A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley (Goff Books)

Join us for a genre-defying night that fuses art and literature, prose and design into a multi-media presentation unlike any other.

A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley, written by Warren Lehrer, is an illuminated novel containing 101 books within it, all written by Lehrer's protagonist who finds himself in prison looking back on his life and career. Nearly a year after the controversial author is thrown into a federal prison for refusing to reveal the name of a confidential source, he decides to break his silence. But it's not as simple as giving up a name to the grand jury. Over the course of one long night, in the darkness of his prison cell, he whispers his life story into a microcassette recorder, tracing his journey from the public housing project of his youth, to a career as a journalist, then experimental novelist, college professor, accidental bestselling author, pop-culture pundit, and unindicted prisoner.

In A Life In Books, Mobley's autobiography/apologia is paired with a review of all 101 of his books. Each book is represented by its first-edition cover design and catalogue copy, and more than a third of his books are excerpted. The resulting retrospective contrasts the published writings (which read like short stories) with the author's confessional memoir, forming a most unusual portrait of a well-intentioned, obsessively inventive (but ethically challenged) visionary.

Written and designed by award-winning author/artist Warren Lehrer, A Life in Books is an extraordinarily original, funny, heartwarming and heart-wrenching exploration of one man's use of books as a means of understanding himself, the people around him, and a half-century of American/global events. Rich with stories that spring from other stories, this genre-defying novel orchestrates a multicultural symphony of characters from Bleu's life and books: lovers, mothers, children, friends, enemies, teachers, students, runaways, rebels, thinkers, dreamers, believers, skeptics, the displaced and dispossessed. It celebrates the mysteries and contradictions of the creative process, and grapples with the future of the book as a medium, and the lines that separate truth, myth, and fiction. This four-color, full-length novel--containing over 101 hilarious and scrumptious book cover designs (and book-like objects)--fuses art and literature, and distinguishes itself as one of those books you'll want to hold in your hands, feast your eyes on, read and re-read, share with friends, and treasure for years to come.

Praise for A Life in Books:

“In A Life In Books, Warren Lehrer has written a profound commentary on this nausea-inducing unique moment in the grand transition from Silly Mind to Machine Mind. Amusingly and smartly enough, he may have helped transition “the last great American novel” to the first “great illustrated novel” which is how novels started. A Life In Books is brilliant, beautiful, delicious for eyes and mind.”—Andrei Codrescu, poet, novelist, journalist, public radio commentator

“For anyone who has ever resisted judging a book by its cover, now’s your chance: In A Life In Books, author and graphic design visionary Warren Lehrer crafts a vivid kaleidoscopic odyssey that frames one man’s life through not one, but one hundred different books—and book jackets. In this quirky, yet unmistakably modern evocation of the illuminated manuscript, Lehrer’s book reminds us that we are what we do. And, for that matter, what we publish.” —Jessica Helfand, graphic designer, writer, educator, founding editor Design Observer

“In the era of cookie-cutter books and rubber-stamped stories, Warren Lehrer’s A Life in Books is fresh, original, idiosyncratic, beautiful, and important.”--Rabih Alameddine, novelist and painter, author of Koolaids, I, the Divine, The Perv, Hakawati

Warren Lehrer is a writer and designer, acclaimed for capturing the shape of thought and reuniting the traditions of storytelling with the printed page. He has received many awards for his books and multimedia projects, including the Brendan Gill Prize, the Innovative Use of Archives Award, three AIGA Book Awards, two Type Director’s Club awards, The International Book Design Award, a Media That Matters Award, and grants and fellowships from the NEA, NYSCA, NYFA, the Rockefeller, Ford, and Greenwall Foundations. His work is in many collections including MoMA, LA County Art Museum, The Getty Museum, Georges Pompidou Centre, and Tate Gallery. He is a professor at Purchase College, SUNY, and a founding faculty member of the Designer As Author grad program at SVA. Together with Judith Sloan, Lehrer co-authored Crossing the BLVD and co-founded EarSay, a non-profit arts organization in Queens, NY. A Life In Books is Lehrer’s 10th book; his first novel.

Event date: 
Monday, November 11, 2013 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
90027 Los Angeles
A Life in Books: The Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley By Warren Lehrer Cover Image
Possibly out of print. Email or call to check availability and price.
ISBN: 9781939621023
Published: Goff Books - October 29th, 2013

Crossing the BLVD: Strangers, Neighbors, Aliens in a New America By Warren Lehrer, Judith Sloan Cover Image
Possibly out of print. Email or call to check availability and price.
ISBN: 9780393324662
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 17th, 2003