• Top
Bookshelf

Bookshelf: The bookshelf of the seriously sharp Bertie Brandes

Posted by Liv Siddall,

You may have been reading some particularly hilarious articles on Vice recently, and you may or may not have noticed that some of the sharpest, wittiest and generally most honest come from a girl named Bertie Brandes. Originally a writer, Bertie is now publisher of a magazine called The Mushpit which she co-runs with Charlotte Roberts.

The magazine is "basically everything we ever wanted but couldn’t find between the pages of the glossy magazines thrust upon us in relative adulthood. It’s influenced hugely by Cheap Date, a short-lived incredible project edited by jaded Vogue writers, which was hands down the best “women’s” magazine of all time. The Mushpit also has elements of the absurd nonsense of magazines like J-17, Sassy and Sugar, which may not have been particularly good for us but had a great tone, and didn’t encourage their readers to buy an £800 jacket for “spring”.

Read about Bertie’s most inspirational books now, and take as many leaves out of her own book as you can — she’s a seriously smart lady. Oh, and by the way, there is a photo missing for Jay McInerney – Story of My Life as Bertie has misplaced her copy. Apologies.

  • 3

    Elizabeth Smart: At Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept

Elizabeth Smart – At Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept

It’s slightly embarrassing to include this because I’m no longer an angsty teenage girl, but I remember it being incredibly important when I was about 18. As with the majority of my most treasured books, I found this on my dad’s floor, read it out of curiosity, and was transfixed. I think I was so taken by it partly because I hadn’t read anything in this tone of a similar structure or length, both of which felt incredibly familiar and personal. It inspired years of attempted fictional journals, none of which, I hope, will ever come to light.

  • 1

    D.H.Thomas: The White Hotel

D.H. Thomas – The White Hotel

I plucked this out of my dad’s bookshelf (again) because I liked the cover, and was drawn in by the peculiar erotica of the opening poem. It remains one of the most beautiful, intense and devastating novels I’ve ever read. It is also the only book (I know of) in which a disembodied womb flies around a bedroom, and guests take turns suckling the protaganist as the hotel around everyone inside it slowly burns to the ground. You should read it.

  • 2

    James Joyce: Ulysses

James Joyce – Ulysses

One thing I learned as an English undergraduate was that the only book you’re ever really allowed to say is your favourite book of all time (it’s a terrible thing to say regardless) is Ulysses and that is because there is literally no way of ever understanding it in full. James Joyce was a cracker, he was either the most intelligent man in the history of humanity, or incredibly good at pretending. Either way, the descriptive passages in Ulysses, whether I had the faintest clue what was going on or not, are by far the most vivid, exciting and profound I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Incidentally, my grandmother, who is frighteningly well read, maintains that she can understand Finnegan’s Wake – I seriously hope she’s lying.

  • 7

    Joseph Conrad: Ulysses

Joseph Conrad – Nostromo

I remember trying to plough through the opening chapters of this, hoping desperately it would pick up, and suddenly being swept along as if it were poetry. It is dense but deceptively fluid, and I can picture the closing image of Nostromo in the rowing boat as if I’d re-read it this morning. I recently saw a man reading this on the tube and tried to catch his eye and tell him how much I loved it (a little weird, I know) but he was, of course, totally rapt. Perhaps not the best introduction to Conrad but definitely my firm favourite, perseverance is key.

Jay McInerney – Story of My Life

It would be pretty unfair of me to write a roundup of the most influential novels I’ve read and not include Story of My Life, a book I have arguably ripped off the for the last two years in basically everything I’ve written. I owe a great deal to Alison and her impressive social life, and have relentlessly pillaged her valley girl tone of voice and inspired nonchalance to my own gain. This book also made me realise that you can be inane and superficial and proud. Amen.

Ls-300

Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and worked across online, print, events and latterly Features Editor before leaving in May 2015.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

  1. Come-de-bouchony-itsnicethat-pienkowski-list

    We’re pretty big fans of French graphic designer Côme de Bouchony in the It’s Nice That studio – we’ve covered his work again and again and again on the site. So it comes as no great surprise that underneath all of that sharp, reference-laden work lies a Bookshelf bulging with first-rate printed matter. The ten most influential people in magazine design, illustrator Jan Pieńkowski and one very long Italian sausage all have their place. Roll up, roll up!

  2. David-luraschi-bookshelf-coveritsnicethat-list

    Paris-based photographer David Luraschi is as adept at photographing undulating hills as he is sprawling nudes, and he brings his unique perspective to both. You might know him best for his series of photographs of people spotted on the streets of Paris photographed from behind – a project that started on his Instagram and has since been splashed about all over the internet.

  3. Charlotte-mei-list

    Now I’m not saying that the Bookshelf feature should act as a barometer of how much we want to be friends with the people we feature, but if you can’t identify niche interests in a kindred spirit by way of their favourite publications, when the bloody hell can you?

