What we’re reading this summer


CAPE COD AND THE ISLANDS, A Drone’s Eye View by Caper Cod native Christopher Seufert who uses drones to take inspired photos of Cape Cod that are fresh, graphic, striking, unique and mesmerizing. Bridges, beaches, sunrises and sunsets, rolling sand dunes, blinking lighthouses, bountiful cranberry bogs, quaint marinas and harbors, boardwalks stretching to the sea, coastline cliffs, windswept shacks and cottages–they are all there–and simply out of this world. Published by Schiffer.

DREAM OF VENICE IN BLACK AND WHITE, Bella Figura Publications, JoAnn Locktov’s loving and evocative paean to this enchanting, beautiful and mysterious city in all its melancholy splendor. The magical tones of black and white and the absence of tourists in these photos only seem to magnify the dreamy light, magnificent reflections and paradoxical contrast of water and stone that makes Venice timeless. Acclaimed writer Tiziano Scarpa poignantly sets the tone in a touching introduction.

THE NEW CREATIVE HOME, London Style by Talib Choudhry with amazing photographs by Ingrid Rasmussen celebrates a rich mix of living spaces by peeking into the personal interiors of designers, stylists and artists–some of the world’s leading creatives in one of the world’s most vibrant cities. From the trendy and contemporary to Victoriana, a must-read for lifestyle and interior inspiration for any home, regardless of style. Published by Thames & Hudson.

TASTING THE PAST, Kevin Begos’s engaging study of the science of flavor and the search for the origins of wine. This is a lively and most interesting blend of science, travel, history and drink recommendations, educational and poetic. A myth-busting, history-reclaiming, science-centric, skeptical and yet loving and respectful effort.

AMERICA’S GREAT RIVER JOURNEYS: 50 Canoe, Kayak, and Raft Adventures by Tim Palmer and Richard Bangs is an inspirational bucket list for anyone interested in rafting, kayaking, or canoeing—from armchair traveler to recreational paddler to hard-core white-water enthusiast. Published by the great house of Rizzoli, this large format book is filled with vivid descriptions from the Penobscot to the Potomac, the New to the Suwannee, the Colorado to the Snake. AMERICA’S GREAT RIVER JOURNEYS entices people to experience America from its free-flowing waterways. Over fifty of our nation’s finest river trips are included with stunning photos of each leg of each journey, an engaging narrative, and practical tips about the length of trips, seasonal preferences, difficulty of white water, joys of camping along the shores, availability of professional outfitters, and other details.

Through beautiful images and compelling writing, AMERICA’S GREAT RIVER JOURNEYSis a celebration of the best rivers for canoeing, kayaking, and rafting—from Alaska to Florida—along 7,000 miles of our nation’s spectacular waterways in twenty-eight states. Where are our paddles? We want the allure and enchantment of rivers this excellent book brings.

MY TWENTY-FIVE YEARS IN PROVENCE published by Knopf and written by beloved author Peter Mayle, champion of all things Provence, is his final volume of all new writing containing vivid recollections from twenty-five years in the South of France–lessons learned, culinary delights enjoyed, and changes observed. It is a charming and thoughtful read for Francophiles and first-timers. Provence becomes magical in Mayle’s writing. With warmth, wit, and humor, this is a one-of-a-kind, personal and must-have guide to the continuing appeal of this bewitching region.

IT’S BEAUTIFUL HERE: Homes that Make Your Heart Skip a Beat by Megan Morton, beautiful homes (and the people who make them) from the unrivaled queen of interiors, Thames & Hudson publishers. With her trademark wit and enthusiasm Morton gives us a peek into the abodes of the people who have by luck, chance or determination nailed that ever elusive interiors je ne sais quoi. From Paris to New York and even Adelaide, we meet a motley crew of renters, Barbie Dreamhouse owners and accidental interior heroes and learn that a beautiful home doesn’t rest on great design alone–it’s shaped by the people who live there. Illustrated in color throughout.

