The Art of Alejandro Jodorowsky and Pascale Montandon

Alejandro Jodorowsky is well-known for his beautiful, often disturbing films, but he also creates wonderful visual art. He works collaboratively on pieces with his partner Pascale Montandon, who also created the stunning costumes for The Dance of Reality. 

The Dance of Reality

The Dance of Reality

Writing these posts often costs me money – whilst looking for images I have just discovered this book: Psicopoesia by Lucio Giuliodori. It’s on its way!

Alejandro Jodorowsky. Photo by Pascale Montandon.

Alejandro Jodorowsky. Photo by Pascale Montandon.

Here are some of my favourite pieces of their work. Jodorowsky draws the images and Montandon adds the colour.

La vierge du grand-père (2014) Mixed on paper by Alejandro Jodorowksy and Pascale Montandon. 65 x 50 cm

La vierge du grand-père (2014) Mixed on paper by Alejandro Jodorowksy and Pascale Montandon. 65 x 50 cm

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Yoga Floral (2014) Mixed on paper by Alejandro Jodorowksy and Pascale Montandon. 20 x 20 cm

Yoga Floral (2014) Mixed on paper by Alejandro Jodorowksy and Pascale Montandon. 20 x 20 cm

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le poids de la chair

le poids de la chair

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Le tango du tigre Read more at: 渋谷のアツコバルーにて、日本初公開となるホドロフスキー夫妻共作のドローイング展「二人のホドロフスキー 愛の結晶」まもなく開催! 7月17日より! http://white-screen.jp/?p=40460

Le tango du tigre

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My Top 101 Books (part B, 51-101)

Ok, let’s finish this!

51. ARh+ – H.R. Giger. This is a stunning book of A4 images of Giger’s work. As a teenager, I took out all of the pages and covered my bedroom walls! The great thing about a Giger piece is that you can never tire of looking at it. You spot something new every time.

52. Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak. I loved this book as a child! One night Max puts on his wolf suit and makes mischief of one kind and another, so his mother calls him ‘Wild Thing’ and sends him to bed without his supper. That night a forest begins to grow in Max’s room and an ocean rushes by with a boat to take Max to the place where the wild things are. Max tames the wild things and crowns himself as their king, and then the wild rumpus begins. But when Max has sent the monsters to bed, and everything is quiet, he starts to feel lonely and realises it is time to sail home to the place where someone loves him best of all.

53. The Gashlycrumb Tinies – Edward Gorey. Another Gorey book. I think this is probably the best.

54. A Song of Ice and Fire – George R.R. Martin. This is for the whole series (or those which have been written).

55. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini. It’s been many years since I read this book, but I have vivid memories of crying uncontrollably on the bus to work. I never did get round to seeing the film adaptation. Anyone know if it’s worth it?

56. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank.

57. The Miracles of Archangel Michael – Doreen Virtue. Michael is my favourite of the Archangels (if that’s allowed!) and this is a wonderfully inspiring book. I’m a Spiritualist in case you’re wondering. archangel-michael

58. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – Susanna Clarke. Amazon link. I absolutely loved this book, particularly the little stories within the main story. As soon as I finished it I checked IMDB and saw that they were making the TV series, but when it finally aired I gave up after about three episodes as I found it excruciatingly boring.

59. Good Omens – Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Amazon link.

60. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley.

61. Pucca and Garu: First Meeting – Vooz.

62. Smoke and Mirrors – Neil Gaiman.

63. All About Symbols – Andrew T. Cummings. A very useful book when looking into dreams, planning art work, etc. ea963cc3ffe181be77fce84a24b344b4 Amazon link.

64. Justine – Marquis de Sade. I love this book because my mind battles with itself all the way through… I feel sorry for Therese… You can do it Therese!… What the hell Therese?! Sorry Therese…

65. The Chipmunka Anthology Volume 1 – Chipmunka. I mostly bought this book for the OCD diary segment, but the whole anthology is interesting. It also covers manic depression, abuse and self-harm.

66. Snuff – Terry Pratchett. Probably my favourite Sam Vimes Discworld book. According to the writer of the best-selling crime novel ever to have been published in the city of Ankh-Morpork, it is a truth universally acknowledged that a policeman taking a holiday would barely have had time to open his suitcase before he finds his first corpse.

67. Louise Bourgeoise – Ann Coxonlouise_bourgeois_spider_iv_d5739118h

68. Mindfulness Plain & Simple – Oli Doyle“Wish I’d heard of this years ago I could have been well chilled out by now.” – from a four star Goodreads review by Julia. This book does exactly what it says! “Nicely written, very simple and calming, and full of wisdom.” – from a five star Goodreads review by Ben Payne.

