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This has been a long, strange journey. We have all walked this path in different ways. Some of us started making bread and watched the Tiger King. Some of us have obsessively cleaned and organized our homes. Some of us got addicted to TikTok.
What did I do to get through the long days of COVID? I co-founded a makeup challenge group. The quarantine was the idea of one of my best friends, Samantha, about a month after this unique experience. We invited our friends and family members and encouraged them to take part in weekly makeup challenges.
Some of our favorite subjects were decades (where we highlighted a different decade each day of the week), heroes, and most recently, Pantone Colors of the Years (where I learned that 2020’s “classic blue” was a huge void in my makeup collection represents). Each participant is encouraged to interpret this challenge the way they want and share the resulting look with the rest of the group.
As you can imagine, one of my favorite weeks was “books”. I was so excited to see what books my co-workers were inspired by and how they used eye shadow, blush, lipstick and mascara to express their love for these books. You did not disappoint.
Here are some of my favorite looks from this particular challenge and what inspired it.
Loved by Toni Morrison
“Today’s inspiration is another one of those books (the one read in high school) that changed my entire view of the world. All of Toni Morrison’s work will do this to you … but this was the first one introduced to me. It was one of those books that as a high school graduate I realized that my AP English teacher was trusting me to get a glimpse of a sour, heartbreaking side of the world we lived in. I quickly followed Beloved from Morrison’s The Bluest Eye … and have read all of her books since then. I’m overdue to read again. “
Call me by your name by Andre Aciman
“So yes. Read this book. Even if you saw the film two years ago. Especially if you saw the movie two years ago and wish it could get you a degree. It’s a beautiful story of growing up and first love. “
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“Today’s challenge look is inspired by the book I should have read for the summer reading before the Junior Year AP English. Instead, I read [The] Old man and the sea. Mistakes were made. “
Wild Continent by Keith Lowe
“This is a really strange book to be inspired by, but it’s a really good book, non-fiction, that covers a period of history that we pretty much skip, the part between the end of World War II and the early days of the cold War. Idk about you guys but all the books and textbooks I’ve read are like “World War II is over and now we’re scared of the reds”. It picks up on the point where every European nation will be liberated, then explains where those governments stood, how they got either US-friendly or Soviet, and provides background information on how they reacted to Nazism, how the civilian population fared, etc. . “
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
“The song of Achilles has been mentioned a few times this week. It’s an amazing read. It is narrated from the POV of Patroclus mentioned a few times in the Iliad. It’s amazing storytelling that is intimate and beautiful, and longs against a backdrop we all know from the Trojan War. This look is partly inspired by the cover, but also from the first time Patroclus sees Achilles. He is radiant, radiant, self-confident, a golden demigod and Patroclus is instantly helpless in love. This feeling continues throughout the book. I wanted to show the golden quality of half a god. “
From Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
“Unlike Elizabeth, I’m not a great reader. It was a struggle for me to read anything at school or for fun. The first book that I enjoyed that was “assigned reading” was Of Mice and Men! Today I look like a Miami Hurricanes fan! “
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt
“I was working in a cinema when the film came out. I never saw the film in the theater, but the music in the credits got me to read the book. I finally saw the movie, but I love the book so much more. I was inspired by [one] Of the characters from the book that were so amazing, there was only one person who portrayed Lady Chablis in the film … Lady Chablis !! “
Unforgivable Love by Sophfronia Scott
“Have you always wanted to read a classic, but black? Try Unforgettable Love by Sophronia Scott. It’s Dangerous Liasons / Cruel Intentions / Valmont, but Harlem after WWII. This is how you get a 40s face with a modern twist. “
The Immortals by Chloe Benjamin
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages… I present you the book that my book club has shared like no other book. About half of us absolutely loved this book, and about half were just wrong. The prerequisite here is that the children in a family visit a fortune teller who, one by one, tells them the day on which they will die. They then live their lives with this information. It’s very Stephen King who isn’t horror. “
Will be by Michelle Obama
“I had the pleasure of seeing Michelle Obama live during her book tour on Becoming. Turns out the boots she wore that night went viral … they were SPECTACULAR! So for today’s hero … I’m inspired by the beautiful, talented, funny. The genius Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama and the amazing outfit she wore that night when I had the immeasurable honor of sharing the same oxygen as her. “
Salt to the sea from Ruta Sepetys
“If you like historical fiction, you have to read this book (and its companion Between Shades of Gray). It’s a WWII story about the Lithuanian people trapped in the middle of the Germans and the Soviets. This was my book club pick two or three months ago, and I’ve read every Ruta Sepetys book since then. “
I am Malala from Malala Yousefzai
“Today my inspiration is Malala (specifically what she wears on the cover of her bestselling book). Very similar color story to Piccolina’s Malala T-shirt that my 7 year old daughter owns. “
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
“Today’s inspiration comes from my All Time Top 5 books! Hi-Fi. I saw the movie first and was amazed and dizzy with excitement when I saw it was based on a book !!! It’s also one of those rare times when a movie doesn’t screw up the book. When I read this book at work, it was an icebreaker to me and a close friend of mine. It turns out we both love the movie. (We can quote line by line and have casual conversations from it.) Since then, I’ve read most of Nick Hornby’s books and watched a few films based on his books. “
Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
“I went for a super neutral but still interesting look, inspired by the cover of the book, which totally intrigues me, but I can’t flip more than a few pages before I’m absolutely comatose. (I usually only read before bed, and sometimes that means I’m up way too late with an exciting read). I’ve been reading this back and forth between other books for literally over two years. “
Lois Lowry’s Giver
“My absolute favorite book is The Giver by Lois Lowry. It was the book that opened my eyes to what books could be. In my 7th grade English class, long after adults had stopped reading to us, our assistant teacher gathered us all on the carpet in the corner of the classroom and read The Giver to us. It was one of those magical moments in my life that changed my view of the world. In The Giver, the reader notes that the characters don’t see in color. Their world is made up of blacks and whites and shades of gray. The reader only understands the reality of their world when the red hue of an apple is briefly visible to the main character Jonas. So today’s look is inspired by that moment … black, white and gray … with red highlights. “
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
“Today I went with Anne from Green Gables. I loved this series as a kid! In fact, my middle name (Anne), which my mother said, is written the way it is supposed to be partly different and partly for the book. “
Fall in Darkness by Christopher Pike
“I devoured all of these books in middle school. Remember Me is his most famous YA book, but Fall Into Darkness was my favorite. I would read a book or two in a weekend. I’ve also read all of RL Stein’s books. Googling for book covers, I easily read over 80 books. “
The Tea Girl from Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See
“Lisa See is a beautiful writer and I loved everything I read about her. The Hummingbird Lane Tea Girl is no exception. (My favorite from their library is The Island of Sea Women, but I couldn’t figure out how to interpret that). This book connects the lives of two women – a woman from a Chinese ethnic minority – and the girl she gave up for adoption as a baby, against the backdrop of the Chinese tea production industry. If that sounds boring, trust me, it isn’t. “
The monster at the end of this book
In all honesty, some days my participation in this group is the only thing keeping me down to earth at this unprecedented time. Every morning I wake up forced to follow a routine because I know my friends will be eagerly waiting for today’s look as I look forward to theirs. We’ve been leaning on each other for the past eleven months and talking about how this was some kind of therapy for some of us. I am so grateful to have this group. Some people have written entire books while in isolation. Others wrote entire symphonies. I have perfected my makeup techniques … and I couldn’t be happier.
If you want to come up with your own makeup game to recreate some of these looks, check out this great piece from Book Riot’s Hattie Kennedy.