Blending Books and Art With @lastnightsreading

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Kate Gavino (@lastnightsreading) lives and breathes books. By day, the New York City resident works in publishing, and by night she attends literary events around the city. Every time Kate sees an author speak, she illustrates the experience. The habit started two years ago, after an inspiring talk given by acclaimed Dominican-American novelist Junot Díaz.

“One quote stood out to me so much I just had to illustrate it,” she says. Soon, Kate started bringing a small notebook and pen with her to every reading. “Authors have been very positive, which means a lot to me. Most of them don’t know I’m sketching them at the reading, but a few of them have liked the drawings enough to ask me for them, which I am always happy to do.”

Among her favorite author experiences was listening to iconic American writer Toni Morrison. “I like seeing authors who make the audience go ‘mm-hmm!’ after each sentence they say,” she says.


Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein was born on September 25, 1930, in Chicago. Silverstein studied music and established himself as a musician and composer, writing songs including “A Boy Named Sue,” popularized by Johnny Cash, and Loretta Lynn’s “One’s on the Way.” Silverstein also wrote children’s literature, including The Giving Tree and the poetry collection A Light in the Attic. He died in 1999.

Shel Silverstein enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1950 and served in Korea and Japan, becoming a cartoonist for Stars & Stripesmagazine. After his stint in the Army was up, he soon began drawing cartoons for magazines such as Look and Sports Illustrated, but it was his work for Playboy magazine that began garnering Silverstein national recognition. Silverstein’s cartoons appeared in every issue of Playboy, riding the high-point of its popularity, from 1957 through the mid-1970s.

While at Playboy in the 1950s, Silverstein also began exploring other areas of creativity, including writing and music, and he contributed poems to the magazine, including “The Winner” and “The Smoke-off,” and wrote the booksPlayboy’s Teevee Jeebies and its sequel, More Playboy’s Teevee Jeebies: Do-It-Yourself Dialogue for the Late Late Show. He also began publishing his own books of cartoons, beginning with Take Ten (1955) and Grab Your Socks (1956). In 1960, Silverstein’s collected cartons, Now Here’s My Plan: A Book of Futilities, would appear with one of his most famous drawings adorning the cover. Around this time, he branched out into music, recording his first album, Hairy Jazz(1959), a record containing several standards and a couple of original songs. Silverstein would go on to produce more than a dozen albums over the course of his diverse career.

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