Sara's Summer Reading List
Robin Wall Kimmerer , Braiding Sweetgrass (Milkweed Editions, 2013)
Jason Logan, Make Ink: A Forager’s Guide to Natural Inkmaking (Harry N. Abrams, 2018)
Martha and Christina Baillie, Sister Language (Pedlar Press, 2019)
Zadie Smith, Feel Free (Hamish Hamilton, 2018)
Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (Duke University Press, 2016)
Anne Carson, Float (Variations on the right to remain silent) (Knopf, 2016)
Tina M. Campt, Listening to Images (Duke University Press, 2017)
Marilynne Robinson, Gilead (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004)
First of all, I will admit right now, there’s no way I’m going to get through all of this, this summer. But I will try, and of course these titles will bleed into my fall reading list which expands as I continue to buy more books. I fully admit, my book pile(s) are a bit like shoveling the sidewalk while it’s still snowing. Right now my interests range from photography/art, botany/issues of the environment, to good juicy fiction. Of late most of what I have been reading is by women authors.
Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
I am completely into botany these days. It is deeply informing my art practice. I want to be able to identify and learn about the properties of plants, but also think about them in relationship to broader issues of our relationship to the environment. A friend recommended this beautiful book by Indigenous botanist Robin Wall Kimmerer. It’s a stunning read. Kimmerer is a western trained botanist and teacher and weaves this with Indigenous knowledge of plants and way of relating with the earth. It’s simply exquisite. I’m SAVOURING every word.
Make Ink: A Forager’s Guide to Natural Inkmaking by Jason Logan
A year ago I started drawing again. I took a drawing class at the Toronto School of Art. Painting and drawing were my first art training and after 20 years of not doing it…I decided I really wanted to draw again. My teacher made us try working with ink. I thought I would hate it…but I love it. It’s completely uncompromising. You have to be present in the moment and just live and work with the mistakes, like life itself. So…when I heard about this book (through another friend…) I thought HAVE TO TRY THIS! I’m hooked. It’s a beautifully designed book, well written and researched. So far I’ve made ink with: wild grapes, wild blackberries, geraniums, dandelion and acorn caps. It makes me look at the world so differently.
Sister Language by Martha and Christina Baillie
I finished this book a few months ago (read it straight through in two days) but had to include it because it’s so special (and I will read it again). I’ve never read anything like it. Martha Baillie is a close friend and Toronto based writer. Martha developed the idea to have a dialogue through writing ABOUT language with her sister Christina who had schizophrenia. For Christina language was the only way to make sense of the way her brilliant and unique mind worked. For her language was both form and communication, slippery and evolving. The book is in the form of a dialogue between them. One of the most authentic and insightful books I’ve ever read.
Feel Free by Zadie Smith
This book was a birthday present from a dear friend (all of my choices seem to have to do with friends!). In all honesty I have just started it, but I have read Smith’s writing and I think she is one of the most important voices of the moment. Smith is an English novelist, essayist, and short story writer and is a professor in the Creative Writing faculty of New York University. I look forward to diving in.
Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene by Donna Haraway
I mentioned I was into botany, right? Haraway is a singular voice in weaving together consciousness of interspecies relationships. She is an American Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department and Feminist Studies Department at the University of California. Her area of specialty is the relationship of science and feminism (ecofeminism). I think this may be theoretically challenging…but I’m looking forward to delving into these ideas.
Float (Variations on the right to remain silent) by Anne Carson
This is a strange and wonderful collection of chapbooks by Anne Carson which typifies this outrageously brilliant thinker – poetry, essays, life observations. I heard Carson read twice in Toronto last fall. It was an extraordinary experience. Her esoteric knowledge and lucid observations fluidly weave together a range of subjects (Carson is a Professor of Greek). So far my favourite text is an essay: Variations on the right to remain silent. It’s breathtaking. Here’s a link!
Listening to Images by Tina Campt
I heard Tina Campt present at a conference on vernacular photography at Columbia University a couple of years ago. She was so articulate and I have been interested in reading her writing ever since. Campt is a Professor of Africana and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Barnard College. Deeply examining an archive of photographs of black subjects taken throughout the black diaspora, Campt engages us to consider photographs in a new way, to register quiet and subtle acts of resistance.
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
OK one cannot live on bread alone. I need fiction. As much as I love reading important theoretical ideas, I love to read stories. Robinson is a new author for me, one who comes highly recommended (full disclosure my sister-in-law Joanna Pocock is an incredible writer, and creative writing teacher, and is often a source of books for me).
Sara Angelucci is a Toronto-based artist working in photography, video, audio, and installation. Over the years her projects have drawn from a range of personal photographs and films—to anonymous and found images. Based in the history of photography – from vernacular snapshots to professional studio portraiture—the history outside the image frame informs the direction of her research into natural and social histories implicated in the photograph. Photography’s material evolution and its shifting social influence provide rich ground for aesthetic interpretation, and inspire a range of materials and references that traverse her projects. Sara Angelucci completed her BA at the University of Guelph and her MFA at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. She is an Adjunct Professor in Photography at the School of Image Arts Ryerson University and is represented by the Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto, and Patrick Mikhail Gallery in Montreal.