Bookshelf

Every week we invite someone from the creative industries to share a rundown of their five favourite books in the whole ruddy world, which have inspired, excited or educated them.

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    What with Bookshelf’s shiny new midweek slot, who to show us their top five books than a man whose entire career has been based around the fascinating history of objects? Marc Allum is a miscellaneous specialist on much-loved BBC programme Antiques Roadshow and is also a freelance art and antiques journalist. His book collection and incredibly well-written captions reveal his wide-ranging variety of historic passions, and the objects scattered around them (human skull included) confirm his self confessed “collectoraholic” nature. Perhaps one of our best ever bookshelves. Here he is…

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    If you don’t know what Jim’ll Paint It is then SORT YOUR LIFE OUT. Just kidding, have a look at his website and see the magical commission-based, Microsoft paint world that is his pasttime. From requests ranging from “Please paint me the T-Rex attack scene from Jurassic Park, but the T-Rex is the band T-Rex.” to “paint me Timothy Dalton having an intense arm wrestling match at Stonehenge with Oprah Winfrey as William Shatner forcefeeds her Spandau Ballet cassette tapes” Jim makes people’s dreams a reality. So what’s on his bookshelf? Well, it’s a nice mix of sci-fi, soft porn and Doctor Who merch. Enjoy!

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    It’s safe to say we’re pretty big fans of Osma’s photography. He’s been featured and commissioned in our two most recent publications, and we’ve wasted no time in putting his work on the site as often as we can. We know that Helsinki-based Osma likes to linger around middle-eastern markets and in Finnish woodland to capture his perfect shot, but which books inspired him to choose to do this as a career? No time to lose, let’s find out. Over to you, Osma.

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    I don’t think any Bookshelf has brought me as much joy as this one by Tom Edwards. A long-standing favourite illustrator of It’s Nice That, Tom once walked on his knees across the office floor to shake hands with someone, which was really funny. Seriously though, Tom is one of the best illustrators in London, and he is also holds the crown of being one of the capital’s biggest medieval enthusiasts, letting his passions creep into the Bruegel crossed with Beano drawings that make up his body of work. You can see some of his exciting new work exhibited at Pick Me Up next week.

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    Lover of all things rainbow miss Jen Stark is here to brighten up your Saturday morning with her exuberant, super-visual book collection. A self-confessed pop-up book lover, Jen’s books tend to be the type you can move and play with, which is fitting considering the fun-filled colour explosions of her of her artwork that we’ve been admiring for many years now. She’s also got a pretty cute dog to boot. Here we go…

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    Hey! There’s rats on your shelf! Oh wait that’s also Matt Furie’s shelves, groaning with the weight of some of the best books ever made. Most of these books you probably wouldn’t even know existed before! And the best bit is that with each odd, rare publication comes a brief, yet candid explanation of why Matt likes each one. To know that the creatures he creates are spawned out of this kind of library is at once comforting, and hilarious. Thanks, Matt! And nice rats btw.

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    What would you expect the editor-in-chief of Dazed and Confused, one of the world’s coolest magazines to have on his bookshelf? Some big, clunky fashion titles? Some sort of bicycle book? A map of Hackney? Well you’re wrong. The very lovely Tim Noakes has kindly shared with us his selection of seriously fascinating books, a photo of his very cute son in their very nice living room, and some stories about Wu-Tang that will blow your balls off. Take it away, Tim!

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    Could you get a much cooler scenario than two young brothers getting their brains together to melt down years of eating sugary cereal in front of cartoons as kids into an actual career involving animating videos for Adam Buxton and making gloriously juvenile illustrations? I can’t. Paul and Matt Layzell have been blowing our minds with their hilarious videos and drawings for a few years now, so we were curious to see which books inspired them to become the fine young men they are today. With minimal squabbling they have chosen six books, and boy are you in for a treat…

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    Patrick Fry is GREAT. We at It’s Nice That had the pleasure of working with Pat for most of last year, and watched him blossom from a sandwich-loving freelancer into a…well, I guess he’s still the same. One look at his portfolio will show you what he’s capable of, and the huge range of people who have commissioned him to re-brand their whole company is testament to his talents.

