A Life In Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley

( 6 )

Overview

A LIFE IN BOOKS: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley is an illuminated novel containing 101 books within it, all written by Lehrer’s protagonist who finds himself in prison looking back on his life and career. Nearly a year after the controversial author is thrown into a federal prison for refusing to reveal the name of a confidential source, he decides to break his silence. But it’s not as simple as giving up a name to the grand jury. Over the course of one long night, in the darkness of his prison cell, he ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$27.09
BN.com price
(Save 22%)$34.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (20) from $1.99   
  • New (11) from $14.99   
  • Used (9) from $1.99   
Sending request ...

Overview

A LIFE IN BOOKS: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley is an illuminated novel containing 101 books within it, all written by Lehrer’s protagonist who finds himself in prison looking back on his life and career. Nearly a year after the controversial author is thrown into a federal prison for refusing to reveal the name of a confidential source, he decides to break his silence. But it’s not as simple as giving up a name to the grand jury. Over the course of one long night, in the darkness of his prison cell, he whispers his life story into a microcassette recorder, tracing his journey from the public housing project of his youth, to a career as a journalist, then experimental novelist, college professor, accidental bestselling author, pop-culture pundit, and unindicted prisoner.

In A LIFE IN BOOKS, Mobley’s autobiography/apologia is paired with a review of all 101 of his books. Each book is represented by its first-edition cover design and catalogue copy, and more than a third of his books are excerpted. The resulting retrospective contrasts the published writings (which read like short stories) with the author’s confessional memoir, forming a most unusual portrait of a well-intentioned, obsessively inventive (but ethically challenged) visionary.

Written and designed by award-winning author/artist Warren Lehrer, A LIFE IN BOOKS is an extraordinarily original, funny, heartwarming and heart-wrenching exploration of one man’s use of books as a means of understanding himself, the people around him, and a half-century of American/global events. Rich with stories that spring from other stories, this genre-defying novel orchestrates a multicultural symphony of characters from Bleu’s life and books: lovers, mothers, children, friends, enemies, teachers, students, runaways, rebels, thinkers, dreamers, believers, skeptics, the displaced and dispossessed. It celebrates the mysteries and contradictions of the creative process, and grapples with the future of the book as a medium, and the lines that separate truth, myth, and fiction. This four-color, full-length novel—containing over 101 hilarious and scrumptious book cover designs (and book-like objects)—fuses art and literature, and distinguishes itself as one of those books you’ll want to hold in your hands, feast your eyes on, read and re-read, share with friends, and treasure for years to come.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
WINNER 2014 IPPY (Independent Publisher) Outstanding Book of the Year Award for Most Original Concept
“A stunningly unique take on the novel that unabashedly explores the relationship between the narrator and reader, as well as the fragile and often blurry line that distinguishes truth and fiction. With A Life in Books, Lehrer has upended the modern novel form and its narrative limitations, creating a rich and engaging story through visual literature. Mindblowing... reality bending... a laugh riot and visual feast.”

WINNER Best New Fiction Award (USA Best Books)
WINNER Print Magazine Regional Design Award
WINNER Next Generation Indie Book Award
WINNER National Indie Book Award
WINNER CBAA Exhibition Prize

"In A Life In Books, Warren Lehrer has written a profound commentary on this nausea-inducing unique moment in the grand transition from Silly Mind to Machine Mind. Amusingly and smartly enough, he may have helped transition 'the last great American novel' to the first 'great illustrated novel' which is how novels started. A Life In Books is brilliant, beautiful, delicious for eyes and mind.”
Andrei Codrescu, public radio commentator, editor Exquisite Corpse, novelist, poet

"In Warren Lehrer’s ingenious, one-of-a-kind novel, A Life In Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley, we see all the covers of all 101 books supposedly written by the narrator over the last several decades... A tour-de-force!" Kurt Andersen, Studio 360

"For anyone who has ever resisted judging a book by its cover, now's your chance: In A Life In Books, author and graphic design visionary Warren Lehrer crafts a vivid kaleidoscopic odyssey that frames one man's life through not one, but one hundred different books—and book jackets. In this quirky, yet unmistakably modern evocation of the illuminated manuscript, Lehrer's book reminds us that we are what we do. And, for that matter, what we publish."
Jessica Helfand, founding editor Design Observer, graphic designer, writer, educator

“A meticulously illustrated chronicle… Lehrer’s 101 cover designs for Mobley’s books are pitch perfect. And like the best film title sequences, which establish moods or introduce plotlines, these fictional covers are vehicles by which Lehrer illuminates Mobley’s tale of success and failure. By no means a portfolio; Lehrer has created a parallel art world.” Steven Heller, The Atlantic

"A tour de force of graphic design, illustration and writing. Exploiting a wide range of illustration styles to delight the eye, Lehrer offers a funny, thought-provoking and refreshing twist on the graphic novel… Guaranteed to bring a smile."
Ken Carbone, The Huffington Post

