7 of My Favorite Books as a Mom and a Publisher

By Lena

Read it here or on The Huffington Post!

In 1995, my mother died in Sweden where she had gone to perform her one-woman show, “I Am Strindberg.” Last September my eldest daughter became a mother and I a grandmother for the first time (his name is George).

These books cover what I love as a mom and have published for Welcome Books–for mothers new and old.

My Mother's Clothes, by Jeannette Montgomery Barron

The first is “My Mother’s Clothes” (Welcome Books, $24.95) by Jeannette Montgomery Barron. She was born in Atlanta to a mother with a taste for fashion and an original, quirky mind and a father who was heir to Coca Cola. His money and her passion created an incredible closet of designer names and amazing clothes. Her one daughter, Jeannette, left home first to photograph in the Andy Warhol New York art scene and then to Rome with her husband and two children. She wore jeans. When her mother became ill with Alzheimer’s Jeannette flew home and found a way back to her mother through photographs of her mother’s clothes. The resulting book is a touching and precious masterpiece of love between a mother and a daughter. It is a book of memories about a woman who had lost hers; it is a book about letting go but never forgetting.

Mom's Cancer, by Brian Fies

My friend Charlie Kochman, a brilliant young editor in New York (he published “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”) brought me the second book: “Mom’s Cancer” (Image, an imprint of Harry N. Abrams, $12.95). The author, Brian Fies had just won an Eisner Award (also the Lulu Blooker Prize) for this little biographical graphic novel. In 116 simple and touching pages, he draws and tells the story of his mother’s struggle with lung cancer (and ultimate triumph) and the parts played by he and his two sisters. It is oddly an American everyman’s story of doctors and hospitals and denial and determination and hope. Strangely reassuring.

The Little Big Book for Moms, by Lena Tabori and Alice Wong

But, wait. There is more and no more death. If you have to choose one great book for a new mom, this is the one:

Ten years old and five hundred thousand copies later, “The Little Big Book for Moms” (Welcome Books, $24.95) is now in a new, silver gilded edition. Like an atom, it is packed but small… 352 pages but 6 1/2 x 6 1/2″ with more than three hundred images and pieces. Every young mom I know has books of every kind — fairy tales, story books, nursery rhymes, poetry books, activity books, song books, game books, recipe books in their children’s rooms — spilling off the shelves. They don’t want their little ones to miss out on the classic tales of “Princess and the Pea” or “Cinderella” but they are also parents infused with the power of Maya Angelou’s “Life Doesn’t Frighten Me.” They love e.e. cummings, laugh aloud over Ogden Nash and adore “Charlotte’s Web” and Shel Silverstein. They want to be reminded of the words to Rub-a-Dub-Dub when their baby is in the tub, to sing Hush, Little Baby when it is time for sleep, play The Wheels on the Bus and Five Little Monkeys. They want to learn how to make hand puppets and potato stamps and water music. They love the idea of recipes that are especially yummy when their babies are two and three: Frozen Chocolate Bananas, rice pudding, pancakes & applesauce.

In other words they want to be great moms and bring great things to their little ones.

Moms has all of those things in it… it is the one book that you could leave at Grandma’s house, pack in an overnight bag for a weekend away, take in the car for a long trip, put in the kitchen to pull out when you needed the perfect chocolate birthday cupcakes.

If only I had had it when mine were little…imagine how many nights there might have been when Natasha and Katrina would have heard me ask that old familiar question, “What shall we read tonight?” and they would have answered, “Mom’s Book.”

Good Eats, by Alton Brown

And, then there is food. How is it possible that I only discovered Alton Brown’s “Good Eats” last year since he has been on the Food Network since 1998 winning a Peabody in 2007. He is absolutely whacky, unpredictable in his presentation and, yes, scientific but in that brilliant delicious way that Richard Feynman is. He does occasionally work behind his stove (and, how I wish, my itouch could just click and download, not just his recipes but the site to order the gadgets, saucepans, smoking tools or other brilliant paraphernalia that my very well equipped kitchen is missing). The day will come. But, I did find another big fat book (Stewart, Tabori & Chang $37.50) celebrating the first 80 episodes (good for me because I never saw those). The best news of all is that in the fall, the second one is coming (with, presumably that Swedish meatball recipe I can’t seem to find on the Food Network website). Love this delectable, smart, lovable guy, the more so now that he has paid at least some attention to the importance of HEALTHY EATS.

