Bound & Flogged

This week's essential books

NHEn+1-05

ESSAY COLLECTION OF THE WEEK: Say What You Mean: The N+1 Anthology

Notting Hill Editions – swift becoming the country's best new non-ficition press – has come up tops once more with an anthology of writing from N+1. The Brooklyn-based journal has lead the way in combining neo-Marxist literary theory with a concern for pop culture and a verging on obnoxiously youthful edge. We, clearly, love it. This edition, including reports from Miami's party scene, a report on the death and life of the labour movement and the death of the novel by way of its obsession with neurology, is pretty essential. 

SARDONIC COFFEE TABLE BOOK OF THE WEEK: Vacuum Days – Tim Etchells

2011, the year when things went nuts, was quietly, sardonically tracked by Tim Etchells from his blog, Vacuum Days. In the now-worn in form of satirical headlines, the writer and artist covered the Arab Spring and phone hacking, the riots and recession, austerity explosions and Wikileaks. Somewhere between Not The Nine O'Clock News produced by the Dadaists or The Onion at the end of the pier, the posts have been collected into one richly produced volume, published by new imprint Story Things.

"WHITHER PRINT" PRINT ITEM OF THE WEEK: Paper: An Elegy – Ian Sansom

Someone who would presumably be cheered by a start-up publisher is Ian Sansom. An Essex-based writer whose new book is a celebration, and commemoration, of the very material it's printed on. It verges uncomfortably close to twee at points, but his binding (no pun intended) affection for the material of fags and folios in an age of screens and Nicorette is infectious. 

WITTICISMS OF THE WEEK: Weiwei-isms – Ai Weiwei

“Say what you need to say plainly, and then take responsibility for it” begins this book of quotations from the Chinese artist, activist and Dazed coverstar, edited by friend and founder of AW Asia, Larry Warsh. The artist's inspiring lifestory and way with an aphorism makes this little black book easy reading, and its starkly humorous argument for direct action, clean thought and kind embrace of human confusion makes for a great window on China today.

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