Archive for the ‘Books and Reviews’ Category

Check out these works by Mary Lou Dauray specially commissioned for the Night+Day travel guide book covers.  Beauties. There are lots of great things about these guides (I should know, I work editorially on them), but I’ll save all that for another time.

New Orleans

New Orleans

New York

New York






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I’ve been drooling over Faber’s gorgeous 80th anniversary poetry covers ever since spotting them on designsponge last week.  Illustrators and printmakers were commissioned for the covers of six new editions of twentieth-century poetry (by W.B. Yeats, W.H. Auden, Sylvia Plath, John Betjemen, T.S. Eliot, and Ted Hughes) and the woodcut and linocut results on the covers and matching endpapers are just beautiful. I recently started dabbling in linocuts and found these to be fantastic inspiration. Visit FaceOut Books for a great description of project designer Miriam Rosenbloom’s process, including how themes, artists, and unifying elements were chosen. I’d think they’d make beautiful gifts. W.H. Auden Faber 80th Anniversary EditionPoetry of WH Auden, poems selected by John Fuller, cover by Paul CatherallSylvia Plath Faber 80th Anniversary EditionPoetry of Sylvia Plath, poems selected by Ted Hughes, cover by Peter LawrenceJohn Betjeman Faber 80th Anniversary EditionPoetry of John Betjeman, poems selected by Hugo Williams, cover by Joe McLarenT.S. Eliot Faber 80th Anniversary EditionPoetry of T.S. Eliot, poems selected by T.S. Eliot, cover by Clare CurtisW.B. Yeats Faber 80th Anniversary EditionW.B. Yeats, poems selected by Seamus Heaney, cover by Heaney Nick MorleyTed Hughes Faber 80th Anniversary EditionPoetry of Ted Hughes, poems selected by Simon Armitage, cover by Mark Hearld

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san-francisco-guidebookThe San Francisco guidebook San Francisco Step by Step (published by Insight Guides) became available today at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and other major book retailers. Whether you’re a San Francisco visitor, newcomer, or someone who has called the Bay Area home for years, this San Francisco travel guidebook’s walking tours are a great way to explore San Francisco on foot. Of course, another reason I’m so excited about these San Francisco walking tours is because I wrote them! To learn more about the San Francisco Step by Step travel guidebook, click here.  Happy exploring!

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I think I’ve made it pretty clear on this blog that I love books.  I also love lots of things related to words, language, and typography. So today, I’m posting about letters. I’m sure many of you have noticed the widespread use of stand-alone letters. I don’t mean monogramming on sweaters, linens, or coffee cups, I mean the giant letter above a bed, or a name or other word spelled out using letters in different colors and styles. Just flip through a Pottery Barn catalog and you’ll probably find a few examples of letters used in decorating homes, especially kids’ rooms.



Or step into an Anthropologie store, where there are fabric letters, zinc letters, massive oversize letters, letters on coat hooks, letters on pedestals…the list goes on and on.

abczincI think these letters are kinda fun, but also rather generic. What I really love is the idea of using vintage letters and mixing and matching colors and materials to make a more visually interesting word. If you’re thinking of incorporating some vintage letters into your next design project, there’s a fantastic San Francisco store that’s one of the best places in the country to find vintage letters of all sizes, colors, and materials. The spot? Timeless Treasures, at 2176 Sutter Street. For the last decade, owner Joan O’Conner has been been hunting around estate sales, flea markets, and auctions (especially in France and New England) and the result is a cozy nest of vintage home furnishings.




For those that aren’t in San Francisco, Joan is great about helping long-distance customers. If you tell her the words you want to spell and any ideas you have about the colors, sizes, materials, or origins of letters (and punctuation too), she’ll put together some sample combinations, photograph them, and email them to you. Pretty awesome. Check out her Timeless Treasures blog here, where there are lots of examples of how people have used her letters in their own homes, businesses, and photographs  Just a few to whet your appetite…

joker(Timeless Treasures letters in an art work by Jeff Lipkin)


(Timeless Treasures letters in a home in Spokane)


(Timeless Treasures letters in a shot by photographer Kelly Smith)

west-elm1(Timeless Treasures letters in a West Elm catalog)


(Timeless Treasures letters in a garden in Menlo Park, CA)

bar-jules(Timeless Treasures letters at Bar Jules in San Francisco)

On a related note, I’ve just added Laurent Pflughaupt’s Letter by Letter to my ever-growing to-read stack.


I found it on the Chronicle Books website. This description won me over:

“In Letter by Letter graphic designer and calligrapher Laurent Pflughaupt analyzes each letter of the Roman alphabet in detail, tracing its origin, evolution, and form, as well as discussing its important abbreviations, symbols, and associated meanings. Arranged in alphabetical order, twenty-six entries offer a wealth of facts about each letter, establishing correspondences between letters and elements borrowed from a variety of different fields of study, ranging from traditional paleography, phonetics, and graphic arts to the more arcane areas of musicology, esotericism, and even Eastern philosophy. In addition to a glossary, timelines and images allow us to visualize the letters during the different historical eras, giving the reader an appreciation of their successive metamorphoses. Written as an homage, this lovingly illustrated book takes a broad approach to the modern alphabet, allowing the reader to see letters anew, in a fresh and lively manner guaranteed to inform and enchant anyone interested in typography and language.”

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For those of you that liked the Abelardo Morell shots from yesterday, I forgot to mention that you can get some for your coffee table via his A Book of Books, a collection of his book-related photographs.


Drooling over Morell’s images yesterday only made me hungry for more book photography. And look what I found:


This gem is On Reading,  a compilation of André Kertész’ photographs. I found it at the SFMOMA store (which never disappoints me). From the MOMA website: “André Kertész was one of the most inventive, influential, and prolific photographers in the medium’s history. Taken between 1920 and 1970, these photographs capture people reading in many parts of the world. Kertész’s images celebrate the absorptive power and pleasure of this solitary activity and speak to readers everywhere.” I think it would make a perfect coffee table book for both literature lovers and photographers. Check out the gallery here with loads of amazing photographs.


I also found that there is a Kertész exhibit running until March 22, 2009 at the Grand Rapids Art Museum in Michigan. Wish I could check that out!

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This blog has moved to http://curledupwithabook.com.

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Apartment Therapy introduced me yesterday to these beautiful books and I thought they looked so pretty I had to share. They are the Fine Editions series published by White’s Books, the new venture of former Penguin designer David Pearson. The books are classic works of literature and the presentation is really fantastic. Leading artists are commissioned to create wrap-around cover designs, which are then printed onto cloth using brass printing blocks. Other features: elegant typesetting, thick acid-free paper, printed end-pages, and a pretty red ribbon to mark your place. Jane Eyre, Treasure Island, The Christmas Books, and Sonnets and Poems are currently available (with illustrations by Petra Börner, Joe McLaren, Stanley Donwood, and David Pearson) but come June, Wuthering Heights and Pride and Prejudice will be added to the collection. Click here to read an interview with David Pearson about the project on the Creative Review blog.


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Remember how I posted a few weeks ago about the zombie Pride and Prejudice book by Seth Grahame-Smith coming out? The NY Times has noticed all the chatter about the book too. Check out this article: I Was a Regency Zombie. Perhaps my favorite line: “Holy Northanger Abbey!” LOL.

P.S. The book’s opening line is: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

P.P.S. If you can believe it, there is also a competing film project in the works, called Pride and Predator. More here.

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