"Food Rules," by Michael Pollan

Which brings me to Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules” (Penguin pub, $11.00, pub). I discovered him years ago when I bought “Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals” (Penguin, $26.95) but I feel like I am still learning that America’s agriculture took a particularly bad turn in the 70’s with particularly bad consequences now. If you have concerns about what you are feeding your family and wonder about the connections between what they are eating and how they are feeling, then this little pocket sized book of food rules is a superb idea. For one thing, he suggests, that since we have to eat, we should eat… food, mostly plant food and not too much of it. Sounds simple and basic enough but few of us actually eat that way. In not too many words, he tells you everything you need to know.

"Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver

And, then there is the goddess, Barbara Kingsolver, whose writing I fell in love many years ago when I read her brilliant “Prodigal Summer” (Harper, $26.00). A more recent book is “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” (Harper pb, $15.99) which tells the story of her family’s first year in southern Appalachia gardening, jarring and feasting on local foods, much of which they grew or made themselves. Exquisite, and lovingly written. Another way to bring yourself what you need to know about your food.

"1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up," Universe

And, finally, there is a reference book to end all reference books: “1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up” (Universe ($36.95). This is for my daughter and for me as we collect all the books our little seven-month old George must never miss (whether we read them in a printed book or on Josh Koppel’s brilliant Scroll Motion iPad version). This fat 960-page tome contains hundreds of the best chosen by great children’s authors and critics. Of course, I would never have forgotten Dr. Seuss or “Goodnight Moon” and “Where the Wild Things Are” but I might have missed Oscar Wilde’s “The Canterville Ghost,” which Isabel Allende reviews in this packed full color reference. I certainly doubt I would ever have known about John Burningham’s “Avocado Baby” either or dozens of other authors and books from all over the world. Organized by age and brilliantly illustrated, it also pops in all kinds of marvelous lists — Silly Books, Great Collections of Fables, Recommended Books about Horses, More Great books about Granddads, Great War Books, Time-travel Tales and so on…

"The Help," by Kathryn Stockett

And, now if there were only room to talk about “The Help,” one of the great books of the last year… next time

“My Mother’s Clothes” at kate spade new york

By Katrina

Last week at kate spade new york, the champagne flowed and the crowds came out to celebrate Jeannette Montgomery Barron’s new book My Mother’s Clothes. As the book’s editor, it was thrilling to see and hear all the positive reviews from friends and fans alike. There is something about this little book that seems to strike a deep chord in those that leaf through its slender pages. As fans lined up to have their books signed, guests mingled and chatted, and even did some serious shopping. The shoe salon was brimming with sole-searching ladies, champagne glasses in hand (ten percent of all the night’s proceeds went to benefit the New York Alzheimer’s Association), while roving photographers snapped pictures of the party’s best dressed.
 
As she writes in her book, unlike her elegantly heeled mother, Jeannette has always been more of jeans and t-shirt girl.  But that night she radiated feminine chic in her slim charcoal Calvin Klein dress and pumpkin suede jacket. (It might have been the first time I’d ever seen Jeannette’s gorgeous legs!)
 
On Friday, the party continued at the venerable
Staley-Wise gallery in Soho, where Jeannette’s photographs lined the wall. It was a lovely reception and a very special treat for me to see Michael Gray from teNeues there. Michael first introduced me to Jeannette and her images. Without him, there would be no book to celebrate!

The two evenings made for a fabulous kick off to Jeannette’s U.S. book tour. Next stop—Atlanta!

David Remnick’s “THE BRIDGE,” Live @ NYPL with Ta-Nehisi Coates

By Taylor

Last night at the New York Public Library, Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic, interviewed David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, regarding Remnick’s new book, The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama. The discussion was, of course, brilliant, but also surprisingly broad in the scope of its relevance, given the singularity of the man in question.

The amount of media attention recently paid President Obama’s selection of “black” on his US Census form corroborates Remnick’s (not exactly novel) suggestion that race is not only inherited but chosen and, in the case of our President, actively cultivated—calloused beneath constant accusations of inauthenticity.