69. John Cage – Rob Haskins. I’m a little bit in love with composer and artist John Cage and this is a wonderful book all about him. I highly recommend watching a couple of Youtube videos of Cage speaking if you don’t know who he is. “I am a fan of John Cage. He shattered the barriers between composition and philosophy.” – from a four star Goodreads review by Tara Brabazon. Amazon linkRob Haskins is Associate Professor and Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Music at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, and has been involved with John Cage’s music as both a scholar and a performer for almost twenty years. He is the author of Anarchic Societies of Sounds: The Number Pieces of John Cage (2009). john-cage-2

70. A Little Book of Sloth – Lucy Cooke. Who doesn’t love a full-colour photo book of sloths?! “I loved this book so much that I renewed it from the library until I couldn’t renew it anymore, and after returning it, I went to Barnes and Noble on the same day to buy it.” – from a five star Goodreads review by Michelle.

71. The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka.

72. Mermaids 101 – Doreen Virtue. Amazon link. This does at times seem like an excuse for Doreen to show off in her special mermaid costume, but it’s a cute book anyway.

73. How to Meditate on the Train: A Commuters’ Guide – Michael J.W. PockleyA brief, simplified guide to meditation for those who have to commute by train. Readers will learn postures and techniques appropriate to travel by train, transforming their commute from an uncomfortable waste of time into a joyful opportunity for personal advance. 51lgphLQhPL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

74. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain. Unfortunately, I never got round to reading this as a child, but I love it as an adult!

75. All-American Ads 60s – Taschenil_570xN.305180607 I try to avoid current advertising as much as I can, but I love looking back at old adverts!

76. The Visionary – James Hawthorne. Amazon link.

77. If This Is a Man – Primo Levitumblr_lp7ct3bkIf1qzn0deo1_1280 An unforgettable, harrowing, necessary book. I briefly studied Italian literature at university and this was on the reading list. I don’t know why it’s not on the UK school curriculum. It may have been at some point I suppose, but it wasn’t when I was at school. It belongs in the literature or ethics class just as much as it does in the history class. Levi is an amazing writer and I recommend his other books too. The photo above makes chemistry look super exciting. In my school I just doodled on the tables until I got sent out of the lab. There’s a lesson to be learnt here. In 1943, Primo Levi, a twenty-five-year-old chemist and “Italian citizen of Jewish race,” was arrested by Italian fascists and deported from his native Turin to Auschwitz. Survival in Auschwitz is Levi’s classic account of his ten months in the German death camp, a harrowing story of systematic cruelty and miraculous endurance. Remarkable for its simplicity, restraint, compassion, and even wit, Survival in Auschwitz remains a lasting testament to the indestructibility of the human spirit.

78. BloodMarked – Lu J. Whitley. This isn’t normally the sort of book I would read (it describes muscly men taking their shirts off etc), but I really enjoyed it. A ‘townie’ college student, living off campus with her overprotective mother, Greta Brandt thought everything about her life was right on track. Everything, except for the nightmares that have been plaguing her for as long as she can remember.
When her reality is torn apart, Greta finds herself adrift in a world she thought only existed in her fevered dreams.

79. Nothing Is Strange – Mike Russell. Ok, so the truth is: Mike Russell is my other half. But! I was a huge fan of his writing before we were a couple and this is genuinely one of my favourite books of all time. Inspiring, liberating, otherworldly, magical, surreal, bizarre, funny, disturbing, unique… all of these words have been used to describe the stories of Mike Russell so put on your top hat, open your third eye and enjoy: Nothing Is Strange

80. Pucca: Hands Off My Dumplings! – Vooz. Pucca is one of the cutest things to have ever been created. mnIJoHRuIqx8rFuzqlPhlHw

81. A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms – George R.R. Martin. This is a great way to fill your time whilst waiting for the next book in A Song of Ice and Fire!

82. Mapwise: Accelerated Learning Through Visible Thinking – Oliver Caviglioli and Ian Harris. I went to a workshop run by Oliver Caviglioli and he’s very passionate about visual learning, particularly through the use of mapping. The book is inspirational for teachers and students, no matter what their preferred learning style may be. He spoke about not labelling people as visual, auditory or kinaesthetic learners any more and I think this is really important. Once someone has given you the label, or you’ve attached it to yourself, you start to believe that you cannot learn in other ways. 41KV2GWTV3L._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_

83. Louise Bourgeois – Deborah Wye.

84. The Heart is a Lonely Hunter – Carson McCullers. I’m actually only halfway through this book, but I know it belongs on this list. It’s just so strange and wonderful, and I have no idea where it’s going! I love every character. I will have to search for more books by this author. Any recommendations? Please let me know in the comments. thialh *10 out of 5 lonely, burning stars, light years apart, yet winking together in a shared cosmos.” – from a five (or ten!) star review on Goodreads by Traveller. Amazon link.

