Designer Peter Marigold burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s, shooting to prominence with his Make/Shift freestanding shelves which were hailed an instant design classic. Most recently he took part in Methods of Imitation as part of The London Design Festival, and we are delighted to take a tour of the five tomes that mean the most to him for this week’s Bookshelf.
Dictionary of Word Origins John Ayto
I’m obsessed with the origin of words and I have a lot of books about them, as well as persistently looking them up online. I like the fact that words are like seeds, they look like compact, complete things, but they carry history as data within themselves. I love the English language for its complexity of origin, and this is the best book to tell the many stories buried within each word. Even though it’s a dictionary, I’ve read it like a book from cover to cover many times. I’ve bought it several times as a present for people in the past but do not seem able to find it online anymore, not even second hand!
1984 George Orwell
I guess everyone is a little embarrassed of their teenage years, the music they listened to, clothes they wore. This was the book that shaped my pre and early teenage years and I read it obsessively many times. Maybe I had a real twisted world vision, but when I was younger I thought it was a textbook on how to run a better society, completely missing the point of why George Orwell wrote the book. It generated a profound level of paranoia within my daily life, which for some weird reason I did not think was a problem. So I buried it for many years, until recently when my friends (Study O Portable) mentioned the sections on the rewriting of the English language within the book and I picked it up again. It’s still a good book, and I think of it fondly, even though it’s a dark vision.
If This is a Man Primo Levi
This is one man’s story of surviving Auschwitz. It is maybe the book that took me the longest to read because I cried continuously over every page. It is the only account of the Holocaust that I have read that conveys some of the reality of the slow death of so many of the people there. Whereas we are familiar with the instant judgements that sent people to the gas chambers, this book describes the endless daily grinding down of men into dust through forced labour. It changed my perception of everything in the world and I believe it should be mandatory for children to learn in school. I have not picked it up to read again since the first time.
The Illusion of Conscious Will Daniel Wegner
I have always been intrigued as to how our minds work. All animals, including humans, spend their lives under a bizarre spell that causes them to believe that they are responsible for their actions. It’s impossible to shake off as it is hard-wired into our physical brains. The author of this book analyses thorough many experiments how this illusion forms a fundamental part of our mind’s make up. I believe understanding this is one of the key ways to understand the nature of life on this planet, and our relationship to all things living.
150 Essential Jigs, Aids & Devices V J Taylor
I have many books on workshop jigs and techniques, and this just happens to be the first one that I bought. I’ve spent many hours reading and re-reading things like this. I like the idea that you can equip your mind for very specific moments in the workshop, so when you are making things you can drag pieces of information out of your head almost like a second tool box. These books never really go out of date, even if the tools change slightly. I’ve maybe used only a fraction of the jigs detailed in the book, but, to me, they are there in my mind to use should the occasion arise.