• Top

    Rob Hunter: Bookshelf

Bookshelf

Bookshelf: The brimming bookshelf of one of our favourite illustrators, Robert Hunter

Posted by Liv Siddall,

You may recognise Rob’s incredibly friendly illustration from such publications as the much-adored Young Colossus which almost single-handedly changed the way we look at album artwork. The publication, made in collaboration with Maccabees singer Orlando Weeks, is a testament to the good-natured, happy style for which he has become so well-known. This illustrative style seems to carry through to his bookshelf too, as you’ll see below when Rob tells us about the lengths he once went to to get Vladimir Nabokov’s Collected Stories to a friend…

Ted Hughes: Tales from Ovid

This was a spontaneous purchase and has since been one of my most reached-for and best-travelled books. It’s a retelling of 24 poems from Ovid’s Metamorphoses . I’m a big fan of Ted Hughes’ creation stories for kids – they are filled with really unusual and often humorous reasons for why things are the way they are in the world. He brings a similar feeling to this book but with occasional dips into darker territory. The verses are written in a way that carry you through the narrative easily and you can enjoy some of the classic legends as well as a few of the less well known ones in a language that’s easy to grasp, which is perfect if you are a bit daunted by the thought of reading a poetry book. When I start a new project this is one of two books that lives in my backpack to help inspire ideas.
Ted Hughes: Tales from Ovid

Vladimir Nabokov: Collected Stories

Of all the books on my bookshelf this is the most beaten up. This is partly due to its cumbersome size but mostly because of its attractive content. I was first recommended Vladmir Nabokov by my good friend Jon McNaught who, by the way, would provide an excellent bookshelf feature. I read Lolita and was blown away by the language, the book is so beautifully written which makes the theme all the more horrific. I’m not a particularly good reader but I get on really well with Nabokov’s writing which can be abstract and usually feels like you’re reading a poem.

The reason for this, I think, is that his observations are perfect. He will highlight something subtle in day-to-day life I would never think about but subconsciously seem to know in great detail, and it’s these moments that carry his collected stories along and make them accessible as well as poetic. One of the most visited stories in the book is Details of a Sunset and I have recommended it to many people to the extent that I once went to a post office and photocopied it, glued it together and posted it.
Vladimir Nabokov: Collected Stories

David Eagleman: Sum: Forty tales from the Afterlives

I think this is the most recent book I have bought so it’s done well to be in my top five. It is – as the title says – 40 very short stories of what the afterlife might hold. This book was in my studio and I picked it up, read the first few pages and immediately went and ordered a copy for myself. The opening story called Sum explains that when we die we will relive everything we did in our past life but rearranged and categorised together, for example sleeping for several years. As this progresses, its pace and delivery becomes funnier and sets the tone for the book nicely. Each mini story is packed with weird and wonderful ideas and for such a short book is one that I think about a lot.
David Eagleman: Sum: Tales from the Afterlives

Peter Blake: Venice Fantasies

I recently noticed that the colours are fading from the cover on this one – I have had it on display in full view of the sun which the price you pay when you want to show off a book. Venice Fantasies is simply a real visual treat and it’s only recently that I read the interview and little captions that accompany the artwork. I really enjoy the immediacy of the work in this book and considering it was made when he was in his 70s, it’s refreshing to see and read about his spontaneous approach to this collection of collages.  I see it as a big reminder to find time to experiment, have fun and revel in the process.
Peter Blake: Venice Fantasies

Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita is another book that I recommend to a lot of people. The serial imagery throughout this story and the intriguing premise of the devil visiting Moscow makes it really fun to read, the structure is quite amazing as it has two parallel narratives that weave together throughout. If you get an edition of this book from Penguin or Everymans Library it has an interesting introduction about how the author wrote the book in secret and even destroyed a first manuscript of it. I recently found out that he book has also been made into a theatre production that is on this December at The Barbican. Having tickets for it myself I have been recommending the book more than usual so my friends can read it before we see it.
Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita

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. 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 ofnpeople’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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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…

  6. Main

    Sometimes at It’s Nice That we like to dip our timid toes into the world of fashion, and what better way to do so than to approach a big dog at one of the best online fashion resources known to mankind? Leon St-Amour is the Creative Director of Mr Porter, the luxury menswear site that – much like us – likes to make people happy each and every day. Where we do it with featuring people’s work, Mr Porter do it with a very special knack for delivering their goods in the most luxurious and hand-clappingly exciting way possible, usually involving a very beautiful white shopping bag being hand-delivered to sartorially-minded folk all over the globe.