85. Challenging the Prison-Industrial Complex: Activism, Arts & Educational Alternatives – Stephen John Hartnett.

This is a must-read for anyone who can see what’s wrong with the (US) prison system.

Stephen John Hartnett is an associate professor and chair of communication at the University of Colorado Denver. He is the author of Incarceration Nation: Investigative Prison Poems of Hope and Terror and Executing Democracy, Volume One: Capital Punishment and the Making of America, 1683-1807.

86. Magnificent Vibration – Rick Springfield. This book is hilarious, but it’s also surprisingly thought-provoking and emotional. It’s full of “laddish” humour and features the main character talking about (and to) his penis a fair bit. But it’s also full of romance, friendship, spirituality and self-reflection.

87. The Bloody Chamber – Angela Carter. Amazon link. A truly scary book. I’m quite new to Angela Carter, having only read this and The Sadeian Woman (mentioned earlier in this list). I’ve also seen a couple of her films. So far, everything is fantastic, so I’m looking forward to reading the rest! Any suggestions on what to try next? I think I have most of the books, so it’s just a matter of choosing. 1410384986 Born Angela Olive Stalker in Eastbourne, in 1940, Carter was evacuated as a child to live in Yorkshire with her maternal grandmother. As a teenager she battled anorexia. She began work as a journalist on the Croydon Advertiser, following in the footsteps of her father. Carter attended the University of Bristol where she studied English literature.

“Fairy tales reimagined for feminist times” (Grazia)

88. The Dalai Lama’s Book of Daily Meditations: The Path to Tranquility – Renuka Singh. Amazon linkHis Holiness the Dalai Lama is the spiritual and political leader of Tibet. Today, he lives in exile in Northern India and works tirelessly on behalf of the Tibetan people, as well as travelling the world to give spiritual teachings to sell-out audiences. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. This is a page-a-day book. Sayings, prayers and stories drawn from the life and teachings of one of the world’s greatest spiritual teachers are here brought together – for the first time – as reflections for each day of the year. His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaks with an informal practicality about almost every aspect of human life, from the secular to the religious. Reminding us of the power of compassion and meditation, he shares his thoughts about science and its relation to the spiritual life, and how we can still retain the simple values of love and courage in spite of the fact that the world is changing so fast. he also points out the interdependence between an action and its result so that we never forget the responsibility that lies in each of our deeds. Wise, humane and inspiring, these words will bring daily solace to all with their message of hope and their deep yet easily understandable philosophy of kindness and non-violence.

89. The Power of Mindfulness – Nyanaponika Thera. Amazon link. A very small (60 pages) but helpful book.

90. The House of Mirth – Edith Wharton. Amazon link. A 320 page classic. 51sZlvr2pcL._SX303_BO1,204,203,200_ The House of Mirth tells the story of Lily Bart, aged 29, beautiful, impoverished and in need of a rich husband to safeguard her place in the social elite, and to support her expensive habits – her clothes, her charities and her gambling. Unwilling to marry without both love and money, Lily becomes vulnerable to the kind of gossip and slander which attach to a girl who has been on the marriage market for too long.

“Superb, utterly perfect, I recommend this book.” – from a five star Amazon review by Francesca Abagnale. A sad but wonderfully written book. Considering how much times have changed, the story still feels so relevant (unfortunately). “Lily is marriage material. And within Manhattan’s high society at the turn of the century, women are meant to marry; and in order to marry women are meant to maintain a reputation of “pale” innocence (indeed, they must).

Lily hesitates to question these two fundamental rules that bind her, save on rare occasion in conversation with Lawrence Selden, the man it seems she would marry if the choice were hers, and who stands far enough outside Lily’s circle to critique that circle from an apparent distance. Selden, however, presents Lily with several problems.” – from a five star Goodreads review by Jason.

91. The Drunken Driver Has the Right of Way – Ethan Coen. Amazon linkProvocative, revealing, and often hilarious poems by the Oscar-winning screenwriter of No Country for Old Men

In his screenplays and short stories, Ethan Coen surprises and delights us with a rich brew of ideas, observations, and perceptions. In his first collection of poems he does much the same.

