Sunday, May 07, 2023

Six books about spiritual disillusionment

Christiana Spens is a writer and artist based in London, with a background in academia. She has published several books in the past, including Shooting Hipsters (2016), The Portrayal and Punishment of Terrorists in Western Media: Playing the Villain (2019) and The Fear (2023), generously supported by The Society of Authors. She has written for Glamour, Stylist, LitHub, The London Magazine, The Irish Times, Architectural Design, Byline Times, Art Quarterly, Prospect, Aeon + Psyche, Flux, Dazed & Confused, The Quietus, and Studio International. Spens wrote her PhD thesis on visual portrayals of terrorists and other political villains in media and fine art, before turning to practicing art herself.

At Lit Hub Spens shared a reading list of her spiritual disillusionment. One title on the list:
Patti Smith, Just Kids

...I read Just Kids by Patti Smith, and cried several times throughout, realizing my own flawed reality in Patti’s spiritual and romantic tribulations, as well as her great love Robert Mapplethorpe’s. I saw how my own love of iconography and the Saints was so closely entwined with my love and need—and worship—of art. No wonder I had never been a protestant!

I had sat on those hard bare benches, with the droning sermons of doom, and from the youngest age I had wanted to flee; I had felt very strongly about this. Art and the prettier religion—the drama of the faith and the glory—the sin and the redemption, had felt very much the fabric of my own character, and to read about it in the story of Robert Mapplethorpe, through the loving gaze of Patti Smith, set my heart alight and broke it at once. Her music, too, and his photography, went on to structure and decorate this new church—Art—that I never had to doubt I could be faithful to.
Read about another entry on the list.

Just Kids is among Gabe Montesanti's top nine books about the beauty & complexities of chosen families, Fiona Sturges's ten best music biographies, Christopher Bonanos's six best New York City biographies, Barbara Bourland's ten essential books about contemporary artists, Dana Czapnik's favorite novels featuring kids or young adults coming of age in cities, and Dan Holmes's twenty best memoirs written by musicians.

--Marshal Zeringue