NetGalley · Non-Fiction

[Netgalley] Maya Lin: Thinking With Her Hands by Susan Goldman Rubin

During my first year of college, I took an art history class and was introduced to Maya Lin and her Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Since then she’s come up many times in my art classes and since then I’ve been a huge fan of her work. Which is why I decided to request this book on Netgalley! I was curious to see what more I could learn about Maya Lin and in general what would be said


While the information in here is very basic, it really feels detailed enough considering it’s a middle school book. It details a couple of her projects, starting with the Vietnam Memorial and how there was controversy relating to the project (and how she sort of designed it without really thinking she’d win the contest for the memorial). From there we move onto her Civil Rights Memorial, another piece that I really like and hope to get to see one day. The amount of work and little details that go into each piece so that they can be their best is outlined very well (and as an artist you learn that every decision you make has to count and has to mean something), and as the book continues I got to revisit some of her more lesser-known works

And aside from just telling us about Maya Lin’s career, it also tells us the story of an Asian American woman who made a name for herself. While a couple of Lin’s decisions were made with no expectations for rewards (like applying to Yale and submitting her design for the Vietnam memorial), she always worked hard once she had these opportunities in her grasp. I feel like this book really pushes the idea of hard work and perseverance for minorities and for creators in general. Plus, I even managed to take some tips from her process, what questions to ask yourself when creating something so that you can touch base and control as much as you can (or not control if your piece is dependant on the interaction of the public as Lin’s pieces are)

I really enjoyed reading this book!

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