“I have never read a book of poetry from cover to cover before…mainly due to induced narcolepsy after the first few pages. It was therefore with some degree of drowsy trepidation that I received this gift from a close friend. I read the first poem, then the next, then the last…and wondered where this guy had been all my reading life.
I found these poems to be surprising, cleverly metered and worded, and very, very funny. I loved “Agent Elegy”, a scathingly intimate portrait of a Hollywood agent in repose.” – from a five star Amazon review by A. Customer. “Hysterical! Just what you’d expect from a Coen. The author is Ethan Coen who is half of the Coen brothers duo who are famous for the movies, Fargo, Barton Fink, Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski, Miller’s Crossing, etc. the limericks are crass just as a good limerick should be” – from a four star Goodreads review by Jaidene. I love this collection of poems. I don’t think anyone else could manage to be so filthy, clever and emotional. 144 I-can’t-believe-my-eyes pages!

92. The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales – Brothers Grimm. Amazon linkWith the words once upon a time, the Brothers Grimm transport readers to a timeless realm where witches, giants, princesses, kings, fairies, goblins and wizards fall in love, try to get rich, quarrel with their neighbours, have magical adventures of all kinds and in the process reveal essential truths about human nature. When Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm set out to collect stories in the early 1800s, their goal was not to entertain children but to preserve Germanic folklore; and the hard life of European peasants was reflected in the tales they discovered. However, once the brothers saw how the stories entranced young readers, they began softening some of the harsher aspects to make them more suitable for children. We have a lot to thank them for! 744 pages in fact.

93. The Haunter of the Dark and Other Tales – H.P. Lovecraft. Amazon link.

94. Five Children and It – Edith Nesbit. Free on Kindles! A good, old-fashioned children’s story. I think I saw a TV adaptation or a film of it as a child, but I loved reading this as an adult recently.

95. Surreal People – Alexander Klar. mg_9737

96. Children as Artists – R.R. Tomlinson.

An old and tiny book (31 pages).

97. Anna Dressed in Blood – Kendare Blake. Amazon link. ac6b35c41e854db268b036904c75c189

98. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot. 370 thought-provoking pages.

99. Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit – Jeanette Winterson.

100. Making History – Stephen Fry. “Slow to get started, but once the set up ended (around page 150), it got completely awesome and very interesting. Michael and Leo try to fix the world by making it so that Hitler was never born, except the world that results is even worse.

I loved the glimpses of the technology in the alternate world.” – from a four star review on Goodreads by Shelley.

101. Diving Magic: The Seven Sacred Secrets of Manifestation – Doreen VirtueDivine-Magic

My Top 101 Books (part A, 1-50)

Maybe I’m crazy, maybe I have too much time on my hands, but here is a list of my top 101 books (in no particular order).

  1. Vacuum Diagrams – Stephen Baxter. I love this book. It spans hundreds of thousands of years and it surprised and intrigued me right the way through. It’s often described as a collection of short stories, but it definitely seemed like one epic novel to me.
  2. Maskerade – Terry Pratchett. Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, the Discworld’s greatest witches, are back for an innocent night at the opera. Naturally there’s going to be trouble, but at the same time there’ll be a good evening’s entertainment with murders that you can really hum to. There will be another one or two Pratchetts in this list I’m sure! Maskerade is Terry Pratchett’s take on Phantom of the Opera and it’s lots of fun. Granny and Nanny are at their best in this, the eighteenth Discworld novel. I have this beautiful copy: MaskeradeUL The paperback is 384 pages. “Pratchett is as funny as Wodehouse and as witty as Waugh (Independent)

“Pratchett has an outstanding capacity to research a topic, then present his findings with peerless clarity and wit. This book presents so many aspects of theatre production, operatic lore and, amazingly, book publication they’re nearly overwhelming.” – taken from a five star Amazon review by Stephen A. Haines.


3. One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish – Dr. Seuss. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish is a 1960 children’s book by Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel). A simple rhyming book for learner readers, it is a book with a freewheeling plot about a boy and a girl, and the many amazing creatures they have for friends and pets. I adore reading Dr. Seuss aloud. 64 fun-packed inspirational pages! “Fun to read, fun to hear! Love Dr Suess!” – five star Amazon review by Ms L Richardson. Theodor Seuss Geisel was born 2 March 1904 in Springfield, MA.

4. The Witches – Roald Dahl. 208 pages of terrifying, heart-breaking, wondrousness! 51wlBaiMCqL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

5. The Miracle of Mindfulness – Thich Nhat Hanh. Change your life in 160 pages! Thich Nhat Hanh, through a few books, has genuinely changed my life over the past couple of years. He speaks very simply and lovingly about all aspects of life and the universe.

