When in doubt, go to the library


  • March 31, 2020
  • Tips
  • By: CYTIES

Welcome to The Grand Library, shhhhhhh. No, a library card is not required, simply scroll down to see the digital shelves stocked with the best-of-the-best when it comes to the innovative covers we have featured on our very own GEAR GRID. You’ll find inspirational works covering music, architecture, photography, style, cars, travel, and intriguing topics ranging from spacesuits to pizza, to swimming pools. Needless to say, The Grand Library has our CYTIES stamp of approval, it’s what we all need right now to pass the time— order a stack of books for home and start flippin’ the pages. 


Dieter Rams. Less But Better 

Dieter Rams is widely considered one of the most significant industrial designers of the twentieth century. Most everything he produced or designed is regarded as an absolute classic. This revised edition of Less but Better showcases why Dieter’s approach to design will be relevant for the foreseeable future and generations to come. Cover to back, the pages are a journey through ideas and criteria, displaying the evolution of product design and culture, which serve as a benchmark today. “Good design is environmentally friendly. And last but not least, good design is as little design as possible.” ― Dieter Rams



Look Inside

Staying indoors and relaxing calls for some quiet visual stimulations. Look Inside explores subjects of architecture, anatomy, and vehicles, and pulls away the first shell to understand the workings of such intricate instruments and objects. Flip through for infographics that cut up or take apart the subjects and make them transparent, resulting in cross-sections and interior views with detailed layers. The book also explores how even  28,000 years ago, humans had a fascination with how things internally work, which has driven our curiosity since. Dive within to travel inside worlds that range from a beaver lodge to an arctic landscape.



HiFi: The History of High-end Audio Design 

High Fidelity, or in other words, a term used by audiophiles that refers to the crystal clear noise shooting from the turntables to the amplifier, up some wires, and out the speakers. Vinyl sales are at a high (since a quarter of a century ago), and the intrigue for good sound is something that the babyboomers all the way down to the millennials are craving for. This book covers the evolution from the 1950s to today and (tomorrow). From analog to cutting edge, this unique read has it all.



The New Outsiders: A Creative Life Outdoors

We live in a world where video games are celebrated on ESPN and the best player on the EA sticks is a household name. Call us old fashioned, but we relish in the life outdoors, and can’t wait to breathe the crisp fresh air of adventure every chance we get. This Sunday Read celebrates outdoor creativity, highlights rogue entrepreneurs, and showcases the must-see locations that any free-spirited traveler can’t go a full day without daydreaming of.



The Stylish Life: Skiing 

Fresh powder on the mountain, groomed moguls, maybe a flask in your backpack or at the very least, a cold IPA waiting for you in the lodge. When winter hits and the mountain tops glaze over, the winter sports come alive. This Sunday read is as sharp as a ski blade, created to inform and entertain the stylish history of skiing. From its founders to superstars, to resorts and fashion, this hardcover cover by Gabriel le Breton is a packed snowball of knowledge.



Off The Road: Explorers, Vans, and Life Off the Beaten Track 

The open road, its endless adventure calls to all wandering souls. If you’re someone that dreams of it often but lives in the grid of a city, this is the coffee table read you need. Within are a collection of outdoor adventures made possible via vehicular travel. The stunning photography is enough to take you away from the noise for a moment while inspiring the next experience of your own. Keep your car keys at a safe distance when flipping through—or don’t.



The Touch 

Light, color, nature, community, and materiality. These are the five functions that The Touch covers, not only visually appealing but thought-provoking and inspiring. Besides 25 stunning interior spaces, the hardcover also features interviews with industry design leaders and philosophical and art history references. Elevate your mind, CYTIES observers.



The Current 

Only days away from a new decade and at the dawn of the next chapter. The Current New Wheels for the Post-Petrol Age looks at vehicles with speed without noise, acceleration without pollution, and the seamless shift of gears without the grease. The electric revolution is upon on us, smiling through its bright metallic teeth. Whether you want to flip it the bird or welcome it in, it’s coming fast, efficient, and pretty.



