Artists reveal the book that has shaped their thinking

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The Independent Culture

If you were to recommend the one book to a friend that has shaped your thinking what would it be? That's the question that the Other Criteria shop in west London posed to eight artists.

To make it harder, the book they chose had to be rare or out of print. So Damien Hirst opted for Elvis: The Last 24 hours by Albert Goldman, while Sue Webster chose S.C.U.M. (Society for Cutting up Men), a feminist manifesto by Valerie Solanas.

The project took over a year to pull together and was launched this week with the artists giving reasons for their choices. Webster gave S.C.U.M. as a present to an old boyfriend when she was at art school (he then dumped her), while Josh Cheuse, who chose The Face of Folk Music by Robert Shelton and David Gahr, cites the latter as the first "rock" photographer. Other books include Allan Edgar Poe's The Raven, chosen by Olivier Garbay who discovered the book as a teenager; and William Rotsler's Superstud, a book of interviews with men who starred in 1970s porn movies chosen by the artist Itai Doron.

The idea came about after Hirst recommended that Hugh Allan of Other Criteria read the Elvis biography. "He was reading the book in the bath and thought how great it is to have books recommended to you," recalls project manager Robyn Katkhuda. "We've bought all the books from second-hand dealers, mainly online, so the edition size depends on how many we managed to find."