August 2012 | Nate Pedersen

The Tenenbaum Books

Wes Anderson's love of inserting fake books in his films is well-documented (and arguably unparalleled).  We recently wrote about the books in Anderson's latest film, Moonrise Kingdom.  But that wasn't the first Anderson piece featuring made-up books.  Quite a few also appeared in the 2001 hit The Royal Tenenbaums, about a dysfunctional family of depressed early geniuses, languishing in Manhattan.  The film was released on DVD by the Criterion Collection (who, like Anderson, are much loved for their careful attention to detail).  Criterion has now released a gallery of images depicting the covers for the various fake books seen throughout The Royal Tenebaums.

What I find so striking about Anderson's fake books is the way that they perfectly encapsulate that particular breed of mid to late 20th c. paperbacks found so often in secondhand bookshops. The fonts, color schemes, and graphic design of the covers are all spot-on.  Furthermore, the books display just the right amount of wear for mass printed paperbacks from that era.

Here are a few of the books from The Royal Tenenbaums, borrowed here from the Criterion gallery. (Check out their gallery for more of these great images):