New & Noteworthy Visual Books, From Ebony Magazine to Young Chefs

Recent visual books of interest:

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 20 Leading Chefs Choose 100 Emerging Chefs, by Phaidon editors. (Phaidon, $59.95.) Celebrated food industry veterans from Daniela Soto-Innes to Yotam Ottolenghi herald the greatest up-and-coming culinary talent from around the world.

TOM SACHS: Handmade Paintings, by David Rimanelli with Naomi Fry. (Rizzoli, $65.) The New York artist’s first career retrospective traces his long engagement with American consumerism and popular iconography, as reflected in his paintings of everything from the flag to “Family Guy.”

CITY HALL, by Arthur Drooker. (Schiffer, $60.) In 88 photographs and stories of city halls around the country, from San Francisco to Philadelphia, in styles ranging from Art Deco to Beaux-Arts and beyond, Drooker connects architectural and municipal history with civic pride.

EBONY: Covering Black America, by Lavaille Lavette. (Rizzoli, $57.50.) Lavette, a children’s book author and expert in educational marketing, here pays tribute to the magazine that was founded in 1945 as an outlet and podium for Black America.

THE TAROT OF LEONORA CARRINGTON, by Susan Aberth and Tere Arcq. (Fulgur Press, $50.) Carrington was a renowned Surrealist painter and novelist; this deck of tarot designs reveals a different side of her otherworldly art.

What we’re reading:

The British writer Iris Murdoch’s fourth novel , THE BELL, is set in a lay religious community just outside the walls of an Anglican convent. The misfit central characters eye the abbey warily at times, and at other times reverently, as all prepare for the arrival of a huge new bronze bell to replace one lost centuries ago under mysterious circumstances. Published in 1958, the book has some weighty themes — religion, community, power, sexuality, regret, good and evil — but don’t mistake it for a drag. “To say that ‘The Bell’ is a novel of ideas is to misdescribe it,” A. S. Byatt writes in the introduction to the Penguin Classics edition. “It is better to say that ‘The Bell’ is a novel about people who have ideas.” I picked it up recently on the recommendation of a dear old friend, and found myself immediately pressing it on other kindred spirits. In a dark season, sharing the existence of a story as propulsive and transportive as this one is practically a moral duty. And did I mention its impeccably satisfying ending?

—Ruth Graham, national correspondent covering religion, faith and values

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