Books for the Mind, Body, and Soul

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Read anything good lately? Finding comfort in the pages of our favorite books, we’ve put together a reading list for you featuring books that feel right, for right now – inspired by our love of art, nature and our travels in Africa, India and beyond. A mix of memoir, philosophy, psychology, activity, instruction and visual stimulation, we hope they bring you some comfort too.

Here are the books we're reading in times of uncertainty for guidance, nourishment, distraction and inspiration: 

 

 

Guidance

A Philosophy of Walking by Frédéric Gros

An elegant manifesto for putting one foot in front of the other, leading thinker Frederic Gros celebrates one of life’s most simple pleasures: walking. A meditation on the many different ways we get from A to B - the pilgrimage, the promenade, the protest march, the nature ramble – this charming book will help you appreciate the little things.

 

The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

Exploring the psychology of choice, Sheena Iyengar questions how and why we make the decisions we do in this revealing book. Is the desire for choice innate or bound by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? An essential companion and guide for facing life’s challenges.

 

 

 

Nourishment

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez

    A classic of natural history, anthropology, and travel writing, Arctic Dreams is a meditation on the lure of a landscape and its ability to haunt our dreams and capture our imaginations. The Arctic’s strangely stunted forest, mesmerizing aurora borealis and frozen seas come alive through Lopez’s pure, nuanced observations in this beautifully observed tribute.

     

    A Map Is Only One Story edited by Nicole Chang and Mensah Demary

    Including exciting new and established voices from Africa, India, China and the Philippines, the first published anthology of writing from the literary magazine Catapult shares personal stories of migration, family, the search for home and belonging, and what it means to exist between languages and cultures.

     

     

    Distraction

    Grapefruit: A Book of Instructions and Drawings by Yoko Ono

      Originally published in 1970, Yoko Ono's delightfully subversive and whimsical book of instructions for art and life is sure to put a smile on your face. A collection of Ono’s drawings, verse, mock questionnaires, and more, Grapefruit is split into five sections – music, painting, event, poetry, object – with each page offering a conceptual direction for your next work of art.

       

      Graphic Design Play Book: An Exploration of Visual Thinking by Sophie Cure

        A joyful and highly original introduction to graphic design, this play book uses fun puzzles, activities and challenges to develop your visual sensibility. Encouraging you to look at and engage with the world around us, the pages of the book invite you to allow your eyes and your hands to take you on a voyage of discovery.

         

         

         

        Inspiration

        Agnes Denes: Absolutes and Intermediates by Agnes Denes

          Environmental and ecological art pioneer Agnes Denes presents more than 130 works in this comprehensive publication that spans the 50-year career of the ground-breaking artist dubbed ‘the queen of land art’ by the New York Times. New works by Denes commissioned by The Shed for her 2019 exhibition are presented in a special insert.

          Africa State of Mind by Ekow Eshun

            A spectacular survey of the most dynamic scenes in contemporary African photography, Africa State of Mind gathers together the work of an emergent generation of photographers from across the continent. An exploration of how contemporary photographers from the continent are exploring ideas of ‘Africanness’, it is a state of mind as much as a geographical place. 

             

             

            Illustrations by Kathy Phan

            Kathy Phan is a pet portrait, illustration, and letter artist based in Austin, Texas. Her @kathyphantastic products include watercolor pet portraits, pet portraits on ceramics, paper goods, stickers, and magnets.