Ashley Hasty is an inspiring, versatile person – a senior lecturer at Indiana University, fashion educator, and historian with interests for reading, visiting art and history museums and traveling. Her blog Hasty Book List is a quiet corner on the internet where she shares her passion for reading by reviewing books she likes.
We had a chat with her about books and traveling and both combined. Here is what she told us:
Who is Ashley Hasty and what does she dream of ?
Hi everyone! I’m Ashley Hasty, a 31-year-old senior lecturer in the School of Art + Design at Indiana University. I teach classes in fashion history, brand management, advertising, and visual merchandising. One thing I’m most proud of is completing my PhD at the age of 25. My biggest dream is to turn my dissertation into a book, but I enjoy reading more than I enjoy writing and I have a fear of not doing the story justice.
The book that influenced me the most was… The Woman I Wanted to Be by Diane von Furstenburg, prior to reading that book I would never have described myself as a fan of Diane von Furstenburg, the brand. But after reading her book, I was definitely a fan of Diane von Furstenburg the woman. I’ve recommended this book to many of my students, friends, and colleagues and everyone comes back to tell me how much they enjoyed this book. There are so many quotes within it that resonated with me, but I was also just in awe of her life story and the way she made the most of it. One quote that really stuck with me was
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.” ― Diane Von Furstenberg
In a similar vein, I was also pleasantly surprised by Holly Madison’s book Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny. Two very different women and two very different books but they both provided me insights into a world I will never know and lives I will never live. I have a lot of respect for both women.
The author I think I would be friends with is… Plum Sykes, I recently met her at a book signing in Chicago for Party Girls Die in Pearls. Afterwards I started following her on Instagram and she eats at some of the best restaurants, travels all over the world, wears beautiful clothing (she is a fashion journalist after all), and always appears to be in a good mood. She doesn’t take herself too seriously and she has a lot of fun in the process. When I first met her she had her cell phone in hand was recording our conversation for her Instagram Story – she introduced herself and said she’d come right back to sign my book. She was outgoing, funny, and there was never a dull moment while she was in the room.
The book character I would switch places with is… Nora from And We’re Off by Dana Schwartz. Nora’s grandfather paid for her to summer trip to France, Belgium, Ireland and Italy, and the only thing she had to do in return was complete a number of homework assignments assigned by her grandfather. Most of the homework assignments required her to visit world-renowned museums and create a work of art inspired by one of the works. Nora’s mom also goes on this trip with her, much to Nora’s dismay. But I think my mother and I would have had a ton of fun on a trip like this.
The book that has been with me to most places is… This is a tough question, I don’t often read books more than once and therefore rarely take a book to more than one place. The book that has traveled the furthest with me is A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. I bought it in the United States and flew to Paris with it and then took the train to Brussels with it. Reading A Moveable Feast in the Luxembourg Gardens was one of my most memorable reading moments.
The book that made me want to go to the where its story takes place in is… Most recently, I would have to say A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. The Farnsworth Art Museum in Maine operates the house that Christina Olson (the subject of the painting Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth) lived in. It is also the house where Andrew Wyeth painted many of his most notable works. I’m also a big fan of Fiona Davis’ books. She centers her novels around historic buildings in New York City. So far she’s written about The Dakota located at 1 W 72nd St and The Barbizon Hotel located at 140 E 63rd St. I’d love to get a behind-the-scenes tour of both of those buildings.
If I had to write a book about a trip I’ve had, it would be… about a trip I haven’t taken yet. Although I love to travel, I really haven’t been to that many places. I have lots of travel plans in my future and I have a feeling the best is yet to come. One trip I have in mind that I think would make a good story is to visit the places my grandfather and great-grandfather visited while they were stationed in Europe during their respective wars. My grandfather was stationed in Salzburg and there are documents found among my grandparent’s things that talk about my great-grandfather staying the night in a castle in Germany while serving in the war. I’d love to find that castle.
If I have to give someone a book that will tell them most about my country, it would be… Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. By no means would this book give someone a comprehensive understanding of the history of the United States, but I think it says a lot about our country and our relationship with those native to our country. It is a tragic story of greed leading to a murder spree of the Osage Indians who, at the time, were the richest humans per capita in the world. Most citizens of the United States are probably unfamiliar with this story, but I think it is one that should be well known.
A book is a perfect souvenir from a trip, because… Hm, I’m not sure I agree that a book is a perfect souvenir. I tend to read books prior to traveling to a place. Before I visited Paris a friend of mine gave me The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz. This was one of the best pre-trip gifts I’ve ever been given. It added several stops on my list of places to visit while I was in Paris. After I finished this book I read The Most Beautiful Walk in the World by John Baxter. I love how he explained the way Parisians think about things differently from Americans. One example that stuck with me was this idea of a griffe, literally “a claw” but more precisely a signature; a choice of favorite cafes, shops, parks, and the routes that link them. I’ve never forgotten this concept and I’ve since developed many griffes as a I visit new places and move to new cities.
One challenge for everyone reading this that combines reading and travelling… read at least two books about your next travel destination prior to leaving on your trip. Then take one book with you that takes place in your destination and read it while you visit the places mentioned.