To start with, I should probably point out that this is not actually a book - but it does look like
one which is why it has made it onto my list! This ‘book’ is actually a selection of postcards!
Each one depicts an illustration from one of the front covers of ‘The New Yorker’ magazine and through the 100 postcards you are taken on an artistic journey through time. It starts with the very first cover of 1925 (below) and expands across ten decades, finishing with the cover from 2011.
If you’re into graphic design, this one is definitely for you!
I was very lucky to get to visit New York for a few days on my Honeymoon back in 2006 and despite my initial worries about visiting such a bustling metropolis, I found it absolutely enchanting. Perhaps it was the glow of the Christmas lights that twinkled from every possible tree, or the schmaltzy Christmas windows proffering holiday cheer. Whatever the reason, I found it magical and hope, one day to make a return visit and catch some of the sights I missed!
For some reason, I have always had a fascination with the Empire State Building. It’s such an iconic piece of architecture and it would seem (from the copious amount of photos I took on my trip) that you can capture it from almost anywhere in a photograph, with perhaps the exception of when you're standing right at the top! If I were to pick my favourite covers it would be those that feature the Empire state or New York icons that I love the most.
Looking through this carefully curated selection by New Yorker Art Director Francoise Mouly, it not only takes you along a pictorial time line but it also offers you an insight into how life has changed both socially and historically over the last century. It demonstrates how artistic trends and themes have changed over the years and demonstrates a wide variety of artistic styles and techniques. The covers are always interesting, sometimes poignant or controversial, occaisionally melancholy, and frequently satirical.
The New Yorker can boast a wide range of well known contributors, including graphic designers, artists and illustrators who have featured on the front cover over the years. These include big names, such as David Hockney (left) and Wayne Thiebaud. The work of a number of artists (including M.C. Escher and Monet) has also inspired covers with contemporary artists paying homage to their styles by creating a pastiche or parody.
This little book (Size: 11.5x17x6cm) makes a perfect gift (even if it is to yourself!) particularly if you know someone who appreciates design, creative illustration, American social history or even (heaven forbid) someone who might like to write on them and send them as an actual postcard!!!
Published by: Penguin Books