I love to read and I REALLY love to read bloggers' book reviews. Like love it. I have an endless list of books I'm dying to get my hands on and it grows exponentially each month. As of late (as in the past two years), however, I had let my lifetime hobby fall to the wayside to make room for an ever-growing blog feed. Short articles from the glow of the screen had almost completely consumed my reading habits. Don't get me wrong, I do love a good blog post, but in my mind nothing compares to a good old-fashioned book. So I decided it was time to find some balance. Cue a freshly-minted library card and this new blog series and the reading game is back on! Here's what I've had my nose in this month...
by Austin Kleon
I tore through Steal Like an Artist the first day I got it. I went into it already a fan of Austin Kleon. Not in an incredibly deep way, mainly through his Instagram account and blackout poems, but I was a fan none-the-less. He's original and clever both with words and illustrations and this book offered plenty of that same artistic charm. It's incredibly east to read- short, sweet, and riddled with clever graphics- yet it is also filled with useful wisdom for creatives. It's based on the idea that nothing is really, truly original when it comes to creating and offers tips and ideas for how to "steal" from others in order to find your voice as an artist.
I would definitely recommend this book for any maker or freelancer. I enjoyed it so much that it's one I will likely read through again and again for inspiration.
by Shanna Mahin
Oh! You Pretty Things, Mahin's breakout novel, centers on Jess, who is third-generation Hollywood and a self-proclaimed nobody. It follows her as she lands a job as an assistant to an A-list actress and light-yet-infuriating mayhem ensues, much in the style of The Devil Wears Prada. I hadn't heard of this book before and chose it simply because it was among the recommended reads at the library. I wouldn't say it shook me to my core or anything, but overall it was a great summer read- fun and clever with just the right amount of juicy drama. I loved the narrative tone, which was loaded with sharp, dry humor. I also appreciated that this didn't follow the standard tragic-girl-meets-perfect-man-and-all-is-well formula, but instead focused on the bonds between the female characters. Overall rating: not my favorite book ever, but a great vacation read.
by Charles Duhigg
I have seen this book on so many must-read lists and I was excited to finally read it myself. The main argument in The Power of Habit is that through identifying and understanding the patterns that shape our lives we can learn how to change them, thus taking control of hard-to-tackle life issues, from weight loss to business success. If you generally enjoy reading about psychology and self-help, you will absolutely love this book. If the non-fiction genre is tougher for you to digest, I would recommend just diving into the first section about The Individual, which, in my opinion, was the major highlight of the book. Overall, I found this read to be very valuable and definitely worthy of its must-have status, especially for creatives, entrepreneurs, and really anyone struggling with managing their lives.
by Nick Hornby
I wasn't surprised by how much I loved Funny Girl. I've long been a fan of Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy, Long Way Down) and this book carries his signature quick narrative and a crew of sympathetic characters. Set in the 60s, it's a work of historical fiction about a small-town girl who moves to London to become her idol, Lucille Ball. She finds work on a BBC sitcom that quickly becomes a hit, propelling her into television fame. The central characters consist of the show's small cast and crew and their zippy dialogue as they work through the ins and outs of television production reads almost like watching an actual tv show- fast, fun, and always entertaining. Overall, it was Nick Hornby as I had hoped and one of my favorite reads in a long time.