Thursday, 7 February 2013

on my mind + books

The internet has been teasing me today, which has given me the perfect excuse to read, wrapped in my new 100% wool pashmina (feels like being wrapped in a blanket, it's so warm). Before I talk about the books I wanted to ramble just a little. The other day I read an interview in my February issue of British Vogue with actress Andrea Riseborough (played Wallis Simpson in Madonna's W.E.). It is called 'Character Study' and what amazes me is that I hardly learn anything about her character. The interview is only one page long, with five pages devoted to photos of her wearing Armani. In the "interview" she says 'I don't shop', adding that most of her clothes come from charity shops. Why wasn't the interview five pages long with maybe one photo of her wearing her own clothes? Why do we get a fashion editorial every time an actress or other celebrities are interviewed?

I can only imagine how frustrating this must be for an artist that is only interested in promoting his or her craft. Is this really something that the majority of consumers want? Do you buy a magazine because someone that interests you is photographed wearing the latest fashion? Do you? I didn't buy this particular issue for myself (A brought it home) but when I looked at the content I was looking forward to reading this interview, to learn more about Riseborough as an actress, only to read one page and learn nothing, except the fact that she doesn't shop, and a film she stars in will soon be released.


Now to the books.

These days I'm reading two. The first one I got on my birthday last summer, Dancing on My Grave by Gelsey Kirkland (with Greg Lawrence). I started reading it a long time ago only to put it down shortly after, thinking that the timing wasn't right. That often happens with my books; they can sit on my table for months until the right moment to read them arrives. That moment has definitely arrived and I'm thoroughly enjoying it, sometimes unable to put it down.

Gelsey Kirkland was a famous ballerina (she now runs a ballet school) that, for example, danced and was romantically involved with the ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov (some of you probably remember him as the Russian in the last season of Sex and the City). Her story is both inspiring and heartbreaking. I have never studied ballet but still I find myself enjoying her vocabulary, her descriptions of struggles with body movements, physical pain and suffering, and how she strived to always become better. Of course it's wonderful to read about her success, which she never seemed to enjoy. She was her worst enemy. I haven't reached the part of the book where she starts using drugs but her thoughts on body image and how she used to starve herself are difficult to comprehend, especially when all the photos of her reveal a beautiful woman.

I highly recommend this book. I don't think you will find it in bookshops anymore (I got a used copy) but maybe your local library has a copy.

The other book I just started reading is called The Art of Travel, written by Alain de Botton. At this point I cannot really say much about it but what drew me to it were these words on page 9:

If our lives are dominated by a search for happiness, then perhaps few activities reveal as much about the dynamics of this quest - in all its ardour and paradoxes - than our travels. They express, however inarticulately, an understanding of what life might be about, outside the constraints of work and the struggle for survival.

I had to include a photo of my furry friend. She moves so gracefully and every time I'm photographing something on that working table she tends to jump on it. She usually plants herself firmly on my stuff, as if she wants to be in the photo. Yesterday she lay on my magazine and watched the snow falling while my heart melted.

photo credit:
Lisa Hjalt


  1. About the mags... I also find it very disappointing. Frankly to the point of not buying some of the magazines for a while. As much as I like beautiful clothes, I think it would be enough to have a few beautiful editorials featuring models doing what they do best - presenting the clothes. As for the actors, writers and even designers - I would die for a good story. It's such a shame that most of the time the only reason they asked for an interview is to promote another collection, book or a movie while a lot of space in a magazine is used for ads and pointless articles (I mean I don't really buy vogue or elle to read about yet another change in lipstic colour...)
    I am actually concentrating on other magazines these days - I get Vogue on autopilot because I like to keep the issues and browse them in a few years time, but I admit, I hardly ever get it for reading...


  2. P.S. Forgot to say. Before I read your post about chai, I never ever liked it. Seriously! But then you wrote about it and inspired me to try the drink once again, with milk. I decided not to make it from scratch and used the Twinning chai tea bags I had for ages - brew one, added milk and... guess what - I am addicted! :) THANK YOU! x

  3. As Natalia said, actors, writers and designers are usually invited to promote their latest film, book or collection and we usually don't learn much about those either in the interviews. I would so much like to read about their life and see a photo or two of them expressing their personal style. Why does everything has to be labeled? They should put much effort in the other editorials.

    The pashmina is beautiful and now I'm dying to get my hands on a copy of Kirkland's book.

  4. Confession: I don't like cats (this stems from living with a girl who had two of them. She never, ever took care of them, or brushed them. As a result, our apartment was COVERED in fur, and the cats tended to have loud screaming/meow-ing matches right outside my bedroom door, consistently at 3am every morning).

    That being said, I think I may make an exception for yours....she is so fluffy and beautiful! I might even steal her for a week. And it seems she is very photogenic, too!

    I never danced but, I have a secret obsession with the ballet. The ability to express emotion through dance, through the elegance of the ballet, that is something I have always wished for. But considering my height, love of cookies and all things sugary, and my inability to walk without tripping doomed ballet as a career option. I'll have to put that book on my list.

    And as for the Art of Travel, I just ordered it the other day and your excerpt makes me very excited to read it.

    You know, I have the same feeling as you about interviews in fashion magazines. So often, it seems scripted. Stars say a few key words that are meant to convey their "personality", such as "shopping in thrift stores" or "doing their own grocery shopping". I very rarely read an interview that truly gives a sense of who a celebrity is.

  5. Lisa I wish I could spend some time reading, I envy your snuggle under the wool, being able to enjoy books, the snow, and your cat is adorable!
    The quote from the Art of Travel, very good.
    I shall continue on with my daily struggle, artists do indeed suffer for their art, however there is beauty all around me and life continues to inspire.
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Wendy x


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