6. Rene Magritte, 1898-1967: Thought Rendered Visible – Marcel Paquet. The illustrations in this work constitute a comprehensive catalogue of the visible thought of the artist. Taking the form of the body in painting or of the relations between image and word, this book presents the poetic enigmas of the Belgian surrealist. 96 stunning pages about one of the greatest artists who ever lived. This book showcases some of Magritte’s best pieces. Magritte_1

7. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind – Shunryu SuzukiA respected Zen master in Japan & founder of the San Francisco Zen Center, Shunryu Suzuki has blazed a path in American Buddhism like few others. He is the master who climbs down from the pages of the koan books & answers your questions face to face. A little more “in-your-face” than the lovely Thich Nhat Hanh, this book is extremely practical and I tend to go right back to the beginning again once I finish it! A small book of 132 pages, it’s a must for anyone who wants to calm their way of thinking and of living.

8. The 20th Century Art Book – Phaidon PressCovering the international nature of the modern art scene, this title encompasses established, iconic works of art and the classics of the future. It presents 500 artists in an alphabetical order, each represented by a full-page colour plate of a definitive work and an incisive text which sheds light on both image and creator. 11 Amazon link!

9. The Raven – Edgar Allan Poe. This classic poem is free on Kindles!

Once upon a midnight dreary,
while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume
of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping,
suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping,
rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visiter,” I muttered,
“tapping at my chamber door —
Only this, and nothing more.”

10. The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories – Tim Burton. Amazon link.

11. The Electric Michelangelo – Sarah Hall. Amazon linkMichelangelo-Electric

12. The Art Book – Phaidon Press. Like the 20th century art book mentioned above… but not limited to the 20th century!

13. Film Posters of the 80s – Tony Nourmand“This is by far the greatest collection of the essential movies of the decade series. The 80’s created blockbusters like The Terminator, Friday the 13th, Poltergeist, Fletch, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Raiders of the Lost Ark, ET, Rainman, The Breakfast Club, Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Beverly Hills Cop, Robo Cop and Rambo to name but a few. They’re all inside just begging to go up on your wall and be admired along with heaps of others.
You could either keep this intact as a collection of posters in a book to show and discuss with friends, or cut the book up and actually have a vast number of posters up on your wall.” 
– from a five star Amazon review by Mr James N Simpson.

14. The Lost Thing – Shaun Tan“Having just purchased this book I have to say that it excels in so many different areas and i was delighted upon opening my amazon parcel.

This book is a wonderful synergy of excellent production, style, poetry and artistry” – from a five star Amazon review by P. Rust. lost-thing3

15. The Sadeian Woman: And the Ideology of Pornography – Angela Carter. Having been fascinated by the Marquis de Sade for many years, I was intrigued by this book – it’s a really thought-provoking read, no matter where you stand on Sade, pornography or feminism.

16. Leonora Carrington – Leonora Carrington.

17. Small Island – Andrea Levy.

18. After Modern Art, 1945-2000 – David Hopkins. Amazon linkModern and contemporary art can be both baffling and beautiful; it can also be innovative, political, and disturbing. This book sets out to provide the first concise interpretation of the period as a whole, clarifying the artists and their works along the way. mmOgwuwtul1MUiyKMe2TowQ

19. Sun Boiled Onions – Vic ReevesNew Year’s Day, 1999. Vic Reeves wakes up to discover a flock of seven white doves of peace flying around his bedroom, “casting a Disneylike sense of well-being about.” However, all is not well; Vic re- awakens several hours later to discover that the doves have stolen his prized bust of Caligula: “a foreboding sense of gloom now hangs over the home”. 

James ‘Jim’ Roderick Moir, more commonly known as Vic Reeves, was born in Leeds. He is most famous for his work alongside Bob Mortimer, with TV shows including Vic Reeves Big Night Out, The Smell of Reeves & Mortimer, and the comedy quiz show Shooting Stars. Jim Moir is also a successful artist. His artwork has featured in his television shows and he exhibits regularly around the world. He lives in Kent. If you didn’t know that Vic Reeves creates visual art, do yourself a favour and have a google now! His work is fun, cheerful, beautiful and just lovely. It never fails to make me smile. I always enjoy showing his work to students without telling them who it is – I give them little hints until someone makes an uncertain guess that it’s Vic Reeves.

20. The Snow Goose – Paul Gallico. This is easily one of the saddest stories I’ve ever read. It’s beautiful and sweet and I’m so glad I accidentally bought it (I wanted to buy The Cormorant and got my birds muddled). It’s a quick read but it will linger with you for a long time.

