We love Nat Russell over here at It’s Nice That. If you haven’t seen it before, Nat’s body of work is made up of fantastical paintings, prints and illustrations that are pretty hilarious on the surface, but are actually infused with a really strong sense of loyalty and love that is so rare in so many people’s work. It’s fascinating to have a peek into his shelves, and to see the corrrelation between his literary habits and the work that he creates. Welcome to Nat Russell’s incredibly dedicated fan-base, you’re going to like it here.
Richard Brautigan: The Pill Versus the Spring Hill Mine Disaster
My wife and I are big Brautigan fans. Every time we see one of his books at a yard sale we pick it up and it goes on our special Brautigan shelf (photo included). we keep having the idea that we can be a Brautigan lending library but I like the way they look all together like that. i love the way his book covers and spines look especially. there’s a real identity and feel there. this one is my favorite because it’s so simple and sweet and short. It will never get old to me, especially “horse child breakfast”. Words!
Alan Watts: This is It
I like listening to Alan Watts lectures and I like reading his books. I liked it a lot more about ten years ago, but I still get in there every now and then poke around. This is a collection of his and I like the cover of this edition, it’s got these reggae colors going on. The used book stores in Berkeley are full of this stuff and it was a great resource for me when I lived there to be able to go in and spend two bucks on some poetry or ancient wisdom or something close to it. Hey, at least he’s trying to make sense of all this, right?
Denis Johnson: Already Dead
I read this during a blizzard in Muncie, Indiana in the late 1990s and I knew that I needed to go to northern California. Which is funny because the northern California as described in this book is not really one of beauty and light, it’s dark and scary and mysterious and foggy. But this book has a special place for me. It’s an uneasy peace, maybe, but it nails the weirdness just under the surface of the northern California coast. Someday I’ll move to Jenner and really dig in.
Antonio Frasconi: Against The Grain
I could pick out a million great art books but this one has stuck with me for a long time. After being introduced to Frasconi’s work by a printmaking professor in college I was hooked. His artwork really makes hits me in a healthy and real way. What a solid and kind picture this guy could make. One of the most inspirational and influential artists to me, personally.
Semina Culture: Wallace Berman and his Circle
I feel so lucky that I was able to see this exhibition in Berkeley. Some people give off such a powerful vibe that people are drawn to it, and it seems like he was one of those. I like the idea of a strange energy moving through and around people and joining them all together. Aside from that, Berman’s graphic sensibility is incredible and his work is a mysterious and beautiful thing. Love, love this book.
Kurt Vonnegut: Slaughterhouse Five
I found a trunk full of my dad’s old books when I was in high school in the garage and this was in there. I read it while I worked at a movie theater one summer and it led me to his other books which have all been very important in my life. Bluebeard is my favorite (I think all painters should read it once) but this one means the most to me as it is sort of a family heirloom and was the door to so much other great stuff. KV was one of the true great humans in the world and he did his best.
ALSO SHOWN: My Vonnegut Hardware yard stick. The Vonneguts have a long history here in Indianapolis and you can occasionally find one of these yard sticks at a garage sale around town.