• Jan-bookshelf-top

    Bookshelf: Jan Buchczik

Bookshelf

Bookshelf: Jan Buchczik gives us an insight into his favourite books

Posted by Maisie Skidmore,

Illustrator and graphic design student Jan Buchczik has been one of our favourites since we stumbled across his work a couple a months ago, so it only made sense for us to pick his brains and find out what his five most inspirational books are. Read on to discover why Spiegelman’s Maus means so much to him, which old cassette tape he loved the most as a child and why he can’t quite bring himself to throw his Warhammer collection away.

  • 1.

    Peter Bichsel: Kindergeschichten

Peter Bichsel: Kindergeschichten

This is a collection of unusual philosophical short stories for children. They’re called children’s short stories but I believe they can be enjoyed just as much by “grown ups”. Most of the stories begin with a person who is trying to systematically bring common beliefs into question. For example, one of them is asking why the table is called table and begins to change all the terms for the things around him, until he speaks his own unique language and the whole purpose of language gets lost as he is not able to communicate with anyone. In the end most of the characters somehow fail in their project, but that does not mean they were wrong in the first place or haven’t gained new insights from it. Besides of the clever stories this book contains extraordinary wordplay and sad and unveiling humour.

When I was a kid I used to own this as an audio book read by Peter Bichsel himself. Somehow the cassette got lost over the years and now only the empty cassette shell is left. I’m holding on to the cassette shell now which still serves as a good memory of the countless times I listened to this book while sitting in front of the cassette-player. Just recently I got the book and read through it with great joy, but to tell the truth it’s not the same compelling swiss accent of Peter Bichsel. Still, this will probably be one of my favourite books forever.

  • 2

    Max Frisch: Schwarzes Quadrat

Max Frisch: Schwarzes Quadrat

I’m a big fan of the work by architect turned writer Max Frisch. I’m fascinated by his question catalogues, his diaries and short stories. This book contains his two lectures at the City College of New York in 1981. Mixed with quotes from his work, he talks about topics like the function of literature in society, why people write, how theories cannot be used like recipes and why his stories often involve failure, sadness and death. I was three years old when Max Frisch died, I wish I could have gone to one of his talks or readings. Funny coincidence – the epilogue in this book is by above-mentioned Peter Bichsel!

  • 03_whitedwarfmagazine

    White Dwarf: Aug/Sept 1995

White Dwarf: Aug/Sept 1995

This is the earliest White Dwarf magazine I own, it’s the fifth release in Germany. White Dwarf is a monthly magazine dedicated to the miniature tabletop games of Games Workshop. When I was a kid I was heavily fascinated by fantasy worlds, which led my friends and I to the round-based miniature wargame Warhammer. We absorbed every book and magazine we could get our hands on. This magazine is filled with tips on how to colour the miniatures, epic fantasy drawings, actual battle reports with photographs and interviews about tactics with the players. After years of collecting and playing we eventually moved on but I still own most of the miniatures, books and magazines. Just in case.

  • 4

    Art Spiegelman: Maus

Art Spiegelman: Maus

My father gave Maus to me before I left to Chicago in 2007 and still reminds me of a very precious time. Before starting studies in 2009 I was doing a social year abroad to work and live at a Jewish retirement home within the program of ARSP. Because she was of Jewish descent my grandmother was persecuted by the Nazis but she was able to hide in the Netherlands and Germany. She never talked about it to anyone. In the retirement home I was met Holocaust survivors and talked about their experiences in the war. Through that I was able to reconnect to my grandmother. Besides other books and films on the Holocaust this book gave me the most real and haunting insight to a survivors story. I rarely or never find something so blunt and raw, but at the same time perfectly executed, as this book. I don’t know if I like the word but this is a real lifework.

  • 5

    Volker Schlöndorff: Die Blechtrommel, Diary of a screen adaption

Volker Schlöndorff: Die Blechtrommel, Diary of a screen adaption

As you can see from the last four books I have presented, I really like the idea of using books as milestones, and as an objects to remember certain times from. Like personal diaries, but without writing a single word myself. This book actually is a diary (1977 – 1979) of Volker Schlöndorff during the making of the famous screen-adaption of Die Blechtrommel by Günther Grass. You can follow his every step and thoughts from planning, financing, casting, shooting, cutting and adding sounds to the film. What at first sounds like a geek-book for film students is in my opinion a very interesting glance at what working in a team, working on a long-term project and working on something which is abstract for most of the working process, means. Also, the book stresses what the most important and most human thing in every field of work is, but often (especially in the creative field) can only be viewed from behind the scenes – human interaction.

Ms-300

Posted by Maisie Skidmore

Assistant Editor Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 and has stayed with us ever since. She has a particular interest in art, fashion and photography and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast. She also oversees our London listings guide This At There.

Most Recent: Bookshelf View Archive

  1. Main1

    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.”

  2. List

    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.

  3. List

    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.

  4. Main

    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

  5. List

    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.

  6. Listdie-tollen-hefte-01

    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.

  7. New_list_animade

    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.

  8. List

    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.

  9. Main5

    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.

  10. Main

    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!

  11. Bookshelflist

    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.

  12. Main

    Reel off a list of highly-publicised albums recently and chances are that their artwork was designed by creative director and artist, Leif Podhajsky. From Bonobo to Mount Kimbie and Kelis to Tame Impala, Leif’s psychedelic-inspired designs turn these albums from listenable into incredibly desirable in a matter of seconds. Drawing inspiration from the mystic, the kaleidoscopic, the mysterious and the wild, Leif’s site and blog are a treasure trove of beautiful, technicolour work to marvel at. You can almost smell the sandalwood. Here he is on his top five most inspirational tomes, check out that National Geographic collection!

  13. Main

    Can you believe Mr Bingo has never done a Bookshelf for us? We’ve been posting about his work, reading his vulgar Tweets and laughing at his books for years and never thought to ask him. Well, maybe we did ask him and he said no – that sounds more like it. In between Tweeting at Alexa Chung, writing alarmingly insulting hate mail and illustrating for big companies, Bingo is a seemingly avid collector of weird-as-shit books. Are titles such as Dancing with Cats and Self Defence for Women up your street? Then read on dear friend…