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Photo courtesy of Abrams

Books news: art special

Clear your coffee table for a round up of the coming season's heaviest hitters

Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses

Are you afraid of death by drowning? Have you ever attempted suicide? Have you thought of committing murder? Crab Monsters, Teenage Cavemen and Candy Stripe Nurses tests you from page one: "If you fail the test… you will be asked to leave the theatre!" Self-proclaimed king of the B-movie, Roger Corman, has made his fair share of flicks that were probably walked out on. But the brilliant director behind Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and The Intruder (1962) started out in the 20th Century Fox mail room. This book is an ode to the B-movie legend who stole any sense of comfort with his early horror films.

Available now from Abrams

A Visual History of Typefaces and Graphic Styles

Take a trip down typeface memory lane with this visual history starting in 1628 (yes, they had typefaces back then) through to 1938. Cruise through pre-Helvetica past – which drifted into public consciousness in 1949, FYI – with some acutely interesting stories about how typefaces came to be. Times New Roman was birthed after a scathing comment from typemaster Arthur Morison that London's Times newspaper had "outdated typography". Morison met with William Lints-Smith, manager of the London Times, and was tasked with the job of typographical advisor for the newspaper.

Available now from Taschen

The Monocle Guide to Better Living

Drake once famously sang, "Feelin' good, livin' better" in Over My Dead Body. After having a flip through The Monocle Guide to Better Living, we're convinced Drake received an embargoed copy. As Monocle has slowly crept up on the most fashionable of culture hounds, it celebrates the best of its findings in a gorgeously designed manual teaching us how to live just that tiny bit better.

Available now from Gestalten

Super Graphic

Edna Mode would hang her head in shame at all the caped comic book heroes in Super Graphic. Spawn, Thor, Mysterio – just a handful of caped crusaders in a hilarious Venn diagram of superhero comic tropes. Underwear on the outside? Orion, Caption Carrot… Tragically dead parents? Daredevil, Hulk… Wired magazine's art director Tim Leong sifts through superhero to put together an amazingly detailed graphical handbook (including a map entirely dedicated to Tintin's travels) that will turn any layman into a comic nerd.

Available now from Chronicle Books

The Final Project 

Ahead of her exhibition at Richard Saltoun, Jo Spence walks the seemingly dark path of documenting her 'final project', which explores the acute sense of unreality the artist felt following her diagnosis with leukaemia. While a lot of it flirts with the possibility of death and non-being, Spence's morbidly fascinating tale includes double exposed photos of her body suspended in a body of water or super-imposed over a graveyard of tombstones. Spence's past work has explored the idea of the male gaze, but the fragility of life that she documents so eloquently here is pensive and worth a look.

Available September from Ridinghouse

Heavenly Bodies: Cult Trasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs

Perhaps this book is not the originator of the phrase "skeletons in your closet", but if it were, that closet would be looking quite stupendous. These skeletons – draped in diamantes and dripping in ornate decoration – apparently reinvigorated the faith of Catholics during the Counter-Reformation in Europe, because nothing says faith more than a bag of bones dressed to impress. Paul Koudounaris, an art historian and photographer, set out on a mission to uncover the story of these ornamented relics, which he considers the finest works of art ever conceived in human bone. We're guessing there are no challengers…

Available 9 September from Thames & Hudson

Guys Can Be Cat Ladies Too

The title says it all. The equality movement has come to the animal kingdom. How do you properly pet a cat? Or clean up after its mess? Now, men too will be able to decipher the normally unperturbed feline mind. They say dog's are a man's best friend, but this book shatters that notion with hilarious charts, graphs and fun facts that will have kitty purring with passion in no time.

Available this month from Abrams

Punk 45: The Singles Cover Art of Punk 1975-80

Punk 45 and two zig zags, baby that's all I need. This distinguished revelry of 7-inch record sleeve designs has been amalgamated in this excellently edited, visual rolodex of punk. First generation punk formed in New York in early 1976. In 1972 Richard Hell and Tom Verlaine started rehearsing as The Neon Boys, but never appeared in public. The sleeve designs of this era followed the whole DIY manifesto that was captured by the punk spirit. Interviews include Marc Zermati of Skydog Records, Roger Armstrong of Chiswick Records, and a shit ton of brazen art from bands like Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols and The Clash.

Available 28 October from Soul Jazz Books

Amber, Guinevere, and Kate

They didn't become anti-supermodels themselves, ya know. Craig McDean, one of the instrumental photographers behind the careers of these catwalkers, has put his work with these muses into a gorgeous coffee table topper which celebrates the evolution of their aesthetic alongside the rise of grunge in the early 90s. These girls tickled the fringes of the supermodel era, but left their mark in a different way. Documented in delicious portraits with texts by Mathias Augustyniak of M/M (Paris) and author Glenn O’Brien, this book is a staple in the fashion appetite.

Available 24 September from Rizzoli

The Godfather Family Album

"A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man," or so says Don Corleone to Johnny Fontane in Francis Ford Coppola's archetypal gangster film. This genre-defying movie has also shone a light on the more delicate sides of gangsta living (read: family). In this family album, the Corleones come together to reveal some behind the scenes magic from the making of this masterpiece, with Coppola admitting "if we had another two weeks, it'd be great!" We'll settle for this coffee table memorial.

Available now from Taschen