 

This is as true now as it was back in 2000, when Obama had “his ass handed to him” (to borrow Remnick’s phrase) in his congressional bid against incumbent (and former Black Panther leader) Bobby Rush. Remnick says of his interview with Rush for The Bridge, “Rush slowly ambled out of his chair and kind of did a very sinuous walk across his office and said, ‘you know, Barack Obama, you see him now walk like this. He didn’t walk like that back then’…which I thought was a pretty suspect way to challenge, yet again, years later, Barack Obama’s racial bonafides.”

What Remnick argues is so remarkable about Obama, at least in one sense, is the speed at which he learned to walk the walk of a certain kind of blackness—the kind that he did not inherit in Kansas, or Hawaii, or Cambridge. In a way, it reminded me of hearing an utterly brilliant and eloquent editor at Knopf (incidentally, the publisher of The Bridge) confess that there are times when even she suffers from the imposter complex—that fear of being “found out” as an “other” when one so clearly is not. And on that note, Remnick issued a certain imperative to all in the fraught industry of publishing, stating that the only way to thrive is to do what we already do, but more so.

And strangely, this is exactly what Obama has done, and it is one of the many qualities that make him an exceptional politician: he understands his currency and has found a way to make it “more so.” This is not only in terms of identifying and claiming his roots (indeed, Remnick and Coates both noted the self-conscious insertion of Dreams from My Father into the African American canon), but also in speaking the “language of the possible,” rather than that of the prophet. The latter more appropriately belongs to “the giants” upon whose shoulders Obama claimed to stand on the occasion of his election. Read Remnick’s 2008 New Yorker article on the subject here

So, in this industry where our currency is the privilege to entertain, inform, and (if we’re lucky) astonish, it is our responsibility to use the technology at hand in the pursuit of doing it better. It is pertinent here to give a shout-out to Josh Koppel, co-founder of ScrollMotion, whose breathtaking presentation at Random House in February demonstrated exactly the exhilarating potential of “more so.”

Dario with Dario

 

 

Dario promoting Douglas Gayeton's portrait of Dario- JPG

Douglas Gayeton's portrait of Dario Cecchini (also made famous in Bill Buford's HEAT) sold at a Marin Organic aucti

 

 

On Sunday, October 26th Marin Organic held an auction in Sausalito. Lena couldn’t be there, but we loved the description from Adrienne Baumann from Marin: 

“The auction of Douglas photo of Dario turned into a 20-minute moving and comical sketch as guests continued to add their own donations to the image to give the “package” more value.  First, Kim and Dario added a dinner at their restaurant in Panzano and a butchering class at the Macelleria, the Cavallo Point added a weekend at the Lodge with dinner, a spa treatment and cooking classes included, then Dan of Clark Summit added a suckling pig, Alice Waters added a dinner for two in the kitchen of Chez Panisse, Drakes Bay added a tour and tasting at their oyster farm, Sue and Peggy Smith of Cowgirl added three months of artisan cheese delivered to your door, and on and on until the entire package sold for $15,000! “

Each Book Presents its Own Challenges for the Designer

By Greg Wakabayashi

Among the books I designed during the past several months are SLOW: Life in a Tuscan Town, photographs and text by Douglas Gayeton, and Elvis 1956, photographs by Alfred Wertheimer. As I have a particular passion for photography these are exactly the kinds of books that most gratify me to be able to work on. 

Gayeton’s images were unlike anything I had worked with before. Because there was so much to look at in each piece I knew from the outset that as a designer my primary concern was to not compete with or distract from the images. I actually always bear this in mind for every book I do, but in this case it was particularly important because the viewer’s attention had to be able to focus on the images to be able to appreciate them in full. The images, covered with text in Douglas’s uniquely written–more accurately etched–style, were themselves busy enough that it was clear to me that the design of the book around them had to be simpler. I settled on the general parameters of a design fairly quickly–typefaces, format, colors.

