Bookcase and Kindle – Julia Minkin is a singer and musician for the band Kid Francescoli. She is American, from Chicago, but has been living in Marseille for 3 years. “That’s why most of my books are still in Chicago,” she explains. Here Julia brought only a few books and Otto, her cat. He is my family here in France,” she smiles. Her small bookcase is in her bedroom, her room on her own in this flat that she shares with a flat mate. “I feel good here, there is light, sun and the balcony is like an opening on the world.” On the coffee table we notice some writings and drawings: “These are some exquisite corpses I made with friends!”

To read, Julia usually uses her Kindle, which is why we cannot find all her latest reading material on her bookcase. “It is very convenient to read in English. I can borrow eBooks from the public library of Chicago. It is light, ideal for traveling and there is a dictionary inside. And I like the fact that the books are equal to each other: no front cover, no difference in size. We can’t judge them at first glance. We can only judge the text.” Although there is a negative aspect: “I tend to forget the books I read on the Kindle. And it is not good for reading poetry.”

Readings – Indeed Julia likes to read poetry. Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Pablo Neruda or Maggie Nelson who mixes prose poetry and nonfiction. She also reads lot of novels, mainly written by women. It is not especially a categorical choice, but the result is here. Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, George Eliot amongst the classic ones. Among more contemporary authors, she much admires Jennifer Egan and at the moment is reading Gender Trouble by Judith Butler. “I am trying to start my feminist education!” She also recently loved Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon, the autobiography of a female singer. “The context is totally different, but I still found myself in it, being a woman in a band and a woman on stage. What it means.” Julia suddenly remembers about another book she liked a lot recently: I Love Dick by Chris Kraus. “The author says that reading is more satisfying than sex. It gives what sex promises, which means to be able to enter someone else’s thoughts and heart.” And Julia sometimes agrees with that. When she reads something that she likes, she keeps the author or the characters in mind longer after having closed the book.

Writing – Julia writes as well. Music and lyrics. Not regularly enough, she regrets. And it is in her reading that she finds inspiration. “I would be such a bad writer without the influence of better writers.” Leonard Cohen is one of her sources of inspiration. “In pop music no one cares about lyrics. With Cohen, it is the opposite: lyrics prevail over the rhythm.” There is of course “Hallelujah”, amongst the most beautiful texts of Leonard Cohen, but Julia also recommends a little poem called You’d Sing Too”, in which the artist explains why he sings.