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    Charlie’s bookshelf

Bookshelf

Bookshelf: Fashion's favourite blogger Charlie Porter on Snoopy, Ulysses, and the science of the suit...

Posted by Liv Siddall,

Seeing as this man is considered by many to be one of the most important fashion journalists in the world, it was amazing the wonderful Charlie Porter was still willing to share his books with us despite being mid-way through having his flat decorated – what a guy! Perhaps this attitude, along with a healthy dose of purely natural fashion instinct, are what have secured his involvement in some of the most influential fashion bases on earth, including the reputable Fantastic Man and i–D.

Now freelance, Charlie spends his time documenting fashion on his own terms, usually via his magnificent blog on which you’ll find hilarious Rhythmic Gymnastic commentaries nestled comfortably against small, succinct articles about sweaters that make your wallet vibrate.

Without further ado, here are Charlie Porter’s top 5 reads:

Charles M Schulz: You’re A Good Sport Charlie Brown

I got this from the Scholastic Book Club in primary school. Charlie Brown and his friends play some sports, including a fierce motocross race, including a contestant called the Masked Marvel – obviously Snoopy. Charlie Brown and the Masked Marvel crash, but get mixed up. Snoopy is taken to hospital, while Charlie Brown ends up in the dog pound.

My parents found it in their loft a couple of years ago, and asked if I still wanted it. As with most things my parents find of mine in their loft, the answer was yes.
Charles M Schulz: You’re a Good Sport, Charlie Brown

Anne Hollander: Sex and Suits

Anne Hollander’s book is the best I’ve ever read on menswear. Written in 1994, Anne Hollander’s central premise is that far from being boring, suits are actually the most perfect garment yet designed. Her arguments are serious, and not just the knee-jerk ones of tailoring’s heritage. I don’t wear suits, and don’t know anyone who wears suits  – I’m interested in what comes after tailoring in menswear. But I get to that point by understanding what has come before.
Anne Hollander: Sex and Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress

Clive James: Cultural Amnesia

An extraordinary book of essays on writers, thinkers, artists of the twentieth century. Clive James’s starting point are notes he’s made in the margins of books on particular sentences or passages. The essays have led me to discover many extraordinary writers, especially those struck by the mid-century turmoil of Europe, such as Anna Akhmatova and Witold Gombrowicz. I’ve had it for years and am still reading it, because often an essay makes me go off and read someone else’s work. It’s that rare thing – a book that’s a companion.
Clive James: Cultural Amnesia: Notes in the Margin of My Time

Osamu Tezuka: Buddha (books 1 – 8)

Extraordinary graphic-novel-as-biography of Buddha, published in Japan from 1972 to 1983, which is both super-fun and super-inspiring. The cover of the American translation was designed by Chip Kidd, and together the spines of the hardback edition form their own amazing image. My set has had to be replenished a couple of times, as I’ve leant out the first in the series, never to have it returned.
Osamu Tezuka: Buddha (books 1-8)

James Joyce: Ulysses

On third attempt, including one go on Kindle, I’m finally making headway with Ulysses. I’m currently on page 390, and am reading it with the Bloomsday book by my side, which basically tells you everything that’s just happened – it’s an academically-authorised crib sheet. I’ve just checked how many pages are left. The book ends on page 933. 543 pages to go… Eeek…
James Joyce: Ulysses

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

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    Where some printed publications shy away from British culture as it exists beyond Union Jack flags and Yorkshire tea in floral china, LAW Magazine, which stands for Lives and Works is already knee-deep in the grit and the grime. Now in its fifth issue, the staple-bound bi-annual describes itself as a platform for “the beautiful everyday… A window into the world of the current undercurrent that nobody is catching and which is therefore of greater importance to document.” It’s a kind of Britishness so ubiquitous that you’d have to be wandering the streets with your head in a bag to miss it – one defined by full-suspension mountain bikes, Sunday League referees, Hackney estate maps and Vauxhall Novas.

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    Having founded London-based design studio Build in 2001, creative director Michael C. Place has amassed his fair share of books in his time, with a healthy combination of design knowledge to be found tucked between the spines on the studios (admirably well-organised) shelf. We’ve been championing Build’s work on the site for some time now, so what better way to get an insight into the inspirations behind their snazzy work than by hearing from the creative director himself about his favourite reading material? Between Letraset catalogues, reflections on legend Wim Crouwel and Michael’s mate Blam (who has excellent taste in books) we were not disappointed.

