04 November 2010

Review: And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman

I first heard about Maira Kalman when she wrote and illustrated a month-long blog for the New York Times five or more years ago. I love her perspective on life, her artwork, and her humor. Her new book, And the Pursuit of Happiness, is a piece of heaven.

In her illustrated collection of essays, Kalman examines people, places, and concepts that influenced and were influenced by the self-evident truth (and promise) Thomas Jefferson wrote about a new nation: " . . . and the pursuit of Happiness."

This is not a philosophy book, though it is full of ideas; it is not a travelogue, but it takes us on a journey. Kalman writes a love song to Lincoln that will leave you breathless, takes a walk across the country that might change your diet, and shows you the Capitol building in a way that leaves you smiling. There is really nothing more to say, except find this book, buy it, read it, and treasure it.

Here are two pages I scanned from And the Pursuit of Happiness. The first is about Sir Thomas More and the second is about how Mt. Vernon (George Washington's estate) was saved for future generations (click to enlarge).

Maria Kalman has a website, where you can learn about her work. And the Pursuit of Happiness is an Indie Next pick for November 2010.

And the Pursuit of Happiness at an Indie

Published by Penguin Press, October 2010
ISBN-13: 9781594202674
YTD: 98
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: A+
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


book caterpillar 11/4/10, 8:27 AM  

I admit the reason I clicked on to this review is because 'and the pursuit of happiness' reminds me of 'the pursuit of happiness' film starring will smith, but I really like the sound of this book. It seems like the perfect book to dip in and out of that I can treasure for years.

Anonymous,  11/4/10, 10:02 AM  

Thanks for introducing me to Maria Kalman. I had never heard of her but this sounds like fun read. I'm going to have to give this a try.

bermudaonion 11/4/10, 10:02 AM  

You've convinced me that I need to buy this the next time I'm at the bookstore.

Peppermint Ph.D. 11/4/10, 10:21 AM  

this looks like a very special read...one to come back to time and time again...thanks for sharing :)

Dorte H 11/4/10, 10:40 AM  

This looks like an amazing book!

Vasilly 11/4/10, 11:47 AM  

So glad you loved this book too. Kalman is such a talented artist. I can't wait to read what she publishes next.

Tricia 11/4/10, 12:30 PM  

I am absolutely giddy in love with this book. Glad you adored it too!

Julie P. 11/4/10, 12:50 PM  

This sounds like an interesting book (and I mean interesting in a very good way.)

Andi 11/4/10, 1:40 PM  

Wonderful! I first heard about Kalman on a Nancy Pearl podcast, and she's been on my radar ever since. I have yet to read any of her stuff, sadly, but I certainly will seek this one out--even if I have to interlibrary loan it! Those pages sold me completely.

Unknown 11/4/10, 1:58 PM  

This sounds pretty good! I liked the two pages you scanned too, especially the drawings.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 11/4/10, 3:18 PM  

I think this cover is so terrific, and now with this rave review, on my wish list it goes. Thanks so much!

Dawn @ sheIsTooFondOfBooks 11/4/10, 3:41 PM  

"Buy it, read it, treasure it" works for me! I've been eyeing this book, and will add it to my to-buy list.

We featured a new kids' book last week - 13 WORDS by 'Lemony Snicket' with iconic illustrations by Maira Kalman.

nat @book, line, and sinker 11/4/10, 9:53 PM  

what an interesting format and premise! haven't heard about it but love the vivid colors. :)

Ana S. 11/5/10, 5:59 AM  

Illustrated essays! I'm intrigued by the concept alone.

Margot 11/5/10, 7:33 PM  

I have a copy of this book too and have only opened a few pages. Already I know this is going to be a treasured tome. Love how you reviewed this.

Alice 11/6/10, 7:32 AM  

What an interesting book! I want to find this.

Just Mom 11/6/10, 8:27 AM  

Fun to click through her website and see all the New Yorker covers. Very interesting lady!

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