  4. Parterre_de_rois_list

    Biannual magazine Paterre de Rois seamlessly weaves contemporary culture with relevant masterpieces from the past. The latest instalment, titled Rebellion, is a hot mix of punchy, full-bleed images, engaging copy and an assortment of paper textures. Editors Molly Molloy (fashion designer for Marni womenswear) and Gianni Tozzi (creative director for FutureBrand Milan) are passionate about print, and here Molly selects five books that proudly sit on their bookshelf. Informing their work past and present, these publications have provided guidance, inspiration and visual delight in one form or another for the pair.

  5. Studio-toogood-bookshelf-itsnicethat-list

    From furniture design and a fashion line to a series of installations, Faye Toogood is a material aficionado. Her interior and environmental design work is founded in artisanship and “the irregularity of the chosen material,” meaning that no corner of the creative industries has been left untouched by her influence. We caught up with Faye to find out which five books hold the greatest sway on her bookshelf, and her inspirations – from Yohji Yamamoto to Barbara Hepworth – are evident throughout her expansive practice.

  6. Sh_books-itsnicethat-list-2

    From googly-eyed palm trees oozing California cool to a cheeky yellow thumbs up sign against a backdrop of a bright American flag, artist and designer Steven Harrington has been wafting LA sunshine our way via his cartoonish characters for years now. His work is a staple reference for anybody making Americana-influenced illustration, and spans huge hand-screened prints to limited-edition skateboards, all of which is doused in his sunny, funny style.

  7. Laurabradley-bookshelf-itsnicethat-list

    There are few corners of the internet which remain sacred nowadays, but anothermag.com, the online counterpart to Dazed ’s sister publication AnOther Magazine, feels something like a tiny jewel-bedecked cave in the midst of a vast wasteland. Hosting a curated collection of insights into the lives of legendary artists and craftspeople, alongside photographic series, handwritten letters and aspects of the fashion world which might otherwise go unnoticed, the site is a rare gem, and at its helm is editor Laura Bradley.

  8. Ng_inside_2bookshelf-itsnicethat-list

    London-based fashion brand Eley Kishimoto was founded in 1992 by Japanese-born Wakako Kishimoto and her Welsh husband Mark Eley, and has since earned a global reputation for bold print design and collaborations with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Jil Sander. We were lucky enough to pin down co-founder Wakako to find out which publications have most inspired and influenced her on her trajectory thus far. Her response? A beautiful old Japanese/English dictionary, a Jean-Charles de Castelbajac-clad Snoopy, and an old old issue of the National Geographic and all of the treasures inside it.

  9. Alex-tieghi-walker-itsnicethat-list

    When we invited Alex Tieghi-Walker to contribute to the Bookshelf feature we didn’t realise he was in possession of what basically constitutes a library. A looming wall of books, teeming with colour, insight and inspiration. Look at it! It’s enormous!

  10. Book-shelf-list

    If you’ve been for a walk in Hoxton, east London recently there’s a good chance you’ve come across One Good Deed Today, a recently-opened shop selling a curated collection of lifestyle and homeware objects. The objects on sale are lovely, but the approach taken by the owners Romain and Alev is even more so – the products are chosen based on how and where they are made, making it a very responsible collection, and five percent of all proceeds from the store are donated to a charity chosen by the customer at the time of purchase. Nice, huh?

  11. Spuren_cover_00-int-list

    Brighten the Corners (the name comes from the Pavement album!) is a design studio split in two – it’s made up of Frank Philippin and Billy Kiosoglou and based in both London and Odenwald, Germany – so it makes sense that it has two bookshelves to show for it, too. The studio’s portfolio of work includes some very impressive stuff for the likes of Anish Kapoor, Frieze, the British Council and the Department of Education, and with fingers in such diverse pies we were keen to see the books Billy and Frank were drawing on for inspiration. So here they are!

  12. Allbook_spines-teal-triggs-int

    What a treat we have for you today! The one and only Teal Triggs, professor at London’s Royal College of Art and all-knowing figure in everything concerned with print, graphic design history, self-publishing and feminism, has spent some time digging five of the most influential and inspiring books she owns out of her bottomless collection to share with us.

  13. Laserigraphie_cover-int-list

    If you aren’t already familiar with Atelier Bingo then I can’t think of any better way to introduce their joyous work than to have them present five of their favourite publications, in their own words. The atelier consists of Maxime Prou and Adèle Favreau, a creative couple living in an impossibly beautiful barn in the French countryside where they experiment with illustration, graphic design, surface and textile design on a daily basis to create an endless array of utterly unique and distinctive works for clients including Vogue, The Plant, Wanderlust and Wrap magazine. But also just for fun, because why wouldn’t they?