A LIFE IN BOOKS is an illuminated novel containing 101 books within it, all written by Lehrer’s protagonist—Bleu Mobley—who finds himself in prison looking back on his life and career. Each of the 101 books within is represented by its first-edition cover design and catalog copy. More than a third of the books are excerpted. The resulting retrospective contrasts the published writings (which read like short stories) with the confessional memoir, forming a most unusual portrait of a well-intentioned, obsessively inventive (if ethically challenged) visionary. Lehrer acts as the book’s editor, presenting Bleu Mobley’s “life in books” to the public.
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Here is what others have to say about this book:
“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 poet, novelist, journalist, public radio commentator
“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, graphic designer, writer, educator, founding editor of Design Observer
“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, The Perv, Hakawati, and I, the Divine
"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