The Point: Books About Colors

Books About Colors

This month’s book show on The Point with Mindy Todd featured books that were inspired by colors in some way. Mindy and I were joined by Laura Reckford, Executive Director of the Falmouth Art Center. As I found out pretty quickly, there are a mountain of books having to do with colors in one way or another. From wallpapers to gardens to fashion to essays and poetry. As always, many thanks to all the listeners who called in with their suggestions. Indeed, Laura and I had so many titles we did not get to, we are going to do part two of this show on September 30th! Below you will find the titles we did have time for, including all of the listener picks. If you missed the show, you can always listen online at WCAI.

Laura’s Picks

Blue Dog by George Rodrigue and Lawrence S. Freundlich
The Wild Party, the lost classic, by Joesph Moncure March, Drawings by Art Spiegelman
Colors, (a bound volume of all 13 issues of a magazine that Maira Kalman worked with her husband Tibor Kalman) by Tibor Kalman, edited by Maira Kalman.
Black & White and Dead All Over by John Darnton
Ninth Street Women: Lee Krasner, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Joan Mitchell, and Helen Frankenthaler : five painters and the movement that changed modern art by Mary Gabriel
Cape Cod Gardens & Houses with photography by Taylor Lewis, text by Catherine Fallin (also Martha’s Vineyard Gardens & Houses; and Nantucket Gardens & Houses)
Life Colors Art, fifty years of painting by Peter Busa
And mentioned in passing these classics: Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss; The Color Purple by Alice Walker, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (a caller mentioned this book too) and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (for the color green used throughout the book, especially for the green light near Daisy Buchanan’s house, the color of money and representing his hopes for the future)


Jill’s Picks

On Being Blue: a philosophical inquiry by William Gass (a caller recommended this book too)
Sara Berman’s Closet by Maira Kalman and Alex Kalman
My Private Property by Mary Ruefle (Includes 11 meditations on different colors for different kinds of sadness.)
Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton & 639 others
The Wallpaper Book by Geneviève Brunet
“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman can be found in The Art of the Short Story, edited by Dana Gioia and R.S. Gwynn
The Green Ray by Jules Verne
The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair (A caller recommended this too.)
The Gardener’s Color Palette by Tom Fischer with photographs by Clive Nichols

Picture Books

Pantone: Colors, Illustrations by Helen Dardik
The Blue Hour by Isabelle Simler
Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Listener Picks

Pitidoe the Color Maker by Glen Dines. There is a Youtube video of this story being read aloud, if you would like to see the book.

On Being Blue: a philosophical inquiry by William Gass
Here is the quote our listener sent:
“Of the colors, blue and green have the greatest emotional range. Sad reds and melancholy yellows are difficult to turn up. Among the ancient elements, blue occurs everywhere: in ice and water, in the flame as purely as in the flower, overhead and inside caves, covering fruit and oozing out of clay. Although green enlivens the earth and mixes in the ocean, and we find it, copperish, in fire; green air, green skies, are rare. Gray and brown are widely distributed, but there are no joyful swatches of either, or any of exuberant black, sullen pink, or acquiescent orange. Blue is therefore most suitable as the color of interior life. Whether slick light sharp high bright thin quick sour new and cool or low deep sweet dark soft slow smooth heavy old and warm: blue moves easily among them all, and all profoundly qualify our states of feeling.”

Tony & Tina Color Energy: how color can transform your life

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair

Color: a  natural history of the palette by Victoria Finlay


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