Best Selling Audio Books in Arts & Literature - Artists, Architects & Photographers

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release date: Oct 17, 2017
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Leonardo da Vinci
“Majestic...Isaacson takes on another complex, giant figure and transforms him into someone we can recognize...Enthralling, masterful, and passionate.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“A monumental tribute to a titanic figure.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

He was history’s most creative genius. What secrets can he teach us?
The author of the acclaimed bestsellers Steve Jobs, Einstein, and Benjamin Franklin brings Leonardo da Vinci to life in this exciting new biography.

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.

He produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and technology. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry. His ability to stand at the crossroads of the humanities and the sciences, made iconic by his drawing of Vitruvian Man, made him history’s most creative genius.

His creativity, like that of other great innovators, came from having wide-ranging passions. He peeled flesh off the faces of cadavers, drew the muscles that move the lips, and then painted history’s most memorable smile. He explored the math of optics, showed how light rays strike the cornea, and produced illusions of changing perspectives in The Last Supper. Isaacson also describes how Leonardo’s lifelong enthusiasm for staging theatrical productions informed his paintings and inventions.

Leonardo’s delight at combining diverse passions remains the ultimate recipe for creativity. So, too, does his ease at being a bit of a misfit: illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed, easily distracted, and at times heretical. His life should remind us of the importance of instilling, both in ourselves and our children, not just received knowledge but a willingness to question it—to be imaginative and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different.
release date: Feb 21, 2017
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Adolfo Kaminsky: A Forger's Life
At the age of seventeen Adolfo Kaminsky had narrowly escaped deportation to Auschwitz and was living in Nazi occupied Paris, using forged documents to hide in plain sight. Due to his expert knowledge of dyes and his ability to masterfully reproduce official documents with an artistic eye, he was recruited to join the Jewish underground. He soon became the primary forger for the Resistance in Paris, working tirelessly with his network to create papers that would save an estimated 14,000 men, women, and children from certain death. Upon the Liberation and for the next twenty-five years, Kaminsky worked as a professional photographer. But, recognizing the fight for freedom had not ended with the defeat of the Nazis, and driven by his own harrowing experiences, he continued to secretly forge documents for thousands of refugees, exiles, immigrants, freedom fighters, and pacifists. Kaminsky kept his past cloaked in secrecy well into his later life, until his daughter and biographer Sarah Kaminsky convinced him to share the details of the life-threatening work he did on behalf of people fighting for justice and peace throughout the world.
release date: Sep 05, 2017
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At the Strangers' Gate: Arrivals in New York
From The New York Times best-selling author of Paris to the Moon and beloved New Yorker writer, a memoir that captures the romance of New York City in the 1980s.

When Adam Gopnik and his soon-to-be-wife, Martha, left the comforts of home in Montreal for New York, the city then, much like today, was a pilgrimage site for the young, the arty, and the ambitious. But it was also becoming a city of greed, where both life's consolations and its necessities were increasingly going to the highest bidder. At the Strangers' Gate builds a portrait of this particular moment in New York through the story of this couple's journey--from their excited arrival as aspiring artists to their eventual growth into a New York family. Gopnik transports us to his tiny basement room on the Upper East Side, and later to SoHo, where he captures a unicorn: an affordable New York loft. He takes us through his professional meanderings, from graduate student-cum-library-clerk to the corridors of Condé Nast and the galleries of MoMA. Between tender and humorous reminiscences, including affectionate portraits of Richard Avedon, Robert Hughes, and Jeff Koons, among many others, Gopnik discusses the ethics of ambition, the economy of creative capital, and the peculiar anthropology of art and aspiration in New York, then and now.
release date: Mar 01, 2012
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Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry

Prodigy Akiane Kramarik shares her artwork, poetry, and the fascinating story surrounding her talent.

Growing up in a home with an atheistic mother and a non-participating Catholic father did not stop four-year-old Akiane Kramarik from finding God. This girl's dreams began a conversation in the home that has eventually brought them all to Christianity and the world's attention. Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry is a collection of the best of Akiane's full-color paintings and poetry created from ages 4 to 10, along with details of her family and the amazing stories that surround each unique artwork.

Already a media professional, Akiane has been interviewed on programs such as Oprah, World News Tonight, Lou Dobbs Tonight on CNN, and Schuller's Hour of Power. Today Akiane's art is available online at www.artakiane.com.

