among the featured gardens are those of England’s Hampton Court Palace, France’s Palace of Versailles, India’s Taj Mahal, Indonesia’s Tirta Gangga, and Spain’s the Alhambra. Accompanying the full-color photographs is the history, plantings, and evolution of each garden, as well as portraits of key plants and information about the garden’s design and architecture.

Interior Design

Showcasing design styles from the White House to the Scandinavian countryside, these books will inspire creative interior refreshes.

Designing History: The Extra-ordinary Art & Style of the Obama White House

Michael S. Smith (Rizzoli)

ISBN 978-0-8478-6479-9, $60

Michelle Obama provides the foreword to this insider’s look at interior designer Michael S. Smith’s decoration of the Obama White House. Created for design enthusiasts, political aficionados, and students of Americana, the book documents Smith’s collaboration with the Obamas. With 230 photographs, behind-the-scenes stories, and archival material, Designing History places the Obama White House within the context of the building’s storied past and its evolution over the past two centuries.

Glamorous Living

Jan Showers (Abrams)

ISBN 978-1-4197-4278-1, $65

Dallas-based interior designer Jan Showers returns to the concept first introduced in her Glamorous Rooms, taking the reader through luxurious private residences across the U.S. room by room. This book invites readers into 20 never-before-photographed homes in some of America’s most idyllic locales, including a glamorous New York City apartment; a townhouse in London; an architecturally significant house in Paradise Valley, Ariz.; a historic residence in Austin, Tex.; a stunning home on Buffalo Bayou in Houston; a duplex apartment at the Mansion Residence in Dallas; and many more.

Life Meets Art: Inside the Homes of the World’s Most Creative People

Sam Lubell (Phaidon)

ISBN 978-1-83866-131-1, $59.95

This collection shares 250 fascinating private spaces from creative people of the past and present. Among the featured homes of past geniuses and legends are those of Bowie, Byron, Cocteau, Picasso, Rubens, Saarinen, and Voltaire. The homes of contemporary creatives featured include Christian Louboutin, Steven Meisel, and Marc Newson. Interior styles range from baroque, classical, and arts-and-crafts to romantic, minimal, maximal, and modernist, spanning the 15th century to the present, offering inspiration for myriad tastes. While some of the homes and studios featured are open to the public, others have never been seen before.

Scandi Rustic: Creating a Cozy & Happy Home

Rebecca Lawson and Reena Simon (Ryland Peters & Small)

ISBN 978-1-78879-246-2, $29.95

Popular bloggers and stylists Simon and Lawson show how to take the key elements of Scandinavian design to create a home with a relaxed and inviting interior made up of natural materials and textures. The focus—for city and country dwellers alike—is on maintaining a strong connection to nature and utilizing simple, pared-down designs rooted in the Danish concept of hygge, finding coziness and contentment through the simple things in life.


This year’s lockdowns have brought out the Hells Angels in all of us, and several new books extol the joys of the motorcycle.

The Art of the Vintage Motorcycle

Serge Bueno and Gilles Lhote (Universe)

ISBN 978-0-7893-3954-6, $45

Bueno and Lhote offer a comprehensive celebration of the art and design of classic motorcycles, from the early 20th century through the 1950s. The 300 color photographs included showcase the art and design of the luxury motorcycle by presenting 40 rare and exceptional motorcycles, from 1905 to 1956, presented in chronological order, illustrated with studio photographs that present the machines as works of art and wonders of design in themselves. An international roster is featured, including a 1905 Peugeot Factory Racer, a 1916 Indian PowerPlus, a 1929 Majestic, a 1936 Excelsior Manxman, a 1951 Harley Davidson 750CC WR, a 1951 Vincent1000CC Black Shadow, and a 1955 Triumph Tiger Cub, among others. Written by a motorcycle collector and expert, the text is accompanied by detailed images and covers each bike’s background and feats of design and engineering, as well as recounting tales of classic races, rallies, and motorcycle shows. The book is enhanced with reproductions of period ads and historic photos, evoking a sense of time and place.

Indian Motorcycle: 120 Years of America’s First Motorcycle Company

Darwin Holmstrom (Motorbooks)

ISBN 978-0-7603-6653-0, $50

This 120th anniversary edition tells the complete story of Indian Motorcycle, America’s first mass-produced motorcycle maker, from its start as a bicycle manufacturer near the end of the 19th century to bankruptcy and the purchase of the brand by Polaris Industries in 2011. After the maker of the highly regarded Victory brand of motorcycles bought Indian, it released the Chief and Scout models, restoring the manufacturer to its place of prominence in the motorcycle pantheon. The 300 photographs chronicle products from its earliest bicycles to its newest models and the company’s return to racing.