The NASA Graphics Standards Manual 

“Space: the final frontier. To boldly go where no man has gone before!”

The NASA Graphics Standards Manual is a futuristic vision for an agency at the cutting edge of science and exploration, and a meticulous mimeo of Danne & Blackburn’s 1974 re-branding of the agency. The compiled pages are scans of 35mm slides presented to NASA, which at the time was shielded from those without top clearance.



Around the World: The Atlas for Today

This coffee table read is for adventure seekers who aim to cross paths of latitude and longitude in our wild world, and remain curious about what the planet looks like today. A graphic-centric mind will connect to its visual exploration, while Around the Worlds’ pages deliver more than a deeper understanding of topography and geographies, but also key local and global developments of the twenty-first century, offering classic facts about nature, history, population, culture, and politics. Created for those who are curious about our world and the unique people that live within it, this modern atlas will spend more time with its covers open than closed.



Born-Free: Motorcycle Show 

Born-Free is a collaboration of the machine and human interaction. Coined as “The Woodstock of motorcycle shows”, the event is a community of engine revving, backroad talking, motorcycle lovers. The shared passion for building and riding is the leather thread that loops these rouge warriors together. The book, details photography from this vintage bike, gasoline loving celebration.



The Swimming Pool 

While the cover of this book immediately reminds you of the sun beating down on a pool, a cold cocktail with an umbrella, and where the only problem you face, is running out of sunscreen. In actuality, it’s an interesting, thought-provoking book of photographs. The series by Deanna Templeton, documents an eight-year adventure of photos she took of friends in their most vulnerable form—naked, floating beneath the water. The series studies the journey of light, expression and the enigma of water.



Below Zero: Adventures Out in the Cold 

Winter has come… so break out the sled and grab your husky, because the cold adventure awaits. Below Zero explores the countless possibilities of outdoor activities, like dog sledding, waterfall climbing, and ice fishing. This book celebrates the unconventional, and we’ll take that all day over the bunny slopes.



Dennis Hopper: In Dreams 

Dennis Hopper was one hell of a badass. He conquered roles as an actor, spent life as a husband and father, and when he felt the artistic surge hit, he was a notable photographer. Editor and designer Michael Schmelling has selected more than 100 photographs from Hopper’s archive—most of them unpublished—for this intimate picture book. Each photograph tells its own story, an authentic look into life, and the frozen seconds of living it, with grit and beauty. Each page is a display of Hopper’s inquisitive eye, which is evident in the archive, was never at rest to capture the curiosities around him.



Gentleman, Start Your Engines! 

We all can’t have Bruce Wayne’s garage, stocked to the brim with all kinds of vintage wheels (although he only really drives one car). But what we can do is have this stylish table read that reveals the undeniable icons of the classic car scene. From exteriors, interiors, to unique stories about rare rides, Gentlemen, Start your Engines! is a valid showcase of authentic car culture from page to page.



Lair: Radical Homes and Hideouts of Movie Villains 

Finally, the answer to the lingering question: why do bad guys live in good houses? Lair dives deep into the architecture of the villain, in a compelling and visually stunning book. The pages explore the most iconic villainous lairs of modern theatrics and cinema—diving into the analysis of unique evil spaces. From the silver line work to production design interviews, and into the detailed line drawings including building plans, Lair explores the abodes that are as alluring and seductive as the evil masterminds that inhabit them.



Forever: The New Tattoo 

Tattoos now have mass appeal, in fact, it is a multi-million dollar industry that is continuing to climb up the ladder. With art, there always comes unique underground. Forever The New tattoo takes a look inside the innovative, diverse, exciting, world of today’s tattoo culture. The pages showcase the different mediums in which inspire tattoos today, ranging to modern art, fashion, as well as contemporary visual culture. In the end, it’s the ink that tells the story.



