Welcome back to Crack Magazine’s Book Club.
The evenings are darker, the trip to work feels grimmer, and you’re bored with prestige TV. Autumn, then, is the perfect time to immerse yourself in a good book. After all, what better way is there to dissociate from the close-bodied hour-long commute on the Tube? But what are you going to read?
Look no further. For the next chapter (sorry) of our book series, we’ve compiled a six-point guide to the page turners that you need in your life. From musical deep dives to cookbooks and the latest photography releases, here’s what we’ve been carrying in our bags as of late – and what we’d recommend you to take with you, too.
Rise Up: the #Merky Story So FarStormzy
In July, the Gang Signs & Prayer star announced his new venture with Penguin Random House, called #Merky Books. An initiative aimed towards publishing the voices and stories of black writers, the publishing imprint was launched this month with Stormzy’s own book Rise Up. More than an autobiography, Stormzy focuses on the positioning of black British culture in the UK and how to elevate it. It also touches upon his own trajectory: coming from “a place where success doesn’t happen” to finding success through staying independent. Edited by Jude Yawson, the success of #Merky is told through 14 voices. Vital, and essential, reading.
Paradise RotJenny Hval
Originally released in Norwegian in 2009 as Perlebryggeriet, Jenny Hval has now made her debut novel available in English. Described as “a heady and hyper-sensual portrayal of sexual awakening and queer desire”, the story follows protagonist Jo as she moves to a house with no walls in a foreign country for her studies. In her new home, boundaries between bodies and plants, and dreams versus reality, become blurred. If you enjoy Hval’s sonic explorations of politics, desire and sexuality, this should earn a spot on your bedside table.
Chamber Music: About the Wu-Tang (in 36 Pieces)Will Ashton
If you’re looking to broaden your musical knowledge, and more specifically, how much you know about Wu Tang Clan’s debut 1993 album Enter the Wu Tang: 36 Chambers, here’s, appropriately, 36 chapters worth of analysis. Ranging from cinema references to kung fu, cocaine in America to jazz, Ashon gives us a deep dive into the themes and cultural context behind one of the most influential hip-hop groups.
Vape Shop OlympiaPeter de Potter
You may recognise Peter de Potter as the Belgian artist behind the cover for Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo in 2016, or more recently, Visionist’s Value last year. His internet-connected style of collages gained him a cult following via Tumblr but trace further back and you’ll find de Potter is also a longtime collaborator of Raf Simons, having contributed to the now highly sought after book The Fourth Sex: Adolescent Extremes. Now having released his third book, Vape Shop Olympia, his series of images – which lean more heavily on graphics than previous releases – are meditations on how facets of modern culture have become embedded into our lives. Think hip-hop and social media, internet activism, sexting and phones. Take a step back and observe.
Death BookEdited by Matthew Holroyd
Edited by Matthew Holroyd, founder of Baron and Baroness Magazine, with photography by Edith Bergfors and art direction by Anna Bergfors (who’s worked on album covers for Depeche Mode), Death Book was originally teased as an elusive project on Instagram. The book itself is filled with images touching upon fashion, fetish wear, love and sadness, and, in the lead-up to its launch, the feed acted as a crystallisation of its themes including death, grief and sex. As explained to It’s Nice That, Edith Bergfors used her own grief surrounding her mother’s death in 2011 as a starting point: “I found it difficult to speak to people about death. Things that I found interesting, peculiar and sometimes even humorous about the whole process of death in general, as well as my own grieving process”.
While Halloween, and its devil-themed paraphernalia, comes to an end, this nuanced book of photography is one way to continue the morbid fascination with death and all that comes with it.
China Social Club CookbookChina Social Club
If you plan on hunkering down and nestling into your humble abode during the bleaker months, try spicing up your home life with this cookbook designed by the Shanghai-based DJ collective and NTS regulars. Billed as a book of recipes to suit “most mouths”, guides range from frying an egg to creating a “typical Michelin Star dish”. We don’t know exactly what that is, but we’d rather hedge our bets on this than heat up more supermarket winter soups. Having collated recipes from around 10 contributors, the cookbook features photography by founder Matt Hildebrandt and design by Philip Caspar James. You can enquire about getting your hands on a copy by DM’ing @chinasocialclub on Instagram.