Tom Gauld, author of Department of Mind-Blowing Theories : Science Cartoons, this week has some great book recommendations for us! Before jumping into the interview, please check out Tom's new book:
Q. Do you have a favourite smart thinking book (and why that book)?
Richard McGuire’s graphic novel Here is a favourite of mine. It’s a difficult book to describe. Every page shows an image of the corner of a room in a pretty ordinary house. The space never changes; but the time does. We zip back and forth through time, taken back to prehistoric times (with an image of a dinosaur walking through the exact space that will become the room) and forward into the future. We see the house being planned, built and lived in. Ordinary things happen and amazing things happen. Babies are born, people age, people die. It made me think a lot about the lives we live and the way we perceive and move through time.
Q. What's the most recent smart thinking book you've read (and how would you rate it)?
My wife and I stopped listening to the news in bed for a while because it was stressing us out, and instead we listened to the audiobook of Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I thought it was fascinating, particularly in the way he connected different events and evolutions in our human history in ways that I’d never considered. I probably need to read it again because every night I’d miss bits by falling asleep.
Q. Do you have a favourite childhood book?
Recently I’ve been writing and drawing a picture book for children so I’ve been thinking a lot about the books of my childhood. I remember enjoying picture books by Janet and Alan Ahlberg, Maurice Sendak and Richard Scarry. But if I had to pick just one book, it would be The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. I loved the feeling of being whisked away to a whole other world and the way that middle earth was conjured up, not just with charming prose, but with visual elements (illustrations, diagrams, maps, secret text written in runes etc.) all drawn by the author himself and perfectly suited to the story.
Q. Do you prefer reading on paper, Kindle or listening to an audiobook?
I listen to audiobooks and I don’t have a kindle, but I really like reading on paper. I’ve always been interested in book design and I think the experience of reading a story is subtly, but importantly improved by reading a nicely printed, well-designed book with a sympathetically chosen cover. The best designed books start telling a story and welcoming you into their world before you’ve even picked them up. With all my own books I’ve worked closely with the design and production people to make the object of the book compliment the story (or stories) I’m telling. Maybe one day this will all be achievable in a digital book, but we’re not there yet.
Q. Do you have a favourite bookshop (and why that shop)?
My favourite bookshop is Gosh in Soho, London. It’s an amazing comic shop that stocks lots of beautiful books: comic books, childrens’ books and art books. I’ve been going there since I first moved to London in 1999 and seeing their rack of small, self-published comic books inspired me to start making my own comic books.
Huge thanks to Tom for answering my questions and for his interesting book recommendations! Please don't forget to check out his book Department of Mind-Blowing Theories : Science Cartoons
Image Copyrights: Canongate Books Ltd (Department of Mind-Blowing Theories: Science Cartoons), Penguin Books Ltd (Here), Vintage Publishing (Sapiens), HarperCollins Publishers (The Hobbit)