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Tamara Shopsin - book author

Tamara Shopsin is the author of books: Arbitrary Stupid Goal, Mumbai New York Scranton: A Memoir, These Colors Are Bananas: Published in Association with the Whitney Museum of American Art, A Pile of Leaves: Published in collaboration with the Whitney Museum of American Art, Find Colors: Published in association with the Whitney Museum of American Art, This Equals That, 5 Year Diary: Blue Cover, Tamara Shopsin: What Is This?, Tamara Shopsin: c'Est Le Pied II, Tamara Shopsin: c'Est Le Pied!

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01
An endlessly entertaining illustrated memoir, time-traveling to the Greenwich Village of the author’s bohemian 1970s childhood

Tamara Shopsin, the acclaimed New York Times and New Yorker illustrator, takes the reader on a pointillist time-travel trip to the Greenwich Village of her bohemian 1970s childhood, a funky, tight-knit small town in the big city, long before Whole Foods and luxury condos. The center of Tamara’s universe is Shopsin’s, her family’s legendary corner store/restaurant/hangout, run by her inimitable dad, Kenny—a brilliant, loquacious, contrary, huge-hearted man who, aside from dishing up New York’s best egg salad on rye, is Village sheriff, philosopher, and fixer all at once. We follow Kenny as he pursues his destiny through early factory jobs, superintendent gigs, and crossword-puzzle mania. His temper flares as often as his humor, keeping Tamara, her mom, and her siblings constantly off-balance but giddy to be along for the always bracing ride. And the cast of supporting characters is unforgettable—oddballs and misfits, cops and con men, sax players and waitresses, longshoremen and poets, and crafty Willoughby “Willy” Jones, an old-time swindler and lady-killer from the South who improbably becomes Kenny’s foil and best friend. All comers find a place at Shopsin’s table and feast on Kenny’s tall tales and trenchant advice along with the incomparable chili con carne.

At its core, Arbitrary Stupid Goal is about the secrets of living an unconventional life, which is becoming a forgotten art. It’s a place where serendipity trumps logic and overplanning can cause you to miss out on the fun of a midnight walk to the giant bubbling margarita glass perched precariously over the Mexican joint on Seventh Avenue. It’s about taking the day as it flows, treasuring experiences over things, and embracing the crazy but essential messiness of relationships.

Filled with clever illustrations and witty, nostalgic photographs and graphics, and told in a sly, elliptical narrative that is both hilarious and endearing, Arbitrary Stupid Goal is an offbeat memory-book mosaic that will encourage readers to rediscover the vital spontaneity that we may have unwisely traded for the shelter of predictability.
02
An extraordinarily moving memoir from an iconoclastic new talent—an artist, cook, and New York Times illustrator whose adventures at home and abroad revealed the importance of living life with your eyes wide open.

An extraordinarily moving memoir from an iconoclastic new talent—an artist, cook, and illustrator whose adventures at home and abroad reveal the importance of living life with your eyes wide open.

Best known for her witty illustrations, and as a cook beside her mischievous father in her family’s legendary Manhattan restaurant, in Mumbai New York Scranton, Tamara Shopsin offers a brilliantly inventive, spare, and elegant chronicle of a year in her life characterized by impermanence. In a refreshingly original voice alternating between tender and brazen, Shopsin recounts a trip to the Far East with her sidekick husband and the harrowing adventure that unfolds when she comes home. Entire worlds, deep relationships, and indelible experiences are portrayed in Shopsin’s deceptively simple and sparse language and drawings.

Blending humor, love, suspense—and featuring photographs by Jason Fulford—Mumbai New York Scranton inspires a kaleidoscope of emotions. Shopsin’s surprising and affecting tale will keep you on the edge of your seat.
03
What color is an apple? A dog? Grass? Young readers will be amazed by the range of possibilities

What color is a banana? It can be at least 25 different shades, according to this artful swatchbook of versatile subjects. An inversion of the way we typically look at color, this book challenges readers' predispositions towards using a particular crayon for a particular object. 11 items are each presented alongside a grid of color ranges: the "apple" page features yellows, greens, and reds; the "egg" page a range of greens to grays; even "grass" is surprising, with suggestions of pink. The read-along text is playful and philosophical, poetic and factual… all towards expanding readers' assumptions. Inspired by the Whitney Museum's approach to looking at art, these books provide a new way to look at the world.

Created for ages 2-4 years
04
Dig through the leaf pile in this collage-inspired book with see-through pages

Readers explore the concept of layering and collage with this interactive exercise in composition. Each clear acetate page features a single element in the leaf pile, though some are not leaves at all! As readers turn the pages, the leaf pile is deconstructed piece by piece on the right side, and reconstructed on the left. Younger readers will enjoy the seek-and-find aspect of the hidden objects, while older readers might experiment by adding their own images between the pages. A key at the back provides the names of each kind of leaf shown. Inspired by the Whitney Museum's approach to looking at art, these books provide a new way to look at the world.

Colors are brighter than they appear - printed in pure Pantones.

