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Picture Books for Grown-Ups

By Anonymous in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 27, 2005 4:50PM

Remember when the readworthiness of a book was judged by the number and quality of pictures it contained? Up until first grade: the more illustrations, the more colorful, the better. In second and third grade, chapter books with colorful covers and line art inside were the coolest. By fourth grade, anything with pictures was FOR BABIES, though we still enjoyed the occasional Where the Wild Things Are, or, when the season was right, The Polar Express.

Three Incestuous Sisters - Cover Image: Now books with pictures are cool again, and no, we're not talking about the decorative monstrosities that adorn your coffee table and whose interior pages never see the light of day. Chicagoan and bestselling author of The Time Traveler's Wife Audrey Niffenegger recently published The Three Incestuous Sisters, described as a "novel in stories" that tells the tale of a sibling rivalry via full-page sepia-toned aquatints and minimalist prose. While fiction-via-artful-illustration is by no means a new concept, Niffenegger's prowess and stature as a novelist naturally elevates the form's profile. Niffenegger here suggests a reading/looking list of 10 illustrated books to read--we especially recommend work by Art Spiegelman and Chicagoan Chris Ware.

Baghdad Journal - Cover Image: For those with a pleasure for documentary art books, Steve Mumford will be at Barbara's UIC this Thursday to talk about his newly published Baghdad Journal: An Artist in Occupied Iraq. Mumford accompanied U.S. troops in and around Baghdad in 2003 and 2004, but instead of shooting guns--or photographs--he sketched and painted watercolors of the scenes in front of him. The effect is one of eerie calm; from the Publisher's Weekly starred review: "Mumford writes that, for him, 'the act of drawing slowed down the war, recording the spaces in between the bombs,' and it is through these spaces, the day-to-day of life in a country where life runs minute-to-minute, that Iraq and its war become illuminated in a way that we rarely see."

Steve Mumford, Baghdad Journal: An Artist in Occupied Iraq
Barbara's Bookstore, 1218 S. Halsted
Thursday, September 29, 7:30