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SUMMER READING LISTS 2015: ERIK HEYWOOD of BOOK/SHOP


It's time once again for one of our favorite yearly features here at BOOK/SHOP, the Summer Reading List Series. As before, we've collected lists from a wide range of people we know and admire, and I'm excited to share them with you from now through August. Also, as usual, I'm kicking of the list with a selection of books I'm looking forward to digging into this summer. Check back here often for new lists!
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1.) OMEGA AND AFTER: BLOOMSBURY AND THE DECORATIVE ARTS
Isabelle Anscombe and Howard Grey

This richly illustrated volume covers ground on a favorite subject of mine; the art-and-design works of the hyper-literary Bloomsbury Group. I just picked this one up to add to my growing library of books about this particular world, and it will join me this summer where it belongs: in the hammock under our back-yard lemon tree on warm lazy mornings.




2.) THE PATH THROUGH THE TREES by CHRISTOPHER MILNE

This summer will see a lot of re-reading. This is the second of a three-part autobiography by Christopher Robin Milne,  the son of Winnie the Pooh author A.A. Milne, and the original "Chistopher Robin" from those books. The first book of his autobiography (The Enchanted Places) dealt with his childhood, and this volume deals with his adult life, when he married & opened a bookshop in a seaside town in England. I first read this book a few years before opening a book business of my own, and I look forward to revisiting his journey toward this unusual livelihood with a new appreciation for his successes and struggles. Plus, the whole book is a delight to read no matter what your job is.




3.) EXERCISES IN SEATING by MAX LAMB

Designer (and friend) Calvin Rocchio brought me this book back from the 2015 Milan Salone as a gift, and what a gift it is. Max Lamb published this super-limited edition book about his years-long chair design project for a show in Milan, and his own parents were selling the few printed copies from a folding table near the abandoned garage where the show took place. Lamb's is truly an original and enthusiastic mind, and I look forward to exploring his thinking on the perennially vexing design problem of the (not so) simple chair.




4.) RUPERT BROOKE, A MEMOIR by EDWARD MARSH

Rupert Brooke was a poet who died serving in the British Navy during World War 1. He quickly became the symbol of all that was lost in that conflict. He was young, famously good looking (Yeats called him "the handsomest young man in  England), and a poet of rising fame. His poetry and attitude made him a hero of my teenage years, and he still holds a certain fascination for me. This memoir was written shortly after he died by his close friend, Edward Marsh. I bought this copy a while back, but feel motivated to read it now by the centenary of Brooke's death, which passed in April of this year. When I opened it to shoot this picture today, I found a letter inside (shown above), written in fountain pen in 1920 by a woman to her sister. She had hand-copied out a poem about Brooke by the poet Wilfred W. Gibson for her sister, who had requested it. I never realized this note was tucked into this book until today, but it was a beautiful surprise & makes me even more anxious to get better connected to this book in the coming months.





5.) THERE IS A GARDEN IN THE MIND by PAUL A. LEE

Another re-read. This is a lyric history of Alan Chadwick, a major mover of the Organic Movement in California in the 1960s & 70s, written by his long-time collaborator Paul A. Lee. Chadwick was an English actor and avid gardner who came to America and eventually taught at UC Santa Cruz, where he became a pioneer of the type of holistic thinking about our connection to the earth that can seem almost a given now. One of my favorite walks in the Bay Area is Green Gulch, a long, lush valley, lined with organic vegetable farms, and terminating in a refuge-like garden of tall rose bushes and wooden benches. On the other side of one hill that creates the valley is the Pacific Ocean, on some days audibly roaring against the shores of Muir Beach. The setting is at once grand and serene. I've gone there for years and only recently learned that the farm & gardens were designed by Chadwick in the late 1970s. Learning about his life & crusading work were a life-enhancing revelation for me, but I read this book at a busy time in my life when I couldn't give full attention to Lee's wonderfully effortless blending of poetry and philosophy, his literary and spiritual knowledge used to tell the story of Chadwick and his apprentices, of whom John Cage said "These people live; others haven't even been born." I look forward to soaking in what I may have missed in my previous hurried reading.