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    James Jarvis is one of those people that, when scrolling through the infinite chasms of Instagram, you stop when you see his name because you know it’s going to be something good. More an artist than an illustrator, James’ signature characters are round, colourful men grappling with the world around them. We’ve been curious about the content of his bookshelf for a while, so we are very proud to announce that he has agreed to share it with you all. Enjoy!

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    Remember Meg and Mog from your childhood? Okay wipe them from your minds and meet the new Megg and Mogg, recreated by Simon Hanselmann whose art has made us laugh more than…well, anyone. Ever. Simon’s ever-changing style but consistent weirdness is exactly the reason we wanted to snoop around in his bookshelf. The fact that he chose to draw his bookshelves rather than photograph them is nothing short of heroic. Without further ado, here he is.

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    You may have been reading some particularly hilarious articles on Vice recently, and you may or may not have noticed that some of the sharpest, wittiest and generally most honest come from a girl named Bertie Brandes. Originally a writer, Bertie is now publisher of a magazine called The Mushpit which she co-runs with Charlotte Roberts.

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    Oh how we love Oscar Bolton Green, his squiggly, colourful illustrations spiced up the It’s Nice That 2012 Annual no end. Bloomberg, The New York Times, and even Rolling Stone are also fans of his work, and you can see a little more of it on his brand new website. Quite a quiet chap is Oscar, so we were keen to find out a little bit more about him, and what better way to do that than ask him his top five most inspiring books? First Mr.Men book ever chosen I think, nice one Oscar. We love you.

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    Emma Orlow makes up one half of “The Do Not Enter Diaries”, a website that allows teenagers to show display their bedrooms in Vimeo clips. Already praised by The New York Times and Rookie, Emma and Emily are an inspirational duo who are a pillar of the current teenage online revolution. Emma’s book choices are hilarious, passionate and very cool. I’ve pre-ordered the Suze Rotolo book on Amazon already.

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    A brief but brilliant selection here from the fabulous illustrator Sergio Membrillas. A favourite in the It’s Nice That HQ for his constant updates, Sergio’s editorial illustrations just seem to keep flowing out of his head! Naturally, his selection includes some of the nicest illustration books around. Dig in!

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    Animals, people, buildings – all things we see pretty much every day. But through the lens of Will Sanders these things become something much funnier, much weirder, much brighter — surely the mark of a great photographer? Expecting lots of photography books from his bookshelf? You’d be wrong. Cue kids books, novels, and a healthy dose of short stories – could this be the nicest photo of a bookshelf ever sent in? I’m willing to place my bets. Please welcome, Will Sanders…

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    Tom Hines is responsible for one of the most jaw-dropping pages in the It’s Nice That Annual, a double page spread of two girls holding an enormous loaf of bread. His portfolio has a certain feel to it that you just can’t put your finger on, something in between witchcraft, suburbia, a kind of dark magic in a world of permanent twilight. Read on to hear truly insightful reviews of the fantastic books that have inspired Tom’s work, and about his switch from book collecting to digital reading.

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    It’s been a very Jean-infused week at It’s Nice That and that is no bad thing! he’s only one of our favourite illustrators of all time! His Midas touch never fails to turn silly and sweet ideas into simple visions of beauty. In honour of his absolute smorgasbord of new work, we asked him to do a Bookshelf, so read on to find out just where this brilliant man gets his inspiration…

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    Wow! We didn’t know what to expect from Jane Stockdale’s seemingly bountiful bookshelf, but we had a feeling it would mirror her energised, powerful photographic skills that we have been gaping at in awe for years now. If you haven’t yet witnessed how Jane uses her camera to capture some of the world’s most electric moments from festivals to riots, it may be good to check out her website before you read on. You may have a new favourite photographer.

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    You may have seen the lovely fashion blogger Marie My popping up on all sorts of Tumblrs recently in some of her unbelievable outfit creations. But we were keen to find out what this Danish girl who’s just finished her A-Levels has on her shelves (apart from hundreds of pairs of carefully sourced vintage shoes). As it happens, Marie’s shelves are an absolute treat, boasting obscure visual reference books, informative fashion publications and some (tasteful) street art thrown in for good measure.