Hunks & Hero’s: Four Decades of Fashion at GQ 

This is the big book for all purveyors of men’s style, a journey in a Delorean down 42 years of GQ’s fantastical history. A layer of the company pulled back and shown under a microscope from editor Jim Fucking Moore. Besides epic photos, iconic covers, and fashion looks, the hardcover also delves into essential styling tips every man should know. Hotels should start placing this firm piece of literature in the drawer of all bedside tables. Amen.



The Castle on Sunset 

What if we were to tell you that the United States still has an active Castle? And that inside its walls there have been promiscuous love affairs, belligerent drunken behavior, US royalty, and death. Not saved only for Scotland, and Palaces in England, Los Angeles’s castle is so… L.A. Perched off a bank on Sunset Blvd. the once luxury condos, now the notorious hotel is the exact STAY you could expect in a city of lust, triumph, celebrities, and angels. Buy the book to hear the many tales that only this century-old building knows… The Chateau Marmont. 



Fast Forward: The World’s Most Unique Cars 

With this lightning bolt of a book by Jan Karl Baedeker, your coffee table didn’t just get a paint job, but a whole new engine. Houseguests won’t be able to put it down, your significant other—who previously had no interest in automobiles—will start asking questions, maybe even looking at you a little differently… Fast Forward details the history of concept cars, to the unseen models, to the public designs that shook the minds of car enthusiasts all around the globe.



Blue Blooded: Denim Hunters and Jeans Culture 

This read is brought to you by Thomas Stege Bojer, the mind behind Denimhunters. Blue Bludded explores the world of denim and dives into how jeans are equal parts subculture and establishment—worn both for work and fashion. It also explores the cultural history of what may be the most recognized and favored item of clothing in modern history.



The Tale of Tomorrow 

There probably hasn’t been a more crucial time for your coffee table read collection. The beauty is, with the power of the interwebs you can order up and add to it as we speak, included in the stack should be The Tale of Tomorrow. Retro and futuristic, the pages offer visuals that explore the magnificent themes of architecture, having you wondering why we stopped designing as we did in the 1960s and 1970s. The book unveils radical ideas that transformed into visionary structures such as The House of the Century or the TWA terminal. It’s a look into the past that feels extremely futuristic.



Carsten Nicolai: Parallel Lines Cross at Infinity

There are scientists, there are artists, and then there is Carsten Nicolai. Parallel Lines at Infinity is a glimpse into one of the most fascinating minds on the planet. The photos depicted in the book showcase 10 years of his artwork in which he uses patterns, codes, grids, mathematical equations, and much more which helps us visualize phenomena that otherwise be invisible to the human eye. Nicolai thinks of the world as his laboratory, and art as his experiments. He is more than an artist or scientist, he is a visual philosopher with a creative soul and scientific ego. This book is an innovative exploration of the artistic chapters of his mind.



Bob Dylan A Year and a Day

Created by Daniel Kramer, who over a year and a day captured mesmerizing moments of Bob Dylan on tour, in concert, and backstage. The photography by Kramer captures Dylan’s transformative “Big Bang” year of 1964-65. Music would never be the same, and this book, immortalized by a film roll, freezes those historic moments in time.



Schott NYC: 100 Years of an American Original 

This timeless table addition explores the impact that Schott NYC has made on American culture and beyond. Within the pages are stories and photos exploring over one hundred years of the iconic leather jacket, from punk and biker influences to military outfitting that dates back to 1913. The pages reveal over 100 Jacket photos and sketches,  offering a tale that begins on whichever page you flip to.



A Man and His Watch

It is one of the most defiant accessories a man can own, treasured as a hand me down or copped as a symbol of success, the watch can tell a story about the man who wears it. This hardcover contains 216 pages of iconic watches and the men who have worn them, ranging from JFK to Nas. The hardest part about owning this read is not splurging on your own timepiece after ever slip through the pages.



A Field Guide to Whisky 

Knowledge is power. A Field Guide to Whiskey is not only an informative read for those who relish the barrel-aged poison, but also a guide to understanding trends, ingredients, and the history of the spirit—it makes you an expert and perhaps the next great distiller. And come on, don’t you want to know who Jack Daniels was anyway?



