Oscar Wilde may have had it right: "With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?" These sorts of whimsical joys imbue our days with levity, lift our spirits when we're down and remind us of life's expansive possibilities.
Our new favorite (and, for bonus points, female-founded and female-focused) subscription box, Quarterlane, encapsulates this imaginative and literarily-inclined ethos in a delightful way. Each of the company's quarterly doorstep deliveries contains a curated collection of books correlating to a specific theme, plus extra gifts like sketchbooks and tote bags. The varying box options for spring 2017 cater to creators and dreamers of all kinds, whether epicureans or aesthetes, fiction fiends or globetrotters.
This season's boxes will ship to subscribers tomorrow, March 15, but they're also available (for a slightly elevated cost) on a one-off basis, via the company's online shop. (You can snag one here, or sign up for the year.) While we anxiously await the knocks of the mailmen and mailwomen at our stoops, we've asked the Quarterlane team to sate our curiosity their bookish insights.
Below, three of the creative, entrepreneurial women connected with the Quarterlane community share some literary inspiration in the form of their favorite titles, most beloved characters and more. Read on!
HELEN DEALTRY, artist (who created an exclusive floral watercolor print to be included in each spring Quarterlane box!)
On her artistic practice: "I've always painted or doodled or drawn on surfaces for as long as I can remember. My first memories are of drawing on chalkboards, then mixing powder paints and drawing with pastels. If there were a clean surface, I'd make a mark on it. It was later that I discovered that inks and I made the perfect match."
On her favorite books from childhood: "Favorite books as a child were hands down these three: The Secret Garden, The Witches and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I like a dark, atmospheric tale."
On her most-loved books: "When I do find books or magazines they are usually from second-hand stores – it's the first thing I look for when I'm exploring a new town. I love books on sculpture and anything from the 40s and 50s that [have] hand painted imagery. A few inspiring art books I own are Textiles: The Art of Mankind by Mary Shoeser, Cy Twombly by Jonas Storsve and Brancusi et l’idee de sculpture."
On her preferred reading spot: "Resting more and reading more have been on my new year's resolutions for many years, ha! I read in the bath."
Read more from Helen here.
ELETTRA WIEDEMANN, Executive Food Editor at Refinery29, food writer behind Impatient Foodie and model
On her preferred reading spot: "I love to read in bed with a heating pad on my lower back or on my stomach. Most comforting thing ever. "
On her favorite literary character: "I always loved Matilda because she was so smart and sweet. She refused to let her circumstances beat her down and was so resilient."
On her favorite books from childhood: "My favorite reads when I was a kid were books by Roald Dahl, though I usually hated whatever my school assigned me. Picking apart literature always took the joy out of it for me! I spent a lot of time at the New York Public Library in high school to read and also research papers. My favorite little bookstore growing up was in Bellport, New York where my mother has a country house. It went out of business years ago and I still miss it."
On writing and publishing her cookbook: "The Impatient Foodie Cookbook is coming out in June 2017 and I am so excited! My theory is that most people go food shopping first and then look at cookbooks to figure out what do to, not the other way around. So I created an A-Z (asparagus-zucchini) guide with multiple options for each ingredient. For example, if you went to the farmers market or grocery store and got inspired to buy a bunch of gorgeous beets only to realize you have no idea how to cook them, the Impatient Foodie cookbook has 4 suggestions for how to use them including a spread, a main, a side, and even a dessert!"
Read more from Elettra here.
On her favorite books from childhood: "I was put in an advanced reading group of which I was the only member in the sixth grade, so I read a lot of books in school. Mostly the classics. On my own time, my mother would drop me off at the library for hours twice a week (or so). I brought home a lot of books over the years. I remember reading series, like Black Beauty (I was really into horses as a kid), Little House on the Prairie, I loved Steven King and my brother was really into sci-fi, so I read Piers Anthony, Robert A. Heinlein, Orson Scott Card, those choose your own adventure books, among others. I also loved Oscar Wilde, Hemingway, George Orwell's 1984, Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, Catcher in the Rye, Brave New World, all those dystopic novels that seem so relevant again these days. I never got into YA novels. I still don't know what people are talking about when they tell me I remind them of the Claudia in The Babysitter's Club, although I might have read a few Sweet Valley Highs because my best friend loved them. Later on, Chuck Palahnuik, Matt Ridley, Toni Morrison, Joan Didion, and in particular The History of Love by Nicole Krauss and Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides. After I got to art school, I started collecting design books and magazines. It became more about the way things looked and books as objects."
On inspiration and identity: "I think food, like fashion, music, art, and other things, is a part of your identity, part of a lifestyle you choose to follow. So it's more about your personal taste, what you choose to believe in, and how that manifests itself in your everyday choices for better or for worse."
On the value of design purchases: "We are moving through a period in time where everything is disposable. We buy so much and just throw things away. Design is very important, I think, to keep this from happening and to entice us to buy things made with care and thought behind it."
Read more from Claudia here.
p.s. Have you perused this magazine for book lovers?