One of the great joys of this season are the fall colors, and November is packed with books that feature much more than just interesting narratives. Here are three of my favorite beautifully designed, graphics-heavy books publishing this month, all of which received a starred review.
Cartoon County, by Cullen Murphy: In his memoir, Vanity Fair editor at large Murphy, who also served as the managing editor of Atlantic Monthly, chronicles his life among the many cartoonists and newspaper artists who lived in his small Connecticut hometown. It’s an illuminating journey back to a unique time and place, “part memoir, part cultural history, part treasure trove of drawings and photographs, many previously unpublished—and all thoroughly delightful as a celebration of the golden age of newspaper comics.”
Highbrow, Lowbrow, Brilliant, Despicable, by the Editors of New York magazine: For fans of the iconic magazine, this one is a can’t-miss commemoration, what our reviewer calls a “top-flight anthology” in which “the editors reproduce material that speaks not just to passing moments and fashions, but also to constant editorial emphases, such as high-quality artwork and portraiture.” It’s more than 400 pages of high-quality stories and artwork that extend well beyond just NYC: “History, local and global, unfolds in this fine gathering that represents a half-century and more than 2,300 issues.”
Monograph by Chris Ware, by Chris Ware: The iconoclastic cartoonist delivers yet another magnum opus, this time entirely focused on his impressive body of work. Hubristic? Perhaps. But as our reviewer writes, “the oversized book is overstuffed with art, each page spread containing numerous images, cartoon strips, sketches, mockups, snapshots, scrapbook items, and other such treasures that will be of immense appeal to fans of Krazy Kat and Joseph Cornell alike. The text is as smart and illuminating as the images, and Ware has wise things to say everywhere along the way.” Eric Liebetrau is the nonfiction and managing editor.