10 books like The Devil's Cloth

By Michel Pastoureau, Jody Gladding,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Devil's Cloth. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Secret Lives of Color

By Kassia St. Clair,

Book cover of The Secret Lives of Color

I fell in love with this book the moment I picked up a copy in a book store. While it is not exactly about infographics, it tackles an aspect that is crucial to creating successful and arresting visualizations: color. This topic has a wide scientific dimension (think perception, think chemistry), but the notion of color is also intertwined with intense aesthetic experiences. Kassia St. Clair combines both with a trove of historical stories about scientists, artists, and other aficionados on the hunt for intricate shades such as Mummy or Chrome Yellow. A highly inspiring read, a beautiful book, and an excellent gift.

The Secret Lives of Color

By Kassia St. Clair,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret Lives of Color as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of USA Today's "100 Books to Read While Stuck at Home During the Coronavirus Crisis"

A dazzling gift, the unforgettable, unknown history of colors and the vivid stories behind them in a beautiful multi-colored volume.

"Beautifully written . . . Full of anecdotes and fascinating research, this elegant compendium has all the answers." -NPR, Best Books of 2017

The Secret Lives of Color tells the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes, and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso's blue period to…


Counting

By Deborah Stone,

Book cover of Counting: How We Use Numbers to Decide What Matters

I had never really given much thought to counting until I read this book, but in the very first chapter, Stone made me rethink everything I thought I knew about “one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.” She shows that every time we count, we’re making cultural assumptions. For example, what counts as a fish? And what makes the color of the fish more relevant than other features? Counting reveals that while these choices may seem intuitive, basic, and meaningless, they have very real impacts on people’s lives. Especially when we use numbers to measure things like merit, poverty, race, and productivity, those fundamental assumptions matter more than we care to admit.  

Counting

By Deborah Stone,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Early in her extraordinary career, Deborah Stone wrote Policy Paradox, a landmark work on politics. Now, in Counting, she revolutionises how we approach numbers and shows how counting shapes the way we see the world. Most of us think of counting as a skill so basic that we see numbers as objective, indisputable facts. Not so, says Stone. In this playful-yet-probing work, Stone reveals the inescapable link between quantifying and classifying, and explains how counting determines almost every facet of our lives-from how we are evaluated at work to how our political opinions are polled to whether we get into…


The Essence of Style

By Joan DeJean,

Book cover of The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour

This is cultural history with a difference and of a difference. It teaches you a lot about the reputation for fashionable culture that France enjoyed for centuries all over the world and continues to enjoy to this day. How much of all that is already packed into the book’s subtitle! The rest of the book is just as accessible and lively and unwilling ever to take itself too seriously. 

The Essence of Style

By Joan DeJean,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Essence of Style as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What makes fashionistas willing to pay a small fortune for a particular designer accessory? Why does a special occasion only become really special when a champagne cork pops? Why are diamonds the status symbol gemstone, instantly signifying wealth, power, and even emotional commitment? Writing with great elan, one of the foremost authorities on seventeenth-century French culture provides the answer to these and other fascinating questions in her account of how, at one glittering moment in history, the French under Louis XIV set the standards of sophistication, style, and glamour that still rule our lives today. Joan DeJean takes us back…


Tastes of Paradise

By Wolfgang Schivelbusch,

Book cover of Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants

A sensual cultural history mixed with economic history, specifically the rise of capitalism, Schivelbusch launches an interesting argument—that one particular substance, or taste, has often defined the zeitgeist of whole nations for definitive periods. This book is wide-ranging and general in its treatment of alcohol, as well as several other drinks and spices. There are excellent imaginative connections made, and the book invites thinkers to think deeply and broadly about the meaning of intoxicants in history and in their own lives.

Tastes of Paradise

By Wolfgang Schivelbusch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the extravagant use of pepper in the Middle Ages to the Protestant bourgeoisie's love of coffee to the reason why fashionable Europeans stopped sniffing tobacco and starting smoking it, Schivelbusch looks at how the appetite for pleasure transformed the social structure of the Old World. Illustrations.


Pablo Picasso

By Pierre Cabanne,

Book cover of Pablo Picasso: His Life and Times

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.

Pablo Picasso

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


The Weeping Woman

By Zoe Valdes, David Frye (translator),

Book cover of The Weeping Woman: A Novel

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.

The Weeping Woman

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…


Je Suis Le Cahier

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

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

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.)

Je Suis Le Cahier

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.…


Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays

By Steve Martin,

Book cover of Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays

I read this play before I saw it, and it was great as a read. Steve Martin is obviously known as a comedic actor. But if you like the few movies he’s written, think Roxanne and LA Story, then you might want to give this one a try. It’s the fictional meeting between Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein circa 1904. Picasso has started gaining fame for his breaking of artistic boundaries, and Einstein is a year away from releasing his theory of relativity. The two men have a chance meeting in a bar and drunkenly philosophize about art, science, society, meaning, and sex. And because it’s Steve Martin, don’t be surprised if Elvis comes along.

Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays

By Steve Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Picasso at the Lapin Agile and Other Plays as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An imagined meeting between Pablo Picasso and Albert Einstein in 1904 examines the impact of science and art on a rapidly changing society.


A Child's Book of Art

By Lucy Micklethwait,

Book cover of A Child's Book of Art: Great Pictures - First Words

This book hits a kind of non-narrative sweet spot: It doesn’t tell a specific story, but every page-spread is a feast of beauty and interest and there are just enough words sprinkled here and there to encourage parents to supply their own commentary. This particular book happened to be a huge favorite in my family, but any collection that introduces great paintings and different styles of art will do the trick. I love making art part of a baby’s world from the get-go: It awakens the aesthetic senses and gives a child a sense of cultural ownership. Later, seeing a Vermeer or a Picasso, we can hope that child will feel a sparkle of recognition.

A Child's Book of Art

By Lucy Micklethwait,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Child's Book of Art as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An introduction to art appreciation exposes young readers to more than one hundred works of art from a wide range of periods, cultures, and artists, and with subjects such as seasons, weather, and animals.


Creating Minds

By Howard E. Gardner,

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

Howard Gardner admitted Creative Minds was the personal favorite of all his books, and I can see why. From Albert Einstein’s transformational science to Martha Graham’s innovative dance, the book traces the personal forces at work in radical creativity of ‘the greats’ from science to arts and politics. It taught me to look at the entirety of a person’s biography to get to grips with their creativity and challenges the reader to think about a common creative scheme, but perhaps underestimates the role of conversation and community.

Creating Minds

By Howard E. Gardner,

Why should I read it?

1 author 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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

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