3 Books Weekly #4 - featuring designer and founder Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino

09.00, Friday 25 Mar 2016

The following was first posted on the 3 Books Weekly email newsletter and has since been archived here.

Hi folks – and welcome to 3 Books Weekly, edition #4!

Today we have books shared by Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, designer and the mind behind Good Night Lamp, the internet-connected lamp that brings loved ones closer together. She also runs the long-standing and highly regarded community event, Internet of Things London.

You can find Alexandra on Twitter as @iotwatch.

In teeny bookshop news… We have a logo! Here’s a pic. The bookshop is called Machine Supply.

And also we have a location! Google is hosting Machine Supply for the month of April, at Campus London in Shoreditch. Thank you Google! The vending machine is open for business next week. You’re the first to know. You’ll find today’s books from Alexandra for sale, as well as recommendations from previous editions of this newsletter.

If you enjoy 3 Books Weekly, please do share with your friends. They can subscribe here.

Happy Friday!


#1. Ocean Sea, by Alessandro Baricco

I bought this book accidentally I think when I was 23. There used to be a great bookstore on Ste Catherine in Montreal called Indigo. The type of place that you could browse in and sit with a friend while having a latte for hours. Anyway, I bought it there and have taken my copy with me on several relocations for 12 years and counting. It’s a book that introduced me to a type of absurdist and surrealist fiction that Alessandro Baricco masters completely and has me addicted now. It’s the story of a number of different characters whose lives are brought together by a little B&B by the sea, in an unknown time, in an unknown place. A young princess, a dangerous sailor, a painter that doesn’t paint, a writer that writes an encyclopaedia about the end of the sea, as I write it it sounds like fantasy but that’s not it at all. It’s about examining our lives as we do when we stare at the sea on a beach holiday.

Ocean Sea: Amazon / Amazon UK

#2. Lee Miller: On Both Sides of the Camera (Bloomsbury Lives of Women), by Carolyn Burke

I ended up buying this book after going to the V&A’s Surreal Things exhibition and it made me fall in love with Lee Miller’s work, incredible life in front of and behind the camera, and her tenacity. She was the only woman photographer to cover the Second World War for Vogue magazine after having worked as a model and a photographer. She learnt her trade from Man Ray, her lover, married an Egyptian and eventually married again to Sir Roland Penrose, a painter and the eventual founder of the ICA. Her experience and later years out of the limelight, with PTSD and alcoholism, working on a never-ending cookbook, became a sort of warning sign for my own career and any woman’s I think. A real inspiration, and a complex woman brought to light in the her only authorised biography.

Lee Miller: On Both Sides of the Camera (Bloomsbury Lives of Women): Amazon / Amazon UK

#3. Staring At The Sun, by Julian Barnes

This book saved my life at a time when I was very depressed after I closed my first business. It’s the story of a woman and her relationship with the men around her, a pilot who stayed with her family during the war, her crazy uncle and her middle-aged son decades later. The timeframe and place isn’t completely clear but her experience is. It’s about a sense of loss when we think about the past and how we struggle to relate to the future. How quickly it all goes. I reread it every couple of years and find it very soothing. Barnes is great at relating the woman’s experience of the world which is rare.

Staring At The Sun: Amazon / Amazon UK

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