My Bookshelf

While much of the time there’s a load of crud on my bookshelf, such as french atlases and camping directories, cookery books and playtexts, there are some books I can’t face putting up in the loft; either because they are too important or because I haven’t finished reading them yet. Here’s a selection of what appear to be the most important / formative. They are also the ones I find myself recommending on a frequent basis.

Senge, P et al Presence London, Nicolas Brearley, 2005

Asking questions about humanism and leadership.  Senge is better known for “The Fifth Discipline” – his description of the qualities of mastery is, er, masterful.

Gardiner, M Critiques of Everyday Life London, Routledge 2000

Traces ideas of the individual quotidian experience through Surrealism and the Situationists to de Certeau and Dorothy Smith

Benjamin W trans Zorn H Illuminations London, Pimlico 1999

(Contains The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction – 1936 Discussion of the ‘Aura’ of artwork among other things)

Boal, A Theatre of the Oppressed London, Pluto 1979

The interchange of culture which is needed to cope with asymetric power relationships, through class or other difference.

Fo, Dario trans Emery E Mistero Buffo in Plays One London Methuen 1992

Totally delightful mix of performance and lecture on medieval clowning

Brook, P The Empty Space London Penguin 1968

Devastatingly great analysis of the process of theatre. I was bowled out by it, and went to see the White Box Dream expecting to see it put into action. Maybe he’d moved on; maybe I was reading something else into it.

Sennett R The Fall of Public Man London Penguin 2003(new edn)

Insight into contemporary and historical attitudes to being and doing in public.

Sennett R The Corrosion of Character (The personal consequences of work in the new capitalism) New York, Norton, 1999

Sennett R The Craftsman London, Allen Lane 2008

First of a trilogy on material culture. This guy is tapping into the zeitgeist, trying to work out why it feels like it’s all going wrong, in the midst of material wealth.

Huxley A The Doors of Perception London Penguin 1959

On the nature of mystical experience .

Berne, E Games People Play London, Penguin 1967

Transactional analysis. Explains a lot about why people often act in strange ways. Performed as a play in the 60’s.

Campbell, J The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

An attempt to chart the ‘monomyth’ – te psychic blueprint of human development as expressed through religious symbolism.

Shlain, L The Alphabet and the Goddess (The conflict between word and image) Penguin 1998

Associations between Logos and Eros; monotheism and mother goddess worship; changing technologies; images and iconoclasm.

Bakhtin, M The Carnivalesque in Storey, J Popular Culture and Cultural Theory: a reader.

Explanation and enquiry into the role of the demotic in performance.

1 thought on “My Bookshelf”

  1. I would add “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle.

    It would be a shame not to have anything that retains the ability to make us smile from the simple pleaseue of viewing. It’s what we’re trying to do, after all.

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