268214542b102f027b2d289130b3cb24 Set in the wild, desolate Essex marshes and is a tale about the relationship between a hunchback and a young girl.

I recited a chapter of this in 8th grade drama class- the part I read was a monologue belonging to a private in the British infantry, written phonetically in a thick cockney accent. I bombed the reading, but I adore this book. It is a beautiful story and there is no shame in crying a bit toward the end.” – from a five star Goodreads review by Meredith. Amazon link. “A most impressive, newly illustrated edition of this clear and simple, yet powerful, tale of an outsider” (Carousel)

“Haunting and lyrical tale of love and loss and courage . . . A classic tale for every generation” (Pregnancy and Parenting)

21. 2,100 Victorian Monograms – Karl Klimsch“Many of the drawings are fully detailed, most are much smaller basic designs around the main stunners in the middle of the pages.” – from a five star Amazon review by Sparkle.

Comprehensive compilation of elegant, imaginative two-letter monograms — ideal for enhancing scrolls, certificates, awards, and other graphic projects in need of calligraphic excitement. Easily reproduced, royalty-free letters are also perfect for use in art, needlework, craft and other decorative projects. 80 pages of really useful designs. I’ve had this book for years and it’s great for nipping in to for reference or inspiration. There are some really beautiful, intricate designs. Highly recommended for anyone who’s interested in arts, crafts, scrapbooks etc. The book is A4 (maybe slightly bigger), so some of the pages would probably look lovely in a frame too.

22. Silence – John Cage“It is one of the great delights of my life to have actually met this remarkable man and it would not be overstating the case to call him a sage. As Robert Rauschenberg was breaking the ground in painting so John Cage was producing his wake up calls in music that bore no resemblance to the conventions of the past.” – from a five star Amazon review by Inch Worm.

Silence, A Year from Monday, M, Empty Words and X (in this order) form the five parts of a series of books in which Cage tries, as he says, to find a way of writing which comes from ideas, is not about them, but which produces them. 312 pages of pure genius.

23. My Forbidden Face – Latifa“Latifa deals with what it is like to live under the Taliban as a human and especially as a female- her formally liberal Islamic traditions are brought to halt by the new regime and the book deals with her anger, disbelief and depression which this caused- her voice is all of Afghani women.” – from a five star Amazon review by Alex Magpie.

Born into a middle-class Afghan family in Kabul in 1980, Latifa had a conventional childhood. Then, Taliban soldiers seized power in Kabul. And from that moment, Latifa, just sixteen, became a prisoner in her own home. The simplest and most basic freedoms were forbidden. She was forced to put on a chadri, the state-mandated uniform that covered her entire body. Disbelief at having to hide herself was soon replaced by fear, the fear of being whipped or stoned like women she’d seen. My Forbidden Face provides a moving and highly personal account of life under the Taliban regime. With painful honesty and clarity, Latifa describes her ordered world falling apart, in the name of a fanaticism that she could not comprehend, and replaced by a world where terror and oppression reign. 224 very difficult to read pages. “Latifa brings us through the years of suffering endured by her family and other Afghans.” – from a four star Goodreads review by Aliyah Abdullah.

24. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick. 256 pages which will never leave your memory.

25. Art Forms from the Ocean: The Radiolarian Prints of Ernst Haeckel – Olaf Breidbach. 96 pages which you’ll want framed on your walls, printed on to your clothes and tattooed on to your body! I never tire of looking through this book. It’s wonderful to think of people having access to these images long before the internet and TV. If you’re an art teacher, it also makes a very handy resource. ‘Haeckel’s meticulously observed drawings give an insight into the humblest manifestation of organic life.’ — Architectual Review, July 2005

‘What a wonderful book! Filled with exquisite illustrations of radiolarians (microscopic inhabitants of the oceans).’ — Focus (Science and Technology), October 1, 2005

26. Amphigorey Too – Edward Goreyamphigorey-too-edward-gorey-nuevo-22617-MLC20233700916_012015-F

27. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White. Amazon linkThis beloved book by E. B. White, author of Stuart Little and The Trumpet of the Swan, is a classic of children’s literature that is “just about perfect.”
Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte’s Web, high up in Zuckerman’s barn. Charlotte’s spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend.

28. Living Buddha, Living Christ – Thich Nhat Hanh.

29. Anansi Boys – Neil GaimanFat Charlie Nancy’s normal life ended the moment his father dropped dead on a Florida karaoke stage. Charlie didn’t know his dad was a god. And he never knew he had a brother.

