Giving Thanks
Culture, Lucky

Lucy Kumara Moore Gives Eight Books Her Thanks

Published on 4 minutes read
Giving Thanks
Culture, Lucky
Words by Lucy Kumara Moore
"In love with what? In love with life… The Cosmic Dance presents a cornucopia of images from across time, culture and place that speak of the beauty of existence."

For us, the season for giving 'thanks' runs year round. Here, the writer and curator Lucy Kumara Moore sends gratitude to a selection of books. As the director of the London bookstore Claire de Rouen for the past twelve years, there are countless publications embedded into her heart. To narrow it down, she took cues from the eight charms of our Lucky collection, with homages written on the Carolina Bucci x Pineider stationery set.

As the owner of a bookshop for 12 years, I know how much people love the physicality of books — the scent of paper, the smoothness or roughness of it, and the generally pleasurable object-ness of them. We can carry books around with us, writing down our thoughts in the margins, using their pages to protect a beautiful leaf or flower we find in a park or putting them over our face to create a makeshift eye mask when we want a quick nap (these are all things that I have done!).

Handwritten notes are also special because of their physicality. I always put the date and my location on those I write, and hope that the recipient can read my spindly script. Here are some notes I’ve composed to ‘thank’ some of my favourite books. Gratitude is a beautiful practice, and I hope you enjoy reading these. PS, cards make great bookmarks too!


The Cosmic Dance

In love with what? In love with life… The Cosmic Dance presents a cornucopia of images from across time, culture and place that speak of the beauty of existence. Among its pages you’ll find images of the Hourglass nebula, of fractals, of Rajasthani astrological systems, of butterfly wing scales and Korean star maps, of the inside of Brazilian crystals and the Roman goddess Fortuna. The universe in a book.



Patrícia Mamona is a Portuguese Olympic triple jump medallist. For a period of almost 3 years from 2018 to 2021, photographer Jose Pedro Cortes visited her training sessions in Lisbon, taking photographs as she prepared to compete. His portraits of this exceptional woman show the determination and discipline of the athlete, and the grace of her leaps through the air. Health can mean so many things — it can be much more modest than this — but Patricia inspires me.


Ed Ruscha

A rare art catalogue that makes me happy for a very personal reason. The last time I saw my father before he died, we went to see an exhibition of paintings by American artist Ed Ruscha. Every time I see Ruscha’s work — whether in a book like this one, or on the wall, I think of that day and it makes me smile.


Letters to a Young Painter

What is more beautiful in 2023 than a letter to a friend? This diminutive book of missives written by the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke to Polish-French painter Balthus transports us back to the 1920s, when letters were elaborate and evocative. In Letters to a Young Painter, Rilke talks about the magic of February 29 (which was Balthus’s birthday), why school is annoying but important, the value of praise and also about cats! ‘One can meet the gaze of the cat only with the gaze of the artist’, he says.


Mark Borthwick Polaroid

Holding a Polaroid in your hand feels like magic. This one by Mark Borthwick shows us two moments, seconds apart. Sunlight glows. I think this image might have been taken during a trip Mark made to Mexico…


Ever GaiaThis beautiful pink book is tiny enough to fit in your pocket and carry with you wherever you go. It’s published by Isolarii, which means ‘island texts’ and was a popular genre of book during the Venetian Renaissance. Ever Gaia celebrates the life of James Lovelock, the English environmentalist who developed Gaia theory — the idea that the Earth is a self-regulating system. He died in 2022, leaving a legacy that inspires us to protect our unique and special home — to live in harmony with our surroundings.


Sorry, Welcome

American photographer Alessandra Sanguinetti is a favourite of mine. Her images are full of warmth, empathy and power. Sorry, Welcome chronicles the intertwining of two families into one — that of Alessandra and her daughter Catalina, and of her partner Jim Goldberg and his daughter Ruby. It went out of print soon after it was published in 2013 and I always regretted not buying a copy. I found this one for sale from a private dealer last year, and felt so lucky to finally make it mine!


Patti Smith 1969-1976

The earliest images in this collection of portraits of Patti Smith date from 1969, when she was a young poet living in New York. Judy Linn’s pictures are candid and intimate — the outcome of a creative collaboration between the photographer and her subject. They also prove the ‘sprezzatura’ of Patti — everything she did and wore just looks effortless! I especially love the image of her standing in her kitchen, wearing nothing but a T shirt and pants, and cradling a black cat in her arms.

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