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Alphabetabum

The standard alphabet book takes a turn for the nostalgic—and slightly creepy—in Vladimir Radunsky and Chris Raschka's Alphabetum, new from the New York Review Children's Collection. The benevolent ghost of Edward Gorey hovers over the book's faux-weathered pages, on which vintage photos of children (from Radunsky's vast collection of antique black-and-white photographs) are joined by playfully alliterative names and rhymes penned by Raschka. Among the questions posed by the authors: Are these children our great-great-great grandparents? We knew "Excellent Edwin Eugene" looked familiar!

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The Signs of Italy

Louise Fili has done it again. The designer of all things bello, including stunning packaging and branding for the likes of Jean-Georges, Tiffany & Co. and Sarabeth's, turns her Italophilic eye to signage in the pages of Grafica della Strada, out this month from Princeton Architectural Press. The chunky yet compact book is a photographic diary of sorts, revealing the most inventive restaurant, hotel, street, and advertising signs spotted by Fili over three decades' worth of Italian travels. "These signs chart the highs and lows of Italian typography, from a classically elegant gold leaf script for a Turin jewelry store to a very spirited (and unreadable) type rendered in orange and blue dimensional plastic letters for a shop selling doormats in Rome," notes Fili by way of introduzione. "From the sublime to the ridiculous, each and every one, in its unique way, is dear to me."

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Design and Content

Use the dregs of August to polish off your summer reading list and then make way for Design and Content, out next month from Princeton Architectural Press. It's the long-in-the-making first monograph of graphic design star and Pentagram partner Abbott Miller, whose creative genius manages to look just as stunning when channeled into a museum exhibition, identity design, magazine, iPad app, or, in this case, a 240-page hardcover book that is chock full of inspiring images.

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Rube Goldberg Redux

Rube Goldberg (1883-1970) is synonymous with his elaborate chain-reaction approach to completing simple tasks, but he was also an established cartoonist, humorist, sculptor, and engineer. The master of contraptions and comics gets his due in the sumptuously illustrated pages of The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius, published by Abrams ComicArts. Authored by Goldberg's granddaughter, Jennifer George, the book delves into his long off-limits archives to reveal and celebrate the many (moving) parts of Goldberg's astonishing career.

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Start Here

'Tis the season for procrastination. Buck the trend beginning this very summer Friday with Lee Crutchley's The Art of Getting Started (Perigee). Drawing upon his own tricks for getting over creative blocks, the illustrator has created a hands-on guide studded with inspirational prompts (What will your business card look like in five perfect years?), activities (Draw your favorite pen using your favorite pen), and challenges (Take a "selfie" without showing yourself) that help to shift your perspective in new and surprising ways.

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Digital Dieter Rams

Just in time for vacation reading, Sophie Lovell's Dieter Rams: As Little Design As Possible (Phaidon) is making its debut in digital form. The iBooks edition of the best-selling hardcover will be available beginning Tuesday, July 15. Reformatted for iPad, the comprehensive monograph delves into the life, work, and succinct philosophy of the famed product designer, now 82, whose wildly influential designs for the likes of Braun and Vitsoe continue to sell briskly worldwide. Tap and scroll your way through many of Rams' sketches and prototypes, as well as an interactive timeline, essays, and a foreword by Apple design guru and consummate Rams fan Jonathan Ive.

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Doodle Revolution

Just as the longest journey begins with a single step, the most ambitious project can start with a single doodle. Learn more in the pages of Sunni Brown's The Doodle Revolution (Portfolio), which decodes the five types of "doodler DNA," considers the doodling habits of great thinkers and leaders, and makes a case for the utility of a habit that only seems mindless. “No longer will the Doodle live in a house of ill repute," notes Brown in her Doodle Revolutionary’s Manifesto. "Forevermore, we acknowledge the Doodle as a tool for immersive learning and we wield its power deliberately and without restriction, in any learning environment we see fit.”

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Typewriter Art

In 1898, Flora F. F. Stacey used a typewriter to "draw" a butterfly, beginning a rich creative legacy that is dwindling with the introduction of each new digital device. Get acquainted with the medium's greatest hits in Barrie Tullett's Typewriter Art, new from Chronicle Books. The analog-themed anthology ranges from historical works (the Bauhaus was apparently chock full of typewriters) to contemporary art. We think it's a key addition to any creative library.

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Design Trilogy Interviews

If you've enjoyed one, two, or all three of Gary Hustwit's design documentaries--Helvetica, Objectified, and Urbanized--you're sure to be mesmerized by his forthcoming book of compiled interviews. The 400 pages, gleaned from hundreds of hours (and 31 hard drives worth) of footage, are unedited glimpses into the minds of creative types from Paola Antonelli to Hermann Zapf. "What's striking to me is how wide-ranging the actual conversations are compared to the films, which seem kind of narrow in comparison," says Hustwit. "I'm actually excited--and a little frightened--about how it'll all work in one book...we'll see!"

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The Age of the Image

“There is big money to be made in creating literate visual stories, even if they are somewhat silly," writes Stephen Apkon of our viral video era in The Age of Image: Redefining Literacy in a World of Screens, newly published in paperback by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. The book, with a foreword by Martin Scorcese, draws on the history of literacy and the neuroscience of storytelling to argue that now is the time to transform the way we teach, create, and communicate.

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