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Ad Celebrity Book List: Sharoz Makarechi

Posted on November 8, 2007 and read 2,385 times

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There aren’t too many shops like Think Tank 3 in the Big Apple, or anywhere else for that matter. For one, they’re located in a storefront in the West Village, with a set-up that encourages everyday passersby to peek through the windows and even come inside to see what kind of place. Two, they often use their main area for public art shows, with themes such as Jewish boxers and Saddam Hussein. And three, they have a very unique founder and creative director in Sharoz Makarechi.

Sharoz has worked at the big shops, she’s worked at the small shops, and she has even worked as a creative director in Afghanistan after the (perhaps prematurely announced) fall of the Taliban. While she probably has enough stories to write her own book, instead we asked Sharoz to give us her top ten selections from her well used bookshelf.

Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir
by Anatole Broyard

I seem to have an unshakeable sentimental streak. I ran into it at a small West Village book shop, near my own small West Village shop where I sat and devoured the book which took me to the West Village in the ’40s. There’s little left of the energy that he writes about but when I get lost in his stories, what little is left is magnified. One of the reviews on the back of the book reads: If you’ve ever been young, ever lived in or wanted to live in Greenwich Village, ever loved books or sex or both, you’ll savor this memoir. I second that.

Blackstock’s Collections: the Drawings of an Autistic Savant
by Gregory Blackstock

I wanted to curate a show for Mr. Blackstock at TT3, but that’s easier thought than done given who he is and how he’s changed since the book came out a year ago or so. He is in his 60′s now, maybe 62. And from what I’ve seen he doesn’t draw quite the same way as he did when he first started. He’s more careful now and what’s more he thinks of himself and calls himself an “artist” where as when he did the work in this book, he was a “potwasher” in Seattle, and actually signed some of his works as such. BY: Potwasher Gregory L. Blackstock. l loved that. It really stuck with me. He began making visual lists at 40. Meaning drawing images in groups such as “the great world crows”, or “our famous tropical fruits”, “the trowels”, “the spatulas”–love that too, “the spatulas”. On goes the list. There are many layers to his story and all of the interesting. I get illustrator’s and designer’s portfolios passing in front of me all the time, sometimes I wish their stylings had a bit, just a bit of the sincerity Gregory had in those early visual list making days.

I Remember
by Joe Brainard

I remember picking up a paperback in which every sentence began with the words “I remember” and loving how it ebbed and flowed through me. I remember a different emotion after reading each declaration and never becoming bored with the repetitive structure. Brilliant.

The Prince and the Pauper
by Mark Twain

I read a lot of Mark Twain. A bit of a hero of mine. This just happens to be the one on the shelf now. Puddinghead Wilson is another. And then the classics and better yet all his travel writings in particular the early ones about the Sandwich Islands, now known as Hawaii.

Notes From Underground
by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Here’s a guy who living between 1821 and 1881, writing about another guy who both craves and despises affection. Ahead of its time and ours, no? Looking back, somehow I don’t feel like I should call him a guy. A man writing about another man…

The TWA Terminal
by Ezra Stoller

Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal at JFK is one of my favorite places in the world. Well, it was and the exterior still holds it’s power, sure. But this book is the best documentation of this amazing piece of architecture. Aesthetically, conceptually, in every way this building rocks my world. And it’s where I first landed in NYC off a PAN AM flight in the 70s. Flight 001 from Tehran. Back when my home country and my adopted one were friends, that was the flight to take. There’s a store and brand named after that flight now, Flight 001. Ah, them were the days.

by Harry Benson

I like looking at pictures of Mohammad Ali and Benson took some of my favorites starting back in the early 60s when he still went by Cassius Clay. In the 60s he was one of the world’s top photographers. A lot of access. This is an old volume, billed as a technique and tip book but that’s not why I have it around. I’m interested in these images of moments in time when photography, especially action photography required more skill than pushing a button hoping what you saw was captured on a screen.

On Boxing
by Joyce Carol Oates

This one’s on the shelf in a prominent spot, near some boxing gloves, near some prints from my Jewish Boxers exhibit (paintings by Charles Miller). She likes boxing, so do I. That’s where the similarities end but not the story. She’s a celebrated writer. mentor and teacher (at Princeton) of Jonathon Safron Foer, darling of the literary world, whose married to Nicole Krauss who wrote: The History of Love which is among the more beautifully written books of the last decade, making her Mrs. Darling of the literary world. It’s all connected for me. And as if I need more connections, Ilana Simons, another one of the artists I curated at TT3 did a portrait of Ms. Oates on a paper plate for our collection, which another writer who teaches at Princeton saw in the gallery and bought and gifted to her to which Ms. Oates responded by writing. Joyce Carol Oates, ha. I like her writing on boxing more than her fiction but clearly even her e-mails are a joy to read and share.

by Ron Church

A book of photographs. Documentation of two surf contests at Huntington Beach, California, circa 1963 and 1964. This is when surfing began it’s transition from local non-conformist pastime to mainstream sport. I’m into photography, what CD isn’t, really? But then there’s the history of surfing, and all the tentacles of it that have seeped into culture and the fact that I work with more surfers than anyone else I know in NYC which means there are surf magazines and such and people watching Mavricks videos here and there. I’ve seen enough surf photos and been to contests to know these images are special, and Mr. Church turned a lens on people and action that to this day are missed by many surf photographers. We have a stack of boards in the basement of our storefront which are supposed to give the guys a sense of comfort, that if surf is indeed up, they could actually run to the Atlantic, but that only happens a few weeks a year in September and October. The rest of the time, they daydream and flip through books and magazines and dream up reasons to go to Costa Rica “on business”. They don’t look at this book much. This one seems special more to me for it’s ability to hold a special time and happening in perpetuity for those of us who wish we could have been there.

by Robert Olen Butler

Beautiful concept for a book. I love everything about this book including the cover, photo and treatment. Crossing two concepts: that after decapitation, the human head remains in a state of consciousness for one and one-half minutes, and that in a heightened state of emotion, people speak at the rate of 160 words per minute. Mr. Bulter tells us 62 stories each 240 words. Only. I’m a sucker for ideas, and quick hits, what can I say. And no, this isn’t macabre or morbid stuff, just a distilled way of looking back at a life. In one instance, set in 2008, the author’s own. Brilliant.




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