Bookseller’s Choice
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About Leigh’s Choices:
“I usually read with no end to my appetite and no
category in mind; fiction, essays, memoirs, poetry,
history… anything with writing that grabs me and
draws me in. These days, I'm listening to a lot of
audiobooks and spending time with old favorites --
it turns out there's nothing like end-of-the-world
anxiety to keep me from finishing new books (who
knew?). I’ve also been spending far more quality
time with visual arts books, at home and in the
shop. In this collection are books I’ve found
affirming, comforting and inspiring -- over my life,
but especially in the past year -- and a selection of
forthcoming books I’m excited to read in the next
six months.”
Joan Mitchell
SFMoMA & Yale University
This gorgeous printed cloth-over-
board cover serves as the perfect
doorway into scholarly text, literary
essays by Paul Auster and Eileen
Myles among others, gatefolds with
detailed illustrations of Joan
Mitchell’s paintings, and much
more. It’s a masterful retrospective
that covers her career from 1950s
New York abstraction to huge
multipanel works, sketchbooks,
poem paintings, and her cultural
connections to music. Just blew me
The Longing for Less: Living with Minimalism
Kyle Chayka
If you’re decluttering, sparking joy, cleansing,
dieting, and finding yourself unsatisfied, I would
recommend this deep dive into the joys we can find in
minimalism in art, music, and architecture. Kyle
Chayka’s essays on the commodification of
minimalism are splendid! They offer context,
thoughts on the intention behind the movement, and
reveal some possible impacts of the consumer trend
for wanting less. He also has three (three!)
newsletters on entertainment, media and journalism,
and original essays in progress that never fail to
This 2018 monograph on the work of Luchita Hurtado
was the first ever published, in her 98th year on earth!
She’d been living, working and painting for nearly a
century before she got mainstream recognition. I find
her story and her art really inspiring. This collection
includes essays and interviews about and with her, and
a biographical timeline in the back.
Luchita Hurtado: I Live I Die I Will Be Reborn
Serpentine Galleries & Koenig Books
Bauhaus artist Anni Albers is most
well known for her masterful large
scale weavings. This monograph
features one that was commissioned
for the Hotel Camino Real in Mexico
City, not seen in public since 1989,
along with other prime examples of
Albers’ work that honors and
references traditional craftways. With
essays on Bauhaus craft and Latin
American art and culture, Camino
Real serves as a wonderful
introduction, or a great gift for a fan.
Anni Albers: Camino Real
Anni Albers
The Copenhagen Trilogy
Tove Ditlevsen
Also available as three individual paperback
editions, this is a masterwork of memoir,
following Tove from her childhood into adult
life. She captures with striking honesty the
difficulty of living up to competing roles as
woman, writer, wife and mother -- not to
mention the struggles of mental illness and
addiction -- in mid twentieth century
Denmark. She’s described by fellow Danish
writer Dorthe Nors (another favorite) as “the
Billie Holiday of poetry, accessible, complex,
and simple all at the same time. There’s a
special mournful sweetness in the earlier
poems that belongs to the girlish. Later, her
prose turned the dreams and
disappointments of life as a woman inside
Myriam Gurba
Memoir blended with true crime blended
with poetry and politic and humor.
Myram really fucking did it here, the
form is so fluid and so groundbreaking.
“Being mean isn’t for everybody. It’s best
practiced by those who understand it as
an art form. These virtuosos live closer to
the divine. They’re queers.”
I read this trilogy as it came out originally,
waiting in intense anticipation between books! I
recommend getting all three together and staying
in for however long it takes you. As in much of
Jemisin’s work, the world-building takes you
somewhere totally different without sacrificing the
relevance of the social relationships and
development of characters within. Empathy,
magic, wonder, grief, all of humanity wrapped up
in earth-shakingly powerful storytelling.
The Cost of Living
Deborah Levy
Second in a series of three short memoirs
--this one tracks Levy’s endeavor to take
herself and her writing seriously again
after divorcing her husband at fifty.
Moving into a drafty new apartment with
her daughter, with no dedicated space to
write, she pushes herself to do the
necessary work.
The Broken Earth Trilogy
N. K. Jemisin
Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the
Hilma af Klint
Only the second installment in an
overwhelming seven volume complete
catalog of the works of Hilma af Klint!
Her Paintings for the Temple Series is
the most famous of her work. It
consists of almost two hundred pieces
that are colorful, abstract, biomorphic,
visual translations of her own systems
of spiritual connection.
Yayoi Kusama: Every Day I Pray For Love
Yayoi Kusama
This is an intensely personal book,
based on the exhibition at David
Zwirner New York in 2019.
Includes tons of new paintings,
sculptures, and Infinity Mirror
Rooms, but my favorite part is how
much original WRITING is here.
Poetic remembrances paired with
photographs of the artist over time
grant us access to her unique and
magnificent creative mind.
Organized into three parts (The Cosmos,
Higher Beings, and Practitioners), this small
but mighty book covers occult and mystical
subjects in art through human history. Along
with sharply reproduced illustrations on
matte pages, it includes biographical
information on artists and their philosophical
and historical contexts. Sparks curiosity and
The Art of the Occult: A Visual
Sourcebook for the Modern Mystic
S. Elizabeth
Truly GRAND rooms. There is nothing
like this kind of luxury decoration,
sometimes flamboyant, sometimes
understated, to make me stare longingly
at my own familiar walls and reimagine
what my space could be. None of this is
really achievable or easy to scale down
for a Bay Area apartment. It’s pure,
delicious, fantasy.