Stanley Tools Catalogue No. 34 

This is a reproduction of an original 1914 Stanley catalog showing nearly every tool needed in a hand-tool shop back in the day. Cruise through the pages of chisels to gauges to every sort of tool in the company’s line at the turn of the century—a unique and necessary table read for any history gadget buff.



Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo 

Spacesuit Fashioning ApolloWhen one drifts to the topic of space travel in the late 1960s, the engineering of rockets and landers first comes to mind. Overlooked is the most critical blueprints of putting a human being on the moon and the most recognizable totem of space travel—the spacesuit. Fashioning Apollo explores the twenty-one layers of fabric, each with a distinct yet interrelated function, custom-sewn for them by seamstresses whose usual work was fashioning bras and girdles. The perfect coffee table addition, and a triumph of adaptation to wearable cybernetics.



Men of Style 

The ultimate coffee table read for men with strong identities and fierce personas. Men of Style profiles the best-dressed men of the most recent centuries. The pages cover iconic actors to statesman, playboys to painters, and unexpected figures who tipped the style scale just by walking into a room, explaining too how they have shaped menswear today. The core focus of the book is not only the story of men’s style, but the men who embody it and serve as its most inspiring exemplars.



50 Places to Surf Before you Die 

More than a book of photos, this is a piece of literature highlighting the unrivaled waves of planet earth. From Alaska to Malibu, from Iceland to Portugal, this book is the best-of-the-best for the silver surfers catching water and salt around the world. Also, featuring tips and interviews from some of the gnarliest surfers who have ever picked up a board—hands down a must-have. 



The Velvet Underground Experience

A 1960’s musical revolution that sparked thought and was fueled by visual arts, poetry, and stage performance, as well as the dismissal of social norms. This book features unpublished photos of The Velvet Underground with film, poetry, letters, and more. Through 216 pages, we — as the viewer — are introduced to the underground scene in New York, during this radical, transgressional period, where indulgences were always allowed.



Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki 

Alas, a gift from the Tiki God’s, a page by page thirst-quenching journey from the seven seas to your glass. Featuring more than 100 delicious recipes, Smuggler’s Cove is the magnum opus of the contemporary tiki renaissance—a celebration of the quirky and alluring cultural cocktail movement. Throw it on your coffee table and let the Tiki mug collection begin.



Langdon Clay: Cars 

For two years, in the ’70s Langdon Clay photographed cars he saw while galavanting the streets of New York. Shot in Kodachrome with a Leica, the shots detail the vehicles against gritty backgrounds.

“I experienced a conversion of sorts in making a switch from the ‘decisive moment’ of black and white to the marvel of color, a world I was waking up to every day,” Clay writes of this work. “At the time it seemed like an obvious and natural transition. What was less obvious was how to reflect my world of New York City in color … I discovered that night was its own color and I fell for it.”



Drink Like a Man 

This is not a book, this is a manual of wisdom. Literature that should be written in stone detailing 83 years of drinking wisdom, 125 cocktail antidotes, and 13 drinks that every man should know how to make. Knowledge is key, so stop depending on your local bartender for all the recipes.



How to Wrap Five Eggs 

Documenting a time before mass production, when the presentation of packaging was in itself a gift—a piece of art. This book contains 221 black-and-white photographs exemplifying traditional Japanese packaging. The showcase of a lost art, reminding us of the connection between nature and hard work.



Wanderlust: Hiking on Legendary Trails 

Explore this wild world one step at a time, at least that’s our mantra. Though we focus largely on the sprawling cities of the globe, we recognize how important it is to get out of dodge. Wanderlust presents legendary walking routes with inviting maps, practical tips, and inspiring landscape photographs through a variety of terrain ranging from thin ice, to desert sands to coastal tracks and forest pathways—get out there.



Where to Eat Pizza 

All hail pizza, in every gorgeous form. Over 1,000 food experts and aficionados from around the world reveal their insider tips on finding a perfect slice of pizza in this thick coffee table read. Inside also contains quotes from chefs, secret ingredients, special sauces, and tips in the quest for the perfect crust—cowabunga homeslice.



