Sweet Summer Reading

I’ve loved books and been an avid reader from a young age – I inherited that trait from my father.

He was a keen reader, too, and many Saturday afternoons I would accompany my dad to the library where we would go our separate ways – him to the adult fiction, me to the young readers section. He liked books featuring metaphysical phenomenon and I liked books about animals. When our arms were full he would come find me, or I would go find him, and together we’d check out the materials that would occupy our attention over the next two weeks. My dad passed away when I was 17. It makes me smile to be fondly remembering our shared library practice so close to Father’s Day.

When I visit people’s homes I like to look at what’s on their bookshelves. You can tell a lot about someone by the literary company they keep. Also, I like to know which reads my friends’ think are good enough to warrant taking up physical space. That alone is a recommendation in itself.

Studio bookshelf: hockey, war posters, hunting, fairy tales and insects…

It might surprise you to learn that although I am a hoarder accumulator at the studio, at home I’m quite the minimalist. I don’t like extraneous clutter or having lots of objects to dust (I know, such an oxymoronic statement coming from someone who is an object maker).

Aside from a few rows of hefty tomes celebrating my art heroes (Paula Rego, David Hockney, Alice Neel, Frida Kahlo, William Kentridge, Ray Johnson to name a few) and authors whose works I return to again and again (David Sedaris, Caitlin Moran, Allie Brosh, Thomas King, Malcolm Gladwell) I still get most of my reading fix taken care of by the public library.

I no longer make the frequent physical visits I did in my childhood but instead request the titles I want online and have them delivered to my local branch for pick up.

Browsing the library inventory online is not as much fun as it is in person so it’s handy to have a list.

Mine – in no particular order – is compiled in part from peer recommendations, librarian picks, and literary awards lists and is a mix of fiction, non-fiction, business, autobiography, and research. Maybe there’s a few here that might pique your interest, too:

  1. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald (Therese Fowler)
  2. Colorless: Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Haruki Murkami)
  3. Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self (Leslie A. Fiedler)
  4. Hubert’s Freaks (Gregory Gibson)
  5. Red (Jacky Colliss Harvey)
  6. The Clancys of Queens (Tara Clancy)
  7. In the Company of Women (Grace Bonney)
  8. City of Dreams (Tyler Anbinder)
  9. The Sellout (Paul Beatty)
  10. Flaneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice and London (Lauren Elkin)
  11. Freak Show (James St. James)
  12. Spectacle (Bruce Mau)
  13. From the Beast to the Blonde (Marina Warner)
  14. No One is Coming to Save Us (Stephanie Powell Watts)
  15. Walk Through Walls (Marina Abramovic)
  16. Girl in the Blue Coat (Monica Hesse)
  17. Before the Fall (Noah Hawley)
  18. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck (Mark Manson)
  19. Ignore Everybody (Hugh MacLeod)
  20. Daybook: the Journal of an Artist (Anne Truitt)
  21. Creative Confidence (David Kelley)
  22. Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Work Every Day (Todd Henry)
  23. The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World (Lewis Hyde)
  24. The War of Art (Steven Pressfield)
  25. Art/Work: Everything you Need to Know (and do) as You Pursue Your Art Career (Heather Darcy Bhandari, Jonathan Melber)
  26. Playing Big (Tara Mohr)

As with all my wish lists there’s enough material here to keep me busy until next summer 🙂

What’s on your summer reading list? Please pass along your recommendations in the comments!

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