Peter Sís

Works of enchantment, from the bookshelf of the artist and author.



The children's books of  Peter Sís uniquely balance whimsy and profundity, darkness and radiant light. The internationally acclaimed Czech artist has written and illustrated more than twenty books, including Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei and the haunting work of graphic memoir The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain. His first book for adults is a moving adaptation of the twelfth-century Sufi epic poem The Conference of the Birds. When we asked him to recommend three favorites, Sís responded with a trio of choices that range from a classic of modern travel writing to a work of fictional play by a master of the form.


Books by Peter Sís



To a Mountain in Tibet

By Colin Thubron


"This account of a pilgrimage to Mount Kailas, the center of the universe for Buddhists and Hindus, is a spiritual and meditative diary of a difficult trek. It's a masterful book, using beautiful language, full of memories and observations that make you feel you are with the author."




The Baron in the Trees

By Italo Calvino


"A delightful make-believe tale, which you believe as soon as you dive into it. Everything is part of a puzzle, and what a smart puzzle of imagination and magic it is. Initially, you think it's impossible that the young Baron will stay up in the trees forever. But you soon become a believer in Calvino, Baron, dreams, and fantasy, and you find yourself jumping from tree to tree with great delight."



The World Doesn't End

By Charles Simic


"There are so many beautiful collections of poetry and poets, but for some reason, Charlie Simic is very close to my heart. His memories, his experiences, his observations are mine. In his blend of the surreal and the startlingly real, I see through his eyes and feel through his heart. I can see the colors of the different situations. Could this be an intersection of our lives, where we meet for a wonderful moment? Or do we walk the same path in life? This collection is very enjoyable and at times quite sad."

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.