One question raised was do we include secondary images to accompany the additional typeset text in the book. Douglas wasn’t so sure, primarily because he did not want people confusing his “art” images with the regular photos that would help illustrate the text that provided a more detailed context. I assured him that would not happen. His artwork was unique enough in style to separate itself from anything else. He was also concerned that the secondary images simply were not of good enough quality–soft, grainy, etc. We were careful not to use anything of marginal quality too large and most of the images were intended to be small anyway. It was actually my hope that the inclusion of the secondary images would enhance Douglas’s artwork by giving it something to compare to. By having the secondary images there with his artwork people would clearly see just how different and unique his work is. The editor, Katrina Fried, had concurrently wanted the inclusion of the secondary images for editorial reasons and when we saw the proofs we knew we had both been right–that including the secondary images would enhance the experience of the book in both the ways we had wanted.

There were a variety of design challenges in this book but all were resolved without much pain as Douglas proved to be a wonderful collaborator. He fought for what he wanted but let us do the same, realizing that we were working together toward a common goal–a beautiful book that did justice to the years of work he had put into his images. 

 

SLOW: Because so many of the primary images were long horizontals...

SLOW: Because so many of the primary images were long horizontals...

...we included six gatefolds to showcase some of them.

...we included six gatefolds to showcase some of them.

The secondary images helped to both illustrate the accompanying text and emphasize the unique qualities of the primary artwork.

The secondary images helped to both illustrate the accompanying text and emphasize the unique qualities of the primary artwork.

We also decided to use some close-up details of some images...

We also decided to use some close-up details of some images...

 

...to offer an occasional change of pace, visually speaking.

...to offer an occasional change of pace, visually speaking.

Elvis 1956 was a very different experience. I was already familiar with the photographs. And the task before us was to create what is essentially a catalog of the images that are included in the Smithsonian traveling exhibition, “Elvis at 21.” Such catalogs are often done in a relatively straightforward fashion–show the images as they appear in the show, (often uncropped) as catalogs are often little more than a faithful record of what people see in the exhibition along with added curatorial and editorial text.

I came into the project after my brother, Clark, had designed a cover that everyone had settled on. It was originally Clark’s book to design but schedules changed and it fell onto my plate. I looked at the cover and decided the material would be better served by a more dynamic presentation than many exhibition catalogs result in. I resolved not to be restricted by being unable to crop the photos where it served a purpose, in most cases so that the images could fill the entire page of spread.

The exhibition itself was organized chronologically to follow Wetheimer’s experience following Elvis from New York to Memphis. The book would follow that as well. The exhibition included intermittent panels of interstitial text, as well as Wertheimer’s own words as he described the experience. The result is a book that feels more like the journey the exhibition itself is intended to be and not just a catalog of its content. Many of the images are full or partial bleed, which gives the viewer the opportunity to imagine what lies beyond the edges of the page. The intention was to make the book feel bigger than it is and the experience of it more dynamic. Mindful of the fact that this is an exhibition catalog, we included a thumbnail gallery at the back that shows all of the images uncropped. These thumbnails are accompanied by Wertheimer’s captions, explaining in more detail the context of each photograph. In the end we were all quite pleased when we saw the first finished books. 

 

Elvis 1956: The book includes insightful text often a part of exhibition catalogs.

Elvis 1956: The book includes insightful text often a part of exhibition catalogs.

We also included the general organization and guide text from the exhibition itself.

We also included the general organization and guide text from the exhibition itself.

As well, Wertheimer's own voice appears in pull quotes that reinforce the intimacy of his perspective as he followed Elvis around.

As well, Wertheimer's own voice appears in pull quotes that reinforce the intimacy of his perspective as he followed Elvis around.

 

Many images bleed off the page--some dramatically cropped--unrestricted by the more conventional approach to exhibition catalogs that show all images uncropped.

Many images bleed off the page--some dramatically cropped--unrestricted by the more conventional approach to exhibition catalogs that show all images uncropped.

But, in a nod to tradition, the full, uncropped images are catalogued as thumbnails in the back with captions by the photographer.

But, in a nod to tradition, the full, uncropped images are catalogued as thumbnails in the back with captions by the photographer.