Now brother Spider’s on his doorstep — about to make Fat Charlie’s life more interesting… and a lot more dangerous. “He always does this. It’s always good, but I would never be able to explain it.” – from a four star Goodreads review by SuperHeroQwimm.

30. The Last Defender of Camelot – Roger ZelaznyOne of the greatest storytellers of our time, Roger Zelazny was a writer who created entire civilizations from whole cloth as masterfully as he explored humankind’s place in the cosmos. From the depths of space to the depths of the human heart, from our darkest nightmares to our most fanciful dreams, Zelazny wove colorful tapestries that presented the wonders of the universe to us all.
The Last Defender of Camelot is a new collection of breathtaking stories that showcase these abilities, edited and with an introduction by award-winning author Robert Silverberg.

31. I’m Not Scared – Niccolo Ammaniti.

32. The Armageddon Rag – George R.R. Martin70853_2

33. Arcimboldo – Werner Kriegeskorte. A fun and fascinating artist, perfect for inspiring students who are bored of still-life!

34. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plathplath-belljar

35. The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman. This little story genuinely scared me – it’s excellent.

36. Old-Fashioned Halloween Cards – Gabriella Oldham. Ok, so this isn’t a book as such, but it contains 24 gorgeous postcards featuring vintage Halloween sentiments! I sent most of them to friends and relatives when I first got it, but I still have some left. 0486257460_16_Gabriella%2520Oldham_A%2520Happy%2520HalloweenImages from early 20th century: kids and cats, witches and bats, apple dunking, fortune-telling, ghosts, pranks, and more.

37. Sun Dog – Monique Roffey. This is a beautiful and original story and I’m always telling other people to read it. August Chalmin feels the weather like no one else.
A large awkward recluse, with bright orange hair and sun-shy eyes, August hides himself away behind the counter of a Shepherd’s Bush deli. One winter’s day two things change his life forever: his mother’s ex-lover Cosmo shambles back into his life, and he discovers a rash on his arm which looks like frost. A rash which is frost.
As Cosmo raises questions about August’s identity, August finds himself changing with the seasons, in a journey that takes him deep into his past and to the very centre of his soul…

38. My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi PicoultAnna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate — a life and a role that she has never challenged… until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves.

A provocative novel that raises some important ethical issues,My Sister’s Keeper is the story of one family’s struggle for survival at all human costs and a stunning parable for all time.

39. Reaper Man – Terry Pratchett.

40. Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell“It is a sextet, like the one found within the novel, with piano, clarinet, cello, flute, oboe, and violin – every individual instrument pleasing, but when played altogether becomes something different and brilliant – the Cloud Atlas Sextet.

Each novella is broken, torn in two, or interrupted, and later continued after the sixth, which is the only one completed in one section.” – from a five star Goodreads review by B0nnie.

41. Pricksongs & Descants – Robert Coover. Amazon link because you really need to buy it right now, trust me.

42. Practical Ethics – Peter Singer. Amazon link.

43. The Joy Luck Club – Amy Tan. I really, really enjoyed this book, mostly for all the little stories which take place within it. It could work equally well as just a collection of short stories. I bought the DVD of the film as soon as I finished the book but haven’t got round to watching it yet. The cover makes it look quite mainstream, not like the book at all! I would love to hear from someone who has read the book and seen the film.

44. Have Space Suit, Will Travel – Robert A. HeinleinKip from midwest Centerville USA works the summer before college as a pharmacy soda jerk, and wins an authentic stripped-down spacesuit in a soap contest. He answers a distress radio call from Peewee, scrawny rag doll-clutching genius aged 11. With the comforting cop Mother Thing, three-eyed tripod Wormfaces kidnap them to the Moon and Pluto.

45. Animal Farm – George Orwell. Amazon link.

46. Venus in Furs – Leopold von Sacher-Masoch510JtyMwecL._AC_UL320_SR240,320_

47. M is for Magic – Neil Gaiman“Neil Gaiman tells us ten stories, some based in fairytale or legend, others on science fiction, and others on childhood fears.” – from a four star Goodreads review by Ashley.

48. The Discworld Graphic Novels: The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic: 25th Anniversary Edition – Terry Pratchett. Amazon link.

49. Fluxus Vision – Allan Revich.

50. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl75305a

I hope you’ve enjoyed books 1-50! 51-101 will be following very shortly…

Note: This post does contain one or more affiliate links. This is an attempt to cover the cost of hosting. Following the link(s) does not cost you anything, wether you buy a product or not.

Oddly Beautiful Photos of the Night Sky

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Found on the British Telecoms website (of all places!)

