See the books cracked open on tables; spines shining upward beside cups of mate and coffee; the whooshing of pages; the skimming of fingers. At GQR, we encourage this enormous affection for reading. With our artist interviews, we usually diverge off into conversational tangents, swapping book recommendations. This brought up a memory from a distant land. Follow, if you will.
The folks at Shakespeare and Company, the famed bookstore by the Seine in Paris's Spanish Quarter, have been happily stamping books that come out of their unique bookstore since the 1950s. Many of our staff even have a couple of books with their famed seal (Junky and A Moveable Feast—both have the Bard's face inked on the first page), envisioning a cozy nook within Golem, where books were freely shared.
So take this article to be one of those nooks. We've compiled a list of some artists that have been featured in the pages of Golem for their stamp on a certain book or two. These artists have given their seal of approval on a novel you'd never thought you'd want to read, or that title you eyed at the bookstore; stop, turn around, reconsider buying it.
Peter Ceredig-Evans has been reading Black Swan by Nassim Taleb, which he really liked.
Peter says of Taleb: "He’s a really smart guy. He actually worked as an options trader in the U.S. And because I worked in finance myself, I liked his approach, because instead of trying to tell people what was going to happen, he was saying, 'actually people don’t realise how much of a chance there is of the unlikely actually happening.' He’s really interesting. He references lots of stuff to do with the war, the civil war in Lebanon. Also just various things in society."
Before Black Swan, Ceredig-Evans had read Thinking Fast and Slow, which, to use his words, was "cool".
Laila Ekboir has been slowly making her way through Patria by Fernando Aramburu. While she doesn't think it's had much influence on her yet, there's still hope. Perhaps this is the time to escape with Aramburu to the Basque Country, where Patria takes place, and perhaps steal a recipe and enjoy a Basque-inspired dish.
Recently, Eric Sesto has been influenced by German writer and spiritual wanderer Hermann Hesse and his novel Steppenwolf. For those suffering from an existential breakdown, or feeling one coming on, Hesse's novel is an antidote better than warm milk and honey, or lemon tea for the lactose intolerant. The origins of the novel came from Hesse's spiritual crises in the 1920s. By 1927 he had penned Steppenwolf, and two years later it would be translated into English.
At the same time, Eric is flipping through the autumn-leaved pages of the Vermont-set college mystery novel The Secret History by Donna Tartt. Study Greek classics with a group of liberal arts students and find yourself caught up in a detective story.
Franco D'Elia swears by Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work by Austin Kleon. In fact, he highly recommends you read it. "My god. Amazing. I love the way he transmits his ideas. I feel so comfortable with what he writes. The sketches he does in order to express himself, not just a usual book." Any budding artist looking to turn pastel into a buck should enquire upon Kleon's work.
On Sisca Verwoert's shelf, sits the biography of Barbara Rae written by a trio of admirers: Hare, Lambirth and Wardell. The Scottish contemporary painter's work inspired Verwoert as "her colours and freedom are gorgeous."
Not too far down the shelf is the painter Paula Rego's biography by John McEwen. Rego gripped Verwoert's interest for her strong portrayal of women and their victimisation in her paintings. "Very political, great, strong paintings inspired by Goya’s brutality. Spanish wow," says Verwoert. We also recommend you admire the paintings Abortion Protest...Triptych (1997-98), War (2003), and Painting Him Out (2011).
Stamp This Book & Other Titles takes a look at the titles recommended by artists featured throughout Golem Quarterly Review. Take their recommendation as a personalised stamp in the style of a red royal crown seal or a bureaucrat's black and white marking from a state library, whatever's your jam.