Friday Bookstack is a weekly series featuring the books I currently have on my nightstand. I believe that diversity of interests is vital to encouraging creativity, so I pick up books on a wide variety of topics. I don’t always read the entire book, but I feel that exposure to even some of the ideas broadens my mind.
As I’ve been in the process of beginning this blog, I feel like I’ve been focusing on reading about writing to the exclusion of other topics, and I was glad to rediscover the books on photography and art that had been buried before they were due at the library.
- Tao Te Ching, Stephen Mitchell translation
I usually have this book nearby. Not only do I find the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching calming, but the sparse language and concrete imagery help to clear my writing mind of clutter.
- Image and Spirit: Finding Meaning in Visual Art by Karen Stone
I haven’t actually started this book. I picked it up at the library because although I have produced some jewelry and photography that I feel is good, I want to learn about art from many perspectives. I don’t just want to blindly struggle, trying to improve my own attempts at art without knowing how.
- The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron
I’m afraid I haven’t made it very far into this book. I checked it out from the library after reading about Cameron’s technique of Morning Pages. I liked the idea of having a set time of day in which to write without worrying about being productive. I had just finished re-reading Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, and I was a little shocked, for some reason, by how different Cameron’s writing style is. I guess I was expecting the two authors, who both stress the importance of freewriting, to have similar styles. Not sure why.
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
I checked out this book after reading the intriguing review about it by Lifehack.org. I’m only partway through it, but the examples they give for sticky ideas really are compelling. The formula to follow is really pretty simple, but the book provides good examples of how sticky ideas have survived and tips for making ideas stickier.
- How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy by Orson Scott Card
This is one of my favorite writing books, one that I re-read periodically. When I’m feeling like I don’t really want to write, this book can get me interested again, simply because Card makes the process so accessible. How to Write Science Fiction & Fantasy has a little bit of everything a SF/F writer needs to know, including defining the terms and the boundaries between Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Fiction; creating a believable, consistent world, determining how to focus the story; introducing the world so that the reader doesn’t get lost; and a little of the business of writing, though this part is probably outdated, given the book’s 1990 copyright.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
This is my second time through the last Harry Potter book. A couple of weeks after finishing book 7, I decided to start from the beginning again and re-read the entire series. I’m glad I have, since I didn’t get a change to re-read book 6 before reading the last one, and I was confused on a few points. As always, I’m inspired by the detail of the world that J.K. Rowling has created, as well as the depth of her characters.
- Digital Photography: The Missing Manual by Chris Grover and Barbara Brundage and Digital Photographer’s Handbook by Tom Ang
When I first got a digital camera, it was strictly for the purpose of taking photos of my jewelry. At first, I hardly used the camera for anything else, but slowly I’ve become interested in developing my photography skills in more artistic directions. I’m also very interested in digital processing of photos. These books are both very detailed, but I have a lot to learn.
- Collage with Color: Create Unique, Expressive Collages in Vibrant Color by Jane Davies
Half the reason I checked out this book was just to look at it. I have a weakness for vivid colors, and the cover itself (linked above) is gorgeous. I’ve had a long-standing interest in collage, and paper arts in general, but I’ve never been quite sure where to start. I look forward to trying some of the techniques in this book, which range from paper making to collage design to creating gifts with collages.