“A Life In Books is a book-lover’s fictional treat of books that never were. At first when we look at this extraordinary book, it looks like it’s going to be a funny book, with crazy, zany events. But A Life In Books is ultimately about how the sadness of life is transformed into art. The book is about survival, and how life requires constant adjustment, constant compromise, and the will to find the funny line at which you won’t compromise… As Whitman said, ‘I contain multitudes,’ and Bleu Mobley contains 101 books. Wonderful!”
Michael Silverblatt, Bookworm, KCRW

“Warren Lehrer has spent a decade writing and designing a book that is way more than a book. A blend of writing and design, which extends to performance art… A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley is a typographical and design tour de force.”
Ellen Shapiro, Print Magazine

"A Life In Books challenges readers to rethink the relations of the novel to the image, and of the whole book to our contemporary world... In it, Lehrer continues to make design a constitutive element of his writing, telling the story of the fictional author Bleu Mobley through book covers, fonts, supporting documents, illustrations, and a series of concepts for innovative books... While Mobley's early books are aggressively experimental, his prodigious output spawns bestsellers... thus Mobley becomes something of a microcosm of the commercial publishing industry, its aesthetic and its flaws. In many ways, A Life In Books succeeds beautifully as a hybrid between the graphic novel and the novel... and suggests new potentials for popular literary fiction to break with the older tradition of the illustrated novel by making the images take part fully in telling the story. Lehrer's book has been winning awards and warm reviews almost everywhere, strongly suggesting that his innovative novel is finding its audience."
David Banash, Eye Magazine

"Warren Lehrer's novel A Life In Books is a masterpiece of visual storytelling, boldly integrating illustration and typography into its engaging story."
David Gutowski, Largehearted Boy

“In A Life in Books, Lehrer has designed a sort of Chinese puzzle whose myriad ideas, stories and characters—from all parts of the globe—intersect, overlap, and dovetail… [It is] a tale of growing up, marriage, fatherhood, physical incapacity, healing, poverty, financial success, incarceration, and continuous self-reflection. Lehrer is adept at representing our multicultural society, which for him means not a sociological construct but the lives and struggles of real people. Like Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, and Ben Katchor, Lehrer participates in the search for fresh and innovative ways to show, as well as tell, his many stories. Astonishing.” Robert Berlind, The Brooklyn Rail

“An ingenious first novel filled with over 100 provocative titles all written by Lehrer’s protagonist author who finds himself in prison looking back on his life and work, fictions and realities. Mobley recalls his life growing up in a public housing project in Queens, becoming a journalist, professor, bestselling author, pundit, and finally prisoner for refusing (timely enough) to reveal a confidential source.” Sam Roberts The New York Times Close Up

"Warren Lehrer has built a career collapsing the boundaries that most of us take for granted. Blazing a new path, A Life In Books proves that motion design and literature (among other things) need not be strangers… Creating an "illuminated novel" today could be interpreted as nostalgic, but the hardcover book, enhanced by animations and a multimedia performance is decidedly high-tech, a hyperlink mosaic of multimedia.” Justin Cone, Motionographer

"An entertaining and provocative work that combines text and graphic art in a fascinating way. Splendid. Marvelous!" Pradeep Sebastian The Hindu

“In the era of cookie-cutter books and rubber-stamped stories, Warren Lehrer’s A Life In Books is fresh, original, idiosyncratic, beautiful, and important.”
Rabih Alameddine, novelist and painter, author of Koolaids, I, the Divine, The Perv, Hakawati

“Warren Lehrer’s invented bibliography is a brilliant, ambitious, and compelling novel… A bold work of the imagination, A Life In Books is an “illuminated novel,” in the sense of Mobley’s memoir being lit up by a retrospective monograph of his work, and so many visual touches that make dipping into the book so much fun. The essential backstory turns out to be about what the future holds for books as material objects. I truly hope this audacious novel gets the attention it so richly deserves.” Nicholas Basbanes, Fine Books & Collections

“Warren Lehrer is witty, ingenious, sly, serious, a graphic wizard and literary innovator. His crazily ambitious illuminated novel uses art and artifice to test our assumptions about how life is supposed to be in modern America… So much more than a book, A Life In Books is an experience… at once revealing and mysterious, a commentary on ego, celebrity and American society… It plays like literary jazz: Lehrer’s fingers pumping up and down on the keys, laying down pungent notes, sparkling phrases, lilting tunes about who we are and where we are going.”
Dan Bailes, The Vision Thing

"A Life in Books: The Rise & Fall of Blue Mobley, a gorgeously produced multi-color “novel,” is a brilliant meditation on the state of publishing in the 21st Century. What is truth? What is fiction? Who is “me,” am I my nom de plume, and how can I turn us into a franchise… or maybe even into two?! By the time you reach page 330 with pictures of Bleu’s Book Lamps, you’ll be laughing through your tears... I can’t think of a better gift."
Tsiviah Huttner, Second City Tzivi

"In scope, execution and ambition, A Life In Books is an extraordinary book. Like a monk’s painstaking production of an illuminated manuscript, it took Lehrer seven years to pull off. There’s also a contest, a travelling exhibition with video, and a performance/reading tour… Lehrer’s books are like nothing you’ve ever seen before.”
Lucy Sisman, Wword

