Art and Culture Books

Art and Culture Books

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Good books to reads. How about an art or culture book? We have selected a number of art and culture books which would also make great personal gift ideas.

 

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

This year’s Booker Prize winner is a biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court. Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality the black Chinese restaurant.

Buy the Sellout

 

 

Great Again: How to Fix Our Crippled America Donald Trump

OK so yes it happened, the unthinkable, in one of the most dramatic, shocking occurrences in American political history Donald Trump was voted President. It may seem stranger than an episode of the Simpsons but the reality is yes to say it again, Trump will be the new American president and in the White House. While liberals everywhere talk about the end of the world as we know it an army of supporters see his victory as truly a chance to rip up the rule book. Build a wall between Mexico, leave NATO, form ties with Putin, hugely raise the tax on Chinese imports and put Hilary Clinton in prison have all been part of Trump talking tough. This is Trump’s book on how and what is needed to “make America great again”.

Buy Great Again

 

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well

One of our favourite life affirming books. Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That’s down to one thing: hygge.

‘Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight…’

You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.

Who better than Meik Wiking to be your guide to all things hygge? Meik is CEO of the Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen and has spent years studying the magic of Danish life. In this beautiful, inspiring book he will help you be more hygge: from picking the right lighting and planning a dinner party through to creating an emergency hygge kit and even how to dress.

Wiking  is committed to finding out what makes people happy and has concluded that hygge is the magic ingredient that makes Danes the happiest nation in the world.   Buy The Little Book of Hygge

 

Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills 

A perfect gift for Cindy Sherman or art lovers everywhere. Cindy Sherman’s Untitled Film Stills, a series of 69 black-and-white photographs created between 1977 and 1980, is widely seen as one of the most original and influential achievements in recent art. Witty, provocative and searching, this lively catalogue of female roles inspired by the movies crystallizes widespread concerns in our culture, examining the ways we shape our personal identities and the role of the mass media in our lives.

Buy Cindy Sherman: The Complete Untitled Film Stills 

 

Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world

The book reveals a set of simple yet powerful practices that can be incorporated into daily life to help break the cycle of unhappiness, stress, anxiety and mental exhaustion and promote genuine joie de vivre. It’s the kind of happiness that gets into your bones. It seeps into everything you do and helps you meet the worst that life can throw at you with new courage.

Buy Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world

 

The Art of Peace

These inspirational teachings show that the real way of the warrior is based on compassion, wisdom, fearlessness, and love of nature. Drawn from the talks and writings of Morihei Ueshiba, founder of the popular Japanese martial art known as Aikido, The Art of Peace, presented here in a pocket-sized edition, offers a nonviolent way to victory and a convincing counterpoint to such classics as Musashi’s Book of Five Rings and Sun Tzu’s Art of War.

Buy The Art of Peace

 

Fela: This Bitch of a Life: The Authorized Biography of Africa’s Musical Genius 

Superstar, composer, singer, musician, mystic and political activist, Nigeria’s Fela Kuti was a wildly flamboyant and controversial figure. Fela This Bitch of A Life digs deep to unearth many previously hidden aspects of this complex man who died of AIDS in 1997 after a tumultuous life of musical pioneering.

In the years since his death, Fela Kuti’s reputation has continued to grow, spawning the Tony-award winning Fela! The Musical, now an international success.

The book is based on many hours of conversation with Kuti himself and gives an intimate insight to someone whose many public faces often hid the innermost feelings of the man.

You might also like a brilliant documentary from filmmaker Alex Gibney, “Finding Fela“, which uses period interviews and performances plus highlights of the Broadway production of “Fela!” to tell the story of Afrobeat music pioneer.

Buy Fela: This Bitch of a Life: The Authorized Biography of Africa’s Musical Gen

 

Transmetropolitan Vol 1: Back on the Street 

Written by Warren Ellis Art by Darick Robertson, Jerome K. Moore, Keith Aiken, Ray Kryssing, Dick Giordano, Kim DeMulder and Rodney Ramos Cover by Darick Robertson DC’s new editions of TRANSMETROPOLITAN begin here, with this volume collecting issues #1-6 of the acclaimed Vertigo series from writer Warren Ellis and artist Darick Robertson!

After years of self-imposed exile from a civilization rife with degradation and indecency, cynical journalist Spider Jerusalem is forced to return to a job he hates and a city he loathes. Working as an investigative reporter for the newspaper The Word, Spider attacks the injustices of his surreal 23rd century surroundings. In this first volume, Spider ventures into the dangerous Angels 8 district, home of the Transients ― humans who have decided to become aliens through cosmetic surgery.

But Spider’s interview with the Transients’ leader gets him a scoop he didn’t bargain for. And don’t miss Spider’s first confrontation with the President of the United States . . . in a men’s room.

