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 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
"In A Life In Books, Warren Lehrer has written a profound commentary on this nausea-inducing unique moment in the grand transition from Silly Mind to Machine Mind. Amusingly and smartly enough, he may have helped transition 'the last great American novel' to the first 'great illustrated novel' which is how novels started. A Life In Books is brilliant, beautiful, delicious for eyes and mind.”
Andrei Codrescu, public radio commentator, editor Exquisite Corpse, novelist, poet
"In Warren Lehrer’s ingenious, one-of-a-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
A Life In Books is a book-lover’s fictional treat of books that never were. At first when we look at this extraordinary book, it looks like it’s going to be a funny book, with crazy, zany events. But A Life In Books is ultimately about how the sadness of life is transformed into art. The book is about survival, and how life requires constant adjustment, constant compromise, and the will to find the funny line at which you won’t compromise
As Whitman said, I contain multitudes,’ and Bleu Mobley contains 101 books. Wonderful!”
Michael Silverblatt, Bookworm, KCRW
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
"A Life In Books challenges readers to rethink the relations of the novel to the image, and of the whole book to our contemporary world... In it, Lehrer continues to make design a constitutive element of his writing, telling the story of the fictional author Bleu Mobley through book covers, fonts, supporting documents, illustrations, and a series of concepts for innovative books... While Mobley's early books are aggressively experimental, his prodigious output spawns bestsellers... thus Mobley becomes something of a microcosm of the commercial publishing industry, its aesthetic and its flaws. In many ways, A Life In Books succeeds beautifully as a hybrid between the graphic novel and the novel... and suggests new potentials for popular literary fiction to break with the older tradition of the illustrated novel by making the images take part fully in telling the story. Lehrer's book has been winning awards and warm reviews almost everywhere, strongly suggesting that his innovative novel is finding its audience."
David Banash, Eye 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 A Life in Books, Lehrer has designed a sort of Chinese puzzle whose myriad ideas, stories and charactersfrom all parts of the globeintersect, overlap, and dovetail
[It is] a tale of growing up, marriage, fatherhood, physical incapacity, healing, poverty, financial success, incarceration, and continuous self-reflection. Lehrer is adept at representing our multicultural society, which for him means not a sociological construct but the lives and struggles of real people. Like Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, and Ben Katchor, Lehrer participates in the search for fresh and innovative ways to show, as well as tell, his many stories. Astonishing.” Robert Berlind, The Brooklyn Rail
An ingenious first novel filled with over 100 provocative titles all written by Lehrer’s protagonist author who finds himself in prison looking back on his life and work, fictions and realities. Mobley recalls his life growing up in a public housing project in Queens, becoming a journalist, professor, bestselling author, pundit, and finally prisoner for refusing (timely enough) to reveal a confidential source.” Sam Roberts The New York Times Close Up
"Warren Lehrer has built a career collapsing the boundaries that most of us take for granted. Blazing a new path, A Life In Books proves that motion design and literature (among other things) need not be strangers
Creating an "illuminated novel" today could be interpreted as nostalgic, but the hardcover book, enhanced by animations and a multimedia performance is decidedly high-tech, a hyperlink mosaic of multimedia.” Justin Cone, Motionographer
"An entertaining and provocative work that combines text and graphic art in a fascinating way. Splendid. Marvelous!" Pradeep Sebastian The Hindu
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’s invented bibliography is a brilliant, ambitious, and compelling novel
A bold work of the imagination, A Life In Books is an illuminated novel,” in the sense of Mobley’s memoir being lit up by a retrospective monograph of his work, and so many visual touches that make dipping into the book so much fun. The essential backstory turns out to be about what the future holds for books as material objects. I truly hope this audacious novel gets the attention it so richly deserves.” Nicholas Basbanes, Fine Books & Collections
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
"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, Wword
"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
Writer/artist Warren Lehrer is a pioneer in the art of the book. His most recent funny and beautiful novel helps expand the possibilities of the book format as a way to tell stories."
Keith Shortall, Maine Things Considered, MPBN
A Life In Books is a literary multimedia satirical romp through the last half century of publishing with all its conceits and marketing tricks from Outsourcing Grandma’ to toilet paper poems and a childrens books on capital punishment How Bad People Go Bye Bye.’ Wonderful!”
Edgy Lit, Selected Best Books 2013
A Life In Books is unlike any book I’ve every read before. For anyone who loves booksALIB is a fascinating look at the life of an author, and how the books that he has written grew out of his life experiences. You will encounter books within A Life In Books that you will wish were real books
An amazing and very beautiful book.”
Michael Kindness, Books On The Nightstand
Selected BOOKS WE CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU TO READ
"A genre-defying night that fuses art and literature, prose and design into a multi-media presentation unlike any other." Skylight Books
About the Author
Warren Lehrer is a writer, designer, and multimedia artist known as a pioneer in the fields of visual literature and design authorship. His books, acclaimed for capturing the shape of thought and reuniting the traditions of storytelling with the printed page, include: "Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a New America"; "The Portrait Series: a quartet of men" (four book suite); "GRRRHHHHH: a study of social patterns"; "French Fries; i mean you know; and versations." He has received many awards for his books and multimedia projects including: the Brendan Gill Prize, the Innovative Use of Archives Award, three AIGA Book Awards, two Type Director's Club Awards, the International Book Design Award, a Media That Matters Award, a NY Book Show Best of the Best Award, and a Prix Arts Electronica Award. He's received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council and Foundation for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and others. His work has been exhibited widely and is in many collections including MoMA, LA County Art Museum, The Getty Museum, Georges Pompidou Centre, and Tate Gallery. Lehrer is also a performer, and has co-written four plays, one opera, co-composed two audio CDs, and he co-produces public radio documentaries and audio works with his wife Judith Sloan. Lehrer is a professor at the School of Art+Design at Purchase College, SUNY, and a founding faculty member of the Designer As Author grad program at the School of Visual Arts. 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, community centers, and prisons.