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A Life In Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley Hardcover – October 29, 2013
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Andrei Codrescu, public radio commentator, editor Exquisite Corpse, novelist, poet
"In Warren Lehrer’s ingenious, one-of-kind novel, A Life In Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley, we see all the covers of all 101 books supposedly written by the narrator over the last several decades... A tour-de-force!"
Kurt Andersen, Studio 360
"For anyone who has ever resisted judging a book by its cover, now's your chance: In A Life In Books, author and graphic design visionary Warren Lehrer crafts a vivid kaleidoscopic odyssey that frames one man's life through not one, but one hundred different booksand book jackets. In this quirky, yet unmistakably modern evocation of the illuminated manuscript, Lehrer's book reminds us that we are what we do. And, for that matter, what we publish."
Jessica Helfand, founding editor Design Observer, graphic designer, writer, educator
A meticulously illustrated chronicle Lehrer’s 101 cover designs for Mobley’s books are pitch perfect. And like the best film title sequences, which establish moods or introduce plotlines, these fictional covers are vehicles by which Lehrer illuminates Mobley’s tale of success and failure. By no means a portfolio; Lehrer has created a parallel art world”
Steven Heller, The Atlantic
"A tour de force of graphic design, illustration and writing. Exploiting a wide range of illustration styles to delight the eye, Lehrer offers a funny, thought-provoking and refreshing twist on the graphic novel Guaranteed to bring a smile."
Ken Carbone, The Huffington Post
Warren Lehrer has spent a decade writing and designing a book that is way more than a book. A blend of writing and design, which extends to performance art A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley is a typographical and design tour de force.”
Ellen Shapiro, Print Magazine
"Warren Lehrer's novel A Life In Books is a masterpiece of visual storytelling, boldly integrating illustration and typography into its engaging story."
David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy
In the era of cookie-cutter books and rubber-stamped stories, Warren Lehrer’s A Life In Books is fresh, original, idiosyncratic, beautiful, and important.”
Rabih Alameddine, novelist and painter, author of Koolaids, I, the Divine, The Perv, Hakawati
Warren Lehrer is witty, ingenious, sly, serious, a graphic wizard and literary innovator. His crazily ambitious illuminated novel uses art and artifice to test our assumptions about how life is supposed to be in modern America So much more than a book, A Life In Books is an experience at once revealing and mysterious, a commentary on ego, celebrity and American society It plays like literary jazz: Lehrer’s fingers pumping up and down on the keys, laying down pungent notes, sparkling phrases, lilting tunes about who we are and where we are going.”
Dan Bailes, The Vision Thing
Hilarious thrilling genre-crossing One of only a handful of makers of the past few decades who have consistently created longer form works claimed by the canon-makers as part of the fledgling field that is sometimes called Artists’ Books, Warren Lehrer’s new illuminated novel’ tells the story of a fictional writer, designer, raconteur, entrepreneur, and eventual prisoner Mobley’s 101 books form a kind of history of public intellectualism, resonant with people like Buckminster Fuller, William Gaddis and the Oulipo movement. Mobley’s oeuvre and narrative is very funny, of course, but in a sad-but-true kind of way.”
Tate Shaw, Afterimage
Warren Lehrer’s A Life in Books deserves broad recognition. It provides a profound reflection on narrative and the boundaries of truth and fiction, as well as on writing and the status of the book as a medium. It broadens the scope of authorship through its use of beautifully designed covers and well-crafted expressive typography, as well as through a very fluid, readable and witty writing style encompassing many genres, discourses, and invented genres Its protagonist paints a panoramic portrait of Americaof humanityone person at a time, frequently giving voice to ordinary people, to the rejected and disenfranchised A micro-history of book-making, this book indeed lives up to its title: the life of Mobley is told through the books which illuminate the novel, and the reader is offered a behind-the-scenes look at the artist and the creative process. Lehrer is a book composer, as Bleu Mobley would have it, and his composition is well worth interacting with.”
Kristof Van Gansen, Image [&] Narrative
"A Life in Books: The Rise & Fall of Blue Mobley, a gorgeously produced multi-color novel,” is a brilliant meditation on the state of publishing in the 21st Century. What is truth? What is fiction? Who is me,” am I my nom de plume, and how can I turn us into a franchise or maybe even into two?! By the time you reach page 330 with pictures of Bleu’s Book Lamps, you’ll be laughing through your tears... I can’t think of a better gift."
Tsiviah Huttner, Second City Tzivi
"In scope, execution and ambition, A Life In Books is an extraordinary book. Like a monk’s painstaking production of an illuminated manuscript, it took Lehrer seven years to pull off. There’s also a contest, a travelling exhibition with video, and a performance/reading tour Lehrer’s books are like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”
Lucy Sisman, Wwword
"The coolest book ever." Designers and Books
"Stories told with humor, pathos, poetry, drama and the absurd ” Brownstoner Queens
"A Life In Books is unique, incredible, affecting, meticulous, the perfect hide-and-seek game, and honestly, one of those works that seems so obvious and fertile as a structure, it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been done before. Am I gushing? I just love it. This is an important book."
