Many new books on architectural topics are hitting bookstore (and virtual) shelves. Here are just a few:

Recently released, The Philip Johnson Tapes (The Monacelli Press, $40), by Robert A. M. Stern, FAIA, offers a glimpse into the mind of architect, curator, and collector Philip Johnson through transcripts of Stern's recorded conversations with him about architecture and architects. The debate and banter between Stern and Johnson throughout 10 interview sessions, each covering a decade of Johnson's life, illuminate a significant period in American architecture. An introductory chapter—"Encounters with Philip Johnson: A Partial Memoir"—by Stern is included.—stephani l. miller

In Architecture Oriented Otherwise (Princeton Architectural Press, $39.95), author and University of Pennsylvania professor of architecture David Leatherbarrow argues for thinking about architecture on the basis of its actual performance—how it functions, acts, and exists in the world; its effects on its observers, inhabitants, and landscape—rather than on its artistic intentions. Leatherbarrow draws on contemporary philosophy and the work of architects he admires to challenge readers to reconsider the way they think about buildings and encourage architects to consider their buildings in broader terms.—stephani l. miller

Baroque Architecture: 1600-1750 (Flammarion-pere Castor, $95) offers a detailed introduction to the style and its history, along with lavish illustrations and photographs. Authors Frédérique Lemerle, director of research at the Centre d'Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, and Yves Pauwels, professor of art history and architecture at the University of Tours, guide readers through predominant expressions of the style and how it evolved in relation to the cities and cultures where it was found.—stephani l. miller

Architectural writers have penned many a book about modernist architecture in Los Angeles. But L.A. Modern (Rizzoli, $75), the luscious new volume by architectural photographer Tim Street-Porter, proves there's room for more. Acting as author as well as photographer, Street-Porter has gathered up a mix of modern L.A. houses both famous (Frank Lloyd Wright's Hollyhock House and Richard Neutra's Lovell Health and Kaufmann houses, for example) and obscure (Richard Banta's Banta House). By including the usual suspects along with some less familiar names, he keeps the reader alert and open to new insights about the mid-century modern lifestyle. He also includes a project from the late 1980s—Frank Gehry, FAIA's Schnabel Residence—because, as he writes, it "would act as a bridge to more contemporary residential architecture in Los Angeles." Street-Porter clearly views these houses as ever-evolving residences. He shot them in sun-drenched color and with their updated landscaping, artwork, and furnishings. And he identifies their current owners and explains any changes made to the original design, crediting the architects and designers involved. His informed and gently opinionated writing, along with an introduction by New York Times architecture critic Nicolai Ourousoff, make this book a pleasure to peruse.—meghan drueding

Gregory Ain often gets lost in lists of important 20th-century L.A. architects, crowded out by bigger names. But the life of this interesting and influential man deserves more attention. The new book Gregory Ain: The Modern Home as Social Commentary (Rizzoli, $65), by Anthony Denzer, serves as an engaging remedy. An in-depth, photo-illustrated biography, the book takes us from Ain's working-class childhood to his experiences working for Neutra and Schindler to his years as an independent architect and then a beloved teacher. And it reveals the ways in which he used architecture to advance his progressive political and social beliefs. Illustrated with color and black-and-white photos, as well as floor plans, site plans, and elevation drawings, Gregory Ain will please Ain's devotees and create new fans of his work.—meghan drueding

Steven and Cathi House look to the light and the natural colors or textures of a place when designing homes, whether they be in northern California, central Mexico, or the Caribbean. The work of the couple's San Francisco-based firm, House + House Architects, is featured in the recently published monograph, Houses in the Sun (The Images Publishing Group, $75). Showcased within its 296 pages are projects that maximize the architects' use of vibrant hues and the distinct ways they use light as part of each structure's design. More than 400 photographs and 200 drawings highlight 20 houses completed over the past 10 years. Descriptions of each project discuss the connection of house to landscape through sculptural openings and material selections, as well as the care given to preserving the site.—shelley d. hutchins

Visit your favorite e-tailer to purchase any of these new titles.