Face Making

Artist Gwenn Seemel’s bilingual blog about art, portraiture, free culture, and feminism.

Reading books / Lire des livres

2017 . 03 . 06 - Comments / Commentaires (9)

It’s a kind of religion for me.

C’est un peu comme une religion pour moi.

I read a lot, so it’s hard to pick favorites, but these are the books that I would recommend from the last few months: Natalie Baszile’s Queen Sugar, Octavia Butler’s Fledgling and her Patternist series, Celine Jeanjean’s The Bloodless Assassin, Neil Gaiman’s Bad Omens, Ray Bradbury’s Farenheit 451, Nola Hopkinson’s Report from Planet Midnight, Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness, Lezley McSpadden’s Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil, Irin Carmon’s Notorious RBG, Masha Gessen’s The Man without a Face, Elisabeth Tova Bailey’s The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, and Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus.

A few years back I swore to myself that I wouldn’t read any more books by white men, because I’d focused disproportionately on that demographic in the past. Obviously, I’m not keeping that promise as fully as I’d like, but I’m still reading more diversely than I ever have before, and it’s been really good for me.

Je lis beaucoup, alors c’est difficile de choisir quels sonts mes préférés, mais voici quelques livres que j’ai lu récemment: Queen Sugar de Natalie Baszile, Fledgling de Octavia Butler ainsi que sa collection Patternist, The Bloodless Assassin de Celine Jeanjean, Bad Omens de Neil Gaiman, Farenheit 451 de Ray Bradbury, Report from Planet Midnight de Nola Hopkinson, Redefining Realness de Janet Mock, Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil de Lezley McSpadden, Notorious RBG de Irin Carmon, The Man without a Face de Masha Gessen, The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating de Elisabeth Tova Bailey, et The Soul of an Octopus de Sy Montgomery.

Il y a quelques années, j’ai décidé de ne plus lire de livres par des hommes blancs, parce que je m’étais concentrée de façon disproportionnée sur ce groupe démographique dans le passé. Comme vous pouvez le constater en regardant la liste ci-dessus, je n’ai pas pu tenir cette promesse complètement, mais je lis plus diversement qu’avant, et ça me fait beaucoup de bien.

double portrait painting

Gwenn Seemel
Reading together / Lire ensemble
acrylic on canvas / acrylique sur toile
24 x 24 inches / 61 x 61 centimètres
(detail below / détail plus bas)

woman's portrait

- Knowing what you don’t know
- Repeater
- Trying to forget with Lynda Barry

- An animal / Un animal
- The antidote to fear / L’antidote de la peur
- The dancing argument / La dispute qui danse

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(9) Comments / Commentaires: Reading books / Lire des livres

-- libby fife -- 2017 . 03 . 06 --


What a great post! Thank you. I can relate a lot to the idea that you felt you were wasting time if you weren’t reading something connected to what you were working on. And I can also relate to the idea that books help you to see things from the perspective of others.

I don’t read much fiction anymore but read books having to do with learning about the world around me: travel, places I want to go, how others view the land and our resources, why we are here, and the intersection of science and religion. I tend to find books that help me to deal with problems I am currently having or that help me fill in the gaps in my education (there are many!). I try to find subjects that I know nothing about really-math, science, etc. so I can broaden my perspective. My mom used to say that a person needed to have “a good frame of reference.” I believe that is what we are seeking when we seek out books.

I just love that portrait also. The idea of two people reading together is so appealing. And I always enjoy watching you paint.

Thank you!

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-- Hope -- 2017 . 03 . 06 --

Lovely post! My daughter and I take turns reading a book together (out loud) in our little book nook. It is a cozy time together. smile

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 03 . 06 --

@Libby: A good frame of reference. Yes. I love that way of describing it.

@Hope: That is a lovely image! I remember reading with my parents growing up and their massive library was always an inspiration. It’s weird because, as I’ve grown up, I’ve become more of a public library user than a bookstore user, but I’m not sure I would have seen books as so important if we didn’t also have all those books in the house when I was growing up…

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-- Asta -- 2017 . 03 . 06 --

Books are my lifeblood! Love this portrait. I used to get so much pleasure out of sharing stories with my children. Now I recommend books to them. Sometimes we even have ‘bookclub’.

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-- Linda Ursin -- 2017 . 03 . 07 --

I’m also an avid reader but very picky about what I read. Before I became a Mom, I read up to 500 books a year. Only fiction and mainly crime, thrillers, and fantasy.

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 03 . 07 --

@Asta: Bookclubs are what make books so special. I rarely read without a recommendation, in large part because I want to be able to understand the people recommending the books better. smile

@Linda: How do you choose what to read? Always curious about other people’s methods…

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-- Linda Ursin -- 2017 . 03 . 07 --

@Gwenn I go to the library or online and check out different books and what it says on the back. If it’s interesting, I read it smile Sometimes, I get one recommended to me, or I stumble across a social media post about what someone else is reading and then check it out.

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-- Jenny -- 2017 . 03 . 20 --

Lire avec un autre, ou comme dans ce tableau avec un enfant, c’est un bon moment. Je continue à lire avec ma fille (11ans), c’est un vrai moment de partage et de complicité.
Je n’aurais peut-être pas employé le mot religion pour la lecture, mais c’est important pour moi de lire des livres, même si je manque un peu de temps. C’est un magnifique moyen de voir plus loin!

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-- Gwenn -- 2017 . 03 . 20 --

@Jenny: Voir plus loin! C’est cela exactement!

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