Welcome to our Book Club series. Reading has always been a part of my life, for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always had a curiosity into what other people were reading, often questioning my family members about the books they had on their shelves or at the pool. Over the last few years, I’ve reconnected with that joy and it has become a constant with my friends, sharing our recent favourite reads, what we’ve taken away from them and what we are excited about exploring next. Bringing those conversations to 909, our Book Club series will delve deeper into other creative’s reading history from what they enjoyed when they were growing up, their most impactful read, quotes and more. In order to extend this community of readers, there is a bonus question for those who answer where they recommend a book(s) to next person who contributes to the club.
Lydia Pang is the CEO and co-founder of creative strategy studio MØRNING, founded in 2021 with the aim of making the world a little less shit than yesterday. Some of clients include Nike, Snapchat, Facebook Meta, Calvin Klein, ELLE Magazine, and Bumble and they recently released a zine, ‘Burn Book’, as an extension of its creative output as well as uplifting a community of artists. It’s not the first time that Lydia has worked on a zine – in 2020 Lydia published ‘Eat Bitter’, a collection of recipes and stories to preserve her family’s Hakka culture. Expanding on their work of tapping into the zeitgeist, MØRNING launched their own newsletter earlier this year, BURN AFTER READING, which covers cultural trends and viral moments with recent topics including AI, London Fashion Week, archival Instagram accounts, the future of fashion and using social media as a canvas.
Lydia is also one of the creative minds behind Steward, a Web 3 climate community and Digital Art collection launched in 2021, connecting the natural and digital worlds – reminding us that is no digital world without a thriving natural world. Lydia is the definition of a creative misfit, going against what it perceived to be the ‘normal’ or ‘right’ way of working within the creative world. After living in big cities in both the US and UK, Lydia moved to forest in Wales, focusing on the launch of MØRNING and showing that you don’t always need to be in a major city to make shit happen. She’s also experimenting with AI through MØRNING, creating their own AI bot Ø as a tool to learn from their community as well as explore the ways that humans and AI can interact.
As Lydia taps into so many different industries, practices and technologies, I wanted to dig into the reading history and current influences that inform her work from what’s currently on her bedside table to childhood readings and the most influential book she’s read so far.
Your favourite childhood book?
Most impactful/influential book you’ve read?
Without doubt Ways of Seeing by John Berger. My mum gave it to me when I was a teen and it completely changed and shaped how I thought about image making, culture, perception, gaze. Low key, this book made me choose to study art history, helped build my belief systems as a creative, and to this day is helping me shape the next chapter of my career as a founder and CEO.
A quote that has stuck with you?
Never grow a wishbone, where your backbone out to be – Clementine Paddleford
This is hard. I would probably have to say Michelle Zauner, because Crying in H mart was so profoundly beautiful. The descriptions of food, the depth of emotion and observational nuance. Her writing literally swallowed me.
My bedside table is a mix of horror and business books… not sure what that says about me.
A book that you recommend everyone should read in their lifetime?
Your favourite setting to read in?
Raining outside, dark room, cosy sofa, silence. OR randomly inside a tent the morning after camping with a cuppa tea, time always feels slow when camping which I like.
Are you someone who shares books with friends? If so, which book have you shared recently?
My best friend is an author and book editor and agent, so she’s an intimidating person to share book reccos with!! But I recently told her to read I’M A FAN by Sheena Patel, which I loved.
What are you currently reading?
I recently lost my pawpaw (my grandma) and my mum gifted me Toast by Nigel Slater as a soothing read, as my pawpaw and I used to cook together and bond over our love our food. So I’m reading that right now, it’s beautiful and healing.
Bonus: A recommendation for the next Book Club contributor to read?
Photo credit: @el.cool.j