Lisa Jenks

Fashion Designer; Product/Industrial Designer; Jewelry Designer / United States / Lisa Jenks

Lisa Jenks’s Book List

One of my favorite things (after reading) is to collect design and art books. I will use any sort of excuse to add one if there is the slightest chance that it may be helpful for a particular project. Failing that, if a book is beautifully printed and I am feeling slightly flush, into the collection it goes. I have slowed down as of late, though, since my bookcases are a bit crowded.

I find I am now drawn to books that have scientific, metaphysical, or spiritual leanings. Even though I have some novels on my list, I find that these days they are not catching my eye, but I’m not sure why.

4 books
Muriel Barbery

A gentle story full of philosophy and references to literature and art, and I could not put it down—although I wanted to savor it. A bit of a dilemma. A quote from the book knocked me off my chair, metaphorically speaking: “Yet how exhausting it is to be constantly desiring. . . . We soon aspire to pleasure without the quest, to a blissful state without beginning or end, where beauty would no longer be an aim or a project but the very proof of our nature. And that state is Art. . . . When we gaze at a still life, when—even though we did not pursue it—we delight in its beauty, a beauty borne away by the magnified and immobile figuration of things, we find pleasure in the fact there was no need for longing, we may contemplate something we need not want, may cherish something we need not desire. So this still life, because it embodies a beauty that speaks to our desire but given birth by some else’s desire, because it cossets our pleasure without in any way being part of our own projects, because it is offered to us without requiring the effort of desiring on our part: this still life incarnates the quintessence of Art, the certainty of timelessness. In the scene before our eyes—silent, without life or motion—a time exempt from projects is incarnated, perfection purloined from duration and its weary greed—pleasure without desire, existence without duration, beauty without will. For art is emotion without desire.”

David Mitchell

A fascinating novel with an interesting structure—moving forward in time, then reversing itself. It’s a story that unwinds and winds gracefully yet mysteriously.

Frances Sherwood

I read this novel what seems to me ages ago, yet it still sticks in my head. It is a fairly historically accurate, novelized biography of Mary Wollstonecraft. She was a champion of the rights of women in the 18th century—quite an early feminist. The book left a deep impression on me because it is such a juicy story with many details of what it was like to live as a woman during that time. It is a compelling portrait of a remarkable woman—what she had to do to survive and what she accomplished despite all that. She is known for having written A Vindication of the Rights of Women in addition to giving birth to author Mary Shelley.

Marianne Wiggins

A 19th-century Lord of the Flies with girls on a deserted island somewhere in Indonesia. Terrifying and fascinating.

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