Art-Related Book Gift Guide

Yes, you can get some amazing and inspiring books for under $1oo, most under $30. These fifteen are some of my favorites. I've included links to my related blog posts.

 The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems
Reproductions of the envelope fragments and their small poems, beautifully presented. Hardcover. See the last paragraph of this post.

 Nets by Jen Bervin
The Sonnets of William Shakespeare printed in gray, with certain words in black that make new found poems. Small paperback.

 Sophie Calle: True Stories
French photographer pairs each photo with an original one- or two-page short story. Slim hardcover.

 Jess: O! Tricky Cad and Other Jessoterica
Jess's paste-ups (reproductions of his collages) collected between two covers, including his Dick Tracy/Tricky Cad series, complete with a facsimile of O! contained in an envelope pocket. Oversize paperback. My post here.

 The Principles of Uncertainty by Maira Kalman
Drawings, lettering, paintings, photographs described by Ms. Kalman on the front flap: "This is a year in my life profusely illustrated. Abounding with anguish, confusion, bits of wisdom, musings, meanderings, buckets of joie de vivre and restful sojourns." Hardcover.

 The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait (Intro by Carlos Fuentes, essays by Sarah M. Lowe)
Loose and lively drawings, writings, and paintings from an artist normally known for her tight, methodical technique. Thumbnails of each page and translations into English are included at the back. Hardcover.

 A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel (Fifth Edition) by Tom Phillips
A Human Document has been treated, page-by-page to make this formerly Victorian novel a contemporary altered book. Small-format paperback. See my post here.

 Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer
Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz has been die cut to create a new story by Safran Foer. Paperback. See my post here.

 In and Out of the Garden by Sara Midda
A lovely illustrated journal, described on the front flap as, "a potpourri of garden lore." Tiny, exquisite details and gorgeous lettering. Sweet Ribbon bookmark. Hardcover.

 The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction by Dean Young
The creative process he describes applies not only to poetry, but to all creative arts. Many examples from visual art are used. His word choices are luscious and wonderful.

 The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan and Quentin Fiore
This classic holds up well today, particularly in this intermingled image and text format. It reads like book art. Very visual. Small paperback. See my post here.

 The World Doesn't End by Charles Simic
This collection of poetry by the 1990 Pulitzer Prize winner contains fantastic imagery that hovers between surrealistic stories and poems. Softcover.

 13 Words by Maira Kalman and Lemony Snicket
1. Bird 2. Despondent 3. Cake 4. Dog 5. Busy 6. Convertible 7. Goat 8. Hat 9. Haberdashery 10. Scarlet 11. Baby 12. Panache 13. Mezzo-Soprano. A collaboration. Children's book format.

 The Arrival by Shaun Tan 
  Tales From Outer Suburbia
One is a fantastic story of an immigrant told completely in pictures, the other is a series of short stories that each stand alone with its own style and imagery. Children's book formats. See my post here.

Then, of course…
Making Handmade Books: 100+ Bindings, Structures & Forms
Comprehensive book of book structures. 41 artist's paragraphs about their process. Oversize paperback.

Expressive Handmade Books
In-depth focus on certain structures and their variations. Suggested themes for working with content. Available in hardcover and softcover.

Painted Paper: Techniques & Projects for Handmade Books & Cards
Variety of techniques for painting paper with acrylic inks and gesso including sgraffito, paste papers, wet-on-wet, stenciling, masking, and layering, among others. A handful of book structures and other projects included so you can put your newly decorated sheets to use. Available in hardcover and softcover.

These are smaller format, softcover—the magazine I founded and edit:
Star 82 Review 1.1 (creative) Spring
"objects of wonder are pivots for the works"

Star 82 Review 1.2 (skin) Summer
"planes, trains, and automobiles…
parents and children, dreams and daydreams,
life cycle events, and life in general."

Star 82 Review 1.3 (floating) Fall
"…comment on the person who may feel displaced,
unsure, or uneasy."

Handmade Books/Book Art
Browse book art at Vamp & Tramp and Seager Gray Gallery.
My books are here and miniature books, here, and most books from my website may be ordered from them as well.


Kelly Kilmer said…
Fabulous list, Alisa! Thank you! I have so many of them already (including yours) but there are a couple that I haven't heard of. Do you have Shaun Tan's sketchbook? It's a wonderful insight into his process.