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The above image shows the scene during a blackout. If you visit the page, you can also see how it would normally look with light pollution. I must admit, I find both images beautiful.

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The science behind this image can be found here. Or you could pretend it’s something other-worldly.

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Found here.

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Two of my favourite things: the moon (a harvest moon no less) and cactus. Found here.

 

The Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band – top 5 strangest songs

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Known for their odd comedy songs and surreal covers of rag-time tracks, The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band started out on the hit 60s show Do Not Adjust Your Set (a precursor to what would later become Monty Python’s Flying Circus), alongside Eric Idle, Michael Palin, David Jason (amazingly, the most popular cast member at the time), Denise Coffey and Terry Jones. The show even included cut-out animation from the wonderful Terry Gilliam in the second series. It basically consisted of a group of twenty-somethings having fun and being silly. Although these co-stars went on to become far bigger than The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, many believe that they were the true, weird stars of the show; hilarious, but with real musical talent. For those of us not old enough to remember the original broadcast, I’d love to see DNAYS aired again! We’re ready for the madness… Ok, I found it on Amazon for £2.42 – it’s mine!

The original lead singer from the band was the late Vivian Stanshall, a comedy genius. These days, Rodney “Rhino” Desborough Slater, Sam Spoons and Roger Ruskin Spear tour with pianist David Glasson as Three Bonzos and a Piano.

Anyway, I thought I’d round up my list of their top 5 strangest songs and list them here for you to discover/re-discover. So in no particular order…

  1. Shirt from the Tadpoles album. It starts with the sound of munching… I don’t need to say anything else.

2. Dr. Jazz also from Tadpoles. An usual track for the band as it’s instrumental.

3. Keynsham from the album of the same name. Cling-cling the ring, clang-clang, she sang…

4. Tent – just a little creepy…

5. and finally… Death Cab for Cutie. Just lovely.

Jaffalogue’s Best Reads of 2015: Part 1

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What a great year for reading! I posted more than 300 reviews this year and have some recommendations to give in many different genres. I will try to limit the “Best of” Awards to things published in 2015 or re-published in 2015 after getting first noticed in 2014. [This is common for short stories and novellas.]

POETRY: [tie]

If Your Matter Could Reform
–Robert Okaji’s If Your Matter Could Reform is exquisite. [5 beautiful stars] Note that his poetry blog is listed below in best creative writing blogs of the year, too.
Cut-up Apologetic
–Jamie Sharpe’s Cut-up Apologetic is funny, sharp, and poignant. [5 pointed stars] Canada should be proud.

Cat Lady
Honorable mention to the best long narrative poem I read this year: Mary M Schmidt’s Cat Lady. [4 fantastical stars]



GRAPHIC PUBLICATION:

Saga, Volume 5–Fiona Staples [illustrator] and Brian K. Vaughan [writer] for Saga, Volume 5. [5 imaginative stars] Read the whole series; it’s half guilty…

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Paul Klee

Happy new year!

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Arguably Klee’s most famous piece Senecio (1922, oil on canvas), currently housed in the Kunstmuseum, Basel, Switzerland – another reason why I must visit Switzerland one day.

Painter, Paul Klee (1879-1940) was influenced by his friends (Kandinsky, Marc, Macke and others), as well as nature and his travels. I have never had much love for the afore-mentioned artists, although there are pieces of Kandinsky’s that I admire. There are many similarities between all four painters, but I only feel a great sense of spiritualism and wonder from Klee.

My personal favourites of Klee’s work are his fish pieces.

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Klee particularly admired children’s art, aiming for his own work to have a similarly unaffected feel. I’ve always wondered why this is not the case for more artists.

Many people look back in awe at how they saw the world as a child, yet not many strive to recreate that feeling for artistic purposes. I think that trying to present what’s in my imagination, immediately and without too much thought, is far more important than mastering a skill such as painting or etching.

Of course, many of my students would argue that such work is only created by those who have no skill and who therefore need to produce something ‘weird’ or ‘shocking’. But, there’s a big difference between art and craft in my opinion.

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The famous Twittering Machine, also 1922.

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Port Scene, currently housed in the Antheneum Art Museum, Helsinki, Finland.

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Rotes Haus (Red House), 1929, currently housed in MoMA, San Francisco.

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Klee also worked on unusual material from time to time. For example, this Boats in the Flood Waters (1937) was painted on wrapping paper stretched onto cardboard. This is currently housed in the Beyeler Foundation museum in Riehen, Switzerland.

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This is another of my favourites, Diana (1931, oil on canvas).