100 books like Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays

By Steve Martin,

Here are 100 books that Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays fans have personally recommended if you like Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

Fred Chao Author Of Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero

From my list on pop culture’s influence on the artistic process.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the writer and artist of the Johnny Hiro graphic novels. In those books, I use pop culture reference humor, but never simply as a joke. A reference can act as a hint to a world beyond the story the writer tells. I often dig slightly into an emotional resonance behind that reference—perhaps the (fictional) story of why it exists, or perhaps it even becomes an integral plot point. Popular media and culture often have a direct influence on our creative arts projects. And just sometimes, that art becomes an integral part of the popular culture itself.

Fred's book list on pop culture’s influence on the artistic process

Fred Chao Why did Fred love this book?

This graphic novel is framed as an interview biography with Charlie, a 72-year-old Singaporean comics creator, as he reflects on his life. We see sketches from his old journals, and more interestingly, comics from his long and robust career. His comics start off as whimsical heroic tales about a boy and a giant robot. But as Charlie matures, he takes in the politics of Singapore—the protests, wars, and changing government. As he digests this world around him, his comics change, from action comics to comic strips to satire to autobiographical to, well, all over the board. We see his thoughts on a turbulent, evolving Singapore laced within these comics—sometimes subtlely, often overtly—as well as glimpses into his relationships and his financial struggles. This masterfully told story falls amongst my favorite comics.

By Sonny Liew,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A 2017 Eisner Award Winner for Best Writer/Artist, Best US Edition of International Material—Asia, and Best Publication Design
Winner of the Singapore Literature Prize 2016
A New York Times bestseller
An Economist Book of the Year 2016
An NPR Graphic Novel Pick for 2016
A Washington Post Best Graphic Novel of 2016
A New York Post Best Books of 2016
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2016
A South China Morning Post Top 10 Asian books of 2016
An A.V. Club Best Comics of 2016
A Comic Books Resources Top 100 Comics of 2016
A Mental Floss Most Interesting Graphic…


Book cover of How Music Works

Nick Prior Author Of Popular Music, Digital Technology and Society

From my list on popular music, technology, and society.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Professor of Cultural Sociology at Edinburgh, UK, and have written extensively on contemporary culture and particularly technological mediations of popular music. I have undertaken empirical research on cultures of popular music in places like Iceland, Japan, and the UK, and I have supervised around 25 doctoral students to successful completion. My work is widely cited in the field of cultural sociology, and I am regularly interviewed by national broadcasters and the press. I’m also an amateur musician, making homespun electronic music in my bedroom and releasing it under the monikers Sponge Monkeys and Triviax.

Nick's book list on popular music, technology, and society

Nick Prior Why did Nick love this book?

I wasn’t expecting this! One of the most gifted and quirky songsmiths of the age, the lead singer of art pop band The Talking Heads no less, turns his attention to the technological evolution of music.

I found profound insight and erudition on every page, but it’s not preachy or overly auto-biographical. Instead, Byrne limns out the changing shapes of music and how it comes into being in composition, performance, and education. He is as much at ease with Hume and Adorno as he is with scales, harmonies, and DJ culture, and the payoff is enormous.

Whenever I pick this book up, which is regularly, it takes me on unexpected journeys and provokes new ideas. My favorite quote on the creative process: “The idea is to allow the chthonic material the freedom it needs to gurgle up.” 

By David Byrne,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked How Music Works as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How Music Works is David Byrne's buoyant celebration of a subject he has spent a lifetime thinking about.

Equal parts historian and anthropologist, raconteur and social scientist, Byrne draws on his own work over the years with Talking Heads, Brian Eno, and his myriad collaborators - along with journeys to Wagnerian opera houses, African villages, and anywhere music exists - to show that music-making is not just the act of a solitary composer in a studio, but rather a logical, populist, and beautiful result of cultural circumstance.

A brainy, irresistible adventure, How Music Works is an impassioned argument about music's…


Book cover of Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol

Fred Chao Author Of Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero

From my list on pop culture’s influence on the artistic process.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the writer and artist of the Johnny Hiro graphic novels. In those books, I use pop culture reference humor, but never simply as a joke. A reference can act as a hint to a world beyond the story the writer tells. I often dig slightly into an emotional resonance behind that reference—perhaps the (fictional) story of why it exists, or perhaps it even becomes an integral plot point. Popular media and culture often have a direct influence on our creative arts projects. And just sometimes, that art becomes an integral part of the popular culture itself.

