Sarah Gottlieb, as well as being a gifted designer in her own right, is also a founder of the multi-discplined London-based collective Household, the creative force behind such projects as the excellent Poundshop. We welcome her selection of literary picks for this weeks Bookshelf feature, reflecting broadly on her interest in and particular experience with, print and book publishing.
When Things Start to Think Neil Gershenfeld
While searching for books for the Future of The Book reading room at the Forms of Inquiry exhibition in Lausanne, I was lucky enough to get Neil Gershenfeld from MIT’s Media Lab to send me a copy of his book, When Things Start to Think. Gershenfeld’s starting point is that we don’t have enough technology today and that the technology we do have is sloppy and needs to be improved. Enthusiastic research writing that makes you interested in the oddest things.
Iaspis Forum On Design and Critical Practice: The Reader Edited by Magnus Ericson, Martin Frostner, Zak Kyes, Sarah Teleman, Jonas Williamsson
This is a brick book. A blue brick book. When you have a good brick book it is worth its weight in gold and many hours of reading and re-reading. I went to the exhibition Forms of Inquiry when it first opened at the Architectural Association in London, as it travelled to Iaspis in Stockholm they decided to compliment the exhibition with a seminar and a book; The Reader. The book is built up around four conversations between graphic designers about various aspects of design relating to their practice. These well written conversations about ideas and thought processes are like a sneak peep into other designers’ minds. A bit like being a fly on the wall, eavesdropping into creative discussions between designers who share more than just an industry but a friendship. It is great to re-read texts which I read years before and discover how I have gone through experiences which changes my perspective of the very same text.
Conceptual Art in the Netherlands and Belgium 1965 — 1975 Stedelijk Museum
This is a book that I have actually never read, and might not get around to ever. I think it is the destiny of many books on graphic designers shelves. Simply bought because I was so taken with how well it was produced, it has become an object instead of a book to read. A friend showed it to me and I had to order it! It is of course, as many other beautifully produced books, printed and bound in the Netherlands. Printed on a quite heavy paper it opens like a dream, due to great craftsman skill in the binding, but especially due to the way the cover is glued on to the body. It uses a technique called Otabind, the principle is that the book-block is not glued to the spine, but instead to a sheet of substrate. The block is then fixed to the cover sheet by glueing it to the first and last pages of the book-block. CLEVER. I wish more books were bound like this one.
Doppler Erlend Loe
My sister first introduced me to Erlend Loe with this book, demanding that I read it in Erlend’s native language, Norwegian, as she thought the humorous situations where much funnier. In short Doppler is the name of Norwegian man who is a competent man. He becomes tired of his competent life. One day when biking in the forest, he accidentally falls off his bike and onto his head, he then decides to just keep lying there on the forest ground. Later I received it as a present from a friend in London and re-read it in English, nice to see how humour is different in the same story depending on the quality of the translation. Erlend has an ability to create tongue-in-cheek remarks which makes it worth a re-read. Nothing better than to have a giggle when you read.
I have numerous times received links from one of my friends to obscure but very good articles and essays online. He likes to share reads ranging from plain stupid, to weird, to serious research. Not much to say other than some encouragement to actually go and find stuff to read on the internet as well. Here’s two reads: The e-reader industry: Replacing the book or enhancing the reader experience? by Nathaniel Stone for the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto and What is it about 20-Somethings? by Robin Marantz Henig, for The New York Times Magazine.