The Motorcycle: Design, Art, Desire

Charles M. Falco and Ultan Guilfoyle (Phaidon)

ISBN 978-1-83866-163-2, $59.95

Falco, a professor of optical sciences and physics at the University of Arizona, teams up with producer, director, and writer Guilfoyle to present an exploration of the design, history, and culture of the motorcycle, a lifelong passion for him. The authors chronicle the engineering evolution of the bikes from the 19th century to the present day, covering internal combustion, electric-powered engines, and new technologies that are revolutionizing the ride. This visually arresting survey presents more than 400 photographs and illustrations of groundbreaking motorcycle designs, exploring the desire, freedom, and rebellion that surround this icon of the machine age.

Vespa: Style and Passion

Velerio Boni and Stefano Cordara (Motorbooks)

ISBN 978-0-7603-6852-7, $40

From its introduction in 1946 by the Italian firm Piaggio, the Vespa enjoyed quick success. The scooters’ diminutive size and affordability were perfect for promoting postwar mobility and soon grew beyond being simply a means of transport to become a cultural icon. This volume tells how the scooter evolved into a marque that has sold more than 19 million units on six continents. A rich selection of visuals includes dozens of studio images of the most significant models as well as period advertisements, rare archival photographs, and images of Vespas in popular culture and motorsport. Mod culture, perhaps most responsible for spreading scooter culture, is also given its due with images of customized Vespas. The Vespa is not simply a scooter; it’s a rare example of a motor vehicle that survived crises and fashions while always remaining faithful to its original concept.


A trifecta of cinema greats and the people behind them are the focus of these books.

The James Bond Movie Encyclopedia

Steven Jay Rubin (Chicago Review)

ISBN 978-1-64160-082-8, $35

This well-researched, comprehensive encyclopedia is the completely up-to-date edition of Rubin’s seminal work on the James Bond film series. It is chock-full of behind-the-scenes information based on interviews with the cast and filmmakers, fascinating facts, trivia, bloopers, classic quotes, character bios, cast and filmmaker bios, and hundreds of rare and unusual photographs of those in front of and behind the camera. It spans the entire series from the first Bond film, 1962’s Dr. No (cost: $1 million), through 2020’s No Time to Die (cost: $250 million).

Wes Anderson: The Iconic Filmmaker and His Work

Ian Nathan (White Lion)

ISBN 978-0-7112-5599-9, $35

Film journalist Nathan provides a reference for fans of the influential director that is loaded with rich imagery and detailed analysis of his work. It covers all of Wes Anderson’s movies, including fan favorites like The Grand Budapest Hotel, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Moonrise Kingdom, as well as the forthcoming The French Dispatch. Nathan thoughtfully examines of Anderson’s work and charts the themes, visuals, and narratives that have come to define the director.

West Side Story: The Jets, the Sharks, and the Making of a Classic

Richard Barrios (Running Press)

ISBN 978-0-7624-6948-2, $35

Following its wildly successful run on Broadway, the film adaptation of West Side Story became immortal—a movie different from anything that had come before. According to film historian Barrios, this cinematic victory came at a price. In this engrossing volume, Barrios recounts how the drama and rivalries seen onscreen played out with matched intensity behind the scenes, yet still managed to result in an artistic feat.


Three of the biggest names in music get up-close and personal attention.

Bob Marley: Portrait of the Legend

Ziggy Marley (Rizzoli)

ISBN 978-0-8478-6878-0, $55

In honor of what would’ve been Bob Marley’s 75th birthday, this oversize book collects more than 150 photographs that celebrate the life and influence of the forefather of reggae and one of the major musical and sociopolitical influencers of 20th-century pop culture. Drawing exclusively on photos in the Marley family archives, the book mixes the familiar and the intimate, bringing together striking images of Marley as a performer onstage with unseen glimpses into his creative process in and out of the studio and his family life in Jamaica.

Bruce Springsteen: All the Songs

Phillippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon (Octopus)

ISBN 978-1-78472-649-2, $60

At over 670 pages, this doorstopper is an in-depth study of Springsteen’s music that will please the more than 100 million fans who have purchased his albums over the years. The book contains the full story of every single song that the Boss has recorded and released during his long and remarkable career. Moving chronologically, the authors provide insight and detailed information on every track, from the lyrics and melodies to the behind-the-scenes recording processes and the musicians and producers involved.

George Harrison: Be Here Now

Barry Feinstein, Chris Murray, and Donovan (Rizzoli)

ISBN 978-0-8478-6775-2, $45

This volume collects never-before-seen candids and ephemera of “the quiet Beatle” during his meteoric solo career, as captured by his friend and famed photographer Barry Feinstein. On hand from 1970 to 1972 for Harrison’s blockbuster triple crown—the release of All Things Must Pass, The Concert for Bangladesh, and Living in the Material World—which cemented his status as the bestselling Beatle post-breakup, Feinstein photographed Harrison at home, in his garden, onstage, and in the studio. The book’s release coincides with the 50th anniversary of the release of All Things Must Pass.

