91 books like The Exhibition Catalogues of Austin Osman Spare

By Robert Ansell (editor),

Here are 91 books that The Exhibition Catalogues of Austin Osman Spare fans have personally recommended if you like The Exhibition Catalogues of Austin Osman Spare. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare

Phil Baker Author Of Austin Osman Spare: The Life and Legend of London's Lost Artist

From my list on Austin Osman Spare.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first encountered Spare in my early teens, when I was reading books about the occult, and then forgot about him for a few years. As time went by, I grew more interested in surrealism, psychoanalysis, and Buddhism, but I never quite abandoned magic, and I came to see it’s really the same area. I used to think it was funny that the Dewey library classification system puts Freud and the occult next to each other, but now I see it makes perfect sense. It’s all about exploring the mind and inner experience. And Austin Osman Spare, like Crowley and the surrealists, is among its most interesting figures.  

Phil's book list on Austin Osman Spare

Phil Baker Why did Phil love this book?

This is an unreliable but very readable book from occult writer Kenneth Grant. I used to find the title mysterious; it really means images and oracular worlds, and I remember seeing great heaps of this book remaindered in the 1980s, little knowing it would go on to fetch £300 a copy. Fortunately, Fulgur have since produced an affordable edition.

Grant’s depiction of Spare is heavily influenced by his reading of popular fiction writers like Arthur Machen, Sax Rohmer, and H.P. Lovecraft, and he gives us Spare, the black magician seduced in childhood by an elderly witch, who launches “an amphibious owl with the wings of a bat” into a conflict between magical groups. This is really the book that started the “Spare Mythos.”

By Kenneth Grant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Images and Oracles of Austin Osman Spare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Images and Oracles remains one of the most influential works on esoteric magick and mystical art produced in the last thirty years. Part One discusses Spare's life and biographical anecdotes while Part Two provides Kenneth Grant' important analysis and co


Book cover of Michelangelo in a Teacup

Phil Baker Author Of Austin Osman Spare: The Life and Legend of London's Lost Artist

From my list on Austin Osman Spare.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first encountered Spare in my early teens, when I was reading books about the occult, and then forgot about him for a few years. As time went by, I grew more interested in surrealism, psychoanalysis, and Buddhism, but I never quite abandoned magic, and I came to see it’s really the same area. I used to think it was funny that the Dewey library classification system puts Freud and the occult next to each other, but now I see it makes perfect sense. It’s all about exploring the mind and inner experience. And Austin Osman Spare, like Crowley and the surrealists, is among its most interesting figures.  

Phil's book list on Austin Osman Spare

Phil Baker Why did Phil love this book?

A warm, down-to-earth amateur biography of Spare, which is also a memoir of the author’s friendship with him. A mildly eccentric man who went on to run a secondhand bookshop in Hastings, Letchford sought Spare out in 1937, when he was a twenty-one-year-old shop assistant, after reading about him in a newspaper, and went on to become his most loyal friend.

At the opposite pole to Grant (they only met at Spare’s deathbed), this is Spare the canny, opinionated Cockney and South Londoner, but there is not much magic in it. Spare valued both Grant and Letchford, although he had a couple of rows with Grant. In the end, he might have felt closer to Letchford, leaving him “first choice” of pictures in his will and Grant second.

By Frank Letchford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Michelangelo in a Teacup as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Letchford, Frank


Book cover of Zos Speaks!: Encounters With Austin Osman Spare

Phil Baker Author Of Austin Osman Spare: The Life and Legend of London's Lost Artist

From my list on Austin Osman Spare.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first encountered Spare in my early teens, when I was reading books about the occult, and then forgot about him for a few years. As time went by, I grew more interested in surrealism, psychoanalysis, and Buddhism, but I never quite abandoned magic, and I came to see it’s really the same area. I used to think it was funny that the Dewey library classification system puts Freud and the occult next to each other, but now I see it makes perfect sense. It’s all about exploring the mind and inner experience. And Austin Osman Spare, like Crowley and the surrealists, is among its most interesting figures.  

Phil's book list on Austin Osman Spare

Phil Baker Why did Phil love this book?

Grant met Spare in 1949 through his wife Steffi, who had read a ‘human interest’ feature about him in a magazine. Based on Grant’s diary, this book records the real Spare in the pubs of South London and the West End before Grant semi-fictionalized him.

