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    Elinor Jansz’s Bookshelf

Bookshelf

Bookshelf: One half of Four Corners books, it's Elinor Jansz and her top five reads

Posted by Liv Siddall,

What better person to pick their top five books than Elinor Jansz? She’s half the brains behind Four Corners Books who have reproduced some of the most beautifully made publications of the last decade. Four Corners are responsible for publishing such treasures as an impeccably designed, over-sized copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray and a candy pink copy of Vanity fair illustrated by Donald Urqhart among many, many others. Go over to their site and plan all the birthday presents you need to buy, ever. Before that, though, have a look at Elinor’s favourite books, she’s picked some absolute corkers.

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    The Book of Common Prayer

The Book of Common Prayer

We first started working with graphic designer John Morgan in 2007, and although we’ve since worked with lots of different designers John is someone we’ve worked with many times because we love his work. Our print consultant Martin Lee first suggested we go and meet John because, Martin said, “John knew more about typography than any young person should”. To prove it Martin said we could take a look at the multi-volume project they’d just completed for their last client, The Book of Common Prayer for The Church of England no less. For our first meeting Richard and I were convinced John must be a religious man or he wouldn’t have got the job, as a result I think we were both quite nervous that our books might not meet the high spiritual standards he’d demand…we soon realised that we had nothing to worry about in that respect.

  • 2

    Nick Hornby: The Polysyllabic Spree

Nick Hornby: The Polysyllabic Spree

Having read a lot as a child, somewhere in my growing up I started treating books like some kind of badge-collecting brownie, reading in order to clock up culture points rather than just for pleasure. Nick Hornby, with the first of these wonderful books about reading, reminded me that there are many easier ways to enjoy yourself than reading a book and that therefore you should find books that you love and read them and not beat yourself up about the rest. As my colleague Richard puts it, novels aren’t like Brussels sprouts, there’s no reward for eating them all up just because they’re good for you, so you should just tuck into what you enjoy.

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    Sister Corita: Footnotes and Headlines

Sister Corita: Footnotes and Headlines

A book designed and illustrated by Catholic nun and pop artist Sister Corita Kent. I discovered this book when we first started working on our book about Sister Corita’s art. In this book every page bursts with Corita’s delight in the visual pleasure of words – she appropriated the 1960s graphic explosion in popular culture to reveal its often unintentional messages of hope and spirituality – for example in ads for Pepsi Cola, Esso Oil and Wonderbread. Every page of Footnotes involves a visual play and dance of letterforms and shapes that makes you want to jump up and make art. Or maybe even join a groovy Hollywood convent.

  • 5

    Elinor Brent-Dyer: The Chalet School Books

Elinor Brent-Dyer: The Chalet School Books

I read heaps of these books when I was about nine years old and this world of young ladies who went hiking before lunch and darned their own socks enchanted me. I rejected my parents’ suggestion of attending the local comprehensive and insisted that I at least have a crack at getting into a school that would be just like the Chalet School. I chose a school on The Isle of Wight and looked forward to swimming in mountain lakes (I was still only 10 by that time and didn’t realise The Isle of Wight doesn’t have any mountain lakes). I spent my first term terrified, hiding from girl gangs and one girl in particular who would eat her warts and spit them at you. So, although my time there was a complete disaster it taught me that books as well as being fun can be dangerous – and that was a useful lesson.

  • Thrizzle

    Michael Kupperman: Tales Designed To Thrizzle

Michael Kupperman: Tales Designed To Thrizzle

Michael Kupperman’s world of noirish, bizarre happenings is completely irresistible. We recently published a book with Kupperman, a collection of pages from 1950s men’s adventure magazines from his archive. The illustrations include men fighting sea-serpents, women fending off lascivious ermine and showgirls in Nazi uniforms doing high kicks. In some ways it’s a self-consciously silly book but it is also one that confronts serious questions of male identity, camp and fantasy without the reassuring distance of an academic treatise. I think Richard and I feel both proud, and a bit sheepish, about this book.

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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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    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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    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 we received a copy of illustrated sine Steak Night through the door a couple of weeks ago (check it out in Things here) we were pleasantly surprised to find that Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke is not only a musician, but a keen writer too. Intrigued, we hunted him down and grilled him about his Bookshelf, which turns out to be an incredibly well-stocked selection of graphic novels and comic books, with a little photography thrown in too. He’s multi-talented and he’s got great taste! Here’s Kele telling us about his choices.