I can’t remember a time in my childhood being without a book. From the moment I could read, I did. It has always been something I have loved with such a passion that when I get into a book it will take over my mind and world for a while. Depression in my later teens and early twenties resulted in my books being packed up into boxes and hidden in wardrobes, and I robbed myself of one of the healthiest escapes and means of self care that I had.
When the lockdown started this year, me now being 25, I picked up a book belonging to my partner. I started to read Medical Apartheid by Harriet A Washington, so as to educate myself more on issues of racial inequality specifically in medicine (check out my Art For Change page for more book recommendations on these topics). The more I read the more I was enjoying the art of reading, so I decided to buy more books. I bought a mixture of fiction and non fiction books by Black and POC authors so as to diversify my book shelves, ensuring to find some with LGBT characters and stories. I dove into Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadette Evaristo, and I fell head over heels in love with the writing, the characters, and the story. I fell back in love with reading. Since then I have also finished The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N K Jemisin, and I had to buy book two as soon as I finished.
Reading fantasy especially awoke something inside me, a drive to create and of course to read even more. I have so many ideas and stories of my own that started to develop in my mind, and I’m really excited by it. Reading again has really shown me the importance of engaging in others’ art, and in exploring a wide range of genres and mediums. To create art you must know it and experience it from diverse voices and mediums.
I have a cool idea in my head that I’m hoping to make a reality, but work has picked up so it might not come to fruition as soon as I’d like. For now the rough idea is to create an illustration of some kind for each book that I read to act as a visual review and a way to show rather than say how a book made me feel. Let me know what you think of that idea, and if you want to give it a go too I’d love to see it!
Do you have any books that have sparked something inside of you? For me it was initially the books that shall not be named because of their god awful transphobic author, but I later discovered far better written books anyhow that sparked so much more. Books such as The Chronicles Of Narnia, Rebecca, The Last Vampire, any Darren Shan book, The Passage, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Study Series, and True Blood to name a few of my stand out books. These books all helped to shape my likes and dislikes, my own writing style, and to some extent each helped to develop the way I see the world.
As you’ve probably noticed I’ve shared some photos of my little bookshelf throughout this post, and the books here are a mix of ones I haven’t read yet, books I’m currently reading, and ones that mean a lot to me. I have a few boxes of books in storage still as we’re currently living in a small apartment, but when we move later in the year I’m going to invest in somewhere beautiful to put them all. When I do I’ll make sure to get some good photos in decent light to show them off for you again! But of course where you put your books really doesn’t matter, as long as you’re reading, exploring, and learning they’re right where they’re meant to be.
I’ll be back soon with more art, more small business chat, and hopefully some visual book reviews! Stay safe & I’ll see you in the next one.