What it’s about: Why you should follow your passion one tiny step at a time.
What made me pick it up: It was mentioned in When To Jump, which I read recently.
My favorite parts: This is colorful and short and full of inspirational quotes and the tiny push you might need to begin following your calling. You don’t have to quit your job or go on an intense spiritual journey or backpack around Asia for any period of time, unless you feel you really need to. Just get up a few minutes early to paint or write or do whatever it is you feel you need to do. See where it leads. I do appreciate reminders now and then that you can listen to your inner voice and see what it’s telling you without disrupting your entire world. Or maybe it will and that will also be a fun adventure.
Who it’s great for: Anyone wondering if this is it.
What’s it about: The story of two friends, partners in art and life, creating animated works that bring them a sort of fame while also forcing them to confront difficult truths and traumas in their lives that other people would like to leave in the past.
What made me pick it up: I needed an audiobook to listen to and this one was available, has gotten a lot of good press, and has a cover that makes me want to read it.
My favorite things: Whitaker treats characters suffering addictions almost without judgment in a way that is refreshingly humane. She takes the time to develop every character’s layers and the complexity of their relationships.
Who it’s great for: Readers looking for complex relationships between characters or an exploration of identity.
What’s it about: A variety of writers reflect on specific lines or verses that they find to be particularly profound or informative and discuss how those lines impact their writing processes or the way they approach writing.
My favorite things: This is such an interesting insight into the minds and processes of so many favorite contemporary authors. I would never have connected some of these writers to the pieces that inspire them. There are more than forty contributing authors and each essay is relatively short, which makes this an easy book to dip in and out of as you need inspiration or have the time to pick it up.
Who it’s great for: WriMos in need of a little inspiration through the second half of NaNoWriMo. Anyone interested in reading about the writing that highly regarded contemporary writers find inspirational and formative.
What it’s about: Professional musician and innovation consultant Peter Himmelman explains his methods for unleashing creativity and breaking free of “stuck thinking.”
What made me pick it up: I figured that if I was going to read about creative thinking, it couldn’t hurt to see what a professional musician and composer had to say on the subject.
My favorite things: Himmelman argues that there aren’t really creative and non-creative types. He explains the ways in which we can all learn to be more creative and improve communication – as long as we’re willing to commit. I love that he includes specific activities to encourage creative thinking at the end of each chapter. He provides concrete examples of when to use them and illustrates their benefit in the given situation. He also offers plenty of illustrations from his own experiences of the kinds of “stuck thinking” that can sabotage creative efforts and ideas. There are a lot of great ideas here that can easily be applied no matter where you are in your life.
Who it’s great for: Those who don’t view themselves as creative people and those that feel as though they’re stuck in a rut. People having trouble finding inspiration. Anyone interested in boosting their own creativity and productivity. Readers curious about what a professionally creative person has to say on the subject.