Julie N. Books
Equine Artist and Equestrian

Julie N. Books, Equine Artist, Equestrian, Philosopher

     Dr. Julie N. Books, Esq. is an equine artist, equestrian, and philosopher.  Julie first rode horses in Okinawa, Japan when she was under 4 years of age.  In 1981 and 1982, she took English riding lessons at Woodlawn Stables in Alexandria, Virginia, where she won a bunch of ribbons in horse shows there and later completed the advanced levels.  She also attended a riding camp for two summers at Grenadier Farm in Danville, Va., where she was taught by Virginia Wiseman, a talented equestrian who directed the Averett University Equestrian Program at her farm.

     In early 1983, Julie auditioned for and was selected to attend the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., where she studied drawing, painting, design, sculpture, art history, ceramics, and photography in the afternoons for three years from 1983 to 1986.  While attending Ellington, she won a superior rating in the National History Day Fair in D.C., a medal in the American Legion Oratorical Contest, a 2nd place award in the Spanish Level 2 Declamation Contest, and a Gold Key (1st place) in the prestigious National Scholastic Art Competition for her first oil painting.  Julie completed her required art courses and portfolio in three years at Ellington, and she got a 5 (highest score) on her exams in AP Studio Art and AP English Language and Composition.  She also attended Mt. Vernon High School in Alexandria, Va. from 1984 to 1987, where she took GT (Gifted and Talented) and AP (Advanced Placement) courses.  In the summer of her junior year, she attended the Presidential Classroom for Young Americans in D.C. and the prestigious Governor's School for the Gifted (the residential program for visual artists) in Va.

While attending Mt. Vernon, Julie won Grand Prize at the 31st Fairfax County, Va. Regional Science and Engineering Fair, a 2nd place award at the 37th International Science and Engineering Fair in Ft. Worth, Texas, and Honors in the 46th Westinghouse Science Talent Search (top 300 of 15,074 applicants).  Julie was the first person from her high school to win Grand Prize at Regionals (Fairfax County, Areas I and IV) in 1986 when her science fair project was voted by a panel of judges to be the best project of more than 400 projects, including ones presented by students from the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which was regarded as the best high school in Va. and at a later date the best public high school in America.  Julie won 1st place awards in every science fair she competed in since the 7th grade.  From attending two high schools, Julie graduated with 33 credits, nearly double the typical amount, and she earned above a 4.0 G.P.A. in her academic subjects.  She also played clarinet (1st chair and 1st part) in Mt. Vernon's award-winning marching and symphonic bands, which won 1st place in symphonic music and 3rd place in field marching at the 1986 Festival of States National Competition in St. Petersburg, Florida.  In the video below, you can see Julie marching in a band show that won 1st place in Delaware in 1985.


You can also hear Julie playing clarinet in the Mt. Vernon High School Marching Band in the audio below, which includes all of the songs from the award-winning performances of 1985 and 1986, music from pep rallies, and lastly the band's upbeat cadence (Julie's favorite music to march to).  Enjoy listening to the vibrant sounds of Virginia's best high school marching band!

     In the spring of 1987, Julie received a scholarship to attend Princeton University.  She took 12 art history courses and 9 philosophy courses at Princeton.  She also competed on Princeton's Equestrian Team and won Reserve Champion (2nd place) at the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Regionals and a 6th place ribbon in Advanced Equitation on the Flat at the IHSA Zone Championships in 1991.  In her junior year, she was selected to be interviewed for the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship (only 12 students were selected from Va.) and defended artistic freedom in front of the Rhodes committee in Richmond, Va.  She wrote her junior paper on Caravaggio and her senior thesis on Michelangelo and the Council of Trent.  She graduated from Princeton with honors in art history (3.9 GPA in major of art history, 3.8 GPA in minor of philosophy, and 3.8 GPA overall) in 1991. 

     Julie next took international law courses abroad in Rome, Madrid, and Innsbruck during the summers of 1992 and 1993, and she received her J.D. from the College of William and Mary Marshall-Wythe School of Law in Williamsburg, Va. in 1994.  In the summer of 1994, Julie started to train for Olympic weightlifting competitions.  She won 1st place trophies in Va. in 1995, which enabled her to qualify for Nationals in that sport.  Julie was accepted into Columbia University's Ph.D. program in art history, which was the best art history graduate program then, but she decided instead to accept a full scholarship to attend New York University for a master's degree in philosophy.  With its distinguished faculty, NYU was often ranked the best U.S. graduate program in philosophy.  Julie received her M.A. in philosophy from NYU in 1996 and her Ph.D. in philosophy from UMass Amherst in 2002.  At UMass, she wrote her doctoral dissertation The Ontology of Film (published in 2002).  Julie enjoyed being taught by such distinguished philosophers as Bas van Fraassen (Intro. to Epistemology and Metaphysics), Margaret Wilson (Philosophy of Kant), Sally Haslanger (Intro. to Ancient Greek Philosophy), Frances Kamm (master's thesis on aesthetics), Christopher Peacocke (Philosophy of Mind), Bruce Aune (Philosophy of Kant), and Gary Hardegree (Modal Logic) and getting A grades from them, as well as from other notable professors, such as Patricia Brown (Italian Renaissance Art), Nicola Courtright (Baroque Art), David Blinder (Philosophy of Art), Alexander Nehamas (Aesthetics), and Rodney Smolla (Philosophy of Law).  As a graduate student, Julie trained with the equestrian teams of NYU and UMass.  She won 31 ribbons in IHSA horse shows, including a 5th place ribbon in the Alumni Class at the IHSA Zone Championships in 2000.

     In the fall of 2003, Julie and her husband moved to a horse farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Va., where she trained Journey and Dragon, her Arabian and Thoroughbred horses.  One of Julie's most memorable experiences was spending a day with the famous Olympic equestrian Karen O'Connor and riding her husband David O'Connor's Olympic horse Tigger Too in 2004.  She was also thrilled to see the gorgeous horse Rembrandt and his famous rider Nicole Uphoff win a gold medal in dressage at the Olympics in Barcelona.  Julie has been making oil paintings and working on dressage and hunter seat equitation with Dragon and Encore, a rare chestnut Thoroughbred with a palomino color and dapples in the spring and fall from having Gold Apollo in his pedigree.  After Encore passed away in June of 2021, Julie bought a Thoroughbred racehorse named Joey, related to Secretariat and other famous racehorses, who she is training for dressage.  She has taught ethics, writing, history of Western philosophy, and aesthetics at various colleges.  In October of 2014, Julie started writing about aesthetics and completed two philosophy books - The Supersensible in Kant's Critique of Judgment and What is Film? - that were published in 2015 and 2016 with her oil paintings that she painted in high school on the front covers.  They can be purchased on Amazon by clicking on the link below.

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