Stephen Farrell, design innovator, Vas An Opera In Flatland and Toc: A New Media Novel
"A genre-defying night that fuses art and literature, prose and design into a multi-media presentation unlike any other." Skylight Books
WINNER 2014 IPPY (Independent Publisher) Outstanding Book of the Year Award for Most Original Concept
A stunningly unique take on the novel that unabashedly explores the relationship between the narrator and reader, as well as the fragile and often blurry line that distinguishes truth and fiction. With A Life in Books, Lehrer has upended the modern novel form and its narrative limitations, creating a rich and engaging story through visual literature. Mindblowing... reality bending... a laugh riot and visual feast.”
WINNER 2015 Best New Fiction (International Book Award)
WINNER 2015 Wild Card Award (Paris Book Festival)
WINNER 2014 Best New Fiction Award (USA Best Books)
WINNER Print Magazine Regional Design Award
WINNER Next Generation Indie Book Award
WINNER National Indie Book Award
WINNER CBAA Exhibition Prize
Winner of the 2014 IPPY OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD (Independent Publishing Awards) in the category of "Most Original Concept."
About the Author
More About the Author
He has received many awards for his books and projects, including the 2004 Brendan Gill Prize, the 2003 Innovative Use of Archives Award, a Media That Matters Award, three American Institute for Graphic Arts Book awards, two Type Director's Club awards, The International Book Design Award, a Best of the Best Award from the New York Book Show, and a Prix Arts Electronica award. He's received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council and Foundation for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Greenwall Foundation, the Furthermore Foundation, and others. His work has been exhibited widely and is in many collections including the Museum of Modern Art, L.A. County Art Museum, The Getty Museum, Georges Pompidou Centre, and Tate Gallery. The Crossing the BLVD exhibition (co-produced with Sloan) has been to fifteen museums and galleries and continues to travel the country. Lehrer is also a performer and has co-written four plays (Social Security: the basic training of Eugene Solomon with Dennis Bernstein, Denial of the Fittest, A Tattle Tale, and The Whole K'Cufin World and a Few More Things with Judith Sloan), and co-written and co-composed one opera (The Search For IT and Other Pronouns with Harvey Goldman). He co-produces public radio documentaries and audio works with his wife Judith Sloan. Lehrer's performances and plays have been performed at many venues including La MaMa Experimental Theatre, The Public Theatre, The Knitting Factory, Independent Art at Here, The Painted Bride, the Market Theatre (Johannesberg), and the Theatre Workshop (Edinburgh).
Lehrer is a frequent lecturer and presenter at universities, art and literary centers, and book stores throughout the United States and internationally. Lehrer has been written about in scores of books and in many feature articles and reviews in print and broadcast media. His essays on design authorship and visual literature have been widely reproduced. Lehrer is a professor at the School of Art+Design at Purchase College, SUNY, and a founding faculty member of the Designer As Author graduate program at the School of Visual Arts in NYC. He received his BA from Queens College, CUNY, and an MFA from Yale University. Together with Sloan, Lehrer founded EarSay, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to uncovering and portraying the lives of the uncelebrated in print, on stage, on radio, in exhibitions, electronic media, and through educational programs in public schools, prisons, and community centers. Lehrer is currently completing an illuminated novel which contains 101 books within it, entitled A Life In Books: the rise and fall of Bleu Mobley.
Top Customer Reviews
Lehrer is a creative genius whose 'A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley' will do what only the rare novels will do....leave you thinking about it & talking about it & buying the book for loved ones. & wanting the author to write & design & write & design ad infinitum......
As a designer, it is a pleasure to turn the page and find something surprising, on every page! A Life In Books wraps you in a humor that is dark and real. It finds humor inside the darkest moments of your life and gives it a new perspective.
Bleu Mobley’s book covers (there are actually more than advertised 101) form a panorama of book design history and theory. I basked in every page, enjoying Lehrer’s riffs on so many different genres, from Dada to modernist to contemporary, yet it all comes together as one person’s signature/life’s work (Mobley is said to have designed all the covers of his books, as well as many of the interiors).
Whether you are a designer or an artist or writer or just a lover of beautifully written and put together books, this book bridges art and reality, is poignant and deep while teaching you not to take it all so seriously. A must read!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Sweet, smart, life-affirming book -- and very skillfully designed and produced. A real joy.Published 14 months ago by Pedro de Alcantara
Really an incredible piece of work. If you have a chance to catch Warren present/perform the story you'll be in for a treat!Published 14 months ago by Jenna
Warren Lehrer is an amazing writer. This book is truly a hidden gem.
I understand how corny this is but this book changed the way I view books in general.
I have never read a book like this! It is so interesting and it captured my attention after the first page. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Dlp
F'n Fabulous man! Praise be Michael Silverblatt of Bookworm - KCRW 89.9 FM. I listen to every interview on Bookworm and this is my first impulse buy. NO REGRETS. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Nick Kent
A terrific, entertaining page-turner. A life as revealed by a set of 101 writings, Nabokovian in its irony, cynicism, hope and narrative perspective. And beautiful, to boot.Published 23 months ago by Warren M. Sirota
Warren Lehrer's newest book, "A Life in Books," is striking for its visual and literary originality, but is important principally because it's a very moving work. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Steven Lubin