New York, New York

Walking and art are the focus of these guides to enjoying New York City like a native.

Murals of New York City: The Best of New York’s Public Paintings from Bemelmans to Parrish

Glenn Palmer-Smith, Joshua McHugh, and Graydon Carter (Rizzoli)

ISBN 978-0-8478-6806-3, $32.50

If all of the murals of New York City were under one roof, they would comprise an impressive collection of populist art in America. This volume brings together more than 30 of the most important and influential murals across all five boroughs, acting as both an artistic and cultural guide to New York and its citizens over the past 100-plus years—from the Victorian sensibilities of the 1900s to the New Deal outlook of the WPA-commissioned artworks and the graffiti-inflected art of Keith Haring and Barry McGee. Accompanying the illustrations and original photography are lively backstories of those who commissioned and created these murals.

New York in Stride: An Insider’s Walking Guide

Jessie Kanelos Weiner and Jacob Lehman (Rizzoli)

ISBN 978-0-8478-6660-1 $27.50

Watercolor illustrations accompany the entries in this travel list to true New Yorkers’ favorite sites. The book features 11 neighborhood destination walks—guiding the reader through the energetic New York City streets, passing restaurants and coffee shops, historical sights, museums and galleries, parks, storied apartment buildings, hidden bookstores, music venues, and architectural marvels. Interwoven throughout are insider guides on how to eat like a New Yorker; exploring the city’s most beautiful parks and gardens; navigating transit via ferry, subway, and bike; and visiting some of New York’ s most familiar TV and film locations.

Walking Broadway: Thirteen Miles of Architecture and History

William J. Hennessey (Monacelli)

ISBN 978-1-58093-535-7, $25

Walking Broadway offers readers an escape from indoor life with an architectural tour of the entire length of Broadway, from Bowling Green to the Harlem River. Through 14 structured outdoor walks, this illustrated guide presents the history of New York’s most famous avenue, exploring its architecture in depth—block by block, building by building. Along the way, readers will have the chance to discover fascinating and unusual buildings and gain a comprehensive understanding of the historic, social, economic, and political forces that shaped Broadway’s growth and character.

Stocking Stuffers

Sweet as candy canes, these stocking stuffers will bring smiles all around.

The Art of Breaking Up

HitRecord (Harper Design)

ISBN 978-0-06-289649-0, $27.99

Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s HitRecord and its global community of artists offer a clever flappable book that considers breaking up from the points of view of both dumper and dumpee. The musings, photography, comics, illustrations, puzzles, and recipes within will help the heartbroken bear their misery and the heartbreakers cope with their tortured consciences. Entertainments such as Denial Yoga, Candy Hearts for Assholes, Hex Your Ex Voodoo Doll, and the Free Bird Word Search Game wash away any lingering pain or guilt.

The Art of the Cake: The Créme de la Créme of the World’s Favorite Desserts

Alice Oehr (Thames & Hudson)

ISBN 978-1-76076-075-5, $19.95

With text and charming illustrations, artist and designer Oehr shares the brief histories of 50 favorite cakes from cuisines around the world, including carrot cake, chocolate cake, cannoli, babka, and mille-feuille. She traces the origin of each cake’s ingredients and recipes, and offers tidbits such as why baklava often has 33 layers and the story behind cannoli. Also included are six easy-to-follow recipes.

Pet This F*cking Puppy: A Touch-and-Feel Book for Stressed-Out Adults

Robb Pearlman and Jason Kayser (Rizzoli Universe)

ISBN 978-0-7893-3802-0, $17.95

This touch-and-feel book for grown-ups offers an antidote to the scourge of 2020. With six touch-and-feel (or smell!) elements that punctuate simple illustrations, this hilarious novelty book provides today’s adults-on-the-verge different tactile, visual, or smelly ways to calm down. From a neurotic New York businessperson to a harried soccer parent to anyone who watches the news, Pet This F*cking Puppy will make people smile long enough to feel a little better.

Solutions and Other Problems

Allie Brosh (Gallery)

ISBN 978-1-9821-5694-7, $30

Seven years after her bestseller Hyperbole and a Half, Brosh returns with a new collection of comedic, autobiographical, and illustrated essays. Her wobbly, wall-eyed avatar regards the world with bafflement as she hurls herself into one bizarre situation after another. This comic memoir chronicles stories from Brosh’s childhood; the adventures of her very bad animals; merciless dissection of her own character flaws; incisive essays on grief, loneliness, and powerlessness; as well as reflections on the absurdity of modern life.

