Ok so as much as what was in this book is true and much needed in this world I'm not sure it is even possible to be able to learn through someone elseOk so as much as what was in this book is true and much needed in this world I'm not sure it is even possible to be able to learn through someone else's telling you what to do. It's something you really have to learn for yourself. And Thompson seems to be spending more time convincing the reader that his methods work rather than how to put them into action. Anyway I'll try to take what I picked up from this book and apply it to the world around me. ...more
I don't know why I had to round up to having finished 75 books, but I did when I realized I was at 74 with two days to go. So I did it. I scoured theI don't know why I had to round up to having finished 75 books, but I did when I realized I was at 74 with two days to go. So I did it. I scoured the shelf to find something short enough and found this. I had read it before, but I loved it yet again. What an excellent way to end the year. And it was interesting having read it right before moving to NYC and only having visited, and then 6 years after I moved here. ...more
Can I just say, aside from the general excellence of this book, putting the notes in the back with no indication that they're there is really annoyingCan I just say, aside from the general excellence of this book, putting the notes in the back with no indication that they're there is really annoying, especially in an e-book. I get to the end and, oh, I guess I'll just read a bunch of notes out of context because that's so helpful. ...more
I read an article somewhere about the Chinese starting to travel only recently and all the confusions and sometimes annoyances it caused which was relI read an article somewhere about the Chinese starting to travel only recently and all the confusions and sometimes annoyances it caused which was relevant to me because I work in a place which is visited by large Chinese groups that I have to deal with. When this book came out I had to have it and only recognized it after reading this bit again. ...more
Welp, there's a reason Nick Hornby is the most read author on my shelves according to Goodreads. Sadly, I have pretty much given up on his fiction butWelp, there's a reason Nick Hornby is the most read author on my shelves according to Goodreads. Sadly, I have pretty much given up on his fiction but I love love love the essays he writes called Stuff I've Been Reading for the magazine The Believer. I had already read some of the essays before in his other collections but they were still good on rereading. And it was fun seeing the books on my TBR list and remembering that they got there due to Nick Hornby. I wish he would write more of these. Like, instead of a monthly essay he could do a weekly one, or a daily blog! I would eat it up with a spoon. ...more
This book made me feel hopeless because humanity and the system we live in in America is evil and greedy. It also made me feel hopeful because peopleThis book made me feel hopeless because humanity and the system we live in in America is evil and greedy. It also made me feel hopeful because people are amazing in what they can do for themselves, their communities and their causes. ...more
I owe Massie a huge debt as reading Nicholas and Alexandra was what caused me to fall in love with history. Here he has repeated the excellent and welI owe Massie a huge debt as reading Nicholas and Alexandra was what caused me to fall in love with history. Here he has repeated the excellent and well-researched process for another of Russia's rulers, this time Catherine the Great (who wished to be called Catherine the Second while she was alive).
I was struck by how unfortunate it was that the French Revolution happened in her reign, which caused her to reverse her course of enlightened ruling out of fear that the revolution would endanger her own standing as monarch. It was also sad how she treated her children the same way Elizabeth had treated her when she had just given birth, although perhaps to some degree less cruel. I think the image of her left alone only moments after childbirth in a cold and hostile room as Elizabeth whisked away her first child to rear on her own will stay with me a long time.
I think there was a good mix of information on her life and loves, as well as how her life shaped the history of Russia and it's legacy. It could so easily just be a bubble of gossipy soup of who shared her bedroom, but Massie shows who she was as a person and a complete picture of the country and her life. ...more
I think Natalie Goldberg really wanted to write a book about how to practice Buddhism and lead a Zen-filled life, but thought that since her claim toI think Natalie Goldberg really wanted to write a book about how to practice Buddhism and lead a Zen-filled life, but thought that since her claim to fame is for writing books about writing she had to tie this book to writing as well. As someone who is interested in the art of writing but not so much in Buddhism, this is the worst sort of navel-gazing and I am disappointed and feel like I was conned. ...more
2.5 stars. This was my emergency book that I kept on my phone so in case all other reading options died or burned or were flung out a moving window.
I2.5 stars. This was my emergency book that I kept on my phone so in case all other reading options died or burned or were flung out a moving window.
