If there’s one thing we know to be true, it’s that brilliant ideas can come from anywhere. Sometimes novels can teach us more than textbooks if we keep our minds open to inspiration. This reading list is a collection of books (from comics to non-fiction) that has done just that for some of redpepper’s own. We hope you find these picks to be as truth-telling and impactful as we have. Read on for a sampling of literary magic…
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
The story of Victor Frankenstein, “a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment.” I chose this book because the older I get and the more life I live, the louder the deep themes in this book become. Plus, the way this book even came into existence (if you don’t know, look it up) makes me want to throw my digital devices and distractions out the window and get on that level.
– Lindsay Alexander, Sr. Copywriter
Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change. The sun might shine, or the clouds might lour: but nothing could appear to me as it had done the day before.– Mary Shelley
The City & The City, China Miéville
This is the book that introduced me to the wild worlds of China Miéville. A detective story set in two different cities that occupy the same geography, it’s a story of balkanization taken to an extreme, the rules we choose to follow and the power of deliberately not seeing what is around us. It’s a power we need to live in cities, but that can make them unlivable as well. Interesting concepts, gorgeous language and ideas that stay with you— Miéville is an amazing writer.
– Karla Jackson, Associate Creative Director
She or he might … come back to exactly (corporeally) where they had just been, but in another country, a tourist, a marveling visitor, to a street that shared the latitude-longitude of their own address, a street they had never visited before.– China Miéville
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel
Fun Home is a graphic novel style memoir of her experiences growing up in a less than ideal household. Alison uses her stories and illustrations as a way of understanding her family and herself. She doesn’t whack you over the head with her conclusions, and you feel like you’re there learning with her. It feels more natural than just having the story explained at you. It has plenty of sarcasm and wit to keep you entertained, and some fantastic illustrations to boot.
– Spencer Watson, Jr. Designer
I’d been upstaged, demoted from protagonist in my own drama to comic relief in my parents’ tragedy.– Alison Bechdel
The Art of Writing Advertising, many greats
It’s rare that you get to sit in a room and learn from some of the greatest minds in your field. It’s even more rare when those minds are long dead. This is a book of interviews with Bernbach, Ogilvy, Reeves, and others. Sure, some of their lessons are dated. Sure, you’ve heard some of their stories many times before. What what a gift it is to hold their respected perspectives in your hands.
– Erin Sephel, Sr. Copywriter
But finding the magic things to say about a product that would interest people and evoke their interest and lead them by the hand to the conclusion that they should buy something — that was another art, really.– Leo Burnett