Durga's Summer Reading List

Durga-1

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories (1892)

Alice Walker, In Love & Trouble: Stories of Black Women (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973)

Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea (André Deutsch, 1966)

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit (Allen & Unwin, 1937)

Susanne K. Langer, Problems of Art (Holiday House, 1957)

Heather Diack, Documents of Doubt: The Photographic Conditions of Conceptual Art (Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2020)

For the summer I have been absorbed in women’s fiction as I am doing the Women’s Writing course at Ryerson. The following 3 texts are some of the stories assigned in the course so far that I really enjoyed reading.

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (short story from The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories) – Recently Read

Gilman’s gothic short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” tells the tale of a narrator who suffers from postpartum depression. Gilman’s own personal experience with a harmful prescription from her doctor influenced her to write this chilling story. It was so impactful, after reading the story, her own doctor changed the way he diagnosed his patients. I highly recommend reading this short story as it speaks well of the trauma of mental illness.

“Everyday Use” by Alice Walker (short story from In Love & Trouble: Stories of Black Women) – Recently Read

This is another short story, which I recommend reading. Alice Walker does an incredible job of exploring the meaning of heritage. The narrator “Mama” symbolically tells a story of how her two daughters represent two versions of African American heritage.

Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys – Read

This novel written by Jean Rhys shows the backstory of Bertha Mason’s character in Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. It explores cultural experiences that lead Bertha to her sad end. In my Women’s Writing class we read this novel along with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s Three Women’s Text and a Critique of Imperialism. Spivak’s essay considers the limits of feminism and imperialism in nineteenth century women’s writing and is a great way to discover more about Charlotte Bronte’s and Jean Rhys’s writing.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien – Currently Reading

The Hobbit is a book I surprisingly never read in grade school. Both my best friend and my boyfriend very much enjoy the lore Tolkien created and I thought I would give it a go. From what I’ve read so far it sure makes my imagination grow, Tolkien creates a magical other world.

Problems of Art by Susanne K. Langer – Planning to Read

I’ve come across this book a few times and have always wanted to read it. It challenges the issues in the Art World, which is a continuing conversation that’s important today and close to my heart.

Documents of Doubt: The Photographic Conditions of Conceptual Art by Heather Diack – Planning to Read

Documents of Doubt was recommended to me by my professor, Annie MacDonell. It is about how photographs supposedly capture the truth but they can also be deceptive. This is a relevant read in this ‘post truth’ world and Diack looks at what we don’t notice in ordinary pictures. I am most interested and excited to read it!

BIO

Durga Rajah

Durga Rajah began her journey in photography at age 11 with a 35mm film camera. She continues to explore film and its idioms in terms of the contemporary processes of digital photography. She is interested in the formal and material aspects of photography, as well as in its potential as a medium for a more subjective expression. At age 22, she is now completing her final courses at Ryerson’s School of Image Arts, in the Photography Studies Program.

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