Detroit After Dark

Detroit After Dark features photography from the streets, complexes, and unique subculture of Motor City for nearly 65 years. Featuring pictures from the outlook of several different eyes, the book focuses on the city from Dusk until Dawn. The shots depicted illustrate the rise and fall of a misunderstood and sometimes misrepresented, city of Detroit.



The Unseen Eye

Mesmerizing, yes. Haunting, undoubtedly. A series of photographs by New York collector, W.M Hunt, capturing an almost abstract assortment of pictures detailing life, death, and everything in between. The pictures taken share a common thread of the subject’s faces being averted, eyes tightly shut, or face obscured. Dive into this fascinating collection to flip through photos of Warhol, Alice Neel, and French writer Andre Breton.



Stuff Every Man Should Know

From negotiating a raise to casting a fishing line, this little black book will put you in the fast lane to becoming a man. No longer will you not host BBQs for fear of not knowing how to master the grill. Dinner parties will be filled with compliments on your perfectly made Martini, and betting on the horses will be as easy as learning a pick-up line in five different languages (that’s right, you’ll learn that too). Be the man you were destined to be, not the one who can’t match his clothes. 



The Authorized Story Of Miki Dora

Miki Dora defined the 1960’s beach culture. An icon, sometimes anti-hero, but an absolute legend, Dora was a well decorated, high competing world-class surfer until he decided that he no longer valued the direction the sport was headed in. For several years he traveled the globe, ripping up waves on every beach worth a damn, sometimes finding himself behind bars, but all the while continuing to build his bad-boy persona—this book details excerpts from Miki and his family, along with photos taken along the way. If surfing had a currency, “Da Cat” would be on the $100 bill.



To Kill A Mockingbird: Harper Lee

Written in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most famous reads of all time. This special edition version is bound in supple tan leather that will patina with each read. An essential for literary lovers, a standout on the coffee table, and an unmatched gift. “Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing.” – TKAM



Inside Utopia

One of the radical parts of a sci-fi film or futuristic movie is the creative visuals, the inspiring set designs — the future unknown. Inside Utopia delves into the architecture of future living, with photos from breathtaking houses and apartments that feel like science fiction. Published in 2017, this book offers a glimpse into our future.



My Morning Routine

(Cue the alarm) My Morning Routine covers a collection of talented creatives and entrepreneurs, who share secrets to unlocking focus, calm, and determination in the wee hours of the a.m. to help tackle the day forward. A must-have bedside read to grab ahold of when the sun peaks in, and set the tone to the day with some knowledge and advice to help you shape your own unique morning routine.




Oscar Abolafia is an American photographer known for his outstanding photojournalism. What separated him from the pack was his brilliance in attaining images of celebrities circa the 1960s and 70s, his work then and now feels so up close and personal. This coffee table is his trade, which captures the kind of celerity you can instantly recognize with the first name on the film, a true testament to extraordinary work.



101 Horror Movies You Must See Before You Die

Internal demons, real-life vampires, anonymous serial killers, crazed spouses, vengeful ghosts, or Satan himself, how else would you love to spend your Sunday? Horror flicks are for a certain type of personality, especially the bloody cult favorites. This time of year though—no excuses. Get in the spirit of October and plan 101 reasons to love Halloween.



Hitch: The Life And Times Of Alfred Hitchcock

Get to know the man behind the lens, pen, and mind. The Life and Times of Alfred Hitchcock has numerous photos from his family albums, interviews, and an in-depth study of his final film. This biography is genuinely just as gripping as one of his edge of your seat classics.





Check out this list of the largest libraries in the world

The world’s oldest known library was founded sometime in the 7th century B.C. for the “royal contemplation” of the Assyrian ruler Ashurbanipal

Some libraries have gone to extraordinary lengths to make sure titles remained on shelves. At Marsh’s Library in Dublin, Ireland, visitors hoping to peruse rare books in the 1800s were locked in cages until they were done reading

Looking for more? GEAR GRID features unique books each Sunday

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