READERSVOICE.COM: I was wondering if you could mention some of the most interesting books you’ve come across in recent years, whether about art or not, fiction or non-fiction, old or new.
MATTIAS ADOLFSSON: I’ve just finished reading The Making of the Atomic Bomb, by Richard Rhodes — wonderful in its scope and insight inside the Manhattan project and the science behind it.
I’ve spent quite a lot of months reading The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt. Hard reading but so rewarding. The breadth of her knowledge was stunning.
I listened to Purge by Sofi Oksanen., a story about Estonia’s past. Very good; the production used music by Hungarian composer Arvo PÃ¤rth to great effect.
I also listened to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke, read by Simon Prebble. Both the book and the reading is quite wonderful (I’ve listened to it three times).
I’ve always had a soft spot for the American civil. The Civil War: A Narrative by Shelby Foote is so full of colorful characters.
And lastly The Arrival by Shaun Tan is such a beautiful book and even though it
lacks text it makes a wonderful read.
RV: Do you look for particular things when hunting books, like 1950s or 60s artists, and if so, what kinds of things are you looking for at the moment?
MA: I search for a good read (or listening). I tend to vary between fiction and non fiction even though as time goes by I read more and more non-fiction. I find it harder to find
fiction to my liking at the moment. I just started reading Games of Thrones (I used to read a lot of fantasy and science fiction when I was young). I’ll see
how that fares.
RV: In your blog you talked about finding artists whose work you really liked, and I was wondering if you could go back in time and meet some 20th century artists and illustrators, or even sit in on their classes, which ones would you like to meet?
MA: I’d love to sit in a class led by Herge. His attention to detail is just wonderful; I love his sense of humor as well. Nothing beats the Belgian and French touch.
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-Copyright Simon Sandall