New & Noteworthy Visual Books, From Patents to Modern Art in Iran

Recent visual books of interest:

PATENTED: 1,000 Design Patents, by Thomas Rinaldi. (Phaidon, $39.95.) From the vending machine to Elon Musk, Steve Jobs to the bicycle, an idiosyncratic history of America from 1900 to 2020 told through designs and the inventors who patented them.

THE EMPRESS AND I: How an Ancient Empire Collected, Rejected and Rediscovered Modern Art, by Donna Stein. (Skira, $45.) As an adviser to Queen Farah Pahlavi of Iran, Stein acquired works by Picasso, van Gogh and others for the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art, until revolution intervened.

MONK: Light and Shadow on the Philosopher’s Path, by Yoshihiro Imai. (Phaidon, $49.95.) Recipes, essays and photos tell the story of Imai’s 14-seat restaurant in Kyoto, and the omakase-style menu that’s famous for including — among several Japanese courses — an unfussy, expertly fired personal pizza.

DAVID DRISKELL: Icons of Nature and History, contributions by Julie L. McGee, Jessica May, Thelma Golden et al. (Rizzoli Electa, $50.) The late painter, printmaker and scholar (1931-2020) charted the intersection of American landscapes and the African diaspora.

LUCHITA HURTADO, edited by Karen Marta. (Hauser & Wirth, $55.) Before she died last year, the Venezuelan-American artist — a contemporary of Noguchi, Duchamp, Kahlo — spoke to the Serpentine Galleries director Hans Ulrich Obrist about her life and work.

What we’re reading:

Last year, I made a pact with myself to read more books about the American Latino experience, and Erika Sánchez’ I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER had long been on my list. The book focuses on Julia, who is coping with the sudden death of her sister, Olga, and the open wound it has left on her family. Like Julia, my parents were also Mexican immigrants, and her struggle to reconcile her ambitions (say, attending college to become a writer) and her family’s expectations resonated deeply with me. It also grapples with the mental health issues, like depression, that first-generation children can experience. It is the type of book I wish had been available when I was a teenager. In February, it was announced that America Ferrera had signed on to direct the film adaptation of the book, which will be her feature film directorial debut. I’m heartened to see more nuanced portrayals of young Latinas, and I eagerly await to see how the book transfers to the screen.

—Maira Garcia, senior staff editor, Culture

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