Fred's book list on pop culture’s influence on the artistic process

Fred Chao Why did Fred love this book?

I’ve read a handful of Warhol biographies and this is easily my favorite. It does a good job of breaking down his life experiences, his art and the philosophies behind The Factory, his purposeful creation of himself as an icon, and his adaptations to the American fine art and underground art landscapes that changed throughout his career. The book also has plenty of great party stories involving countless celeb friends. And to offset that all, peaks into his spending. The one bummer for me was that there weren’t enough pictures. But, well, I guess that’s what all my other Warhol books are for.

By Tony Scherman, David Dalton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Pop: The Genius of Andy Warhol is a groundbreaking reassessment of the most influential and controversial American artist of the second half of the 20th century. Writers Tony Scherman and David Dalton disentangle the myths of the great pop artist from the man he truly was, and offer a vivid, entertaining, and provocative look at Warhol’s personal and artistic evolution. Drawing on brand new sources—including extensive new interviews and insight from those who knew him best—Pop offers the most dynamic, comprehensive portrait ever written of the man who changed the way we see the world.


Book cover of Delusional: The Graphic and Sequential Work of Farel Dalrymple

Fred Chao Author Of Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero

From my list on pop culture’s influence on the artistic process.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm the writer and artist of the Johnny Hiro graphic novels. In those books, I use pop culture reference humor, but never simply as a joke. A reference can act as a hint to a world beyond the story the writer tells. I often dig slightly into an emotional resonance behind that reference—perhaps the (fictional) story of why it exists, or perhaps it even becomes an integral plot point. Popular media and culture often have a direct influence on our creative arts projects. And just sometimes, that art becomes an integral part of the popular culture itself.

Fred's book list on pop culture’s influence on the artistic process

Fred Chao Why did Fred love this book?

I love the publications of cartoonists’ sketchbooks—getting a peek into the visual culmination of ideas that eventually gets turned into comics. Farel Dalrymple is an indie comics creator whose book Pop Gun War astounded me when I first saw it. His illustrations involve cityscapes and brownstones, and very slow-feeling movements, kind of urban-ethereal. It’s quite obvious Dalrymple has a respect for the settings his comics take place in. In Delusional, we get to see his quiet yet bizarre sketches and unpublished slices of comics that take place in his Pop Gun War and Wrenchies worlds.

By Farel Dalrymple,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Delusional as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

Delusional is a book of comics and drawings by cartoonist Farel Dalrymple. You might have seen them in various anthologies, or posted on the internets, but now they are collected into one beautiful tome. Farel’s previous work includes Pop Gun War, Omega the Unknown and the occasional Prophet. Farel has won both the Xeric Grant and a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators for his work.


Book cover of Creating Minds: An Anatomy of Creativity Seen Through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Ghandi

Stephen P. Ramocki Author Of Teaching Creativity in Marketing and Business Education: A Concise Compilation of Concepts and Methodologies that Will Increase Students' Creativity

From my list on creativity in marketing and business education.

Why am I passionate about this?

 I have studied creativity for 40 years and, along with the textbook I wrote, I am continually teaching my marketing students how to become more creative.  I have unequivocally demonstrated that everyone who wants to become more creative can do so with the appropriate tutelage.  This is why I get so much satisfaction from teaching creativity and it is why I wrote my book that I am highlighting here.

Stephen's book list on creativity in marketing and business education

Stephen P. Ramocki Why did Stephen love this book?

This book fascinated me because it looks at creative accomplishments through the eyes and behaviors of many of the truly creative people who have graced our planet. The book discusses what made Albert Einstein so creative and how Sigmund Freud became the father of modern psychology. I came to realize that artists like Pablo Picasso, dancers like Martha Graham, and musicians like Igor Stravinsky broke the molds as they ventured forth into novel domains and areas where others had not yet dared to tread. I also learned that personalities are very relevant to many of these creative accomplishments and that many of these personalities do not fit kindly into what societies expect. It’s not that we should attempt to emulate these personalities but that we should feel comfortable leading with our most creative thoughts and actions.

By Howard E. Gardner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Creating Minds as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Since it was first published in 1993, Creating Minds has served as a peerless guide to the creative self. Now available as a paperback reissue with a new introduction by the author, the book uses portraits of seven extraordinary individuals to reveal the patterns that drive the creative process,and to demonstrate how circumstance also plays an indispensable role in creative success.


