Book Review: The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair

The Secret Lives of ColorThe Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This enchanting read is one of the most interesting informational books I’ve ever read, and it’s as much a festival for the eyes as it is for the brain. Kassia St. Clair assembles a huge collection of historical vignettes that take us through the unexpected secrets of various colors–some familiar, some quite unusual. The stories dabble in art history, fashion, biology, geology, politics, and culture, all through the lens of the colors that have influenced them since time began. What’s really wonderful is that each shade appears visually along the margins of its own story, so the reader can really soak in each shade. I loved the bite-size length of each individual color’s moment in the text, and the way St. Clair’s tone shifts in a charming way, as capricious as the colors themselves. Whether creepy, comical, pious, or posh, each color has more in its history than most of us dare to imagine. If the visual spectrum has ever interested you, you’ll want to add this title to your reading palette. (P.s. My favorite shades from the book: Baker-Miller Pink, Dragon’s Blood, Ultramarine, Absinthe, and Taupe. )

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