Sunday, December 9, 2012

#REVERB12 (DAY 9): What was the best book you read in 2012 and why?

(art by Teju Behan, photos by Hallelujah Truth)
#REVERB12 (Day 9) PROMPT: 
What was the best book you read in 2012, and why? (And by "Why?" I mean: Why did you read it? And why was it your favourite? Although these answers could be one and the same...!)

For 2012, I have chosen Teju Behan’s book, Drawing from the City.  This mesmerizing silk-screen printed, hand bound book printed on handmade paper contains rich black-and-white drawings of Teju Behan’s JOURNEY from her impoverished childhood to her enriched life as an ARTIST.


Teju Behan’s story is important to ME, Hallelujah Truth, because it is not only about one woman’s LIFE-ODYSESSY, but it also happens that this woman is an ARTIST! Even more wonderful is that her story told through IMAGES! In this book, it is the words that illuminate the pictures!

TEJU BEHAN (from Drawing from the City)

Today, Teju Behan is artist living in an urban part of Western India. But her life started out in the countryside, where her family didn’t have enough food and were starving. Her father earned money to supplement their family’s meager income by singing. We learn that Teju Behan couldn’t sing because women weren’t allowed to.

Later, after her family has moved to the city to survive and she is married at 16, Teju Behan’s husband encourages her to sing publicly with him to earn their living. Her husband also permits her to draw after he received encouragement from an established artist. What we see in Drawing from the City is the result of Teju’s breaking through social boundaries to sing and make art!

I love the way Teju’s story is told simply in sparse words. I love her sparsely drawn human images even more, which are immersed in elaborately filled backgrounds!

Her drawings come from a deep place in the SOUL. Her imagination expresses the longings for MOVEMENT, EXPLORATION, and FLIGHT in images of cars, trains, and planes.

If you have never had the privilege of being the first person to open a handmade silk-screened book, you might treat yourself to Drawing from the City.  When I opened my limited edition (I have #672 out of 3,000 copies), its pages were slightly sticky and I had the physical sensation of pulling the pages apart and hearing the book whisper as I did so. Check out the publisher Tara Books.

On the back of my Drawing from the City, was this message which really speaks to the PILGRIM in me. It is from the publisher:

JOURNEYS: The idea and experience of travel can mean many things: it involves movement of some kind, sometimes through unknown places, at other times just between home and the world. Journeys can also be inward, marking rites of passage or a growth into a new dimension. We travel in search of profit, pleasure, or curiosity, to labour and survive, to flee from tyranny or sorrow, and into real and imagined utopias.”

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:  Thanks to Maria Popova at Brainpickings for connecting with all kinds of amazing art and ideas! And especially for this best read for 2012, Drawing from the City by Teju Behan. As always, thanks to Kat at "I Saw You Dancing," for managing #REVERB12. Oh and thanks to my Chiboogamoo for telling me about Brainpickings!

That's Coffee with Hallelujah! SOUL BLOG with me and tell me what your best read was for 2012! 

1 comment:

  1. I loved "The Orchardist", by first time novelist Amanda Coplin. At the end of the 19th century, an aging, reclusive orchardist in rural northwest Washington state discovers two pregnant feral teenage runaways stealing his fruit and sleeping on his land. He leaves plates of food for them on his porch, like milk for wild cats. His life will never be the same. It is a simpler time in American history. Land and rivers, the wildness of horses, Indian wranglers are characters that get mixed up with the likes of a deranged pedophile, and a tormented child-woman. There is an epic sweep to the narrative. Talmadge, and his orchard are the safe haven that anchors the novel. Angelene, the baby born and raised on this land becomes the eyes through which we see how the world turns. Times change, trees grow and die, people leave without explanation. We readers, like Angelena hold onto our memories inside of dreams, even when it is time to move on. The grass and earth grow over three small headstones under a tree.