Grant had a sense of humour, and after introducing Spare to witchcraft revivalist Gerald Gardner, he watched him try to outdo Gardner in boasting about witchcraft, then went home and wrote that it was “screamingly funny.”

This is a substantial tome, beautifully produced and illustrated, with plenty of time-travelling period detail. Steffi remembers when pubs had live pianists, often playing ‘The Harry Lime Theme’ from The Third Man: “It seemed the signature tune of Spare at that period, and hearing it now fills me with nostalgia.”

By Kenneth Grant, Steffi Grant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zos Speaks! as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The long awaited volume with Spare s lost writings. Illustrated with superb plates; many in color. Includes The Logomachy; Zoetic Grimoire. Quarto.


Book cover of Two Tracts on Cartomancy

Phil Baker Author Of Austin Osman Spare: The Life and Legend of London's Lost Artist

From my list on Austin Osman Spare.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first encountered Spare in my early teens, when I was reading books about the occult, and then forgot about him for a few years. As time went by, I grew more interested in surrealism, psychoanalysis, and Buddhism, but I never quite abandoned magic, and I came to see it’s really the same area. I used to think it was funny that the Dewey library classification system puts Freud and the occult next to each other, but now I see it makes perfect sense. It’s all about exploring the mind and inner experience. And Austin Osman Spare, like Crowley and the surrealists, is among its most interesting figures.  

Phil's book list on Austin Osman Spare

Phil Baker Why did Phil love this book?

This is a marvellous little book that delves into Spare’s engagement with fortune-telling by cards, particularly the story of his 1930s ‘Surrealist Racing Forecast Cards,’ which he sold through a small ad in the Exchange and Mart magazine.

They are quintessentially Spare, perhaps more than the recently discovered Spare tarot (juvenilia, in comparison, from before he went beyond conventional occultism). Along with previously unseen photos and Spare’s own essay "Mind to Mind and How" (“By a Sorcerer”), the heart of the book is Gavin’s "A Few Leaves from the Devil’s Picture Book." 

This was a milestone in Spare research, back when what little was known about him was unreliable, and it is also a beautiful piece of writing–I borrowed a line from it to close my own book on him. 

By Austin O Spare, Gavin Semple (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Two Tracts on Cartomancy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Edited by Gavin Semple. Previously unpublished writing and very important for Spare studies.


Book cover of Perdurabo: The Life of Aleister Crowley

Phil Baker Author Of City of the Beast: The London of Aleister Crowley

From my list on the beast.

Why am I passionate about this?

I used to love Dennis Wheatley’s Satanic pulp fiction when I was about twelve—like a gateway drugand graduated on to read my first Crowley biography a year or two later. I was gripped. As the years went by I developed what might seem like more serious interests in reading about psychoanalysis, Buddhism, and surrealism, but it’s really the same area. I used to think it was funny that the Dewey library system puts Freud and the occult next to each other, but now I see it makes perfect sense. It’s all about the mind, and inner experience, and Crowley remains one of its towering figures. 

Phil's book list on the beast

Phil Baker Why did Phil love this book?

Weighing in at somewhere over 300,00 words across over 700 pages, this is the most comprehensive Crowley biography. Stylistically is it no great treat for the reader, but it was obviously a staggering amount of work and demands respect: assembling this much material is an achievement. The effect—with generous backup detail on minor figuresis often like a gigantic Wikipedia entry. Kaczynski is one of the Crowley faithful, and he tends to look on the bright side. Consequently the book can be rather pious, as well as occasionally naive (Kaczynski quotes Freud’s supposed lauding of occult artist Austin Osman Spare, for exampleone of Spare’s tall talesas if he really said it, to which you can only say “As if…”). Still a very useful work of reference. 

By Richard Kaczynski,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Perdurabo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A rigorously researched biography of the founder of modern magick, as well as a study of the occult, sexuality, Eastern religion, and more
 
The name “Aleister Crowley” instantly conjures visions of diabolic ceremonies and orgiastic indulgences—and while the sardonic Crowley would perhaps be the last to challenge such a view, he was also much more than “the Beast,” as this authoritative biography shows. 

