Selected by artist and Lump founder, Bill Thelen
The book I recommend for our current quarantine plague is Against Nature/Against the Grain or À rebours (1884) by the French writer Joris-Karl Huysmans. This is the third time I’ve read it. The book focuses on its one and only character, Jean des Esseintes, who retreats into self-isolation in the country-side outside of Paris in the late 1880s. This is not Walden. Esseintes rambles on and on ala Proust, rather fussily about literature, aesthetics, color theory, religion and his loathing of the bourgeois all while trying to create the ultimate art installation. In the process he accidentally kills a turtle in the most decadent of ways and this book is said to have inspired Wilde’s Portrait of Dorian Gray. Not for the faint-hearted. – BT n.