• Top
Bookshelf

Bookshelf: What a treat! Marc Allum of Antiques Roadshow fame shows us his top five

Posted by Liv Siddall,

What with Bookshelf’s shiny new midweek slot, who to show us their top five books than a man whose entire career has been based around the fascinating history of objects? Marc Allum is a miscellaneous specialist on much-loved BBC programme Antiques Roadshow and is also a freelance art and antiques journalist. His book collection and incredibly well-written captions reveal his wide-ranging variety of historic passions, and the objects scattered around them (human skull included) confirm his self confessed “collectoraholic” nature. Perhaps one of our best ever bookshelves. Here he is…

  • 3

    Tahir Shah: Sorcerer’s Apprentice

Tahir Shah: Sorcerer’s Apprentice

This is one of my favourite books of all time. Tahir’s extraordinary work strikes a chord with me because it seems almost impossible that it is based in reality. I like to live beyond the edge in that shady area just left of reality; this book enables the reader to do that. Tahir’s surreal journey through India deals with issues of poverty, survival and death, an immensely rich and informative travelogue based on the notion that he can become a master conjurer under the tutelage of India’s greatest teacher. It’s a life changing experience that almost kills him yet reveals one of the greatest deceits. Magical and rich; I always keep two copies – one to give away.

  • 5

    Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure: The Art of the Samurai

Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure: The Art of the Samurai

This 17th century Japanese masterpiece had me completely spellbound when I first read it, in fact, the idea of Bushidō – the Way of the Warrior, and the idea that living and dying could be elevated into such an art form, affected me quite emotionally; little wonder that we westerners find the concept of the Samurai code so compelling. However, it’s not a book based on a beautiful utopian ideal; it deals with brutal and instant justice, feudal law, courage, honour and wisdom….I have a Samurai armour in the corner of my library; he’s my manifestation of the code.

  • 4

    Gabriel García Márquez: Love in the Time of Cholera

Gabriel García Márquez: Love in the Time of Cholera

This is a gem of a book. Márquez turns my head into a mush with his balmy style, I feel like I’m wading through air with the consistency of water when I read this novel, it’s languid themes of love seem closer to home the older you get, reinforced by the accumulated experience of love and loss. Like many books that you read in your teenage years, the images become fixed in your head, you cannot change these, but the fulfilment you derive is multiplied one hundred fold every time you re-experience it.

  • 1

    Kurt Vonnegut Jr.: Slaughterhouse-Five

Kurt Vonnegut Jr.: Slaughterhouse-Five

If no other genre had been invented I would happily read dystopian fiction every day of my life. Time-shifting suits me well; I inhabit various epochs in the course of my work and love a novel that switches between different worlds, different times and different themes. Vonnegut is funny but Slaughterhouse-Five is also grim and cynical challenging you to look far beyond the humour and extract something much greater. It’s short too, always helpful when you need to top-up and are limited for time. My copy is full of pencil notes from my student days – it’s now very fragile.

  • 2

    Jan Bondeson: Freaks

Jan Bondeson: Freaks

This is one of those intelligently written and informative books that give you enough witty after-dinner material to last an age. The idea of a book based on the deformities of humans through history might sound a little appalling but this is a totally enthralling well-researched read that deals with attitudes to malformation and the lives of those concerned, many condemned to be exhibits in freak shows. It’s a macabre but compelling area that ties in with my lecturing on mortality and artefacts – fascinating and sad too.

Ls-300

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

  1. Teoconnor-bookshelf-list-int

    If you’ve laid your eyes on a poster for one of Somerset House’s chic exhibitions recently then you’ve more than likely been looking at the work of Teo Connor’s eponymous east London design agency. Teo, who previously co-founded No Days Off, has since worked on a bunch of chic campaigns for the cultural institution, not to mention projects for Tate, Nike and the V&A. She’s also co-founder of The W Project, which champions women in the creative industries through a series of events and exhibitions, which means she basically ticks every box. Brilliant woman.

  2. Fonshickmann-bookshelf-2

    It’s not very often we have a selection of vintage porn magazines masquerading as a book about the history of cinema on It’s Nice That, and for this special occasion we have Professor Fons Hickmann, founder of Berlin studio Fons Hickmann m23, to thank – he stumbled across the rare finding at a French flea market.