Buy Transmetropolitan Vol 1: Back on the Street 

 

Stanley Kubrick: A Biography 

The most complete account yet of one of the most original and stimulating film-makers of the post-war years: Paths of Glory, Dr Strangelove, Lolita, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Barry Lindon, Full Metal Jacket …

A biography of this pre-eminent cultural figure is long overdue. Few film-makers have managed to maintain their mystique over forty years; Kubrick succeeded by preparing his films for years, so that each distilled the essence of the zeitgeist. To the generation of the 1950s, he was one of the few directors to achieve, with Paths of Glory, the dignity and stature of the European cinema in an American film. To 1960s audiences, he’s the man who made both Dr Strangelove, the ultimate anti-war movie, and the counter-culture classic 2001: A Space Odyssey. In the 1970s he created that archetypal hymn to urban violence, A Clockwork Orange. In the 1980s, he put Stephen King on screen in The Shining.

Buy Stanley Kubrick: A Biography 

 

The Yellow Birds 

The Yellow Birds is the debut novel from American writer, poet, and Iraq war veteran Kevin Powers.

Much of the novel draws upon Powers’s experience serving a year as a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar, Iraq, from February 2004 to March 2005 after enlisting in the Army at the age of 17.

A contemporary war fiction classic it received almost universal rave reviews for its perception of war and the effects on individuals.

Buy The Yellow Birds 

 

Edie: American Girl

The original IT girl. When Edie was first published, it quickly became an international bestseller and then took its place among the classic books about the 1960s. Edie Sedgwick exploded into the public eye like a comet. She seemed to have it all: she was aristocratic and glamorous, vivacious and young, Andy Warhol’s superstar.

But within a few years she flared out as quickly as she had appeared, and before she turned twenty-nine she was dead from a drug overdose. In a dazzling tapestry of voices; family, friends, lovers, rivals, the entire meteoric trajectory of Edie Sedgwick’s life is brilliantly captured. And so is the Pop Art world of the 60s: the sex, drugs, fashion, music, the mad rush for pleasure and fame.

All glitter and flash on the outside, it was hollow and desperate within like Edie herself, and like her mentor, Andy Warhol. Alternately mesmerizing, tragic, and horrifying, this book shattered many myths about the 60s experience in America.”     Buy Edie: American Girl

You might also like a superb film about Edie, Factory Girl, with a tour de force performance from Sienna Miller. 

 

In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

‘I am most grateful for two things: that I was born in North Korea, and that I escaped from North Korea.’

Yeonmi Park was not dreaming of freedom when she escaped from North Korea. She didn’t even know what it meant to be free. All she knew was that she was running for her life, that if she and her family stayed behind they would die – from starvation, or disease, or even execution.

This book is the story of Park’s struggle to survive in the darkest, most repressive country on earth; her harrowing escape through China’s underworld of smugglers and human traffickers; and then her escape from China across the Gobi desert to Mongolia, with only the stars to guide her way, and from there to South Korea and at last to freedom; and finally her emergence as a leading human rights activist – all before her 21st birthday.

Buy In Order To Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

You might also like:    Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea 

 

Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas

This popular anthology of twentieth–century art theoretical texts has now been expanded to take account of new research, and to include significant contributions to art theory from the 1990s.

  • New edition of this popular anthology of twentieth–century art–theoretical texts.
  • Now updated to include the results of new research, together with significant contributions from the 1990s.
  • Includes writings by critics, philosophers, politicians and literary figures.
  • The editors provide contextual introductions to 340 texts.
  • Complements Art in Theory 1648–1815and Art in Theory 1815–1900 to create a complete survey of the theories underpinning the development of art in the modern period.  Buy Art in Theory 1900-2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas.

 

Bauhaus 

The Bauhaus Archive/Museum of Design in Berlin holds the most important collection on the Bauhaus today. Documents, workshop products from all areas of design, studies sketches in the classroom, and architectural plans and models are all part of its comprehensive inventory. The Bauhaus Archive is dedicated to the study and presentation of the history of the Bauhaus, including the new Bauhaus in Chicago and the Hochschule fur Gestaltung (Institute of Design) in Ulm.

This book, drawn from the Archive’s extensive collection, traces this monumental movement in art and architecture via the work of its most important proponents, including Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee.

Buy Bauhaus

 

Edward Burtynsky: Oil

A stunning selection of images. “In 1997 I had what I refer to as my oil epiphany. It occurred to me that the vast, human-altered landscapes that I pursued and photographed for over twenty years were only made possible by the discovery of oil and the mechanical advantage of the internal combustion engine. It was then that I began the oil project.

Over the next ten years I researched and photographed the largest oil fields I could find. I went on to make images of refineries, freeway interchanges, automobile plants and the scrap industry that results from the recycling of cars. Then I began to look at the culture of oil, the motor culture, where masses of people congregate around vehicles, with vehicle events as the main attraction. These images can be seen as notations by one artist contemplating the world as it is made possible through this vital energy resource and the cumulative effects of industrial evolution.” (Edward Burtynsky)

Buy Edward Burtynsky: Oil

 

Around India in 80 Trains 

In 1991, Monisha Rajesh’s family uprooted from Sheffield to Madras in the hope of making India their home. Two years later, fed up with soap-eating rats, severed human heads and the creepy colonel across the road, they returned to England with a bitter taste in their mouths.

