BOOK CLUB with Molly Hamilton of WIDOWSPEAK
photo : Ebru Yildiz
If you follow Molly on Instagram, you’ll see that sometimes she shares some of her readings. Because we love her music, and because we love reading, we’ve asked her some questions about books she likes, books that inspire her, and she gave us book recommendations.
Molly is the singer and guitarist of the Upstate NY–based duo Widowspeak. Last year, they released their 4th album, Expect the Best – a true autumn album of dreamy and hazy indie rock. Molly’s warm crooning is often mentioned as the secret weapon of the band, backed by shimmering streams of guitars. A perfect soundtrack for lazy days spent at home, with a good book in your hands :)
// What are you currently reading ?
The book I’m currently reading is “Where the Heart Beats: John Cage, Zen Buddhism, and the Secret Life of Artists” by Kay Larson, which I am loving and sort of obsessed with.
// Do you remember what was the 1st book you fell in love with ?
“Are You My Mother” by Dr. Seuss. It was my absolute favorite book as a baby/toddler.
// Do you have some favorite writers ?
I love Joan Didion and also really love Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in terms of loving most, if not all, of their output.
// Do you have a forever favorite book you keep coming back from time to time ?
I would say Joan Didion’s “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”, which is a collection of short nonfiction.
// How do you choose the books that you read ?
Honestly I try to get recommendations from friends, or look at end of year lists. It’s sort of random what I end up reading.
// Can you read outside of home ? while on tour for example ?
I do read a lot on your usually; on our last European tour I brought and read like five books and had to buy another one from a bookshop. Realized it would have been easier to bring a kindle but I just prefer reading a physical book.
// Are there some strong characters that inspire or influence you ?
I’m not really sure! I think most of the time I am more inspired by the prose than the characterization, especially since sometimes characters are subjective and complex in a way that makes them just like real people to me.
// Are there any writers that inspire you for writing songs ?
I really love the way Dave Eggers constructs a sentence and sort of alludes to ideas or conflicts even when they aren’t spelled out. He uses details to describe a scene rather than actually describing a scene in detail, if that makes sense. I think I sort of strive to do that with songs.
// Are there any books that you’d like to turn into songs ? or stories that’d make good songs ?
I feel like maybe I wouldn’t write it, but someone should make “One Hundred Years of Solitude” into a concept album. Actually I think “Peng! 33” by Stereolab technically is based on an excerpt of that book.
// What books would you recommend to us ?
Lately these are the best books I have read: “Evicted: poverty and profit in the American City” by Matthew Desmond, because it is super eye-opening and heart-wrenching, and taught me a lot about the current issues with housing in my country.
Also I really loved “You don’t have to say you love me” by Sherman Alexei. it was just a really beautiful, really powerful collection of memories of the author’s mother, and illustrates so poignantly how family relationships can be so complicated and painful.
I also really loved “An Everlasting Meal” which is a sort of cooking book based on another cooking book by MFK Fisher called "How to Cook a Wolf"; basically both books really inspired me to be more purposeful about cooking and what food to choose and how to prepare it, just in terms of making something that could be mundane into something to appreciate.