Books about Books Holiday Roundup

With the holiday season fast upon us, we have already posted our shortlist of bookish gift ideas, which includes five recently published books about books worthy of your attention. Today, we’re going to add five just-released titles to our list, any one of which would make a terrific holiday gift for you or some bibliophile you love.

Illustrated DJ.jpgThe Illustrated Dust Jacket: 1920-1970 (Thames & Hudson, $39.95) by Martin Salisbury is a history of dust jackets, certainly a favorite topic among book collectors of modern first editions. Lushly illustrated (371 illustrations, according to the publisher), Salisbury’s exciting visual history showcases the work of Edward Gorey, Vanessa Bell, Alvin Lustig, and many others. A selection of favorites can be seen here.

Bookshops-cover.jpgBookshops: A Reader’s History (Biblioasis, $24.95) by Jorge Carrión welcomes the reader into the world’s bookshops in a series of meditative essays based on his travels; Carrión was a bibliotourist before that was a thing. Recalling a 2002 trip to Antiquos Libros Modernos in Buenos Aires, he writes, “Touching old books is one of the few tactile experiences that can connect you to a distant past.” This is the ideal read for a cozy weekend trip.    

Purcell.jpgThe Country House Library (Yale University Press, $55) by Mark Purcell is a beautiful volume, sumptuously illustrated with photos of private library interiors as well as close-ups of the books, manuscripts, and objects they contain. Purcell, the deputy director of Cambridge University Library, provides erudite commentary as he takes us into these grand rooms. If you combined Downton Abbey with books about books, this would be the delightful result.    

Joseph Banks' Florilegium 9780500519363.jpgJoseph Banks’ Florilegium (Thames & Hudson, $85), with texts by Mel Gooding, David Mabberley, and Joe Studholme, is impressive: a folio-sized, full-color publication of eighteenth-century botanical prints initially commissioned by Banks upon his return from Captain Cook’s first sail around the world. If you have a penchant for botany, voyages, and travel, this is your perfect storm.  

Steffens F17 Unpacking.jpgUnpacking My Library: Artists and Their Books (Yale University Press, $20), edited by Jo Steffens and Matthias Neumann, follows on the heels of two others in the Unpacking series: Architects and Their Books, and Writers and Their Books. The photos--wide shots and shelfies--offer a peek into the libraries of ten contemporary artists and are accompanied by engaging interviews. Personal favorites: the pic of Theaster Gates’ library, and reading about Ed Ruscha’s collection of fore-edge paintings.

Images courtesy of the publishers

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