Perdurabo—entitled after the magical name Crowley chose when inducted into the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn—traces Crowley’s remarkable journey from his birth as the only son of a wealthy lay preacher to his death in a…


Book cover of The Killer Next Door

S.W. Hubbard Author Of Another Man's Treasure

From my list on mysteries with creepy houses.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love exploring old homes. Whether I’m on a historic house tour, an estate sale, or a real estate open house, I love seeing the glimpses of the people who once occupied the home. When my mom passed away, I hired an estate sale organizer to help me clear out her house and became fascinated with the estate sale business. What a great way to peek into other people’s houses and lives and perhaps discover their darkest secrets! That’s how I started writing my Palmyrton Estate Sale Mystery Series. 

S.W.'s book list on mysteries with creepy houses

S.W. Hubbard Why did S.W. love this book?

A once-elegant Victorian mansion in London has been chopped up into individual “bed-sit” apartments occupied by a quirky assortment of tenants, each with his or her own secrets. The enjoyment of this book lies in the claustrophobic atmosphere of the house and the unbearable tension of wondering how each tenant will escape the killer in their midst.  

By Alex Marwood,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Killer Next Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No. 23 has a secret. In this bedsit-riddled south London wreck, lorded over by a lecherous landlord, something waits to be discovered. Yet all six residents have something to hide. Collette and Cher are on the run; Thomas is a reluctant loner; while a gorgeous Iranian asylum seeker and a 'quiet man' nobody sees try to stay hidden. And watching over them all is Vesta - or so she thinks. In the dead of night, a terrible accident pushes the neighbours into an uneasy alliance. But one of them is a killer, expertly hiding their pastime, all the while closing…


Book cover of Wahala

Lizzie Damilola Blackburn Author Of Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?

From my list on that pay homage to south London.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having grown up and gone to school in south London, it will always have a special place in my heart. Call me biased, but I think it’s the best place in the capital. Hands down. I love that it’s home to many Afro-Caribbean families and how its cultural presence can be felt by just walking down any street. From the bustling markets selling plantain, yams, and hard dough bread to the throng of aunties wearing brightly-coloured, patterned lace as they make their way to church. With south London being so atmospheric, I knew I had to include it as a setting in my novel. It will always be my first home.  

Lizzie's book list on that pay homage to south London

Lizzie Damilola Blackburn Why did Lizzie love this book?

I flew through Wahala. Pacy, suspenseful, and binge-able, this novel did not disappoint; it delivered in all areas. Zany, memorable characters – tick. Messy, complicated entanglements – tick. Tantalising, mouth-watering descriptions of Nigerian food served in south London restaurants – tick, tick. (The author kindly included a few recipes at the back of the book!) Wahala reminded me of how enjoyable reading can be when you find a widely-entertaining book that you can kick back and sink your teeth into. An engrossing, riveting read that explores the complexity of adult female friendships, I highly recommend it. 

By Nikki May,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wahala as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fabulous friendship novel with a killer edge for fans of BIG LITTLE LIES and EXPECTATION

SOON TO BE A MAJOR BBC TV SERIES

'A journey of friendship, revenge and finding your true self. Gripping' STYLIST MAGAZINE

'I would definitely recommend this book to friends. I already have!' BBC RADIO 2 BOOK CLUB

'What makes this slow-burn story of friendship and vengeance refreshing and original is the exhilarating ease with which it portrays a London steeped in the colours and sounds of Lagos' THE TIMES, Best Popular Fiction Books of 2022

------------

Ronke, Simi, Boo are three mixed-race friends living in…


Book cover of Open Water

Lizzie Damilola Blackburn Author Of Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband?

From my list on that pay homage to south London.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having grown up and gone to school in south London, it will always have a special place in my heart. Call me biased, but I think it’s the best place in the capital. Hands down. I love that it’s home to many Afro-Caribbean families and how its cultural presence can be felt by just walking down any street. From the bustling markets selling plantain, yams, and hard dough bread to the throng of aunties wearing brightly-coloured, patterned lace as they make their way to church. With south London being so atmospheric, I knew I had to include it as a setting in my novel. It will always be my first home.  

Lizzie's book list on that pay homage to south London

Lizzie Damilola Blackburn Why did Lizzie love this book?

What I personally loved about Open Water was just how original it was. From the second-person narration to the poetic prose and the beautiful portrayal of a Black man, not only being on the receiving end of love but also, the giver – a depiction we don’t see enough in publishing. I also enjoyed following how two artists fell in love, organically. And yet, I didn’t feel like a fly on the wall. A key takeaway I got from the story was how freeing vulnerability can be, but also, how difficult it can be to express emotions in words. Although triggering in places, overall, I found Open Water a comforting read; there were lots of cultural references that made me smile and nod my head, such as Peckhamplex cinema and Morley’s chicken shop. 

