A Life In Books: Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley and Five Oceans in a Teaspoon

A Life In Books: Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley and Five Oceans in a Teaspoon


A Life In Books: Rise and Fall of Bleu Mobley, 2013


An illuminated novel that contains 101 books within it, all written and designed by Lehrer’s [fictional] author-protagonist, Bleu Mobley. Over the course of one long night, in the darkness of his prison cell, Lehrer’s fictional protagonist whispers his life story into a microcassette recorder, tracing his journey from the public housing project of his youth, to a career as a journalist, then experimental novelist, college professor, accidental bestselling author, pop-culture pundit, and unindicted prisoner. Mobley’s an autobiography/apologia is paired with a review of all 101 of his books. Each book is represented by its first edition cover design and catalog copy, and 34 of the books are excerpted. The resulting retrospective contrasts the published writings (which read like short stories) with the author’s confessional memoir, forming a most unusual portrait of a well-intentioned, obsessively inventive (but ethically challenged) visionary. A LIFE IN BOOKS is a unique exploration of one man’s use of books as a means of understanding himself, the people around him, and a half century of American/global events. It celebrates the mysteries and contradictions of the creative process and grapples with the future of the book as a medium and the lines that separate and blur truth, myth, and fiction. The printed book is enhanced by films and animations which are incorporated into Lehrer’s A LIFE IN BOOKS performance/talks, are part of a traveling exhibition, and can be seen online. Winner of 9 Awards including Independent Publisher’s Outstanding Book of the Year Award, the International Book Award for Best New Fiction, and a Print Magazine Regional Design Award.


Illuminated novel/artist book written, designed, and illustrated by Warren Lehrer. Some illustrations were made in collaboration with Melina Rodrigo Smyres, Donna Chang, and Jonathon Rosen. Published in 2013 by Goff Books.


Hardcover, 4 colors throughout, smythe sewn, printed on acid-free paper.

7.5 x 9.75 inches

380 pages

Original edition of 3500



Five Oceans in a Teaspoon, 2019


Longtime collaborators, Bernstein and Lehrer’s Five Oceans in a Teaspoon is a (large) collection of (short) visual poems, written by poet/investigative journalist Dennis J Bernstein, typographic visualizations by designer/author Warren Lehrer. As with his journalism, Bernstein’s poems reflect the struggle of everyday people trying to survive in the face of adversity. Divided into eight chapters, the book reads like a memoir in poems. It spans a lifetime, lifetimes: growing up confused by dyslexia and a parent’s alcoholism; graced by pogo sticks, boxing lessons and a mother’s compassion; becoming a frontline witness to war and its aftermaths, to prison, street life, poverty, love and loss, open heart surgery, caring for aging parents and visitations from them after they’re gone. Lehrer’s typographic compositions give form to the interior, emotional and metaphorical underpinnings of the poems. Together, the writing and visuals create a new whole that engages the reader to become an active participant in the navigation, discovery, and experience of each poem. The book is part of a multi-branched project including an exhibition, performance/readings, and animations. Winner of 7 Awards including STA 100, Design Incubation Scholarship/Creative Work Award, IPPY Gold Medal Poetry Award.


Written by Dennis J Bernstein. Visualized and structured by Warren Lehrer. Introduction by Steven Heller. Published by Paper Crown Press, September, 2019. 


Hardcover, quarter cloth binding. Full-color cover with embossed type, metallic foil. Black and white interior.
6 x 6 inches

302 pages

First Edition of 1300

Additional information

Weight2 lbs
Dimensions10 × 12 × 1 in
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