As a writer and lover of books, I collect images of books in art. I have perhaps 500 images and without a doubt the dominant image is of a woman reading–alone. There are whole books about it.
The New Yorker ran an interesting article about the history of women reading a few years ago. It’s a history of taboos and strictures, but ever growing literacy for women.
But I find myself drawn to these images aside from their political or social implications. The women in the art come from all walks of life. They are at different ages and stages:
They are from different cultures:
They come from different stations in life:
From a different knowing about life:
They are strong:
And they are trapped:
But they all share their engrossment, their engagement, their interiority. What are they reading? Where has the story taken them? What life experiences and what questions do they bring to the book? Will they find the answers?
The result is as unknowable and mysterious as the content of their books.