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    Bookshelf: Garth Jennings

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Bookshelf: Garth Jennings

Posted by Bryony Quinn,

God, researching Garth Jennings is hard. It’s not like anyone has written anything about him, or like he hasn’t made over 70 music videos as co-founder of the film-making outfit Hammer & Tongs – especially not for Fat Boy Slim, Pulp and Radiohead. Someone that looked like him directed Son of Rambow and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and I thought I heard him on the radio, but it was probably just Adam Buxton. However, I’m certain I saw him cameo as a zombie crackhead in Hot Fuzz So! Off the back of that single feat of inimitable creativity, we have invited him to pick five books for our Bookshelf feature this week.

To Infinity And Beyond Karen Paik

I hate Pixar. I hate them because they are just too good. It’s the same way I hated the White Stripes or Wes Anderson’s Rushmore. I study Pixar’s every move and weep openly at just how brilliant the films are (the final flight to Andy’s car in Toy Story is one of the most satisfying moments in any film I’ve seen.) This book is the story of the crazy dudes who started the company. It’s not just a story of how they invented the game-changing technology for animation and special effects but how much importance they put on the people they work with, and then giving them the power to “do their thing.” Pixar films generally feel like they were made by people – good, clever, passionate people. It’s worth checking out for the concept art alone, but for people who want to make something truly wonderful before they kick the bucket, it’s a must.
www.amazon.co.uk/to-infinity-and-beyond

A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole

I only got round to reading this a few years ago. I normally read before going to bed but this book made me laugh so much I had to read it in the kitchen because I was keeping my wife awake. It’s so original, witty and beautifully written. A tonne of people have tried to make it into a film but it always falls apart – the last stab at bringing it to the screen was stopped in its tracks by Hurricane Katrina. I wanted to make it into a film by the time I was halfway through it. It reminded me of when I first saw Withnail and I. It wasn’t so much about plot (even though it works a treat) and the brilliantly described characters did not have to try and be funny to have me rolling around on the floor. Sam Rockwell as Officer Mancusco? I could write the whole cast list now. Whoever makes it in the end will be shot at by defenders of the book, but it will be a noble death.
www.amazon.co.uk/a-confederacy-of-dunces
www.wikipedia.org/a-confederacy-of-dunces

A Little History of The World Ernst Gombrich

I spent my history lessons reading film books under the table (Edward Dmytryk’s On Screen Directing lasted a whole term.) As a result I missed out on history completely. My brother-in-law bought me this book last year and it was like a lightbulb going on. Though I am ashamed to admit it, I only knew a superficial amount about world history. This book doesn’t dig very deep into each era but it engages you in such a way that you will want to dig deeper yourself. It’s lead to all kinds of history books since (5 Days in London May 1940 is good if you want a window into the Second World War cabinet.) A Little History of Time is written so well – it’s like having a friendly chat with a very clever uncle. Like many of my choices, I love it because of how it manages to take a huge idea and turn it something simple and utterly engaging. It was written for kids, so I suppose that says a lot about me.
www.amazon.co.uk/a-little-history-of-the-world
www.wikipedia.org/a-little-history-of-the-world

Never Let Me Go Kazuo Ishiguro

The only novel I have read in one sitting. When I finished it I not only thought it was the best novel in decades, but I wanted to make it into a film. Right away. A lot of my book choices come back to how I want to make films. It was the atmosphere of it that stuck – the horrid reality slowly dawning on me as it did for the characters. Films like The Ice Storm or Brighton Rock (the one with Richard Attenborough) had this awful dread hanging over characters who couldn’t see it coming. Tommy’s scream was the most moving and awful moment I have read in years. How on earth do you write like this? So simple, you don’t even realise the horror is creeping up. As soon as I had finished the book I visited my friend Alex and asked him if he had read it. He said: “Yes, and I’ve just got the rights to make it into a film.” I considered beating him up and stealing the rights from him there and then, but I’ve never been much cop in a fight. Note to self: “You’ve got to move as fast as a ferret in the business if you find something you love.”
www.amazon.co.uk/never-let-me-go
www.wikipedia.org/never-let-me-go

Sylverster And The Magic Pebble William Steig

Most children’s picture books are awful, well not awful, but just pointless and boring. It seems like there are lots of people with too much time on their hands who think it’s an easy option. I know this because I am one of these people. I’ve tried to write a couple and feeling very pleased with myself I took them to a book publisher. She sat me down and showed me Sylvester & The Magic Pebble. “Your book is fine, we could publish it, but there’s a lot of ‘nice’ stuff out there. Have a look at this…” William Steig! How the hell did I miss his work?! It’s a beautiful, heartfelt story and told with such elegance and lovely paintings it made me scrap my project right there and then. Some children’s books look like they are illustrated for Guardian reading parents but are of no interest to children – it’s not enough to look pretty. This is as good as it gets in terms of capturing a child’s attention and imagination, and when you realise just how fantastic a picture book can be, there’s no going back. It’s not just because the story is so well written and emotional, Pete’s A Pizza is a silly little story by the same author but equally wonderful and deserving of a place on your bookshelf (next to Oh, the PLaces You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss.) It has been three years since I met that clever publisher and I think I’m ready to go and visit her again.
www.amazon.co.uk/sylvester-and-the-magic-pebble
www.wikipedia.org/sylvester-and-the-magic-pebble

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Posted by Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

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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    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.

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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.

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    I get the same feeling receiving the zip file from weekly Bookshelf contributors as I did when I used to babysit as a teenager and casually rifle through people’s drawers (by the way, don’t do that). Witnessing the telling spines residing on people’s shelves will always be intriguing, and Holly’s top five is no exception. The editor in chief of i-D has an absolute terasure trove of some of the glossiest, coffee table-worthy tomes money can buy. What’s brilliant about her selection is just how telling it is of her true passion for the world she has been submerged in since beginning as an intern there many moons ago, and of why i-D is so consistently brilliant with her at the helm.

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    The amount of times we’ve checked out new work from Joe Cruz at It’s Nice That and just sat around with our heads in our hands, gobsmacked at how simple and effortlessly beautiful his work is. Not just that, but his style is probably one of the most easily recognised of the editorial illustrators we chat about here. We love him so much that we even asked him to illustrate a piece in our own magazine, Printed Pages. Here’s Joe on the artists, books and African fashion that have influenced his work over the years. Take it away, Joe!

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    Louise Benson from POST Magazine has curated a selection of books from her bookshelf for us! Since we first wrote about POST in 2011, the digital magazine dedicated to showcasing cutting-edge creativity has spectacularly grown, and has become a very intriguing and forward-thinking online platform. The site explores the blurring boundaries between art, fashion, science and technology, and in the past they have published iPad editions of their magazines. For an afternoon, Associate Editor Louise pulled herself out of the digital realm and spent some time with her physical bookshelf. On to Louise for her list of all time favourites.