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The World according to Brendan McKnight – Books

by Jenny Butler
Friday 29th June 2012

Thank you Brendan McKnight for being our final ever Guest Blogger this week! You can follow Brendan on Twitter and be sure to keep an eye out for him in his new role at Dumbo Feather!! Thank you also to all the faithful readers that have followed the Guest Blog over the past 2 years and to all our fantastic Guest Bloggers who each brought something unique to this space – we really do appreciate all the time, effort and support that you offered to The Design Files Guest Blog! – Jenny x

Photos – Sean Fennessy. Styling – Lucy Feagins / Brendan McKnight.

To be perfectly honest, I am just not loving reading books at the moment, and have not been for a few years. I really struggle to finish a book – the same goes for sitting through a movie at home without falling asleep. As a child my hands were always on a book (when they weren’t busy building LEGO pirate ships), however my attention span seems to have waned and every time I try to read a novel or watch a movie I keep thinking that I am wasting valuable napping time. Yep I’m a napper. It’s unfortunate and I would like to somehow retrain my brain to enjoy reading as a hobby again. Regardless of this, I’m still a big book fan (just not so much novels these days). Here are some of my favourites:

Photos – Sean Fennessy. Styling – Lucy Feagins / Brendan McKnight.

No one belongs here more than you – Miranda July. Short stories I can do, especially short stories by Miranda July. I first discovered Miranda July at university when we were shown some of her early video art pieces, and like many people, I’m simply in love with everything she does. Her 2002-2009 web project, Learning to Love You More (acquired by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2010), was way ahead of its time before the rise of the blogosphere, and both of her films (Me and You and Everyone we Know, and The Future) are just beautiful.

Stitt Autobiographics – Alexander Stitt. After Australian design legend Alexander Stitt and his wife Paddy almost lost his archive in the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires, it was time to digitise and document the collection, resulting in Stitt Autobiographics. A comprehensive compilation of over 50 years of work with a wonderful sense of wit and colour, this 296 page magnum opus became one of my favourite books when it was published late last year. Perhaps best known for his work with ‘Life. Be in it’ and creating its leading character Norm, Alex’s name may not be familiar to you, but I am certain that his work will be.

Photos – Sean Fennessy. Styling – Lucy Feagins / Brendan McKnight.

Symbols of Australia – Mimmo Cozzolino and Fysh Rutherford. When Mimmo Cozzolino was studying in the early 70s he went on a hunt to find a book about Australian trademarks and couldn’t find one. He made a promise to himself that one day he would create such a book, and 10 years later, Symbols of Australia was born – a compilation of 1700 trademarks that tell the story of Australia’s unique visual vernacular. The industry is still hoping that Mimmo (or someone else) can take on the mammoth task of continuing the next chapter of the book’s evolution and follow-up with documentation of Australian trademarks to the present day. Go on. I dare you.

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho. Yes, totally cliched, but this book does hold a special place in my heart. My year 11 English teacher (who I absolutely admired) lent me her copy of The Alchemist and told me she thought I would like it. She was right. Like most of us, I was figuring out a lot of ‘me’ things in my late teens and Santiago’s quest to find his personal legend helped me out along the way. I try to read it once a year.

- Brendan x


by Jenny Butler
Friday 29th June 2012

1 comments

  • Ingrid Weir 2 years ago

    Hi Brendan,
    I loved The Alchemist and Miranda July too. Can I recommend a good book when you have a short attention span (I know the feeling) – Michael Crichtons Travels. I know, there is an image of the typical Michael Crichton book but this is very different. It ‘s about his travels, and study. The value of direct experience. I come back to it again and again.

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