Reviewers love Phaidon's Christmas crackers
In the run up to the festive season, we’d like to share some of the praise our titles have garnered across the world
Andy Warhol may or may not have advised his fellow art stars, “Don't read your reviews, weigh them," yet we like to take a slightly more nuanced approach to our press. We’ve had a good year, press-wise, and, as we approach the end of 2014, we’d like to share some of that critical benison with you all.
We were very proud to see that The New York Times Book Review included nine of our beautiful books in their Holiday gift guide issue earlier this month. You can read the write-ups for the following titles here: A Way of Living: The Art of Willem de Kooning; Bruce Nauman: The True Artist; Sottsass; Mexico; Massimo Bottura's Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef; What to Bake and How to Bake It; The Gardener's Garden; One, Two, Where's My Shoe? and The Beast of Monsieur Racine
It’s a great way to round off a great year of write-ups. The Gardeners’ Garden, our inspirational resource for all garden designers, both amateur and professional, has proved a hit with the press. The Daily Telegraph called it “a blockbuster tome that profiles most important historic and contemporary gardens around the world”; The Sydney Morning Herald characterised it as “the ultimate armchair garden tour”; Gardens Illustrated said “once your eyes are drawn to the gardens on these pages, your feet will soon want to follow”; The American Gardner called the book as “weighty and wonderful,” adding “this lavishly illustrated new book will make a handsome gift for the dedicated gardener in your life (or for yourself)”; while The New York Times described it as “a smorgasbord of a book, a platter offering delights — in small photographs — to tease the palate.”
Hans Eijkelboom’s People of the Twenty-First Century, an enormous and completely fascinating collection of 'anti-sartorial' photographs of street life by the Dutch conceptual artist/street photographer, has gone down equally well. Esquire called it “a fascinating anthropological study of taste, individuality and consumerism,” Le Monde delighted in Eijkelboom’s knack for identifying modern society’s new tribes, such as “the brotherhood of hunting jackets, brotherhood silver jackets and the club for permed blondes,” While Alexis Petridis, writing in The Guardian praised the book for being “simultaneously mundane and compelling. Laid out in a grid, the shots of women wearing pink T-shirts or businessmen carrying briefcases have a hypnotic, repetitious quality, but the longer you look at them, the more nuances become apparent.”
Mexico: The Cookbook, our definitive bible of Mexican home cooking, has been very well received too. “Consider this beautiful tome your bible to Mexican cooking” HarpersBazaar.com advised its readers. Vogue.com said the book “does for Mexican food what Julia Child did for French cuisine"; The New York Times called it an “exquisitely beautiful and encyclopaedic new Phaidon epic”; while The Guardian said the book was “a culinary adventure through the colourful splendour of Mesoamerica.”
"A Generation Y Nigella Lawson" was how Glamour characterised Jane Hornby, the author of What to Bake & How to Bake It, our ultimate step-by-step baking book. The New York Times called the book “an exhaustively — and attractively — illustrated guide to baking, aimed at beginners,” while The Globe and Mail said it was “gorgeous and mouth-watering at the same time.”
Massimo Bottura’s contemporary take on Italian cooking, Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef, delighted both the artists and epicureans; the New York artist Cindy Sherman said it was “an incredible book, as rich with inspiration as Massimo’s dishes are with flavour,”; the Wall Street Journal concurred, stating that “Bottura possesses both a deep respect for local traditions and a drive to keep blowing them up”, while the LA Times said “the book is a wonder - full of photos of food, setting and whimsy. Fascinating windows into the workings of one of cooking’s greatest minds."
Shooting Space, our collection of the best contemporary photography of architecture and the built environment, drew praise too, from the likes of Christies magazine, which said the book was “a beautiful window on growing urbanization, man-made alterations to the natural landscape, rediscovered modernist icons and imagined worlds”; The Guardian, which suggested after leafing through this title “you’ll never look at architecture the same way again"; as well as Fast Co Design, which praised the title for “not just the clean lines and perfectly captured light that are so familiar to the practice of photographing, but also the more complex photographic art interrogating the built environment.”
There’s plenty more, of course. We’d like to thank all the reviewers, critics and broadcasters who’ve helped spread the word about our great titles. And don’t forget, if you’re intrigued by anything you’ve read about Phaidon this year, you can buy the books from the people who made them, here.