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    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…

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    It’s hard to walk into a fairly creative building these days without stumbling across one of Anthony Burrill’s ubiquitous prints. His skill for the simple and beautiful print that speaks a thousand words through a handful is second to none, but what we’re dying to know is what are the books that have inspired his design greatness? Luckily we run a Bookshelf feature on the site (this is it), and Anthony kindly agreed to contribute his selection. Enough rambling, lead the way Anthony…

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    Even the tawdriest, most budget weddings can be spiced up with a bit of clever filming, so thank god Pierre and Clément aka We Are From LA are here to make potentially boring adverts genuinely look appealing and enjoyable to us all! These two art directors have been making excellent videos, primarily for ad agencies, for the last few years, and so unsurprisingly have a very visual-based bookshelf. See for yourself…

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    I’m not afraid to admit that I was a little startstruck when Joe agreed to do this. Joe Dunthorne, one of Britain’s most energetic and engaging writers of cult novels and game-changing poetry has kindly let us have a sneaky peek at his bookshelf. Of course, it’s a brilliant collection chosen by someone with very good taste, his description of Austerlitz alone is enough to make you go out and buy three copies immediately. No more time wasting, take it away, Joe!

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    I hadn’t heard of Jesse Moynihan until last year when a copy of Forming landed in It’s Nice That HQ. A publication concerning monsters, cavemen, cursing, gore and sexy-times, it was kind of a big deal, nay dream come true. Jesse is not just a comic book author, but also a story-boarder for Adventure Time which may just be the coolest job title ever (if you’re aware of Adventure Time that is) so without further ado, here’s one of the most hilarious and amazing bookshelf features I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading…

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    Now here is a man who knows what he’s talking about! Matthew Bromley, whose artwork you will probably have come across in the form of Anorak magazine, a publication dedicated specifically to children, but often lusted after by adults for it’s astonishingly good artwork and bank of contributing illustrators. Matthew’s colourful, monster-riddled work has also been displayed in NoBrow’s famously collectable publications, and also in mural form at London’s Beach Gallery. Read on to discover some of the funniest looking kid’s books you’ll ever see, accompanied by some insider knowledge from Matthew himself.

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    Remember the Olympic opening ceremony and how the lights kind of stole the show? Well, the man responsible for those billions of LED’s that brought tears to the eyes of 27million people was Patrick Woodroffe, a lighting designer who loves a good thriller. In his 30 year career Patrick has designed show-stopping displays for The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, 10cc, Depeche Mode, and – intriguingly – “existing monarchs, hip-hop performers and desert sheiks.” He divides his time between a house in Bath and a boat in London – making sure he has his prized books, some even doubles, at both locations.

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    Hats off to Brecht Vandenbroucke, not merely for providing us with fantastic illustration that cranks up the “how good is life?” meter by about three notches, but for taking time out to tell us in quite astonishing detail all about his very enviable bookshelf. We featured Brecht’s much-adored work on the site last week and coulnd’t resist asking him which books inspire him to make such eye-popping, other-worldy pictures.

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    Could this be one of our coolest bookshelves yet? Here we have Kev F Sutherland, the man behind some of our most loved comic strips including The Beano’s _ Bash Street Kids_ and Roger the Dodger, not to mention his work for Red Dwarf’s Smegazine, Marvel comics and the Funday Times. As well as having one of the coolest back-stories in comic book career history, Kev has since been touring the country teaching youngsters how to create their own characters and strips in his Comic Art Masterclasses. As well as all of that, he’s also a pretty well known comedian! So what has Kevin got on his rather beautiful bookshelf? War and Peace? A to Z of barcodes? Nope, you guessed it, it’s a lot of very good comics.

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    If you’ve never heard of Spencer Murphy then I challenge you to Google him and not be met with “Oh he took that photo!”. As well as being responsible for some very serene Guardian Weekend, FT and Seven features where he shows off his skill of making contemporary male actors look like James Bond, Spencer also shot ghostly surfboards for the Surfers Against Sewage campaign we featured a few months back. And he’s just been shortlisted for the prestigious Taylor Wessing prize for his Mark Rylance shot for The Telegraph, which is AMAZING.

