Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Reading

My summer reading list is pretty random. I tend to read whatever comes to hand, (or eye), even cereal boxes, but lately I have actually ordered a few titles through my local bookstore. In the list below I link to other reviews of the books, which I hope you find useful.

One that I first heard about on the Tyee's Summer Book List was the gruesome sounding  My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, a collection of forty reworkings of classic fairy tales by various authors. Definitely not for children, these often bloodthirsty stories are great fun to read, and it is marvelous how the writers play with familiar plots. There is an ample portion of textile business here, what with all the spinning and weaving and sewing that goes on, as in The Swan Brothers or Rumplestiltskin.

Another winner is Anne Carson's version of the ancient Greek drama, Antigone, here called Antigonick. It is basically an artist's book, hand lettered and drawn, bound with the illustrations on vellum interleaved with the text. This provides an amazing experience for the reader, somewhat similar to watching a play unfold in the theatre. The book functions in time and space and with a tactile quality that could never be captured on an e-book. And, coincidentally, it's another bloodthirsty story, but I'm not on a kick here.

I finally got my hands on a copy of Jessica Hemmings' The Textile Reader. I was very excited by the sound of it, and was a little disappointed at how academic it is. I should have expected that though, as the publisher Berg IS an academic press. It would be fantastic as a textbook for an upper level course in material culture or textile art, or as a year long book club project, if there are book clubs for thread heads. Since some of the articles are fairly dry and dense, I think being able to discuss them with others would help bring them to life. It is indeed meaty, though, and great to see such depth of thought devoted to textiles.



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