Two decades on, she turns to a map of the Indian Railways and takes a page out of Jules Verne’s classic tale, embarking on an adventure around India in 80 trains, covering 40,000km – the circumference of the Earth. She hopes that 80 train journeys up, down and across India will lift the veil on a country that has become a stranger to her.

Along the way, Monisha discovers that the Indian Railways – featuring luxury trains, toy trains, Mumbai’s infamous commuter trains, and even a hospital on wheels – have more than a few stories to tell, not to mention a colourful cast of characters. And with a self-confessed ‘militant devout atheist’ in tow, her personal journey around a country built on religion isn’t quite what she bargained for…

Buy Around India in 80 Trains 

 

Homo Deus:  A Brief History of Tomorrow

 

At the heart of this spellbinding book is a simple but chilling idea: human nature will be transformed in the 21st century because intelligence is uncoupling from consciousness. We are not going to build machines any time soon that have feelings like we have feelings: that’s consciousness. Robots won’t be falling in love with each other (which doesn’t mean we are incapable of falling in love with robots).

But we have already built machines – vast data-processing networks – that can know our feelings better than we know them ourselves: that’s intelligence. Google – the search engine, not the company – doesn’t have beliefs and desires of its own. It doesn’t care what we search for and it won’t feel hurt by our behaviour. But it can process our behaviour to know what we want before we know it ourselves. That fact has the potential to change what it means to be human. (David Runciman, The Gaurdian)

War is obsolete
You are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in conflict

Famine is disappearing
You are at more risk of obesity than starvation

Death is just a technical problem
Equality is out – but immortality is in

What does our future hold?

Buy Homo Deus:  A Brief History of Tomorrow

You might also like: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

 

Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

Since its U.S. debut a quarter-century ago, this brilliant text has set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. It is also an outstanding political economy, a social and cultural narrative of the highest quality, and perhaps the finest description of primitive capital accumulation since Marx.

Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation. Thus he is concerned with gold and silver, cacao and cotton, rubber and coffee, fruit, hides and wool, petroleum, iron, nickel, manganese, copper, aluminum ore, nitrates, and tin. These are the veins which he traces through the body of the entire continent, up to the Rio Grande and throughout the Caribbean, and all the way to their open ends where they empty into the coffers of wealth in the United States and Europe.

Weaving fact and imagery into a rich tapestry, Galeano fuses scientific analysis with the passions of a plundered and suffering people. An immense gathering of materials is framed with a vigorous style that never falters in its command of themes. All readers interested in great historical, economic, political, and social writing will find a singular analytical achievement, and an overwhelming narrative that makes history speak, unforgettably.

Buy Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent

 

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre

Dana Thomas’s Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre goes deep inside the workings of today’s world of profit margins and market share to discover the real meaning of ‘luxury’.

Fashion may be fabulous, but what’s the true price of luxury? From the importance of fashion owners, to red carpet stars and the seasonal ‘must-have’ handbags, Dana Thomas shows how far illustrious houses have moved from their roots. Thomas witnesses how these ‘luxury’ handbags are no longer one in a million, discovers why luxury brand clothing doesn’t last as long, and finds out just who is making your perfume.

From terrifying raids on the Chinese sweat shops to the daunting chic of Paris workshops, from the handcrafting and economics of early-twentieth century designers to the violent truth behind the ‘harmless’ fakes, Deluxe goes deep into the world of extravagance, and asks: where can true luxury go now?

Buy Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Lustre

My Life, Fidel Castro

The acclaimed autobiography of Fidel Castro, one of the towering political figures of our age, who dominated both Cuba and the world stage for over half a century.

Here Castro tells his story in full for the first time, speaking openly about everything from his parents and earliest influences to his imprisonment, guerrilla war and the Cuban revolution and on to the Bay of Pigs, the missile crisis and his relationship with Che Guevara. He also remembers the people he knew, from John F. Kennedy to Ernest Hemingway. Whatever your views on Castro are, this is an essential record of an incredible life – and even more extraordinary times.

Buy My Life by Fidel Castro

The Design of Everyday Things, revised and expanded edition

Even the smartest among us can feel inept as we try to figure out the shower control in a hotel or attempt to navigate an unfamiliar television set or stove. When The Design of Everyday Things was published in 1988, cognitive scientist Don Norman provocatively proposed that the fault lies not in ourselves, but in design that ignores the needs and psychology of people. Fully revised to keep the timeless principles of psychology up to date with ever-changing new technologies, The Design of Everyday Things is a powerful appeal for good design, and a reminder of how — and why — some products satisfy while others only disappoint.

Buy The Design of Everyday Things, revised and expanded edition

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