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A Crowning Glory for Any Library,
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This review is from: Albertus Seba's Cabinet of Natural Curiosities (Jumbo) (Hardcover)
Let me start off by saying that I'm a huge fan of this book publisher Taschen. If you go to any book store and find yourself flipping through some spectacularly illustrated book that seems very cutting edge, there is a good chance it is a Taschen. Taschen is a company led by Benedikt and Angelika (last name: Taschen!). These people are pure and simple revolutionaries. I've been collecting books for close to 20 years, and it has really only been with the advent of Taschen that I've found myself excited by anything newly published.
This book specifically: Does the price seem a little spendy?? To the contrary. If you buy it you will be so utterly astonished at the imposing size and the overall high quality that you will find it to be the best bargain of your bargain-hunting and book-buying lifespan. This book is a work of art in its own right. The content is fabulous: spectacular color plates that reveal nature as the most creative (if not downright psychedelic) of artists. It truly is amazing to see a display of awe-inspiring bio-diversity documented in this fashion. If you are not an eager advocate for the environment, you very well may become one upon flipping through these pages. It is impossible to not feel affection for these various small and beautiful creatures, and one feels a mandate to recognize their rightful place on the planet when you have them introduced to you in this fashion. I would personally buy a copy of this for George W. Bush if I could rest assured that he would flip through every page if only once. He would have to re-examine his approach to the planet as a result, or he simply is not human.
Okay, one gripe, one mistake I see Taschen making: a book of this magnitude needs a cloth or "buckram" cover, not a mere "finished cardboard" cover. The cover is nicely decorated and textured, but it is essentially of the same quality as a Dr. Suess book. It is the only aspect of the book where Taschen has cut a corner in an obvious attempt to save money. It is sad that they did so. I think Taschen needs to keep the quality of the bindings high and traditional. Taschen content is so innovative and progressive that they don't need to get too clever with the covers. I have another Taschen book with a "shiny cardboard cover"; it appears to be coated with some type of plastic or resin. Already, after only two years or so, it is making creaking noises when you open it. I envision after a few more years those synthetic molecules quite simply giving up and the entire book falling apart in my hands. Taschen, listen up: most of us are happy to spend a few bucks more for top quality all the way across. This "Cabinet of Curiosities" in particular is insulted by the compromise cover. But despite this caveat, I can not imagine any enlightened person being anything other than fully blown-away by this book. It truly doesn't get much better than this in the world of contemporary books.