Ages 2-4
05
A colors book with no colors ? instead, die-cuts to peek through and find them yourself

This introduction to colors integrates the reader's surroundings into carefully considered die-cut silhouettes, providing children the space to visually experiment. Readers will gaze around the room through a rooster-shaped hole in search of something red, through a sun-shaped hole for something yellow, through squiggly worms for something pink. Designed for the youngest readers, this sturdy board book features 12 die-cuts made to flip and carry on a color-seeking mission. Inspired by the Whitney Museum's approach to looking at art, these books provide a new way to look at the world.
06
Aimed at children ages five and up, this clever and surprising picture book by artists and collaborators, Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin, takes young viewers on a whimsical journey while teaching them associative thinking and visual language, as well as colors, shapes and numbers. Through a simple narrative and a rhythmic sequence of photographs, the book generates multiple meanings, making the experience of reading the book interactive--parent and child must ask questions and come up with their own answers, drawing on the child's imagination. Each spread presents a new relationship that changes and shifts as the book unfolds, with the last picture relating again to the first, forming a circle. Through playful and inspired sequencing, everyday scenes are transformed into a game of pairs, enjoyable for adults and children alike.
Jason Fulford (born 1973) is a photographer and cofounder of the nonprofit J&L Books. He is a contributing editor at Blind Spot and a frequent lecturer at universities. His monographs include Sunbird (2000), Crushed (2003), Raising Frogs for $$$ (2006), The Mushroom Collector (2010) and Hotel Oracle (2013).
Tamara Shopsin (born 1979) is a graphic designer and illustrator whose work has been featured in The New York Times, Good, Time, Wired and Newsweek. She is the author of Mumbai New York Scranton and designer of 5 Year Diary. She is also a cook at her family's restaurant, Shopsin's, in New York.
07
Now available in blue, Tamara Shopsin's classic 5 Year Diary is back in stock. Designed by Shopsin--whose illustration work is regularly featured in The New York Times--and produced by The Ice Plant and Shopsin's General Store, the pint-sized 5 Year Diary helps you keep track of the next 60 months of your life in just a few lines a day. Each page of the diary is devoted to one day of the year and subdivided into five sections (each with its own space for notes), so that, as time goes by, past entries can be read as the new ones are written. Handsomely clothbound with a red ribbon bookmark, the diary can be started on any day of any year--even a leap year. In the back of the diary are pages to record the books you've read and places you've traveled. As New York magazine's Kendall Herbst noted, the 5 Year Diary is an ideal gift for anyone, anytime, as well as the perfect way to "trace your life's highlights and trim out the minutiae... Think of it as a sort of CliffsNotes to your life."
08
It is never too early to learn about abstraction--especially if celebrated illustrator Tamara Shopsin is doing the teaching. "What Is This?" is Shopsin's wordless children's book that will encourage imaginative thinking in readers both young and old. The miniature book, made for small hands, is filled with simple line drawings, executed with characteristic charm by Shopsin. Each drawing playfully adds to and alters the same basic squiggle, which is transformed across different contexts on each successive page: first the squiggle appears as the petals of a flower, next as a bird's nest, then a cowboy's lasso, then a plume of smoke from a factory chimney. Each time, only a few extra lines are required to suggest the conversion. By the end of the book, faced with an innocent squiggle, the question is not "what is this?" but rather, "what isn't this?" Tamara Shopsin (born 1979) is a graphic designer and illustrator whose work has been featured in The "New York Times," "Good," "Time," "Wired" and "Newsweek." She is the author of the memoir "Mumbai New York Scranton," designer of the "5 Year Diary" and coauthor, with Jason Fulford, of the children's book "This Equals That." She is also a cook at her family's restaurant, Shopsin's, in New York.
09
C'est le Pied II is New York-based artist and illustrator Tamara Shopsin's follow up to her well-received 2007 book, C'est le Pied. Volume two is similarly filled with Shopsin's whimsical line drawings and deadpan conundrums that play on everyday mishaps. An eclectic gem, this small giftworthy paperback comprises a series of 49 elegant doodles that combine Shopsin's familiar handsome design with a New Yorker-esque--or Fischli and Weiss, or Ernie Kovacs--sense of humor, and a touch of Raymond Pettibon's edge: a broomstick-riding witch and a genie traveling by magic carpet share airspace, a battered-looking armored truck is jacked up on three sets of cinderblocks and a fully-suited knight sips soda from a straw through his helmet. Shopsin is an east coast graphic artist, line cook and the daughter of New York food legend Kenny Shopsin, whose restaurant--a long-term West Village mainstay--features a famously over-stuffed menu. Father and daughter recently collaborated on the popular cookbook, Eat Me: the Food and Philosophy of Kenny Shopsin. She is also a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review and Op-Ed pages, as well as various other national magazines.
10
Handsomely designed and illustrated by Tamara Shopsin, this small paperback leads the reader through a series of visual puns and subtle wordplay in the form of 45 simple line drawings. An odd gem in the vein of certain McSweeney's publications with a bit of Raymond Pettibon thrown in, it highlights an absurdist humor that can also be found at her newest venture, Shopsin's General Store online, where one can find such eclectic staples as an Honest Abe cloisonn' lapel pin featuring the emotional sixteenth President of the United States, a wooden tongue depressor silk-screened with the phrase, "I was born on a pirate ship," various darkly adorable letterpress notecards and a scarf with red and white marbling that is designed to look like a long, soft strip of bacon. A regular contributor to The New York Times Op-Ed page among other cosmopolitan publications, Shopsin is a cook and graphic artist based in New York.