Totes Paris: A Dog’s Travel Guide

Rosanne Kang Jovanovski (Ryland Peters & Small)

ISBN 978-1-912983-26-1, $9.95

Ultra-chic canine Totes the Dog paws through Paris and shows readers how to live like a Parisian. Named Totes from being toted to so many places around the world, this well-traveled pooch has run with bulls in Provence, France; walked the palace grounds of the Alhambra in Granada, Spain; and dodged the paparazzi at Sundance in Park City, Utah. Here, in the City of Light, Totes acts as stylist and helps readers achieve the Parisian look and lifestyle. With Totes’s top tips, readers will be well-equiped to sashay around Paris with an air of je ne sais quoi.

Uncorked: A Corkscrew Collection

Marilyn Gelfman Karp and Jeremy Franklin Brooke (Abbeville)

ISBN 978-0-7892-1377-8, $24.95

For the oenophile who has everything or for those who are charmed by odd histories, this historical overview of one of the most common, and often curious, household items will satisfy. Karp presents illustrations and information about more than 650 different specimens of corkscrews. Among them are an ornamented silver pocket corkscrew with matching sheath (ca. 1780), an ivory handle carved in Napoleon’s likeness (1820), and a folding mermaid of celluloid and steel (1890).

The Unicorn Handbook

Carolyn Turgeon (Harper Design)

ISBN 978-0-06-290525-3, $37.50

Strong, regal, and dazzling, there is no more romantic a creature in both folklore and pop culture than the majestic unicorn. Now Turgeon, editor-in-chief of Enchanted Living, delivers an illustrated lifestyle compendium of the world of unicorns, covering fashion and beauty, arts and culture, and home, food, and entertaining with step-by-step crafts and recipes. Readers can learn how to make their very own unicorn tail loop braid or unicorn dust, and how to make a plum cake straight from Alice in Wonderland. Also here is an interview with Peter S. Beagle, author of the classic tale The Last Unicorn.


The strength and power of women—from goddesses to artists and explorers—are celebrated in these eclectic books.

The Book of Bitch

Ailie Banks (Allen & Unwin)

ISBN 978-1-76052-965-9, $13.95

Banks, an illustrator and self-proclaimed bitch who is passionate about using her art to challenge social norms and create meaningful dialogue, creates an unapologetic, illustrated A-to-Z guide for those reclaiming and celebrating their inner bitch. For her, a bitch is someone who stands firm and speaks their mind in the face of sexist rhetoric, who doesn’t filter themselves for the comfort of others, and who doesn’t give a single damn about meeting societal expectations. From Ambitious Bitch to Zealous Bitch, this is a tribute to all bitches, because Banks believes that every bitch is multifaceted, every bitch is human, and every bitch deserves to be celebrated.

Our Tarot: A Guidebook and Deck Featuring Notable Women in History

Sarah Shipman (Harper Design)

ISBN 978-0-06-290985-5, $39.99

Shipman’s blend of history, feminism, and the mystical arts offers a full-color tarot deck and accompanying guidebook that bring together the traditional meanings of the mystic tarot and women from the pages of history from 1300 BCE to the late 20th century. Each card display one of Shipman’s 78 collage portraits of diverse women, including Corazon Aquino, Josephine Baker, Benazir Bhutto, Cleopatra, Marie Curie, Emily Dickinson, Amelia Earhart, Zora Neale Hurston, Queen Victoria, Harriet Tubman, Wu Zeitan, and others. The guidebook contains brief biographies and is packaged in a decorative box with a satin lifting ribbon and magnetic closure.

Truth Bomb: Inspiration from the Mouths and Minds of Women Artists

Isabel Crompton (Thames & Hudson)

ISBN 978-1-76076-1271, $34.95

Designer Crompton presents a visual celebration of 22 iconoclastic women artists—including Nina Chanel Abney, Judy Chicago, Maja Djordjevic, Yayoi Kusama, and Mickalene Thomas—representing a wide range of mediums and techniques. Bringing together arresting works from around the world and offering glimpses into the lives of the artists who behind them, the book seeks to motivate and empower readers, and challenge them to find solace in shared human experiences of solidarity, enlightenment, passion, and laughter, and to find a new way of seeing the world.

Warriors, Witches, Women

Kate Hodges, illus. by Harriet Lee-Merrion (White Lion)

ISBN 978-1-78131-926-0, $24.99

Hodges looks at mythology through a feminist lens, showcasing 50 of the fiercest females in this modern retelling of the world’s greatest legends. Their powerful and entrancing stories are retold and updated by Hodges, who places each heroine, rebel, and provocateur firmly at the center of their own narrative. Players include bewitching, banished Circe, an introvert famed and feared for her transfigurative powers; the righteous Furies, defiantly unrepentant about their dedication to justice; and fun-loving Ame-no-Uzume, who makes quarrelling friends laugh and terrifies monsters by flashing them. Lee-Merrion’s illustrations bring these strong personalities to life.

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