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Sudden Fiction

An amazing collection of flash fiction that is a great pleasure read and also a great learning tool for every kind of writer. 

Missing Vinny Senguttuvan for writing
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On Photography

Two diverse and game-changing books (along with Ways of Seeing) about art and photography.

Missing Vinny Senguttuvan for photography and critical theory
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The Bear Comes Home

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. 

Missing Stacey Kahn for music and fiction
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The White Album

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. 

Missing Stacey Kahn for music writing
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Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung

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.

Missing Stacey Kahn for music writing
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The Old, Weird America

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.

Missing Stacey Kahn for music writing and bob dylan
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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. 

Missing Stacey Kahn for music writing
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Let's Talk About Love: A Journey to the End of Taste from the 33 1/3 Series

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.

Missing Stacey Kahn for music
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Museum Studies: An Anthology of Contexts

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. 

3c0c6f9b tiny Elizabeth Abbarno for museum studies
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Dialogues in Public Art

Interviews with individuals who create and experience public art. Finkelpearl was the director of Percent for Art from 1990-1996.

3c0c6f9b tiny Elizabeth Abbarno for public art
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Public Art New York

Fairly comprehensive guide to permanent public art installations in NYC. Also excellent for creating your own self guided walking tour.

3c0c6f9b tiny Elizabeth Abbarno for new york city and public art
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Banker to the Poor

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! 

Ed418885 tiny Marianna Breytman for economics and microlending
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The Year of Living Biblically

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.

Ed418885 tiny Marianna Breytman for journalism
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Creative Time: The Book

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. 

3c0c6f9b tiny Elizabeth Abbarno for new york city and public art
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City Art: New York's Percent for Art Program

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. 

3c0c6f9b tiny Elizabeth Abbarno for new york city and public art
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Plop: Recent Projects of the Public Art Fund

Nice history of Public Art Fund and overview of their projects. 

3c0c6f9b tiny Elizabeth Abbarno for public art
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Mapping the Terrain: New Genre Public Art

A seminal text dealing with contemporary public art. 

3c0c6f9b tiny Elizabeth Abbarno for public art
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100 Years of the American Female from Harper's Bazaar

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. 

Missing Katie for fashion history
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High Style: Masterworks from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

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. 

Missing Katie for fashion history and met museum
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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. 

B04bc900 tiny Abigail Green-Dove for poetry
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Rub Out the Words: The Letters of William S. Burroughs 1959-1974

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. 

B04bc900 tiny Abigail Green-Dove for beat poetry and william burroughs
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Dada & Surrealism: A Very Short Introduction

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.

B04bc900 tiny Abigail Green-Dove for surrealism and dada
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The Lean Startup

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. 

35be7b2f tiny Toby Franklin for business and start ups
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Vogue History of 20th Century Fashion

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. 

Missing Katie for fashion history
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Fashion Today

A great overview of 20th - 21st century fashion. Fantastic photography from all the decades. If you have only one book on fashion history, I vote for this one. 

Missing Katie for fashion history