I was excited to find this title as I've been studying the connections between creativity and spirituality in my own life, and the multi-cultural focu...moreI was excited to find this title as I've been studying the connections between creativity and spirituality in my own life, and the multi-cultural focus was right up my alley. I enjoyed the format of the book, the periodic questions for reflection, the look at many different types of art from many cultures. I highlighted quite a few portions and will be continuing to reflect on Park's ideas and questions. I also liked her take on the "art versus craft" debate--something I've spent time working through myself as well.
The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because I would very much have liked the author to make more connections with U.S.-born artists. The implication is that the only people who truly understand the connection between art and life are from developing countries, and no one from the U.S. possibly can unless they're an oppressed peoples. While I agree with that to a certain extent, I do know there are artists living, working, and very much part of U.S. culture who do also feel and express these same values. It would have provided a more rounded book for me, I think. That being said, I did find inspiration in the stories, cultures, and artists she lifts up, have made a note to myself of certain pieces I want to learn more about, and will be reflecting upon and sharing some of her key points in my own discussions of these topics in the future.(less)
If you're looking for a lot of statistics and studies, this isn't the book for you. However, having already read a lot of those kinds of books on this...moreIf you're looking for a lot of statistics and studies, this isn't the book for you. However, having already read a lot of those kinds of books on this topic, I found Blessings of the Burden a refreshing change of pace, and very well done. Although it does include some statistics and studies, it is couched in stories--stories of real human beings facing real situations and sharing their very real responses. I found it a refreshing change of pace, and through reading the stories I was able to engage some of the information I'd learned from other sources in a new way. I do think this would be a great first book for someone to read on the topic--a way to grab their attention, humanize and individualize the topic in necessary ways, and then perhaps move them on to other books for further studies into the whys and wherefores. I will be recommending this book to others.(less)
I have thoroughly enjoyed this book, and am halfway through making my own art quilt map--I'm so excited about it I strongly expect I'll finish it in t...moreI have thoroughly enjoyed this book, and am halfway through making my own art quilt map--I'm so excited about it I strongly expect I'll finish it in the next few days! Ms. Goodwin's book is not a traditional pattern book. You won't find specific directions to make a specific quilt here. Rather, you're led down a wonderful intuitive path of inspiration that empowers you to bring your own art to life using fabric, thread, paint...and whatever else you're led to use. Her suggestion about starting with a haiku was unexpected but proved to be just the foundation I needed to capture the feelings I wanted my map to convey. In fact, I continue to write a short free-verse poem a day related to my art quilt map, to make sure I stay in the proper mental framework while I'm creating. She does give plenty of information about how to create each step (tools and techniques) while still leaving plenty of room for your own creative process. I keep going back to read the book again--not because I don't understand, but because I simply love how she's put everything together and I enjoy her process. I have found myself more energized by this book than I have by a quilt book in a long time. (less)
Having recently come to the understanding (independently) that I should be looking at my calendar not as blocks of time but as blocks of energy, someo...moreHaving recently come to the understanding (independently) that I should be looking at my calendar not as blocks of time but as blocks of energy, someone recommended this book to me. I found it very useful in terms of thinking through how different parts of my life intersect, rather than looking at work, family, and volunteer life as separate categories. The ideas of cyclical energy and the pyramid of energies--while stating things I did already know at one level or another--were very useful, seeing them laid out as simply as this book lays them out. The one thing I'd have liked better is if it had included a step-by-step process for how to think through the action plan yourself at the end. It dances around it a lot and gives a plethora of examples of people who have done it, but I think an appendix with how to create an action plan yourself would have been useful. (less)
I've enjoyed several of Amy Tan's previous books but this one just didn't grab me. I found a few of the plot devices to be a bit cliched and felt the...moreI've enjoyed several of Amy Tan's previous books but this one just didn't grab me. I found a few of the plot devices to be a bit cliched and felt the themes had been done before. I still very much enjoy her writing--I definitely engaged with several of the characters and felt an excellent sense of space and place while reading. I just found myself mildly disappointed overall. (less)
Excellent book on prison and aftercare ministries; also includes preventative ministries, breaking the cradle to prison pipeline, and restorative just...moreExcellent book on prison and aftercare ministries; also includes preventative ministries, breaking the cradle to prison pipeline, and restorative justice. (less)
I need to start by saying that I'm a huge Mary Pipher fan--I believe I've read every one of her books and often recommend them to others--her book In...moreI need to start by saying that I'm a huge Mary Pipher fan--I believe I've read every one of her books and often recommend them to others--her book In the Middle of Everywhere is on my "must read" list for anyone volunteering with refugee populations. So as soon as I saw she had a new one out, I pre-ordered it and had great expectations.
Sadly, I was disappointed. I very much appreciate Pipher's work on the pipeline. But I felt the topic of the book was a bit thin, as if Pipher really wanted to write an environmental book about the pipeline but felt she didn't have the street cred for that so couched it in psychotherapeutic terms. It ended up feeling a bit weak to me on both fronts. I also couldn't help feel but the focus on the pipeline was a bit "not in my backyard," as it didn't really address any possible solutions other than the pipeline taking another route--so apparently it's okay for it to go through someone else's environmental backyard. But that's a different issue and probably has no place in a book review, so let me stick to reviewing this as a book. I would've preferred to have the book be either more fully environmental or more fully psychotherapeutic about hope, advocacy, activism in very general terms. The straddling of both worlds wasn't particularly effective for me.
That being said, I'm sure I'll still pick up her next book, regardless of the topic. I enjoy her writing style and have really loved all of her past books, so the fact that this one didn't particularly strike a chord for me doesn't affect my overall view of her as an author. (less)
I debated how many stars to give this. I am a big Mary Pipher fan--I own most, if not all, of her books and always highly recommend them to others. He...moreI debated how many stars to give this. I am a big Mary Pipher fan--I own most, if not all, of her books and always highly recommend them to others. Her other books would pretty much always get four or five stars from me. I've enjoyed her writing style through the years and I do think she, herself, is a perfect example of "writing to change the world." I was so looking forward to this book, as I do a lot of this style of writing and was looking for more advice and inspiration.
Unfortunately, I didn't get too much out of the book other than enjoying Pipher's writing style. I realized, halfway through reading the book and wondering what was missing, that my reaction to the book is simply a matter of me having already learned what she's writing about through doing it myself for so long. Her advice was, for me, confirmation of what I'd already figured out. I ended up skimming much of it.
So, that being said, I would recommend this book to a new writer who is just starting out on a writing career and is looking for advice that she hasn't already experienced for herself. I would recommend this book to a writer who has never written expository nonfiction or "opinion pieces" before and is trying to figure out how to go about it. In terms of books on writing in general, this isn't one of the ones I'd recommend first, however.
If you've never read Mary Pipher's books before, my favorite is In the Middle of Everywhere (on refugees), and in a close second is Another Country (on the elderly). Both very well done, insightful books. (less)