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    This selection was always going to be a weird one, but I simply was not prepared for the glorious selection of books that illustrator/artist Ian Stevenson has shared with us. These strange manuals and guides are less of a library, more a cynical-yet-affectionate glance at the oddities of human behaviour. I imagine there will be many readers who share a mutual love for this kind of book, maybe you could go to a car boot sale with Ian and find some more? Alternatively, visit his website and buy some Christmas presents for your equally cynical and hilarious friends.

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    I am so, so glad that Jaimie has agreed to do this bookshelf feature because the overwhelming feeling I get when I see her photographs is that I just want to show them to everyone so that the whole world can see how hilarious and amazing and unique what she’s doing is. Weird and wonderful it may be, stupid it is certainly is not. Jaimie’s curiously lurid self-portraits have been featured in some of the best art and photography magazines around, and rightly so – as she is one of the most talented and individual artists working today. Have a look at her work, and then her books, or vice versa; they compliment each other like PB and J.

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    Wow, what an honour this is! Jamie-James Medina, portrait photographer of all manner of greats and apparent boxing enthusiast has kindly taken us on an in-depth journey into his unsurprisingly photography-laden bookshelf. From Gilbert & George to 50 Cent, from Christopher Hitchens to Lady Gaga, Medina has shot some of the most revolutionary icons of our time in a polite, sombre style that is utterly his own.

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    If you haven’t been on Ben Kay’s famous blog on a Friday to pilfer what can only be described as the creme de la creme of internet share-ables, then I suggest you do so immediately. A copywriter, author and cultural commentator, Ben has managed to spice up our internet-riddled days with his articles and funny videos, and has now been kind enough to share his bookshelf. So read on, and find out just what exactly resides on the shelf of an ad-man who owns a stuffed tarantula…

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    Seeing as this man is considered by many to be one of the most important fashion journalists in the world, it was amazing the wonderful Charlie Porter was still willing to share his books with us despite being mid-way through having his flat decorated – what a guy! Perhaps this attitude, along with a healthy dose of purely natural fashion instinct, are what have secured his involvement in some of the most influential fashion bases on earth, including the reputable Fantastic Man and i–D.

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    Greek mythology, groupies and and unbridled vampire smut (it was bound to appear in Bookshelf sooner or later) – a pretty wild and romantic selection of books by prolific queen of the neon doodlers Hattie Stewart. Kingston-educated Hattie is a lot of people’s favourite illustrator with her almost hypnotic, kind of mental drawings which are a straight up no to anyone that says white space is key to aesthetic brilliance. Thankfully, Hattie’s garishly beautiful style is mirrored in her taste for books, read on to find out more…

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    Max Fenton is stalwart of and evangelist for all sorts of reading and writing experiences, both on and off screen (particularly A Book Apart and Reading.am). He is also the online editor of The Believer magazine – a literary vehicle for very long essays and book reviews, a length absolutely justified by the overwhelming goodness of the content.

  38. Suzimain

    Suzi Kemp is a London-based illustrator whose hilarious, fluoro-angst drawings are seemingly inspired by such much-loved characters as Adrian Mole and the teenage teddy boys of the 1960’s. Her tattoo-like drawings are infused with as much girl-power as they are magnificent puns and scraggy hands, which is why her selection of books is particularly wonderful. Intrigued? Read on…

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    In August, Antony (of Antony and the Johnsons) is directing the Meltdown festival at London’s Sountbank Centre. His 12 day line-up of music, performance art, talks and films includes the likes of Marina Abramović, Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed – so clearly excellent taste. Also billed is a truly extraordinary film by director/video artist Charles Atlas who collaborated with Antony in 2006 for a live concert, TURNING, which starred 13 unique New York women as they rotated on a platform as Charles created “intimate and hypnotic video portraits which are then captured, processed and projected on a giant screen.”

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    In a few weeks, Vintage Festival will be underway in Oxfordshire and its founder, Wayne Hemingway, will be presenting for purchase and perusal, an epic cross-section of fashion from the last century. No stranger to bold design initiatives, Wayne is the chair of Building for Life and founder of Red or Dead and HemingwayDesign and, if his accomplishments were not enough already, he’s only gone and contributed to our weekly Bookshelf…