The Lives of Others: Sublime
Interiors of Extraordinary People
Simon Watson
Catherine Lacey is one of my absolute favorite
writers. She translates loneliness onto the page
in magical ways, and cuts up culture mercilessly.
Despite its seriousness, PEW is a joy to read, and
as usual with Lacey, prescient.
Absurd comedy, devastating sadness, and
raunchiness beyond compare are what you get
from the stories of Megg, Mogg, Owl and their
crowd, dealing with real-world problems of
addiction, depression, and witch/familiar power
dynamics in relationships. Seeds & Stems is a
collection of fragments previously only available
in zines, on promotional material, and in weird
corners of the internet. My fave so far is a one-
color spread of Megg & Werewolf Jones’ band
practice, which includes a true banger called
"Winter Trauma."
Confessions of the Fox
Jordy Rosenberg
By Catherine Lacey
Lydia Millet's every sentence is a perfect little
razor. This novel hit me hard when I first read it,
and upon second read, settled right in to my
heart. Hilarious, visionary, and unsettling to the
max, with its priorities in all the right places.
Shortlisted for the National Book Award for
Fiction in 2020. Someday she’ll win.
A Children’s Bible
Lydia Millet
A gift of a novel! love, sex, transness,
queerness, piracy, and anti-colonialists
fighting corporate overseers and cops. Radical
energy on every page. It’s so smart, and so
sexy, and such a fun read.
Seeds and Stems
Simon Hanselmann
The Renunciations
Donika Kelly
As a big fan of Kelly’s 2016 collection,
Bestiary, I YELPED out loud when I
saw a new one on its way. Not to be
(Graywolf Press, May 4)
Euripides’ Trojan Women: A Comic
Anne Carson, Rosanna Bruno
A collaborative project from classicist and poet Carson
with the art of Bruno -- I’ve been growing tired of
“graphic adaptations” recently, but this one caught
my eye. Human characters are rendered as animals
(reminiscent of Maus) and the stark, textured black
and white seems a suitably solemn illustrative style
for a classic drama of war’s effects on humanity.
(New Directions, May 4)
Ripe Figs: Recipes and Stories from Turkey
Greece and Cyprus
Yasmin Khan
Another beautiful cookbook from the woman
behind Zaitun! The stories and recipes here show
the connections between foodways of the
Mediterranean and Middle East, tracing shared
routes of commerce and migration.
(W. W. Norton, May 4)
Women in Abstraction
Christine Macel
Based on an exhibit at the Centre
Pompidou in Paris, this is an incredible
overview of the often overlooked roles of
women in 20th Century Abstract art,
covering painting, dance, performance,
photography, film… all kinds of media.
I’ve only seen a few interiors, but I’m
really looking forward to getting my
hands on this one.
(Thames & Hudson, May 11)
available to pre-order now!
available to pre-order now!
Love the voice of this young character, her skill
and strength, her fierce unwillingness to cede her
true self despite immense pressure & abuse. Her
internal world so starkly mismatches her
surroundings. I also love to see a frank,
understated approach to sexual abuse that neither
re-victimizes nor objectifies its survivor.
(Scout Press, February 16)
No One is Talking About This
Patricia Lockwood
(Riverhead, February 16)
Own It: The Secret of Life
Diane Von Furstenberg
fragments on words of action, support,
inspiration from one of my favorite designers.
perfect small gift. from her intro “The secret of
life is one thing: own it. Own your imperfections.
Own your vulnerability; it becomes your
strength. Whatever your challenge is, own it.
Owning it is the first step to everything.'
(Phaidon Press, March 8)
Night Rooms: Essays
Gina Nutt
(Two Dollar Radio, March 23)
Dark Horses
Susan Mihalic
Stone Fruit
Lee Lai
(Fantagraphics, May 11)
With Teeth
Kristen Arnett
Arnett’s stories and novels (and twitter presence?) are
charming, funny, sometimes scary, always meaningfully
entertaining. Her newest is the story of two mothers dealing
with their frighteningly difficult young son. Moving and
tender, at the same time as it chills & thrills
(Riverhead, June 1)
A sure-to-be beautiful study of the homes and lives
of a collection of creative women. Twenty
philosophers, rebels, and artists from across the
globe share the spaces they’ve made for themselves.
Images rom Robyn Lea, an Australian
photographer, author, and director.
(Thames & Hudson, June 8))
A Room of Her Own
Robyn Lea
available to pre-order now!
Other People’s Comfort Keeps Me Up at Night
Morgan Parker
(Tin House, July 13)
Rachel Yoder
(Doubleday, July 20)
Seek You
Kristen Radtke
(Pantheon, July 6)
Katie Kitamura
(Riverhead, July 20)
What Strange Paradise
Omar El Akkad
(Knopf, July 20)
available to pre-order now!
Young, Gifted and Black: A New Generation of Artists
Antwaun Sargent
Everything She Touched: The Life of Ruth Asawa
Marilyn Chase