Madewell Book Club: What 6 of Our Favorite Women Are Reading RN


Thanks to the internet, a new book recommendation list is just a few clicks away, but what about the things that aren’t new or notable at the moment? For some less-expected suggestions, we checked back in with the creative women we’ve gotten to know over the past few years (all of whom we’ve written about on this very blog). Here, seven recommendations as unique as they are. There’s a long novel, some short stories, a few new-ish titles and some that are quite old.

Anna Gray, a writer, is reading A Little Life.

“I read Hanya Yanagihara’s second novel a few weeks ago and couldn’t put it down. Very captivating and sad.”

Leslie Kirchhoff, DJ and photographer, is reading Origin of Inspiration.

“I’m actually re-reading this one. It’s seven short essays about staying inspired. The author, Samuel Adoquei, believes that inspiration comes from thinking a certain way, not that you either have it or you don’t.”

Malu Byrne, an artist, is reading The Gene (and trying to keep up with the weekly New Yorker).

“I am currently reading and loving Siddhartha Mukherjee’s book about how we started to understand genetics and what happens when we start ‘editing’ our own DNA. The subtitle is ‘an intimate history,’ and it’s exactly that. Other than that, it’s enough to just get through the New Yorker every week. I’m a non-fiction kind of girl myself (clearly), so it’s a blessing when my girlfriend, a photo editor there, recommends her favorite fiction pieces to broaden my horizons.”


Caroline Ventura, jewelry designer of Brvtvs and shop owner of Calliope is reading Wabi-Sabi: Further Thoughts.

“This is the follow up and compliment to Leonard Koren’s first book that is more of an introduction to the concept of wabi-sabi and its origins. The idea that beauty lies in things that are imperfect, impermanent and incomplete is something that I grow to love more and more. Plus, the book isn’t all that long, so it’s nice and quick.”

Lisa Przystup, writer and florist, is reading East of Eden.

“I’m endeavoring to read East of Eden, which I started on my honeymoon this past February. The language is heartbreakingly beautiful in its practicality and sparse matter-of-factness, and it reminds me of why I ever wanted to be a writer. It’s too elegant for ugly subway rides. I almost want to go on a retreat somewhere befitting of its artistry and finish reading it there.”

Trace Barnhill, a writer, is reading The Pentagram Papers.

“Not to be confused with the Pentagon Papers, this is a collection of 36 letters written by the design firm Pentagram. Since 1975, they’ve sent one a year to their clients about any odd thing that is capturing their attention at the time. Topics cover buttons, Australian mailboxes, clichés and so many other things. The layout is delightful. Each spread looks like a scrapbook.”

Now, how about something to tote these books around in? Shop our bags here.