I had read The Year of Living Biblically previously, and found it funny so was happy to find this one for sale. At first I thought, really? You're just going to throw facts at me? If I wanted to read that I would go read the encyclopedia myself thank you very much. But I settled into it eventually, becoming appreciative of his wit and the story he tells. So I'm glad I read it, and will read others by him. ...more
I really vacillated between 2 and 3 stars with this one. It was not as exciting to read as I thought it would be. It felt like a long list of her doinI really vacillated between 2 and 3 stars with this one. It was not as exciting to read as I thought it would be. It felt like a long list of her doings and going ons. I was surprised that as much as her fiction seems to be so inwardly focused her diaries are purely outward. Indeed when discussing journal writing with her friend she was surprised to learn that her friend wrote all about her thoughts and feelings, she (VW) stated she had no inner life at all. It detailed who she saw and she did describe her friends to some degree, so I suppose I learned in a somewhat impressionistic fashion more about the Bloomsbury group. And it was a relief that many of her entries begin in the same way mine do, lamenting the time since she last wrote. I did learn that she did not write during her bouts of illness seeing as her doctors believed that it would overexcite her. In the end I don't feel like I know who she is at all anymore than I did before I read her diary. Nothing that I could only learn from her words rather than anything written about her (but let's see if I feel the same after reading the Hermione Lee biography). Anyways I am reluctant to continue onto the second volume, but I may do so in the near future seeing as I own it. ...more
Meh. Go back to writing about food politics Michael Pollan!! That's what you do so well! Pollan is a fascinating guy and smart as hell, but this bookMeh. Go back to writing about food politics Michael Pollan!! That's what you do so well! Pollan is a fascinating guy and smart as hell, but this book was just boring. I didn't care.
During the part where he's brewing beer, he starts to talk about how intoxication seems linked to a rise in creativity. Not to go further into the fact that so many truly creative people have fought desperate battles against alcoholism and drugs seems to me irresponsible and short sided.
As a caveat: I don't cook. I would love to, but it seems boring and I don't know what I'm doing. I would rather read a book. I looked to this book to maybe strike a desire to learn, but that didn't happen. But if you absolutely love cooking, and are interested in it as a process, then maybe you would see this book differently. ...more
This is a book containing several small essays about the grounded, successful creative life. Most of them begin with a description of her surroundingsThis is a book containing several small essays about the grounded, successful creative life. Most of them begin with a description of her surroundings, either in NYC or Taos, and then shows how our writing (or painting, or sculpture, etc.) lives exist in the same way. For example: lightning bolts split a tree in its path down the middle, just how a creative bolt of inspiration can take us over and burn us out if we are not careful.
Three issues that would normally irk me: 1. Because of the essay format, I feel that there is a large amount of repetition. Not to mention a lot of repetition of the same lessons I have learned from reading her other works: The Artist's Way, The Vein of Gold, The Right to Write, and The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size, if I'm not forgetting any. For example: How many times do we need to be told that Taos is hot and there is a drought? That Halloween is a unique and favorite holiday for the residents? 2. There is also many mentions of being inspired by her God, or of a spiritual force larger than ourselves influencing our creativity. 3. Some of it is really cheesy. Sometimes there are lots of rainbows in Taos. She saw one that ended at her house, and asked herself what was worthy as a pot of gold? The answer: Creativity.
However; these two things don't annoy me as much as if I didn't believe in the effectiveness in her method and the validity of her teachings. The first, the repetition, doesn't annoy me because I feel as though it's an example of how she writes for herself, as though it's an example of her practicing what she preaches even in her own writing. And since I've read so many of her other books, which let's face it are all a bit repetitive, why did I even start this one? Because maybe I need even more, maybe I need a baseball bat to the head to ignite my own creative sparks, and to be able to put the effort and the will towards my own writing, even if it's only for me, only for my journal. For the desire to actually write in a meaningful and successful way, whether success means my own well-being or external accomplishments. Reading her work I feel as though I have a friend, who may be well-meaning and slightly cheesy, standing by me saying you can do this if only you begin, if you just get over your ego and your fear of failure who knows what you could accomplish?
As to the religion, I feel that she is not pushy at all that you should believe in the same god that she does, but as a force that you have to acknowledge that you are not alone. Whether you are looked over by a powerful god, or some sort of spiritual force, or even just banishing your ego to let your creativity flow, you have to let yourself do whatever it is you want to create, and not let anything internal or external stop you from trying or telling you you are not worth it and failure is imminent.
I think that the cheesiness of it comes from an almost impossible message to translate. So while I could just roll my eyes and smirk, I'd rather try and understand what she's saying and how to put her lessons into effect in my own creative life.
I love reading inspirational creative missives and Cameron's lessons are valuable and worthy of my time and effort. It's as if every so often I need a pick me up, a friend telling me I can do something big even if it never leaves the "bottom drawer." Reading her books continually push me gently into trying and trying again and trying harder. They help me put my life in what could somehow resemble order, and to be more rounded and open to new experiences and to channel those experiences into my own art. Now off to do my Morning Pages! (Even if it is 4 in the afternoon!)
I appreciated the part at the end where Maddow successfully recaps the issues she discusses in the book, as well as pointing to solutions we as a natiI appreciated the part at the end where Maddow successfully recaps the issues she discusses in the book, as well as pointing to solutions we as a nation really need to work for. Most people are content simply to point at the problems of the world without adding any insight on what is to be done. If she wanted to double the length of this book by expanding on these solutions, I would be happy to read it. ...more