We have Sonya Dyakova to thank for some of the most pleasurable, well-designed books and magazines (including frieze) that have graced our site in the last few years. Her work is feminine without being cliched – it’s strong and humble, always allowing the work of the artists that adorn the pages she designs to shine brightly while she takes a demure step back. Unsurprisingly her bookshelf is packed with a concise selection of intelligent, classical tomes that suggest her true love for art in all of its forms. Here she is…
Marc Chagall, My Life, 1922
Packing a suitcase for my move to London, I knew I had to take this book. This is a real treasure – an awe-inspiring and humble story about Chagall’s life. Utterly witty, charming and touching, this memoir is hands down the best I have ever read. Reading every night in my hostel room about Chagall’s journey from Vitebsk to St. Petersburg to Paris whilst I was looking for my first job in London gave me all the strength I needed in the big city.
Annelies Štrba — Shades of Time, 1997
Annelies Štrba has photographed members of her family over several decades. Here is an extract from the essay by IIma Rakusa that accompanies the book: “The wooden stairs creak and the children are at home. A daughter, a second daughter, the boy. They come, they go, they ask, they stand around. They plead. And among the children, the cat. It is never clear who wants what but everyone wants. Chaos culminates in the kitchen. Plates piled high, boxes, toys. Somebody’s eating, somebody’s playing, nobody’s giving orders…” An intriguing, nostalgic, idiosyncratic record of memories. I love the seeming simplicity of this book.
Art Spiegelman: Maus
Art Spiegelman relays his father’s experience in the Holocaust. Jews are mice, Germans are cats. In 1992 it became the first graphic novel to win a Pulitzer Prize.
Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
I’ve only just come to the end of volume 1 and there are 3 in total. Pathetic, I know. I blame emails, Facebook and new digital culture in general. Or my lack of focus. I found the writing extraordinarily modern and very relevant today, although the book was published in back in 1869.
Le Corbusier: XX Century Architecture. Published by Progress 1970
‘We are building a residential housing in Marseille for 360 flats — a box for living.’ I have visited that ‘box’ in Marseille and as far as boxes go, it is the most wonderful and joyful one. I’d like to go back again and again.