"The coolest book ever." Designers and Books

"Stories told with humor, pathos, poetry, drama and the absurd…” Brownstoner Queens

"A Life In Books is unique, incredible, affecting, meticulous, the perfect hide-and-seek game, and honestly, one of those works that seems so obvious and fertile as a structure, it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been done before. Am I gushing? I just love it. This is an important book."
Stephen Farrell, design innovator, Vas An Opera In Flatland and Toc: A New Media Novel

“Writer/artist Warren Lehrer is a pioneer in the art of the book. His most recent funny and beautiful novel helps expand the possibilities of the book format as a way to tell stories."
Keith Shortall, Maine Things Considered, MPBN

“A Life In Books is a literary multimedia satirical romp through the last half century of publishing with all its conceits and marketing tricks from ‘Outsourcing Grandma’ to toilet paper poems and a childrens books on capital punishment ‘How Bad People Go Bye Bye.’ Wonderful!”
Edgy Lit, Selected Best Books 2013

“A Life In Books is unlike any book I’ve every read before. For anyone who loves books—ALIB is a fascinating look at the life of an author, and how the books that he has written grew out of his life experiences. You will encounter books within A Life In Books that you will wish were real books… An amazing and very beautiful book.”
Michael Kindness, Books On The Nightstand
Selected BOOKS WE CAN’T WAIT FOR YOU TO READ

"A genre-defying night that fuses art and literature, prose and design into a multi-media presentation unlike any other." Skylight Books

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781939621023
  • Publisher: Goff Books
  • Publication date: 10/29/2013
  • Pages: 380
  • Sales rank: 331,171
  • Product dimensions: 7.80 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Warren Lehrer is a writer, designer, and multimedia artist known as a pioneer in the fields of visual literature and design authorship. His books, acclaimed for capturing the shape of thought and reuniting the traditions of storytelling with the printed page, include: Crossing the BLVD: strangers, neighbors, aliens in a New America; The Portrait Series: a quartet of men (four book suite); GRRRHHHHH: a study of social patterns; French Fries; i mean you know; and versations.

He has received many awards for his books and multimedia projects including: the Brendan Gill Prize, the Innovative Use of Archives Award, three AIGA Book Awards, two Type Director’s Club Awards, the International Book Design Award, a Media That Matters Award, a NY Book Show Best of the Best Award, and a Prix Arts Electronica Award. He’s received fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council and Foundation for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and others. His work has been exhibited widely and is in many collections including MoMA, LA County Art Museum, The Getty Museum, Georges Pompidou Centre, and Tate Gallery.

Lehrer is also a performer, and has co-written four plays, one opera, co-composed two audio CDs, and he co-produces public radio documentaries and audio works with his wife Judith Sloan. Lehrer is a professor at the School of Art+Design at Purchase College, SUNY, and a founding faculty member of the Designer As Author grad program at the School of Visual Arts. Together with Sloan, Lehrer founded EarSay, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to uncovering and portraying the lives of the uncelebrated in print, on stage, on radio, in exhibitions, electronic media, and through educational programs in public schools, community centers, and prisons.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(6)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2014

    Warren Lehrer has quickly became one of my favorite authors.  Th

    Warren Lehrer has quickly became one of my favorite authors. 
    This is one of those books you become emotional invested. I'm seriously surprised this books is not more widely read. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2014

    I really enjoyed this book. The stories are real page turners an

    I really enjoyed this book. The stories are real page turners and the graphics are incredible. As a visual artist, I truly appreciate Warren Lehrer's artistic sense. I will keep my copy on the coffee table as a conversation piece. 

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2014

    A Life in Books, is the latest brilliant work by Warren Lehrer.

    A Life in Books, is the latest brilliant work by Warren Lehrer. This is a worthy follow-up to his other books, Crossing the Boulevard, French Fries and I Mean You Know. Warren Lehrer, a talented story teller, mixes text and images in unique ways that straddle the line between experimental literature and purely visual artists' books. Each of the 101 books referenced in the subtitle are imaginatively and often humorously illustrated. On page after page, Lehrer lays out his clever and often touching narrative text along with his almost chameleon-like graphic design skills. This is a must-have book for anyone interested in new and original book works.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2014

    Sometimes, we read a book or see a movie & it is almost impo

    Sometimes, we read a book or see a movie & it is almost impossible to believe that someone really wrote it, but for the fact that it was written. Bleu Mobley is one of those books! A mesmerizing & fun novel that brings us intimately into the life of Bleu Mobley & is so beautifully designed that it should remain permanently as the coffee table centerpiece, when you can finally put it down!
    Lehrer is a creative genius whose 'A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley' will do what only the rare novels will do....leave you thinking about it & talking about it & buying the book for loved ones. & wanting the author to write & design & write & design ad infinitum......
    S. Fassler

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2014

    This is an incredible book...no forgive me, this is a work of ar

    This is an incredible book...no forgive me, this is a work of art. The story is a page turner and the concept of including the books of the protagonist within the story is truly unique. But what is most impressive and irresistable is the book itself. Printed on museum quality paper and illustrated like an art book, its the kind of book you want to have on display in your home at all times

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)