Friday, June 25, 2010

Art & Culture: The Art of McSweeney’s

There’s a great deal to like about The Art of McSweeney’s (Chronicle Books). It is dense with ideas, stuffed with creativity and practically choked by talent. But the thing to like best, at least from where I’m standing, is that The Art of McSweeney’s is like a single volume celebration of the book and a thumb of the nose at the sky-is-falling crowd. Did you say the book has no future? Well The Art of McSweeney’s? It says something else.
This book is being published at a time when there are some rumblings about the dire future of the book, and of the printed book in particular.

There are various rumors that people read less now, and that people will read still less in the future. And that, even if they do read at all, it will be on screens, and not on paper....McSweeney's is a small company dedicated to these physical books that purportedly have no future. We spend a good deal of time editing books, and producing books of the highest quality we’re capable of, in the hopes that in doing so, we’ll keep people mindful of the pleasures of the book-as-object.
And, in a way, those pleasures have all been bound into The Art of McSweeney’s, a coffee-table-style book that takes us through McSweeney’s various publications since -- and including -- the company was hatched out of then bookish wunderkind Dave Egger’s super creative noggin. Included here are art and comments from David Byrne, Sarah Vowell, Michael Chabon, Chris Ware and many others. It’s a fantastic book: a celebration between two covers, one that should mature to become a gorgeous momento from one of publishing’s strangest hours.

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