Book cover of The Weeping Woman: A Novel

Lynn Bushell Author Of Painted Ladies

From my list on artists and their muses.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an art historian and painter, I was inevitably drawn to the theme of artists and their muses when I started writing historical fiction. Female, passive, disempowered, and doomed sums up the fate of most muses. History is littered with their corpses - Rossetti’s model Lizzie Siddal committed suicide, Rodin’s model Camille Claudel went mad, Edie Sedgwick, made famous by Warhol, died of an overdose. The title ‘muse’ might offer immortality, but their lives were often hell on earth.  My books set out to understand what drove these women, some of whom were artists in their own right, to make such huge sacrifices. 

Lynn's book list on artists and their muses

Lynn Bushell Why did Lynn love this book?

We all know that Picasso wasn't very nice to his muses – nothing unusual there. He was arrogant and with a massive sense of entitlement. Dora Maar had good reason to weep. She was an artist herself – a successful painter & photographer, gaining commissions historically awarded to men and creating a radical new image of the modern woman  that's until she met Picasso. When she started to cause trouble he had her put away. It's extraordinary how many muses ended up in asylums. Unlike Rodin's muse she did get out, however. In Valdes' novel the story doesn't exactly end happily but in reality she did go on working, as a photographer, up till her death at eighty-nine. Good for you, Dora.

By Zoe Valdes, David Frye (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Weeping Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the prestigious Azorin Prize for Fiction, the best-selling novel about love, sacrifice, and Picasso's mistress, Dora Maar.

A writer resembling Zoe Valdes a Cuban exile living in Paris with her husband and young daughter is preparing a novel on the life of Dora Maar, one of the most promising artists in the Surrealist movement until she met Pablo Picasso. The middle-aged Picasso was already the god of the art world's avant-garde. Dora became his lover, muse, and ultimately, his victim. She became The Weeping Woman captured in his famous portrait, the mistress he betrayed with other mistress-muses, and…


Book cover of Pablo Picasso: His Life and Times

Gijs van Hensbergen Author Of Guernica: The Biography of a Twentieth-Century Icon

From my list on essential Spain.

Why am I passionate about this?

A lifetime of an obsession with Spain since a childhood spent on Miro’s farm in Montroig del Camp and just a short walk away from where Gaudi was born I have cooked, researched, battled, and fallen in love with this extraordinary country. Almost 40 years ago I bought a farmhouse in Arevalillo de Cega in the central mountains in Spain from where I have crisscrossed the country in the footsteps of Goya, the culinary genius Ferran Adria and in search of information for my biography on Gaudi – the God of Catalan architecture. Spain is an open book with a million pages, endlessly fascinating, contrary, unique, and 100% absorbing. I fell in deep.

Gijs' book list on essential Spain

Gijs van Hensbergen Why did Gijs love this book?

The world of Picasso's biography is a deeply contentious and well ploughed field. I should know as I worked for 5 years on the yet-to-be-published Volume 4 of John Richardson’s epic sex fest.  Hiding in the glare of the Picasso craze is Pierre Cabanne’s revelatory masterpiece. Cabanne knew him, knew his circle, and was not frightened to enter Picasso’s Spanish world in exile. This is the first step to a genuine understanding of Picasso’s genius.

By Pierre Cabanne,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pablo Picasso as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Vintage book


Book cover of Je Suis Le Cahier: The Sketchbooks of Picasso

James Hobbs Author Of Sketch Your World: Drawing techniques for great results on the go

From my list on to inspire you to draw.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started drawing in my twenties when I was lucky to meet and be inspired by tutors who passed on their passion for it. I have drawn and kept sketchbooks ever since: they trace the everyday things, my travels and important life events, but they are also places for thoughts and experiments, notes, and phone numbers. I don’t dare leave home without a sketchbook and pen in case I miss some unmissable thing. I went to art college, trained as a journalist, worked at a variety of art publications, have written three books about drawing, and exhibit and sell my drawings and prints. 

James' book list on to inspire you to draw

James Hobbs Why did James love this book?

I can’t help being inspired by an artist for whom drawing was such a natural, intuitive, lifelong act. Picasso is known to have kept 175 sketchbooks during his lifetime, some linked to his best-known works, such as Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. This book (“I Am the Sketchbook”) not only catalogues all 175, but it reproduces six of them in full, revealing a process of trial and discovery. The looseness, the simplicity, the richness, and the joy of enquiring lines and marks in these pages are, to me, an irresistible stimulant to draw. (There’s the occasional dud too, as any sketchbook should have.)