release date: Aug 22, 2017
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Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas
With unprecedented access to newly discovered sources, Donna M. Lucey illuminates the lives of four extraordinary women painted by the iconic high-society portraitist John Singer Sargent. With uncanny clairvoyance, Sargent's portraits hint at the mysteries, passions, and tragedies that unfolded in his subjects' lives. Sequestered in a fantasy-land castle in the remote Rocky Mountains, Elsie Palmer carried on a labyrinthine love life; Elizabeth Chanler stepped into a maze of infidelity with her best friend's husband; as the veiled image of Sally Fairchild?beautiful, commanding, and poison-tongued?emerged on Sargent's canvas, the power of his artistry lured her sister Lucia into an ill-fated life in art; shrewd, iron-willed Isabella Stewart Gardner collected both art and young men. Born to unimaginable wealth, these women lived on an operatic scale, and their letters and diaries create a rich depiction of the Gilded Age and the acclaimed but secretive painter whose canvases defined the era.
release date: Mar 14, 2017
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Martin Luther: Renegade and Prophet
On October 31, 1517 an unknown monk nailed a theological pamphlet to a church door in a small university town and set in motion a process that helped usher in the modern world. Within a few years Luther's ideas had spread like wildfire. His attempts to reform Christianity by returning it to its biblical roots split the Western Church, divided Europe, and polarized people's beliefs. Yet Luther was a deeply flawed human being: a fervent believer tormented by spiritual doubts; a prolific writer whose translation of the Bible would shape the German language yet whose attacks on his opponents were vicious and foul-mouthed. Perhaps surprisingly, the man who helped create in the modern world was not modern himself: for him the devil was not a figure of speech but a real, physical presence. Acclaimed historian Lyndal Roper explains how Luther's impact can only be understood against the background of the times. As a brilliant biographer, she gives us the flesh-and-blood figure, reveals the often contradictory psychological forces that drove Luther forward, and the dynamics they unleashed, which turned a small act of protest into a battle against the power of the Church.
release date: Nov 03, 2015
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M Train
National Best Seller 

From the National Book Award–winning author of Just Kids: an unforgettable odyssey of a legendary artist, told through the prism of the cafés and haunts she has worked in around the world. It is a book Patti Smith has described as “a roadmap to my life.”

M Train begins in the tiny Greenwich Village café where Smith goes every morning for black coffee, ruminates on the world as it is and the world as it was, and writes in her notebook. Through prose that shifts fluidly between dreams and reality, past and present, and across a landscape of creative aspirations and inspirations, we travel to Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul in Mexico; to a meeting of an Arctic explorer’s society in Berlin; to a ramshackle seaside bungalow in New York’s Far Rockaway that Smith acquires just before Hurricane Sandy hits; and to the graves of Genet, Plath, Rimbaud, and Mishima.

Woven throughout are reflections on the writer’s craft and on artistic creation. Here, too, are singular memories of Smith’s life in Michigan and the irremediable loss of her husband, Fred Sonic Smith.

Braiding despair with hope and consolation, illustrated with her signature Polaroids, M Train is a meditation on travel, detective shows, literature, and coffee. It is a powerful, deeply moving book by one of the most remarkable multiplatform artists at work today.


From the Hardcover edition.
release date: Aug 22, 2017
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Shooting Ghosts: A U.S. Marine, a Combat Photographer, and Their Journey Back from War
"A majestic book." --Bessel van der Kolk, MD, author of The Body Keeps the Score

A unique joint memoir by a U.S. Marine and a conflict photographer whose unlikely friendship helped both heal their war-wounded bodies and souls

"The dueling-piano spirit of SHOOTING GHOSTS works because its authors are so committed to transparency, admitting readers into the dark crevices of their isolation." Wall St Journal


War tears people apart, but it can also bring them together. Through the unpredictability of war and its aftermath, a decorated Marine sergeant and a world-trotting war photographer became friends, their bond forged as they patrolled together through the dusty alleyways of Helmand province and camped side by side in the desert. It deepened after Sergeant T. J. Brennan was injured during a Taliban ambush, and both returned home. Brennan began to suffer from the effects of his injury and from the fallout of his tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. But war correspondents experience similar rates of posttraumatic stress as combat veterans. The causes can be different, but guilt plays a prominent role in both. For Brennan, it’s the things he’s done, or didn’t do, that haunt him. Finbarr O’Reilly’s conscience is nagged by the task of photographing people at their most vulnerable while being able to do little to help, and his survival guilt as colleagues die on the job. Their friendship offered them both a shot at redemption.  

As we enter the fifteenth year of continuous war, it is increasingly urgent not just to document the experiences of the battlefield but also to probe the reverberations that last long after combatants and civilians have returned home, and to understand the many faces trauma takes. Shooting Ghosts looks at the horrors of war directly, but then turns to a journey that draws on our growing understanding of what recovery takes. Their story, told in alternating first-person narratives, is about the things they saw and did, the ways they have been affected, and how they have navigated the psychological aftershocks of war and wrestled with reforming their own identities and moral centers. While war never really ends for those who’ve lived through it, this book charts the ways two survivors have found to calm the ghosts and reclaim a measure of peace.
release date: Jul 26, 2011
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Just Kids CD

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.

release date: Sep 01, 2005
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The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love, And Faith of an American Legend - the Authorized Biography [UNABRIDGED]
[Read by Rex Linn]

''The Master of Life's been good to me. He has given me strength to face past illnesses, and victory in the face of defeat. He has given me life and joy where others saw oblivion....Life and love go on. Let the music play.'' --Johnny Cash

One of the most influential figures in American music and pop culture, Johnny Cash is an icon to people of all ages. In Cash's first-ever authorized biography, author Steve Turner sifts the man from the legend and presents a picture of the often contradictory figure with unflinching honesty.

A poor sharecropper's son from Arkansas, Cash embarked in the 1950s on a music career that took him to the heights of fame and wealth, but also to the depths of addiction and despair. From these tensions Johnny Cash created a haunting music, exploring the dark side of himself, and others, in a voice that sometimes sounded as old as the Grand Canyon.

The Man Called Cash chronicles his career, his love for June Carter Cash, his struggles, and his triumphs. Johnny Cash put his soul into his music, drawing on his demons, his faith, his pain, and his joy to become, to many, the voice of truth.
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