  7. Main

    Wahey! We love booze and books in equal measures here at It’s Nice That, so it’s our pleasure to introduce Simon Lyle and his five favourite books to you today. Simon is the editor of Hot Rum Cow, the printed publication containing the hottest news on all things booze – from cocktails to beers and from bartenders to barflies, this magazine’s got it all. Here he is on which publications have inspired him along the way to becoming editor of Hot Rum Cow

  8. List

    Our weekly Bookshelf feature must be fairly nerve-wracking stuff for book artists like Owen Gildersleeve, whose recurring presence on the walls of It’s Nice That is about as unquestioned as the changing of the seasons. How do you represent your own book collection when half of your practice is about creating images for new ones? Fortunately Owen’s passed our test with flying colours, a 10 out of 10 for his five publications that have not only informed and educated him, but make excellent eye candy for us book-lovers too. And if you keep your eyes peeled, you might just spot a very exciting new one all of his own, due to hit bookshelves very soon…

  9. Main

    We’ve long been enormous fans of Ally Capellino, for the timeless bags and vessels she creates that seem to adhere to and stand up to everyday problems of a “doing” person who rides bicycles, carries a lot of books, or just needs a sturdy bag as a tool rather than something to show off. Saying that, everyone I know who’s got an Ally Capellino bag definitely shows it off, and it’s normally so beautiful that no one really minds anyway.

  10. Main

    This week’s beautiful bookshelf selection comes from Jasmine Raznahan, editor-in-chief and creative director of Noon magazine, a stunning new publication which we wrote about a little while back and whose spellbinding pages have held our concentration through many lunch breaks. Jasmine’s brilliant bookshelf contains all sorts of beautifully bound publications, including a lovely looking book about an old lady and her cat, and a very striking study of geometric shapes. Jasmine is also the Director of ARPA, and her impeccable graphic designer’s eye certainly shines through in her choices. Here she on some of her absolute favourite books…

  11. Main1

    People who champion the smaller, artier, cuter, brighter, funnier publications there are flopping around all over the world are our kinds of people. Katja Chernova is one of those, so who better to ask to recommend us some publications for our weekly Bookshelf feature? Katja is the founder of Ti Pi Tin, a small but powerful art book shop in London’s weird cousin, Dalston. Ti Pi Tin stocks small publications, zines, and basically anything printed and bound and sometimes unnecessary that you inexplicably just really, really want to own. Here she is on her personal top five reads…

  12. Main

    If you’ve been dying to know which publications inspire a fashion photographer as prolific as Matthew Donaldson then your prayers have been answered. He’s very kindly told us about five books from his rather beautiful shelves that have informed his work over the years. And what work! Matthew’s photographed for the likes of luxurious big dogs Vogue, Wallpaper*, W and GQ and has also shot slick and witty advertising campaigns for many clients including Sony, Harvey Nichols, Skoda, Coca Cola, Louis Vuitton, Harrods, Missoni, Kvadrat and Marks and Spencer. Ever wonder what a man like Matthew carries around in his blazer pocket? Read on to find out…

  13. Mainbs

    I knew the Bookshelf of Present & Correct would be beautiful, but I was in no way prepared for this. Each of Neal’s books makes me so jealous that I’m working out a way to break into his house and raid his shelves for more beauties. From rare Ken Garland books to old publications dedicated to stitching typography, Neal’s got it all, and it’s beautifully photographed too. Wait a minute, who exactly is Neal? He told us in his own words.