By Caleb Azumah Nelson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Open Water as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE COSTA FIRST NOVEL AWARD
A NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION 5 UNDER 35
WINNER OF THE BRITISH BOOK AWARD FOR DEBUT FICTION

“Open Water is tender poetry, a love song to Black art and thought, an exploration of intimacy and vulnerability between two young artists learning to be soft with each other in a world that hardens against Black people.”—Yaa Gyasi, author of Homegoing

In a crowded London pub, two young people meet. Both are Black British, both won scholarships to private schools where they struggled to belong, both are now artists—he a photographer, she a dancer—and both are…


Book cover of Note to Boy

Steve Sheppard Author Of A Very Important Teapot

From my list on books to make you laugh by authors you’ve (probably) never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m Steve Sheppard and I’m arguably the best person in the UK to create this list as I am myself the archetypal funny author whom nobody has heard of, having written three comedy spy thrillers, two out (A Very Important Teapot and Bored to Death in the Baltics) and one on the way (Poor Table Manners), all published by a genuine indie publisher, Claret Press. I would have loved to include a funny thriller in my list, but sadly, they are not to be found–not without resorting to farce and slapstick anyway.

Steve's book list on books to make you laugh by authors you’ve (probably) never heard of

Steve Sheppard Why did Steve love this book?

A delightful book, a complete treat, certainly the funniest I’ve read in recent years as well as one of the most original. How it wasn’t picked up by a major publisher is beyond me, especially given Sue Clark’s background in television comedy scriptwriting.

The way Sue manages so realistically to get inside the head of both the aged and yet ageless ex-fashion icon, Eloise, and Bradley, a south London council estate lad with dreams above his station, is astonishing. Writing in the first person is hard enough, but to do it so successfully for two such disparate characters is extraordinarily clever. It is no easy thing to make the reader believe so thoroughly in their highly unlikely, blossoming (business) partnership.

Clever, imaginative, and life-affirming.

By Sue Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Note to Boy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Eloise is an erratic, faded fashionista. Bradley is a glum but wily teenager.

In need of help to write her racy 1960s memoirs, the former 'shock frock' fashion guru tolerates his common ways. Unable to remember his name, she calls him Boy. Desperate to escape a brutal home life, he puts up with her bossiness and confusing notes.

Both guard secrets. How did she lose her fame and fortune? What is he scheming - beyond getting his hands on her bank card? And just what's hidden in that mysterious locked room?


Book cover of The Collector Collector

Marcus Milwright Author Of A Story of Islamic Art

From my list on fiction about art and artists.

Why am I passionate about this?

Visits to galleries, museums, and castles were an integral part of my childhood. These filled me with an enduring love for art, architecture, and archaeology. My initial studies covered all areas of art history, but I became drawn to the visual cultures of the Islamic world. I have been lucky enough to live and work in different parts of the Middle East. I am committed to sharing knowledge about the arts and archaeology of the Islamic world through books, exhibitions, and websites. I have always enjoyed fiction that involves art as part of a story, and the selections in this list are my current favorites. I hope you enjoy them!

Marcus' book list on fiction about art and artists

Marcus Milwright Why did Marcus love this book?

Packed with funny, unexpected, and disturbing imagery, I read this book in one sitting. Art historians have discussed the agency possessed by material things, arguing that art and other manufactured objects can shape the actions and attitudes of individuals and groups. This has led to the creation of biographies of ancient objects, tracking their movements and transformations over time.

Fischer takes this one step further in his picaresque novel, told from the perspective of an ancient Sumerian bowl. As the title suggests, the bowl surreptitiously observes and records the lives of the collectors who have owned it over the course of millennia. I haven’t looked at old pots in my house in the same way again! 

By Tibor Fischer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Collector Collector as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

To a small flat in South London comes a Sumerian bowl: but the bowl is the Collector Collector, clay with something to say, an object d'art who will offer Rosa, its owner, vast swathes of unrecorded history from the last 5, 000 years. Meanwhile, Rosa tries to centre her life and settle the disturbances caused by an uninvited guest, Nikki.

1001 Nights meets the inner city, The Collector Collector is a comic masterpiece and unquestionably the finest novel ever narrated by a bowl.


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