That why we're all doing this, right? If we hit 50, we win A NEW CAR, Rob Roddy-style?
Anyhow, for my last book, I chose a leisurely read that had been sitting on my shelf for a long time: Alphonse Mucha: Masterworks. It's a coffee-table book, but it also contains quite a lengthy biography of Mucha and an analysis of his illustrative works during his time in Paris. The info I learned about Mucha was interesting - for example, his conceived masterpiece was a 40-painting epic depicting the myth and history of his Slavic homeland, but by the time he got to paint it, he was all but rejected by his countrymen for having spent so much time in Paris, away from the Czechs. I found, though, the analysis part of the volume less illuminating - art professor Rosalind Ormiston points out a few interesting details about the details and composition of many Mucha works, singling out elements like the common layouts Mucha used and what tricks he would use to emphasize the unusual verticality of his works, but much of her information is repeated and a little shallow, and the commentary is rarely placed close to the corresponding illustrations, necessitating a lot of flipping back and forth. Also, I was disappointed that for all the mentions of it, nothing of The Slav Epic was depicted - or anything of Mucha's jewelry, but I suppose that would take a book in itself.
But why am I complaining? This book is utterly stuffed with almost 200 pages of gorgeous Mucha illustrations, and prose aside, that's enough to recommend it to anyone.