Warren Lehrer’s Book List
I suppose it’s better to be addicted to books than a lot of other objects of desire and consumption. Still, when the walls of your home and your office are lined with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled to capacity—two books deep on a shelf—it can be a sign of problems lurking. Among other hazards of being a polyamorous bibliophile—choosing favorites is nearly impossible.
For this list, I decided to focus on works of visual literature: books (mostly fiction, some non-fiction, a few hybrids) whose visual composition is an integral part of the writing. The authors of these books employ a wide range of visual, typographic, and structural strategies. They seek to discover the shape of thought, give form to metaphors, reflect different kinds of relationships, syntax, rhythms of speech, qualities of character, and ways of reading. Most of these titles also incorporate images as a part of the storytelling. In some, the text becomes image, and images are part of the text. One book on this list uses only images to tell the story. Many of these authors take advantage of the physical properties of the book as a medium. Some put it all together themselves; others collaborate with designers and artists.
Stéphane Mallarmé’s vision (from over a century ago) of a radically new kind of book never really took hold beyond the “lunatic fringes” of the literary, art, or book-reading worlds. Although, now that the second wave of the digital revolution threatens the book (as we have known it), and writers have all kinds of writing machines at their disposal, a greater number of odd-looking novels and works of visual literature are finding their way into the hands of readers. It may not be a revolution, but in light of these interesting times for “vis lit,” here is my list of a few landmark or notable (modern and contemporary) works, and some comments. I also include three scholarly books that chronicle the field.
- Book Builder: A Conversation with Irma Boom
- Book List of the Week: Emanuela Frattini Magnusson
- Book List of the Week: Stefan Sagmeister
- Three Design Students Will Win a Chance to Interview Stefan Sagmeister Live in His Studio on February 6
- Rizzoli Bookstore Announces Special Sale on May 1 and 2 Open to the Designers & Books Community
- Win Copies of Books on Two Great Modernists: Adolf Loos and Paul T. Frankl
- 15 Books on Art Deco
- Book List of the Week: Carlo Ratti
- 4 Books on Adolf Loos
- Quote of the Day: Carlo Ratti & Smart Cities
- Win Copies of Fifty Years of Illustration and TM: The Untold Stories Behind 29 Classic Logos
- Win a Copy of Urban Acupuncture by Visionary Urbanist Jaime Lerner
- Designers & Books Curates a Book Fair @ Dwell on Design NY, October 9–11
- Win a Copy of Being: An Architect by Ian Ritchie
- Win Design Books at the Designers & Books Fair @Dwell on Design New York, Through Oct. 11