Sylvester Sessions #87
Girls at Library
Los Angeles, United States.
Eliza wears Wild Shirt Dress
Tell us about the community surrounding Girls at Library and how it started.
Girls at Library is an online destination for book lovers focused on telling stories of women and the role reading plays in their life. GAL hopes to inspire readers of all kinds with each in depth interview we post. Every single woman featured has a unique take on the ways in which reading has shaped their world, allowing the audience a glimpse into their remarkable inner worlds. This is a tried and true way to discover books that might help, inspire, or thrill you– and that's a huge goal of ours. From architects to artists to poets alike. It has also been really cool that even if the women don’t particularly at the time find themselves reading a lot, it’s the fact that they can relate so many impactful moments to reading. Proving the ability to either write or understand something through writing can be life changing. The exciting thing about the community surrounding GAL is that it's filled with a variety of women from different walks of life who find commonalities in their passion for literature and creativity. And most importantly, finding inspiration in other women! We have been hosting events to bring people together such as dinners and books swaps but hope to soon expand to a book club and more ways to get involved. The people in this community around literature inspire us as much as the women we interview. Their intelligence and humour and general love for learning always leads us to new ideas, new books, and new authors. We really admire the diversity in perspective and potential for creating a bigger community.
What are your favourite books to read on a stormy day?
Immediately when I think of a stormy day I think of Daphne Du Maurier’s, Rebecca.
Do you choose a book by it's cover?
I definitely choose a book for its cover, though not always, but it can really affect my willingness to pick it up! If I really love a book and really dislike its cover I’ll buy the hardback, remove the paper cover, and keep it bare. Typically hardbacks have these beautiful neutral coloured linen covers with gold foil titles on their spine; books are definitely my favourite objects!
What are you currently reading / watching / listening to?
I’m currently reading: The Ensemble by Asa Gable, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, New People by Danzy Senna, and A Life in Secrets by Sarah Helm (a recent recommendation to GAL from historian Alexis Coe).
I’m currently watching: An incredible series called, Writers Talk Series on Kanopy.
I’m currently listening to: Cocteau Twins (Heaven or Las Vegas), Nina Simone (It is Finished), I think I always go back to The Goldberg Variations by Glenn Gould, & white noise.
Do you have any reading rituals? What is your ideal set up?
My favorite time to read is in the morning or afternoon on the weekend, with all the windows open, when I get the chance which is rare. If not that, I love getting up early to read at a cafe or driving to the beach in summer. I also read really well and quickly on trains and airplanes. My ideal setup involves a hammock and big trees blocking the light and definitely my new Kate Sylvester Shirt dress.
Are there any characters or books that have stuck with you?
I think the author’s voice is usually what sticks with me, so writers like Lucia Berlin I love, and last summer I started reading some David Mitchell novels, and I really loved how he dealt with characters and told stories it was really exciting to me.
Who are your favourite writers?
Donna Tartt, Clarice Lispector, Lucia Berlin, Lydia Davis, David Mitchell.
What are your go to bookstores?
In Los Angeles on the Eastside: Skylight Books, Alias Books, and this used bookstore Read Books in Eagle Rock.
And on the Westside I love Book Soup, The Hammer Museum, & Arcana Books.
In New York City: I love McNally Jackson, WORD, and I use to love that bookstore on Bedford! Is it even still there? It’s a mystery.
Interview & photography by Greta van der Star. Check out Girls at Library here.