5 Books That Made Me Who I Am: Photographer Gillian Stevens
Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Gillian Stevens is a photographer and stylist with an authorial eye for detail. Her work is akin to storytelling—with subtle details to evoke memory and feeling.
With her unabashed love of stories it should come as no surprise that Gillian is an avid reader. We asked the rising artist to tell us about the books that shaped her and show us how she lives with books.
I can vividly remember my dad reading this book to my brother and me when I was six years old. He used to read to us before we fell asleep and sometimes he would make up stories (usually replacing our names for the main characters). However, for whatever reason, this book really stands out to me. I can still remember the details, names and imagining what it would be like to live with Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker in that peach. Books have a beautiful way of bringing you back to how you felt when you read them. Remembering how much I loved my dad reading to us easily makes this book one of my favourites.
I was given this book as a graduation gift for high school. It wasn't until that following year that I finally picked it up to read it, but I remember quickly feeling like it was somehow meant to be read exactly at that time. It was such a blessing to learn how the unique things that made me who I am as a woman, were direct gifts from God. This was a very life-giving book for me, and there are some quotes I have held on to from it that continue to ring true to me.
"A woman of true beauty is a woman who in the depths of her soul is at rest; trusting God because she has come to know Him to be worthy of her trust. She exudes a sense of calm; a sense of rest; and invites those around her to rest as well. She speaks comfort; that all is well; that all will be well. A woman of true beauty offers others the grace to be and the room to become. In her presence, one can release the tight sigh that so often grips our hearts, and breathe in the truth that God loves us and he is good.”
It's a relatively recent addition to my life, but Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook It's All Good is my favourite cookbook. Cooking is something I am very passionate about and I love making healthy choices that benefit my family. This cookbook is full of delicious, simple to make recipes, that get made again and again.
C.S. Lewis is such a wonderful author, and I thoroughly enjoy reading his books. I have many favourites from him but Mere Christianity stands out because its one that I would love everyone to read. He explains God and The Bible in such a beautiful way that is easy to follow along. I think almost every line is underlined in my copy, and I always find myself nodding along in agreement to a lot of what he says. I highly recommend this!
No book has made me more who I am than The Bible. I have been a Christian my entire life, and yet I read scripture over and over and still feel like I am constantly learning. It's truly a beautifully complex and life-giving book. One of my favourite verses of the moment is from the book of Revelation: " He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:4-5.