By Arnold Glimcher (editor), Marc Glimcher (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Je Suis Le Cahier as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Sketchbooks of Picasso is the only collection available of the private sketchbooks of Pablo Picasso, which he began in Barcelona in 1894. For more than seventy years, as the young painter blossomed and matured into the greatest artist of the twentieth century, he kept a record of his ideas and thoughts, so that by 1964 there were 175 sketchbooks, a unique and startling picture of the mind of a genius at work. Accompanying the major sections are essays by six of the greatest American art historians: E.A. Carmean, Sam Hunter, Rosalind Krauss, Theodore Reff, Robert Rosenblum, and Gert Schiff.…


Book cover of Cracking Creativity: The Secrets of Creative Genius

Anthony D. Fredericks Author Of From Fizzle to Sizzle: The Hidden Forces Crushing Your Creativity and How You Can Overcome Them

From my list on creativity and imagination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was the kid who colored outside the lines and marveled at the special effects of monster movies. Yet, as I grew, I became aware of certain “rules” and “expectations” that seemed to limit my innate creativity. When I became a professional educator, I became even more cognizant of how students’ creativity was shut down. I read tons of books on creativity, but soon discovered that no one had ever written a book on the ingrained practices in family life, education, work environments, and personal beliefs that stamped out our natural creativity. Why do so many people consider themselves as “non-creative?” I wanted to find out…and change the equation.

Anthony's book list on creativity and imagination

Anthony D. Fredericks Why did Anthony love this book?

Here is another “classic” that should be part of your personal library.

Michalko shares life-changing creative techniques captured from creative “experts” such as Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, and Pablo Picasso. With easy-to-follow instructions, you too, can lead a more creative life (and change the world) at home and at work.

The author shows you, in exquisite detail, how to alter your thinking or modify your problem-solving abilities to generate tons of new ideas and tons of satisfying solutions to ongoing challenges.

No matter your occupation, this is a book that will generate an array of new and positive ideas.

By Michael Michalko,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cracking Creativity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the bestselling author of Thinkertoys, this follow up brings innovative creative thinking techniques within reach, giving you the tools to tackle everyday challenges in new ways. 

Internationally renowned business creativity expert, Michael Michalko will show you how creative people think—and how to put their secrets to work for you in business and in your personal life. You don't have to be a genius to solve problems like one. Michalko researched and analyzed hundreds of history's greatest thinkers across disciplines—from Leonardo da Vinci to Pablo Picasso—to bring the best of their techniques together and to teach you how to apply…


Book cover of The Devil's Cloth: A History of Stripes

Carolyn Purnell Author Of The Sensational Past: How the Enlightenment Changed the Way We Use Our Senses

From my list on everyday things we take for granted.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian who’s spent far too much time thinking about how the color magenta contributed to climate change and why eighteenth-century humanitarians were obsessed with tobacco enemas. My favorite historical topics—like sensation, color, and truth—don’t initially seem historical, but that’s exactly why they need to be explored. I’ve learned that the things that seem like second nature are where our deepest cultural assumptions and unconscious biases hide. In addition to writing nonfiction, I’ve been lucky enough to grow up on a ranch, live in Paris, work as an interior design writer, teach high school and college, and help stray dogs get adopted.

Carolyn's book list on everyday things we take for granted

Carolyn Purnell Why did Carolyn love this book?

The French historian Michel Pastoureau is the master of finding topics you never knew could have a history. His research spans from the history of blue to the history of the bear, and everything he writes makes you see the world with new eyes. One of my favorites is this slim volume about the history of stripes. Pastoureau explains why stripes were associated with the devil in the Middle Ages, why sailors and swimmers took to stripes, and why cultural preferences have shifted from horizontal stripes to vertical stripes and back again. He convincingly shows that the history of the stripe is really a history of the impulse to contain social groups and people.

By Jody Gladding, Michel Pastoureau,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Devil's Cloth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To stripe a surface serves to distinguish it, to point it out, to oppose it or associate it with another surface, and thus to classify it, to keep an eye on it, to verify it, even to censor it.
Throughout the ages, the stripe has made its mark in mysterious ways. From prisoners' uniforms to tailored suits, a street sign to a set of sheets, Pablo Picasso to Saint Joseph, stripes have always made a bold statement. But the boundary that separates the good stripe from the bad is often blurred. Why, for instance, were stripes associated with the devil…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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