The Haunted Bookshelf

So I realized the other day that in all my rambling about process and art supplies and blah blah I hadn't really talked about the many books I mine for interesting ideas and visual inspiration. I wont go through my whole weird cluttered library now but I was looking at the stuff I use often and the stuff I've been looking at recently in preparation for my upcoming show and thought some of it was worth sharing. I'll probably do more posts like these in the future either when I get new books or when one is relevant to something I'm working on.

This first book is my absolute favorite. I got it at Caliban Books back when I lived in Pittsburgh. They had it in the window for weeks and I went by to ogle it several times but being a much less solvent 20 year old, the 30 dollar price tag seemed out of my range. I finally set aside some money and got it and it was so worth it. It is absolutely packed with amazing illustrations and information about every occult topic. There's extensive information about witchcraft and alchemy and because it predates the era of New Age is untainted by the boring corny stuff a lot of later texts are riddled with.
I'm so so glad I bought this book because it seems extremely hard to find at this point (though I see some other books on the same topic by the author on amazon) and I use it all the time.
If you aren't familiar with Taschen books and you're a fan of big beautiful books full of amazing images and reference you really need to check them out. This is one of my favorites and is the best collection of alchemy info and imagery I've found so far. And in full color!
It's easy to find but is now mysteriously expensive (I think it was around 20 bucks when I originally got it!)
This is another one of my favorite books. My awesome friend Roxy gave to to me for my last birthday. It's relatively light on illustrations but full of information. I usually make an attempt to read these big non-fiction books from front to back and fail, and that's the case here but flipping through randomly I always find something interesting. It's very very historically based and filled with real life accounts that sound pretty much exactly like the plot of The Devils.
Sparsely illustrated compared to the others but the ones that are in there are really cool!

This last book is something I bought for my upcoming show about sea monsters (and general ocean lore). I bought it sight unseen on amazon for a dollar or so (it's a used library book) and was so stoked when it arrived and ended up being a pretty huge book full of neat pictures and blurbs about folklore and images.

It also has tons of information about first hand accounts of sea monster encounters and the whole last half is dedicated to REAL sea monsters (giant squid, deep sea creatures, sharks, prehistoric ocean life). I can say that between this book and a couple of others I got on the topic I am now embarrassingly totally convinced of the existence of Loch Ness monster type creatures (maybe not actually in loch ness...sigh)

In related news, the guy over at monster brains posted a short, sea monster themed, Junji Ito comic in full. I love Junji Ito's comics simply for their disturbing grossness. Remember to read right to left:


roxy said...

i miss living with you because i got to page through your weird books and also read them at whatever page they were stuck open to while you referenced them !!!

Kati said...

awesome! i was putting all alan's reference books on the shelf the other day (finally) and was thinking how cool it would be to see what books other people reference when they work.

wandering genie said...

one day I hope to have a bookshelf just for this stuff and to have it all really organized and presentable. I'm glad this is interesting to someone. I'll probably keep posting about books from now on if that's the case.
Roxy, you should come over for a sustained silent reading session!