  3. List

    Last week Apartamento’s co-founder and art director Omar Sosa mentioned an upcoming collaboration with artist Nathalie Du Pasquier in his Bookshelf feature, and purely by chance this week we have Nathalie herself running us through her favourite books. What a nice coincidence!

  4. New-omar-list_

    You know how, when going to the hair salon, you automatically and perhaps unfairly expect your hairdresser to be perfectly coiffed? We had a similar sense of anticipation when it came to admiring Omar Sosa’s favourite books – a kind of nervous hope that the man responsible for getting together with Nacho Alegre to co-found Apartamento, an eclectic and deftly-curated compilation of cool characters and the spaces they inhabit, has a similarly intriguing collection of books in his own home too.

  5. Lenka-list

    Artist Lenka Clayton has been a mainstay on It’s Nice That since way back in 2009, whether she’s doing very slow magic tricks, making drawings on a typewriter with friend and collaborator Michael Crowe, or making books about the 63 objects she has removed from her son’s mouth. With such a multidisciplinary practice we knew Lenka would have stacks of wonderful books tucked away, and we weren’t mistaken. “A few years ago I moved to America from England,” she explained, “so I have far fewer books at home than I used to, making this exercise quite easy. The books I chose are the ones that I sacrificed clothes space for in my suitcases.” It seems a good tactic, as these five are a wonderfully eclectic insight into Lenka’s work. Read on!

  6. Unnamed

    As co-founder of London-based studio 8vo, co-editor of Octavo, International Journal of Typography for all of its eight year-long life and now one half of typographic powerhouse MuirMcNeil, you’d imagine that Hamish Muir has built up a fairly comprehensive collection of design and typography-based publications over the 30 odd years he’s been working. Fortunately for you, we’ve done the legwork and gotten cold hard proof of it in the form of photographs of his top five, and it’s even better than we imagined.

  7. List

    Antenne Books is to independent art bookshops what cool kids are to playgrounds – generously exchanging the very best in Pokemon cards from their reserved spot on the climbing frame – except for the Pokemon cards are beautifully made books about art, photography, design and illustration, and the climbing frame is a neat website. They shared five of their favourite out-of-print publications, including some absolute bangers from Ari Marcopoulos and Ed Templeton, leaving us envious and awestruck in equal parts. For their full range, check out their website.

  8. List

    Last week Clive Martin from Vice called him “the David Bailey of grime” which sums up Ewen Spencer’s oeuvre beautifully, really. The documentary photographer has made British youth and subculture his bread and butter, photographing the UK garage scene in all of its gritty glory as well as working for the NME, photographing The White Stripes, making the very brilliant Brandy & Coke and producing a host of books and exhibitions as well. As far as perspectives on Britishness go, Ewen’s is basically unrivalled.

  9. List

    Yesterday marked the launch of the brand new issue of bi-annual hardback Twin magazine, the defiantly substantial glossy publication that clubs fashion, art and culture together through interviews and gorgeous imagery. This issue includes photographs by Petra Collins, an archive of childhood shots of Kate Bush taken by her older brother and an interview with the remarkable Neneh Cherry, so to celebrate we thought we’d have founder Becky Smith show us the five books which have inspired and influenced her. In the process, we learned who her favourite photographers are, whose rare books she’s lucky to have laid her hands on and the unlikely inspiration behind the name “Twin”. Read on!

  10. List

    When we get in touch with the people whose work we admire to ask if they’d like to be involved in the Bookshelf feature, we ask them to pick books which have been particularly inspiring or influential to them in their lives, and this brief might never been more closely followed than by Jessica Svendsen. Jessica is a graphic designer at Pentagram and teaches Typography at both Parsons and Pratt in New York, as well as working on a number of freelance projects which are as remarkable for the degree of research which informs them as for their bold, impactful imagery.

  11. Lisst

    Longtime fans of Toro Y Moi will already know Chaz Bundick to be a man with impeccable visual stylings, and a portfolio which stretches way beyond logos and album covers to include album launches turned art exhibitions, screen-printed posters and a heavy involvement with the concepts behind his music videos as well. Today marks the launch of Chaz’s debut album Michael under the name of his dancier side project Les Sins, which we decided made for an ample excuse to get a look at his Bookshelf. And my god it’s a good one.

  12. List-2

    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.

  13. List

    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.