January 25, 2013
We count ourselves big fans of the print medium here at Madewell, so when we discovered the wonder that is Book Stand, an online shop devoted to offering a thoughtful curation of the most exquisite, and often very hard-to-find, books and magazines, we were immediately smitten. The curator responsible for all this amazingness? LA-based art and film director Claire Cottrell. Read all about her:
Claire Cottrell in her LA home. Photo by Jessica Comingore.
Can you tell us a little about your background?
I studied architecture but was seduced by advertising when I was finishing up grad school. I worked my way up as a producer and then, after feeling like I’d lost my way creatively, switched gears and started working as an art director, and then as a film director. I’ve always been obsessed with art books.
What inspired you to start Book Stand?
In between jobs I was making a living creating mood boards for ad campaigns, film and television. It was kind of crazy, but big production companies would pay me to research and present inspiring images to help clients visualize a project. The more I thought about it, the more I fell in love with the idea of a place where you can literally shop for inspiration.
How do you find the books and magazines you feature?
I start with a subject that’s of interest to me (plants, a specific color, a philosophy) and then start looking around, which involves everything from poking around the internet to scouring second-hand stores, friends’ personal libraries, etc. And lately, I’ve had some really interesting submissions.
What are your top five favorite titles you are currently carrying?
Are Plants People, by Mark Borthwick
Blossom, by Hermine Van Dijck and Eefje Coninck
Plants and Mammals, by Carol Bove
Natural History, by Jordan Sullivan
Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry, by Leanne Shapton
Do you have any favorite bookstores or literary landmarks that you’ve visited?
0fr. in Paris and Louisa May Alcott’s Orchard House in Concord, Massachusetts.
What are the first books you remember falling in love with?
Swallows and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome
The Faraway Tree, by Enid Blyton
Take Care of Yourself, by Sophie Calle
What are your thoughts on the Kindle culture?
I think it’s great if you’re an avid reader, but personally, I can’t do it. I spend enough time looking at a screen; the printed page is my escape from digital everything. Add to that, I think tablets work for literature, but the art book is (and always will be) best as a beautiful object that you can hold and cherish.
December 20, 2012
by Sarah Wexler (Brooklyn)
Let’s face it: Winter is here to stay (for a few more months anyway). So why not curl up fireside with a great book that’s so engrossing you hardly even remember the slushy snow that was at the bottom of your boots all week long? Here are our top four picks for doing just that.
1. Paris, I Love You but You’re Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin
When Baldwin gets a job at an ad agency in France, he jumps at the chance to make his lifelong crepes-and-cafés fantasy a reality. But the Paris he finds is a tad different, and he struggles with a language barrier, cultural confusion and bureaucratic nightmares that frustrate him (and entertain us).
2. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
One day, Strayed decides to hike 1,000 miles—alone and without ever having so much as picked up a backpack before—to figure out her life. And she needs to: At 26, she has recently lost her mom to cancer, destroyed her marriage through infidelity and picked up a bad habit or two. As Strayed finds herself lost, thirsty and minus a few toenails, she puts her mind back together in a way that’s riveting to follow.
3. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson
First, you’ll be transported to Lawson’s own version of The Glass Castle, as seen in her childhood in rural Texas, where her dad randomly brings home wild animals (and occasionally stuffs them or uses them as hand puppets). Next, you’ll be sucked into Lawson’s paranoid adult mind, tagging along on awkward trips to the doctor, where she requests the most bizarre of procedures. So funny and crazy, you’ll swear your family is normal.
4. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
It’s the early ’70s, and sharp literary UK college student Serena gets an interesting assignment: Spy on her very charming and handsome classmate Tom. The request comes from MI5, the British FBI, and Serena gets tangled up as she falls in love with Tom—and unravels more about his true, not-so-lovable identity.
October 12, 2012
by Sarah Wexler (Brooklyn)
Forget holiday season—for bibliophiles, fall is the most wonderful time of the year. Why? Because it’s when the best new books come out. Here are the five titles we have at the top of our lists this autumn:
1. This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz (Riverhead Hardcover, September 11)
Why read another tale of heartbreak? Diaz’s writing is as powerful as love itself. Exhibit A: “The half-life of love is forever.”
2. Hidden America, by Jeanne Marie Laskas (Putnam, September 13)
This nonfiction collection profiles the people behind the scenes who make America work, from air traffic controllers to migrant farmworkers. Laskas gets down and dirty with her subjects (often literally, like following coal miners hundreds of feet underground).
3. Joseph Anton: A Memoir, by Salman Rushdie (Random House, September 18)
Due to the controversial nature of his previous works, Rushdie assumed the name Joseph Anton during the nine years he spent in hiding (and in constant fear for his life). We can’t wait to hear this story from the man himself.
4. The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman (Knopf, October 30)
We’ve never made a dessert from the award-winning Smitten Kitchen blog that wasn’t truly amazing (those chocolate-toffee cookies make life worth living).
5. We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy, by Yael Kohen (Sarah Crichton Books/MacMillan, October 16)
This oral history begins in the 1950s, tracing the evolution of female comics from Joan Rivers to Mary Tyler Moore to Tina Fey and everyone in between.