And because no true word nerd can have too much reading material, may we present our newest Literary Gallery composed by journalist, author, and social justice activist Julie Scelfo. Scelfo’s currently participating in a Fall 2018 TED Residency in New York City, but we’ve been following her work for years. During her tenure as a staff writer at The New York Times (to which she still contributes) she turned her attention to stories about society and human behavior, shedding new light on preconceived notions, popularly held beliefs, the repercussions of modern innovations, and other interesting intersections that are too often easily ignored. A genuine investment in people—a tangible openness to all sorts of experiences, feelings and attitudes—is at the core of what makes her writing so riveting.
We’d be remiss not to mention one of our most treasured Scelfo creations: her brilliant debut book. Published in 2016 (and featured in our edition of Jane Mount's Ideal Bookshelf 974: Feminists!), The Women Who Made New York is a much-needed homage to the woefully under-appreciated women who made this metropolis what it is today. Scelfo’s book spells it out: this city wouldn’t be the same without women. It’s a history of New York City, centuries overdue … so while you’re scooping up some lovely art prints from our word nerd gift guide for your favorite logophile, consider wrapping up a copy of The Women Who Made New York as well.
As long as I can remember, I've depended on art and good books to reveal facets of the human experience I couldn't otherwise understand. Confession: I am as addicted to discovering new ideas as chainsmokers are dependent on nicotine. Maybe the label "bibliophile" applies; but it would also be fair to say I practice tsundoku—a Japanese term used to describe a person who buys more books than can possibly be read, allowing them to pile up in one's home.
Books never feel like clutter to me; rather, I see each volume as a work of art in itself, an amulet even, always containing the promise of a new discovery.
Here, I have paired books I love or am looking forward to reading with art that shares a similar thematic revelation. — Julie Scelfo, New York Times journalist and author
LA ALBERCA #6 1/3/2005 12:56 and My Poems Won't Change the World
Loose Woman and West Nineteenth Street (Yellow Dress)
Gust of Wind and Rome
Eloquent Rage and USE YOUR WORDS
Hulk and The Natural Inferiority of Women
Nigger and nobody's free until everybody's free
Frozen and The Hungry Ear
Now & Again and Food—don't waste it
Dandelion Clothesline, Santiago, Chile and Thunder & Lightning
The 411 on Julie Scelfo
Julie Scelfo is a journalist and social justice activist who works on reframing popular ideas and trying to convince humans to rethink their basic assumptions. She is the author of The Women Who Made New York (Seal Press/Hachette) and is currently participating in a 2018 TED Residency.