Owen Davey, author of Obsessive About Octopuses this week recommends some fascinating books! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Owen's book Obsessive About Octopuses:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
I'm not really sure if this counts, and it's definitely not cerebral in any way, but I've been really enjoying the Star Wars visual dictionaries. Don't worry, I'm fully aware that Star Wars is a fictional world with fictional narratives, but what I like about them is that they really break down everything visual you see in the movies with backstories of small insignificant-seeming objects or garments, and a real exploration of the work that has gone into these epics. I love attention to detail and looking at the design elements. It can prove useful in inspiring my own work too, as I am primarily an illustrator.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
I've recently been sent I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast by Michael Holland FLS and Philip Giordano and I love it. I'm a sucker for stylisation within non-fiction books because most of us are surrounded by the internet anyway, so if we want to look up what an animal looks like in real life, we can go see a video or beautiful photos. What books like this do, is simplify stuff down to make it easier to understand, and add some character and fun to things. Big fan of this book.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
Not really, I just loved a bunch of stuff. One that keeps coming back to me is Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are because of his clever use of framing of his images. As you go through the book, the images become larger on the page until you're fully immersed in Max's world and the anger he feels. As he calms down and gets homesick, returning back to the regular world, the framing closes in again and you get a sense of reflection on what has happened. Some distance. It's really clever, and although I probably didn't pick up on any of that as a kid, it definitely engaged me, and I appreciate it all the more now.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
Paper. Definitely. But audiobooks are what I use more, because they're easier to find time for. You can do other things with audiobooks. I don't mind using a Kindle on holiday or something though, but there's nothing quite like the page turn of a real book.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
I have two favourites I think and they are both bookshops for kids. In the UK, there's a bookshop in Bristol called Storysmith that is small but absolutely delightful. I hosted a workshop there once and the owners are really friendly and enthusiastic, plus I spent a pretty long time looking at all the books they had on offer. There's also a great bookshop in Berlin called Krumulus which I had an exhibition in and again, hosted a workshop. They have such a great setup. An interactive gallery space, loads of amazing books, and a workshop room in the cellar. They have so many amazing events there and great taste in what they stock.
Image Copyrights: Dorling Kindersley Ltd (Star Wars Visual Dictionary), Flying Eye Books (Obsessive About Octopuses, I Ate Sunshine For Breakfast), Random House Children's Publishers UK (Where The Wild Things Are)