An Interview with Lena

Lena just did an interview for Commitment that is full of wonderful, engaging things to do with the Internet-addicted generation of grandkids. She’s discussing our Little Big Book for Grandmothers but now she can put all of those perfect tips to use! This is what she has to say about brand new baby George: 

On September 22 my oldest daughter Natasha and their husband Gabe adopted a newborn. His name is George after my dad (playwright and director, George Tabori). With a shock of black hair, 8lbs, 9 oz and 20” long, he has now arrived in New York peaceful and astonishing. She knows things I didn’t know as a mother — swaddling, not allowing him to sleep on his stomach— and has things I never had — pampers that are designed not to irritate his umbilical cord, a stroller that comes apart to be a car seat or a newborn’s bed. Too much stuff, I am fairly sure but still some remarkable things.

My favorite bit of advice from the interview? “If you have love and kindness and truthfulness and integrity in your life, no matter what gets taken away, you will be full.”

 

Two exceedingly happy grandmothers!!

Two exceedingly happy grandmothers!!

 

 

Welcome, baby George! Hopefully there will be many other lucky grandchildren who share in the delights Lena offers in her book.

Opening of Eric Meola’s exhibition INDIA: In Word and Image at the Art Director’s Club

Entry to the opening at the Art Director's Club

Entry to the opening at the Art Director's Club

On Monday, September 14, New York City’s Art Director’s Club was the setting for a swirl of color at the opening party for the exhibition, INDIA: In Word and Image, featuring award-winning Eric Meola‘s dazzling color photography drawn from his stunning book.
*
Selected from the more than two hundred photographs in INDIA, the exhibit features everything from Himalayan monasteries of the north, to the temples of Tamil Nadu in the south, the pageantry of Rajasthan in the west and tea plantations of Darjeerling in the east. 
The star of the evening! INDIA creator Eric Meola with fellow photographer Frank Stefanko

The star of the evening! INDIA creator Eric Meola with fellow photographer Frank Stefanko

At the event, photographers and publishing people mixed with key figures from India’s cultural community in New York, including Ambassador Prabhu Dayal of the Consulate of India, Kalyan Sengupta from INDIA TOURISM, journalists Sreenath Sreenivasan from Columbia University, Deepak Puri from TIME, Inc., and Guarav Verma from the US-India Business Council. 
*
Also spotted were photographers Bert Stern, Barbara Bordnick, Jay Maisel, Pete Turner, Jon Ortner, Richard Berenholtz, Frank Stefanko, Michel Tcherevkoff, designer J.C. Suares and illustrator Paige Peterson. 
           

Photographer Bert Stern and Reine Turner

Photographer Bert Stern and Reine Turner

Dave Metz of DMC Consulting and Barbara Bordnick, photographer of SEARCHINGS from Welcome Books

Dave Metz of DMC Consulting and Barbara Bordnick, photographer of SEARCHINGS from Welcome Books

Photographers Jay Maisel and Joanna McCarthy

Photographers Jay Maisel and Joanna McCarthy

Michel Tcherevkoff, photographer of SHOE FLEUR, and friends

Michel Tcherevkoff, photographer of SHOE FLEUR, and friends

Paige Peterson, Illustrator and Vice President, Special Projects at Welcome Books

Paige Peterson, Illustrator and Vice President, Special Projects at Welcome Books

Welcome’s Publisher, Lena Tabori, chatted with Eugene Mopsik, the Executive Director of ASMP, Steve Inglima from Canon, and Eric Meola, INDIA’s incredible photographer. 
Steve Inglima from Canon and Dave Metz from DMC Consulting

Steve Inglima from Canon and Dave Metz from DMC Consulting

Welcome Publisher Lena Tabori, with SEARCHINGS photographer Barbara Brodnick and Welcome's Managing Editor, Natasha Fried

Welcome Publisher Lena Tabori, with SEARCHINGS photographer Barbara Brodnick and Welcome's Managing Editor, Natasha Fried

Eugene Mopsik, Executive Director of the American Society of Media Photographers

Eugene Mopsik, Executive Director of the American Society of Media Photographers

Hosted by Canon USA and co-sponsored by Consulate General of India, New York, the U.S. – India Business Council, India Tourism New York, and Welcome Books. With special thanks to Kitchens of India and Brandon Remler for the photographs.  

Jane Lahr, Lindsey Datti, Jana Kolpen and Mary Tiegreen

Jane Lahr, Lindsey Datti, Jana Kolpen and Mary Tiegreen

Gouri Edlich and Jon Orekondy

Gouri Edlich and Ian Orekondy

What a turn-out!

What a turn-out!