PLANT STYLE, How to Greenify Your Space by Alana Langan and Jacqui Vidal, Thames & Hudson publishers, offers expert advice on how to make your home fashionably lush with greenery. Extensively illustrated with photography by Annette O’Brien, this book if packed with design-savvy tips and all the answers–from the basics to advanced styling details–for the perfect plant-filled sanctuary.

BARS, TAVERNS & DIVES NEW YORKERS LOVE: Where to Go, What to Drink written and illustrated by bartender and artist John Tebeau, published by the great house of Rizzoli. A great night out in the city starts with this illuminating and hilarious guide to 50-plus bars, taverns, and dives in the city’s five boroughs. With charming original illustrations, this book celebrates fifty of the Big Apple’s storied taverns, legendary dives, and bars and the drink recipes that will inspire you to become a regular.

UPCYCLING OUTDOORS published by Jacqui Small, an imprint of the Quarto Group, is author Max McMurdo’s inspirational collection of inventive projects, each built from recycled materials and unwanted spare parts. Along with learning how to turn junk into treasure, reading this book will teach you the basics of good outdoor design and where to find interesting scrap items. Invaluable chapters on planters and containers, outdoor structures, eating and entertaining, furniture and lighting and accessories will take you on a creative journey to get you upcycling and recycling.

Katsumi Yumioka’s KIMONO AND THE COLORS OF JAPAN reveals a unique antique kimono collection through various delicate Japanese colors and their use in kimono. The Japanese sensibility is immediately apparent in the classification of the nine traditional color categories of red, green, pink, blue, brown, purple, yellow, black/white, and gold/silver. Each spread presents a single color showing a page-wide photo of a kimono accompanied by a description of the color and its meaning in the context of Japanese culture. The author explains, “We organized the kimono and obi (sash) according to what I like to call ‘Japanese Kokoro no Iro’—colors of the Japanese heart. Each category presents what individual colors express or signify. For example, we use white, black and gold as an expression of cheer. Red indicates the sun, blood, and fire. White, black, and silver express sadness.” With the knowledge of both Western and traditional Japanese fashion cultures, Yumioka presents and describes his collection in an easily accessible style. A distinctive volume by PIE International books.

YOKAI WONDERLAND reveals all about Yokai, a class of supernatural monsters in Japanese folklore. In the Edo period (1603-1868), many artists, such as Hokusai Katsushika or Kuniyoshi Utagawa, created works featuring yokai that were inspired by folklore or their own imaginations. This book contains a lot of art works of Japanese yokai from the Edo period to today and includes not only paintings but also wood block prints, scrolls, ceramics, kimonos, wooden sculptures, magazines, toys for children, such as board games, and more.

This is the second series from the Yokai Museum and showcases a new collection of works, including never-before-seen works. All of the works featured in this book are from the personal collection of Koichi Yumoto, shown in the Yokai Museum in Hiroshima. Yumoto’s own commentary on the works and the history of yokai are also included.

This book will certainly appeal to Japanese art lovers, fans of yokai and also to those who are new to these fascinating supernatural creatures. It is also a valuable reference and source of inspiration for designers and illustrators. Another brilliant book from PIE International books.

EVERYDAY SCENES FROM A PARALLEL WORLD is a celebration of the beauty of the scenes and backgrounds in anime and manga. This unusual book turns the spotlight exclusively on the scenes and background illustrations. With only a few ordinary characters in these scenes, attention here is focused on the beauty of the illustrated backgrounds.

These background artworks feature familiar scenes from daily life: nostalgic townscapes, detailed cityscapes, intricate architecture, rooms that look like doll houses, etc. They are extremely realistic and detailed–almost like photographs–but at the same time give readers the sense that we are looking at images of a parallel world.

The works featured are by 39 well-known, mostly Japanese creators, illustrators, and animators. Some creators featured have made their entire careers specializing in drawing backgrounds. Frequently overlooked, this book finally gives them the recognition they deserve. Additionally, a section that explains drawing techniques and materials is included. The profiles of creators with messages from each, descriptions of each creator’s techniques and preferred materials are written in both Japanese and English text.

This stunning collection will appeal to all art lovers and is sure to bring creators massive inspiration, too. Another gem from from PIE International books.

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