CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 3/29/2020
It goes without saying that we are living through an unprecedented, open-ended time of confusion, fear, pressure and information overload. All that we have loved (and hated) and every small, hard-to-quantify detail that has given our days structure up until now has been upended. And yet… we still have books! For us book people, reading is structure. So we've asked one of our resident experts, Natasha Gilmore, for her Staff Pick Reading Books for this period of voluntary (or involuntary) quarantine. Be inspired… and enjoy!
STAFF PICKS BY NATASHA GILMORE
By Takahiro Kurashima.
Lars Müller Publishers
A perfect book (and there are three in the series) for staying in! This book is interactive, in that it comes with a little lenticular screen/card, something like a full-page 3D glasses lens, that you hold over the image printed in the book, and can move around to make the image come to life. Great if you are feeling stir crazy, want to amuse little ones, or have just watched Tarkovsky films for nine hours straight and want to hold something analogue in your hands while you sit in a corner.
Shakespeare and Company, Paris: A History of the Rag & Bone Shop of the Heart
Edited with introduction by Krista Halverson. Foreword by Jeanette Winterson. Epilogue by Sylvia Whitman.
Shakespeare and Company Paris
A beautiful book about books, about the people who love them, and about TWO pivotal movements in literary culture—the Lost Generation of Paris in the 1920s, and the Beat/counter-cultural movement of the 1960s. For this unique time when we are all so suddenly physically isolated, the story of George Whitman and the spirit of his bookshop—resurrected from Sylvia Beach's iconic English-language bookshop in Paris—is personified by the sign painted above its doors: "Be not inhospitable to strangers, lest they be angels in disguise." Whitman's spirit is truly a balm in these strange times; open, curious, hopeful, trusting and bookish. In addition to gossip about writers and celebs, the book includes Whitman's own travel writings, composed as he wandered the planet before settling down and opening the bookshop after World War II.
Letters, Dreams, and Other Writings
By Remedios Varo. Introduction and translation by Margaret Carson.
This book is a great access point to a fascinating artist. Snippets of Varo's dreams, discussions of how and why she creates, and playful story-like vignettes are as rich and strange as her Surrealist paintings. Much of this material has been previously unavailable in English. A total treat! And even stranger than the strange times we find ourselves in today!
An Attempt at Exhausting a Place in Paris
By Georges Perec.
Hearken back to a time when one could watch crowds of people milling about. This is the inimitable Georges Perec's attempt at recording all the goings-on seen through the window of his perch in a Paris cafe, yielding a funny—yet now kind of eerie—list of observances that serve to remind one of what one misses while indoors.
Eduardo Chillida: Writings
In the best possible way, I was genuinely surprised by how much I loved this book. I adore Chillida's work and generally relish the opportunity to read artists' writings to get a peek inside their minds and processes, so I knew this would be a win-win. BUT! The book bowled me over. Chillida's writings are aphoristic, naturalistic and koan-like. At times he reminds me of Rilke and Camus. The sentences are deep and beautiful, and have a lot to offer in the way of admiration of the natural world and trust in the mysteries of the creative process. Very soothing in times of stress, and galvanizing for artists seeking inspiration to create.
Better Books / Better Bookz: Art, Anarchy, Apostasy
Counter-Culture & the New Avant-Garde
Edited by Rozemin Keshvani, Axel Heil, Peter Weibel.
Walther König, Köln
I have to admit this is the one book on this list I haven't yet read, but now that I have a bit more time on my hands (not leaving my apartment and all), it's the next one up to read. There's a lot to unpack in this history of Better Books, the influential counter-cultural bookstore in London. A 320-page paperback, it includes interviews, writings and lots of ephemera documenting how the bookstore engaged and galvanized the community around it to help engender social change. It also features many key writers and artists of the time. I love a good book about a bookstore!
On the Rock: The Acropolis Interviews
By Allyson Vieira.
Like Studs Terkel under the sun! This book gathers together interviews with the craftsmen who work to restore the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Because it's such a unique time in Greek history, this makes for an incredibly fascinating oral history. Not only does it address the nature of preserving history with methods of the present, but it tackles issues like the nature of work itself, citizenship and identity as well.
Jonas Mekas: Scrapbook of the Sixties, Writings 1954–2010
Edited by Anne Kِnig
Many of the real delights of this book are seemingly the most quotidian. As a whole, the book is a beautifully designed and carefully attentive look at Mekas's life in 1960s New York, as he seeks out art and experience while scraping by as a starving artist. For example, there are typewritten budgets showing each nickel spent on subway rides that feel at once intimate and connecting. Full of priceless ephemera from the 60s, this book is a treasure to spend time with and will also take you outside of time!
NATASHA GILMORE is Trade Sales Manager for Artbook | D.A.P.
Pbk, 4.5 x 7 in. / 72 pgs / 1 b&w.
$12.95 free shipping