We’re just a few days away from Christmas morning, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late for to pick up something for the pop culture lover in your life. I’m confident that you can put on your mask and socially distance inside a bookstore to grab one of these great and gorgeous hardcover titles.
The Art and Soul of Dune
Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was one of the cinematic highlights of the year, and this good, written by Executive Producer Tanya Lapointe is a gorgeous way to dive in deep to Villeneuve’s creative process. It’s well-written and full of behind-the-scenes images, from costume and set designs to on-set photos and more. Housed in a lovely slipcase, The Art and Soul of Dune is essential for anyone who loved taking the trip to Arrakis, and should keep them busy as we wait for Dune Part 2 in 2023.
Here’s the blurb:
“…this visually dazzling exploration of the filmmaking process gives unparalleled insight into the project’s genesis—from its striking environmental and creature designs to its intricate costume concepts and landmark digital effects. The Art and Soul of Dune also features exclusive interviews with key members of the cast and crew, including Denis Villeneuve, Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, and many more, delivering a uniquely candid account of the hugely ambitious international shoot.
Mental Floss – The Curious Viewer: A Miscellany of Bingeable Streaming TV Shows from the Past Twenty Years
Weldon Owen/Insight Editions
Mental Floss is a well-known website full of lists, quizzes, information and more, much of it devoted to the world of pop culture. This hardcover handbook, also published by Insight Editions, pulls together information on the biggest and most important television shows of the past twenty years, from Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Mad Men to The Sopranos and many, many more. The prose is entertainingly written, the layouts look great, and the book is super-handy if you want more information about whatever series you might be binging at the moment.
Filled with beautiful illustrations, entertaining facts, inside information and lists of must-see shows, The Curious Viewer takes readers on a journey of television since 2000 and features:
- The hardest role to cast on Game of Thrones
- The DEA’s involvement in Breaking Bad
- The lost Black-ish episode deemed too divisive for TV
- The real-life inspiration for Mad Men’s Don Draper
- The identity of “Ugly Naked Guy” on Friends
- When George Lucas sued Battlestar Galactica
- How Curb Your Enthusiasm saved a man from the death penalty
- When Doctor Who’s TARDIS went to court
- The story behind Law & Order’s iconic “dun-dun” sound effect
David Fincher: Mind Games
Little White Lies/Abrams Books
Nobody would argue that David Fincher is one of the great filmmakers of the last thirty years, and Adam Nayman’s Mind Games is the book for everyone looking to dive deep into Fincher’s classic filmography (well, except for Panic Room, which is no classic). A noted critic, Nayman’s writing isn’t for casual fans, and neither is this book; instead, David Fincher: Mind Games is ideal for fans that want to explore the constant themes found throughout the director’s work. The book is lovingly put together with behind the scenes images and illustrations from artists who work for the Little White Lies magazine and website.
Mind Games also features interviews with Fincher’s frequent collaborators, including Jeff Cronenweth, Angus Wall, Laray Mayfield, Holt McCallany, Howard Shore and Erik Messerschmidt.
Grouping Fincher’s work around themes of procedure, imprisonment, paranoia, prestige and relationship dynamics, Mind Games is styled as an investigation into a filmmaker obsessed with investigation, and the design will shift to echo case files within a larger psychological profile.
You’ve Got Red On You: How Shaun of the Dead Was Brought To Life
For me, Shaun of the Dead is the greatest zombie film of all time. Don’t @ me, Romero folks; I love Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead (though I do prefer Zack Snyder’s 2004 remake; now you can @ me), but there’s something magical with what director/co-writer Edgar Wright and actor/co-writer Simon Pegg managed to put together with this little film that could. Shaun of the Dead is absolutely hilarious and absolutely frightening, and very few films that make the same attempt actually succeed. In this insightful and through book, writer Clark Collis takes fans through the entire process of making Shaun of the Dead, with full access to all the creatives involved. Fans will definitely enjoy You’ve Got Red On You: How Shaun of the Dead Was Brought To Life, but I’d also suggest that this would be a great purchase for anyone interested in the filmmaking process and all the hurdles artists have to go through to bring their movies to life.
Featuring in-depth interviews with director Edgar Wright, producer Nira Park, and cast members Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Bill Nighy, Lucy Davis, and Coldplay singer Chris Martin, the book also boasts a treasure trove of storyboards, rare behind-the-scenes photos, and commentary from famous fans of the movie, including filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Eli Roth, Walking Dead executive producer Greg Nicotero, and World War Z author Max Brooks.
The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Tara Bennet and Paul Terry
Finally, for the Marvel Zombie out there who just finished watching Spider-Man: No Way Home for the fourth time, this is the book for them. A two volume hardcover set authorized and with full access to everyone and everything MCU, The Story of Marvel Studios: The Making of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a glorious way to learn about how Marvel went from licensing out their core characters to creating the most dominant film studio of the last decade. Yes, the book(s) are expensive, but they are absolutely worth every penny for fans.
• 512 pages chart the entire history-making story of Marvel Studios—from its inception, through Phases One, Two, and Three, and to the dawn of Phase Four
• Featuring more than 200 interviews with the studio’s staff, cast, and crew for all 23 movies in The Infinity Saga
• Includes more than 500 production photos, plus never-before-seen filmmakers’ archival materials and personal memorabilia from the cast and crew
• Deluxe two-volume, foil-stamped cloth hardcover set, featuring exclusive cover art by Ryan Meinerding (Marvel Studios Head of Visual Development)
• Metallized reinforced slipcase with exclusive wrap-around MCU concept art montage, featuring art by Adi Granov, Ryan Meinerding, Andy Park, and Charlie Wen
• Foreword by Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios and Chief Creative Officer of Marvel)
• Afterword by Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man)