My Brother's Book

Maurice Sendak's posthumously published My Brother's Book is a poetic send off from a profound artist. It feels like a final love letter to the world, to a beloved brother, and also to his partner of fifty years. It pulls together all the themes that populate his vast body of work in a slender volume of prose and stunning illustrations that bring William Blake to mind.

Men Explain Things To Me

Rebecca Solnit's slim volume brings to mind the Flaming Lips lyric, "a spoonful weighs a ton." They are referencing the density of planetary mass, but it's the right sentiment for this lean, intelligent set of essays in which each small bite of content feels like a meal, it is so filling with substance. 

East of the Sun West of the Moon

I still have my childhood copy of Mercer Mayer's East of the Sun West of the Moon. It's one of my most beloved treasures from that time. When I pick it up it resonates with the same magic it held so many years ago. The story follows a resilient girl's difficult quest to rescue her prince. Overcoming fear and enduring hardship, she encounters magical sprits of the earth who encourage her along the way.

In The Company Of Women

Grace Bonney, the founder of Design Sponge, is responsible for this inspiring collection of interviews and photographs of women of all kinds who have carved their own paths to successful creative living. They have overcome adversity to run their own businesses, create their own art, speak their own messages in clear proud voices. What is so important about this book is that Bonney has made them visible for other women to see proof of what can be done - evidence that women can lead. If we cannot see ourselves reflected in positions of power and respect we may not ponder what is possible.

Cloth Lullaby

This biographical picture book introduces the reader to the life of Louise Bourgeois, a French-American artist whose work ranged from sculpture, installation, weaving, painting and printmaking. In a narrative crafted for children, it focuses on the childhood of a young girl who grows into an artist. Though appropriate for children I feel this book will resonate more deeply with adults, especially for those with a background in - or appreciation of - visual arts. 

The Doyle Diary

Here's some spooky October fun! Charles Altamont Doyle, father of Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle, was living at the Montrose Royal Lunatic Asylum in Scotland when he created this diary of musings and sketches. He draws sinister birds, plants and flowers, fairies and peculiar ladies. 

Star Child

Claire A. Nivola's elegant little book Star Child tells the story of the human life cycle through the eyes of a star born on Earth. Star elders tell the story of how he would be born human, grow up, fall in love with the beautiful world, and be swept up in our river of time. It deals with love, change and loss with a very gentle touch.

Brown Bag Books

I was pleasantly surprised to wander into an unexpected bookshop while on a beer-y afternoon in San Pedro, complete with an Honesty Library payment system, and a nicely curated selection.

Virgina Wolf

Using a fictional account of the relationship between sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, this story teaches empathy, compassion and the power of art to heal. This is also a great introduction to an important historical author - by tapping into the sisters relationship and creating a captivating magical  world, this book succeeds in holding a child's interest.

The People Of Paper

The People of Paper struck all the right cords. It is filled with loneliness, longing, mediations on the magic of paper, beautiful graphic design with unconventional typography. After immersing in the metafiction of this novel, I had trouble going back to more conventional reads.

Bart's Books

Bart’s Books is is the largest independently owned and operated outdoor bookstore in the country. If traveling to Ojai, Ca., book lovers should stop here. Books line the exterior walls, and within patrons can browse and relax in the open sunlight and air.

The Teapot Opera

In this tiny book of photography a miniature “opera” is enacted by staged objects - a teapot, a toy horse, bits of sculpture, billiard balls, a glass eye. The narrative follows the birth of an idea as it travels to full completion. The teapot emerges form the sea, breaks apart to reveal a white stallion, who then transforms into the sun and plants. 

A Visit to William Blake's Inn

Visit an imaginary inn run by William Blake. Fully illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen with bread baking dragons, the Man in the Marmalade Hat, the King of Cats, the Wise Cow, and Blake himself. All populate this book of Nancy Willard's lovely nonsensical poetry - the first Newbery winning book to also be named a Caldecott Honor Book.

Old Books = Sketchbooks

It's nice to have a book you can doodle and paint in with out worrying about the end results. It's ok if the drawing fails, or the color choice was wrong, it's a disposable experiment - a safe place to explore.