A fully readable, entertaining primer on all things American art + architecture. Especially good for communicating the themes that have been with us for hundreds of years. (Full disclosure: this was written by one of my favorite college profs, but it's great no matter what.)
An amazing collection of flash fiction that is a great pleasure read and also a great learning tool for every kind of writer.
Two diverse and game-changing books (along with Ways of Seeing) about art and photography.
One of my students suggested this book and it sounds awesome. It's a novel about a bear who plays the sax and is involved in the jazz world is also on the hunt for love. It's won some fiction awards, too.
I'm recommending just the essay here, the essay that comes from the book of the same name, although Joan Didion is an amazing writer all around. This isn't specifically a music essay, but we read a selection from this essay in every class, one that talks about the Doors, and every time without fail, the class is blown away. She's one of the best living writers, I think, and this essay is one way that shows it.
If you haven't read anything from Lester Bangs before, go out and get this book now. His style of writing is brash and all-over-the-place but is also so beautiful and poignant. Somehow he mixes these elements perfectly.
This is a book on Dylan but Greil Marcus is just such a great music writer that this is one way to see how he works. He'll make you see Dylan in a whole new way, but more importantly, you'll appreciate the quality of his music writing throughout.
This is Bob Dylan's autobiography and it's interesting either for the Bob Dylan fan or the literarily curious. Dylan maintains a very specific voice for the whole book, and you're forced to ask the question how much the "folk" factor plays into his stories--how much is true? How much is false? How much is embellishment? Definitely keeps you wondering throughout.
I recommend this book by way of saying this whole series is great and if you haven't read a book from it yet, you totally should! Each book is devoted to one album and the author can write about it however they choose--fiction, scholarly inquiry, journalistic profiling, personal essays, whatever. This particular book from the series is interesting b/c it's a wildcard subject that delves into the question of how we determine taste and why we perceive certain things as being "good." A really interesting read.
This is THE museum studies primer, containing texts from individuals involved with museums at all levels, spanning centuries of scholarship. It is a great introduction to the history and theory of museums, providing a springboard for additional inquiry.
Interviews with individuals who create and experience public art. Finkelpearl was the director of Percent for Art from 1990-1996.
Fairly comprehensive guide to permanent public art installations in NYC. Also excellent for creating your own self guided walking tour.
Banker to the Poor is an amazing book for anyone looking to learn more about microfinance, how it got started, and how the industry is developing. It's really amazing how much of a difference a few dollars can make in the lives of people living in developing nations! It talks a lot about building sustainable fixes to struggling economies and it's a really interesting read!
The Year of Living Biblically is such a great book for anyone looking to learn more about investigative/experimental journalism (& the Bible! in an objective way, of course. This is *not* a religious book that preaches anything). It's also ridiculously funny, so that helps.
Creative Time has played a key role in the evolution of public and participatory art in New York City. This book provides an overview of the organization's history and projects, which span several decades.
Showcases the public art projects funded by the City of New York, including documentation of projects inside schools and government buildings the general public does not necessarily have access to.
Nice history of Public Art Fund and overview of their projects.
A seminal text dealing with contemporary public art.
More than just about the clothes women wore, this book of essays, artwork, articles and tidbits gives a great overview of women's history, through the lens of the oldest fashion magazine in America. If you like to learn from primary sources, this is a great book for you.
As far as I know, this show was the first, and only, comprehensive collection of American fashion history. Beautifully photographed and filled with names you probably don't know, but should.
My favorite book of cut-up poetry. Warning: you probably don't want to read this anywhere where someone could be looking over your shoulder.
If you're a Beat junkie like me (no word-play intended, I swear), you might find this extensive collection of letters written by Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, his partner in cut-ups, Brion Gysin, etc. quite fascinating.
The "A Very Short Introduction" books are a great way to gain a little more knowledge about topics you'd otherwise have to pay a couple hundred (or thousand) to take a course in at Columbia or NYU or whatever your NYC-overpriced-school-of-choice is. This one is about Dadaism and Surrealism, which I talked about in my Cut-Up Poetry course. Also, I'm partial to anything put out by Oxford University.
Takes away the hype around buzzwords like "lean," and outlines a concrete methodology for launching a business without spending tons of money and time on planning.
To read how fashion reflected the changing lives of women (and how women reflected the changing nature of fashion) through the Vogue editorial lens is delightful.