We asked artists: What books are you reading?

West Tisbury Library. —Photo by Vineyard Colors

This week, The MV Times Calendar section continues prying into the lives of local artists and writers. We think you can learn a lot about creative types by knowing what kind of art they like — especially which books they read. So we asked:

Who are you reading this winter? What’s kept you up late so you could finish? What books are stacked on your night table?

  • I finished Louise Erdrich’s “Painted Drum” (Loved it! Love her!), and I read Carly Simon’s “Boys in the Trees” and I loved it. I am reading Gloria Steinem’s “My Life on the Road.” I read “The Secret Chord” (totally brilliant) the minute it came out. I’m rereading Thomas Moore’s “Care of the Soul” (so much practical wisdom) and also rereading my Bible. I’m plowing through Ari Shavit’s “My Promised Land.” —Nancy Aronie
  • I read two books by Neil Gaiman, “Ocean at the End of the Lane” and “American Gods.” Both were strange and great. And “The Untold History of the United States” by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick. —Colin Ruel
  • I’m reading the “The Vortex” right now, by Esther and Jerry Hicks. —Christopher Wright
  • I cannot put down David Damrosch’s book “The Buried Book: The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh.” Also, stacked on the night table are Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle,” and Ta-Nehisi Coates. —Carol Brown Goldberg
  • I am reading a couple of survey books about medieval art, as I am particularly interested in narrative methods in the Middle Ages. Also reading an old Philip K. Dick novel, as I do from time to time to keep my sense of reality in check. —Paul Karasik
  • I have a love of business-oriented books, so my most recent read has been “Rocket: Eight Lessons to Secure Infinite Growth.” And as a possible foil to this, given the current state of the economy, I’ve been fascinated by “Gravestones of Early New England and the Men Who Made Them, 1653 – 1800,” by Harriette Merrifield Forbes. It was written in the 1920s, and gives a very interesting view of a formative time in American history. —Elizabeth Whelan
  • In fiction, an amazing novel that comes out in the U.S. in May, titled “The Chimes,” by a New Zealand poet and violinist, Anna Smaill. It’s a dystopia set after a catastrophe known as the Allbreaking, and in the aftermath, written language is lost, and life is ruled by music. It’s beautifully written and deeply imaginative. Anyone who liked “Station Eleven” or “Cloud Atlas” will love it. In nonfiction, Izzeldin Abuelaish’s incredible memoir, “I Shall Not Hate.” A Gazan doctor, the first to work as a specialist in Israeli hospitals, loses three daughters when his home is shelled by an Israeli tank. Inexpressibly painful but unimaginably big-hearted, the book is a plea for peace and a window on the cost of endless conflict. —Geraldine Brooks
  • I have been enjoying time travel with the “Outlander” series of books. —Deborah T. Colter
  • I read the news, which is probably a mistake. —Wendy Weldon
  • I’m getting around to novels that came out a few years ago. Recently enjoyed A.M. Home’s darkly comic “May We Be Forgiven,” and am currently enjoying “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” —Tony Horwitz
  • I read lots of pictures books! I think the books out right now are artist’s books featuring some of our favorite painters. —Danielle Mulcahy
  • A writer friend has recently written two books I agreed to read and comment on. The first is “Immigration,” a tracking of his genealogy via DNA. I’ve never been particularly interested in tracing my own DNA genealogy, and thus, I was indeed eager to finish this book. The second is “Edwin’s Cellar,” a beautifully well-written coffee table book about matching the most expensive of wines with appropriate gourmet meals, resulting in what the author presumably believes is a culinary orgasm. Given the book is over 2,000 pages, containing no sex, violence, or foul language, and that I tend to spend no more than $10 on bottles of red wine consumed with whatever meal I happen to be eating, I am struggling with this one. However, comments notwithstanding, I would recommend both books to those interested in the topics. —Harry Seymour
  • Many partially read books on my bench: “Claire Basler Peinture,” David Markson’s “Springer’s Progress” and “The Last Novel,” “Moby Dick” by Melville, Akhil Reed Amar’s “The Bill of Rights,” Hart Crane’s “The Bridge,” Richard Michelson’s “More Money than God,” “Mr. Marshal’s Flower Book,” and soon to be shelved, “The Brothers Karamazov.” —Fan Ogilve

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