88th out of 131 books — 26 voters
Art of McSweeney's
A novel with each cover hand-illustrated by the author. Literary journals bound by magnets, or designed to look like junk mail. The sharp wit, gorgeous design, and playful why not invention of independent literary publisher McSweeney's have earned it a large and loyal following and made its journals, books, The Believer magazine, and Wholphin DVDs collectible favorites of...more
Hardcover, 264 pages
Published June 23rd 2010 by Chronicle Books
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This book is an oral history of the first 11 years of McSweeney's. It's fascinating and funny, somewhat inspiring. There are also a lot of remaindered copies around so you should be able to find it very cheap. The book opens with Eggers' four-page email to get writers to submit to the first issue. In that email he makes a comment, seemingly a joke, "If we're not careful, we might make publishing history!" And they did, right? In the last fifteen years, McSweeney's has again and again made a case...more
I've always been fascinated and inspired by the McSweeney's publications, and this book's oral history format is wonderfully entertaining and illuminating. What could have been just a glorified picture book is also a compelling historical narrative that makes me want to go back to the actual issues and discover all the little details and literature I missed.
Definitely a coffee table book, but the most inspiring making-of book I've ever read. McSweeney's has a scrappy history, and its people work hard and try to make stuff they actually think is interesting! Seems pretty standard but I honestly think most people don't push their personal work nearly as far as it can go.
This was hands down the best design book I've purchased in years. So inspirational. I read it cover to cover and I think I might read it again. It's not so much the art, which obviously is phenomenal, it's the anecdotal commentary that make it indispensable. I particularly enjoyed the publishing tips. Get this book.
Like most designs books, this is beautifully put together and really shows the interesting ways that McSweeney's visually approaches its layouts and covers. However, as a read, it's not very gripping. Stay for the pictures. Glaze over the words.