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    “In February 2013, 18 weeks pregnant, I was diagnosed with bowel cancer.” That’s the opening statement on the website of graphic novelist Matilda Tristram, who channeled this painful chapter of her life into a bestselling comic entitled Probably Nothing. We interviewed Matilda a while back on the site and were so intrigued by her story, we had to know more. In this revealing, insightful Bookshelf, Matilda shows us the fantastic books that have inspired her to be one of the most important and engaging graphic novelists working today. Here she is…

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    Yay! Hato Press! We love them. A lot. Neighbours of ours, Hato have spent the last five years collaborating with some of the coolest young creatives and oldest institutions to create impeccably beautiful printed matter and design solutions. A number of the publications these guys have produced are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever had the pleasure of holding/smelling, and it seems that every single thing they do or work on is covered in a glimmering magic dust that is exclusive to only them. Before you go and wet your pants over their multi-disciplinary work on their very nice websites (here and here) check out the books that have inspired them over the years below. Enjoy!

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    Satirical artist and very funny woman Miriam Elia is something of a pro when it comes to books; last year she self-published We Go to the Gallery, a satirical reinterpretation of a 1960s Ladybird book which seeks to help parents explain sex, death and contemporary art to their young ones, complete with a handy glossary of new words to learn. She’s since co-curated an exhibition about Pastiche, Parody and Piracy at London’s Cob Gallery, while other past works include I Fell in Love With a Conceptual Artist… and It Was TOTALLY MEANINGLESS about her relationship with Martin Creed. Hilarious? Yes. Yes it is. Miriam’s Bookshelf includes lovingly weathered books about typography, photography, flesh-eating plants and Butlins holiday camps, giving a neat insight into her brain.

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    John Tebbs is an English gardener who, frustrated by the fact that “many of his working days are held hostage to the weather” founded The Garden Edit in the winter of 2013. His idea was to spend his downtime as productively as possible, creating an online store of beautiful objects which he sourced and sold himself. The resulting curated collection reflects John’s faultless aesthetic, selling “minimal, well-designed products from craftspeople, artists, publishing houses and family-run businesses” alongside a Journal which features short articles by some of his favourite figures about their own horticultural escapades, from rooftop gardens to illustrations of plants.

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    Want to know a surprising secret about self-proclaimed “book obsessive” and Dazed & Confused editor Isabella Burley? She can’t stand big coffee-table-sized fashion books. “I’ve always taken my references from art, pop culture, photography and sex zines rather than fashion,” she told us. “That’s really come to shape the way I approach our fashion content within Dazed.”

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    With 25 years experience in magazine design, not to mention eight years of covering the extensive subject under the title magCulture, it’s a wonder we haven’t already metaphorically burst into Jeremy Leslie’s house and insisted he share his five favourite examples of printed matter right then and there. Instead, we caught him in the build up to The Modern Magazine 2014, the conference which takes place annually in the midst of London Design Festival to shine a torch on the current state of editorial creativity, as well as new directions for the industry.

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    Danielle Pender is the brain at the helm of Riposte magazine, one of the most exciting new publications created to champion the women doing exciting work in the creative industries today, as well as working at KK Outlet, the London outpost of communications agency KesselsKramer, so can you blame us for wanting to have a poke about her bookshelf? Her selection gives a generous insight into the process behind putting together a magazine, from the issue of National Geographic which led her and Riposte’s creative director Shaz Madani to consider a text-based front cover for the magazine (“I’m really happy we had the balls to go with it”) and the all-time hero she dreams of interviewing, with a few other gems thrown in for good measure. She technically stretched her five books to seven, but we let her off because they’re all so damn interesting.

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    I always had a hunch that Bruno Bayley was the kind of guy with a great bookshelf – you can just tell that he’s a hoarder of the weird, the kind of person who would rather stumble upon someone’s diary in a forest than, say, a suitcase full of cash. London-based Bruno is the European managing editor of Vice, which allows him to take his curiosity for the dark corners of the world and pump them out to those who want to know but perhaps can’t be bothered to look. His articles are some of the best on Vice at the moment, so go and check them out after you’ve read his deeply interesting, peculiar top five books. Excuse us while we go and subscribe to the Fortean Times

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    London-based photographer Catherine Losing is exactly our cup of tea; working with the crème de la crème of collaborators from set designers to food stylists, she takes photographs which are colourful, dynamic, bold and immediately recognisable. Unsurprisingly then, her bookshelf is among the very best-stocked of them all, complete with Martin Creed, Barbara Hepworth and Toilet Paper magazine, and most importantly they’re all seriously well-thumbed and chockablock with Post-its.

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    When you ask a couple of creatives who work in a former kindergarten in east Berlin (as we learned in an interview many moons ago) to show you their book collection, you hope to see some pretty cool and quirky publications. Doris and Daniel of Golden Cosmos have not let us down.

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    Design and animation are maybe a bit overlooked when it comes to selecting people whose bookshelves we’d like to share with you. With that in mind this week’s collection comes from the very lovely folks at interactive design and animation studio Animade. They recently incorporated Hover Studio into their midst too, making them collectively one of our favourite groups of creative brains in a five mile radius. Their bookshelf has a serious digital and animation lean, so budding animators and interactive designers, gather round to find out the tomes that’ll yield the secrets of your trade.