Every month we will be featuring a list of our favourite books as selected by the Figure 1 team. Being involved in publishing, it’s only right that we enjoy reading books just as much as we enjoy producing them. Titles range from fiction, cookbooks, kids books, design books and nonfiction. We begin with selections from Richard Nadeau, Associate Publisher and VP Sales & Marketing.
Blow Your House Down, by Pat Barker: “A gritty novel situated in the north of England that follows the lives of several sex workers as a serial killer is on the loose in their city. I chose this book because it was the first work of Barker’s that I discovered in an excerpt published in an issue of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists in the 1980s. It was Barker’s second novel, published by Virago, and it shows her tremendous ability to get inside the heads of the characters, both protagonists and antagonists, in a subtle and realistic way so that the reader becomes emotionally immersed. Her writing is not forced or flashy and one really doesn’t notice the superstructure of the story-telling, just the story. Barker went on to write the acclaimed World War I trilogy, Regeneration (Booker Prize, shortlist) The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road (Booker Prize winner).”
Underworld, by Don Delillo. “The author’s magnum opus, a huge, sprawling trip through the nuclear age in America from 1945 to the early 1990s (published in 1997). A masterpiece of postmodern fiction combining fictional characters mixed with historical figures, from J. Edgar Hoover to Jackie Gleason. The novel ends with an amazing page-and-a-half long sentence that builds like the crescendo in the Beatle’s A Day in the Life and concludes with a single, powerful word. Eerily, the cover foreshadows the future – it’s a haunting photograph by André Kertesz, the cross on a Manhattan church spirebehind which loom the twin towers of the World Trade Center.”
Richard Diebenkorn: Ocean Park Series: “One of my favourite painters, he is associated with two towns to which I have close connections, Berkeley and Santa Monica. Like Pat Barker’s fiction, his paintings touch an emotional chord, and even the abstract work manages to evoke a real geography. The Ocean Park Series (named after the Santa Monica neighborhood) is what made him famous, and Prestel created a beautiful volume to celebrate it.”
The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan. “This book has become perhaps the astrophysicist’s most lasting written legacy, one of the best explications of what the scientific process is, how to think critically, and how to go about discovering the wonders of the natural world. His famous sense of awe makes the book a joy to read and his skill as a teacher is second to none.”
Check out our board on Pinterest for our full list of book recommendations!