I have two theories about books:
1. I LOVE my public library – I always make a beeline to the new books non-fiction section, and consider the gods are smiling on me when there is a brand new book sitting there that is 100% applicable to my interests… and funnily enough, it happens more often than it doesn’t. But maybe that just reflects optimism and an open mind 😉
I’ve started to suspect my public library is also a conduit to encourage my habit of buying more books!
I’m not too fussed by returning books overdue, I consider it to be a useage tax i.e. if I really love a book and don’t want to return it yet, then I am happy to pay extra. No doubt the money is put to good use – maybe its an oblique way that I can help support the library (& sorry for any incovenience if someones reserved it)
But back to my theory, if I do end up with significant fines on a book, I pay them & leave thinking ‘I might as well buy that book…’ as I likely still haven’t finished with it… so the library becomes a starting point for finding a book locally if its available, or via Amazon if it isn’t, or if its a book I dont need or want to have in physical form then its the kindle version. I am yet to own an actual Kindle, but suspect this new generation will be the one, for now the Kindle app on my iPad is the entry point…
Anyway, short version of theory 1: libraries are great book sellers. They should be rewarded for this.
2. A good book store is like a good record store: Its not that they can get you anything, or everything – its that they have an interesting, curated selection.
IMHO the best DJs and producers excel due to their selection, their taste, and their aesthetics. Same applies to a good record store – they are rare (& to be savoured) for vinyl as they are for books. But online? Are there curated music stores online? (Or is that what a record label is now?)
Anyway, results of theory 2 is the following two books.
A dear friend had his 50th birthday earlier in the week so I thought about a present to buy him…
& decided on a book, this one:
HOW TO BE AN EXPLORER OF THE WORLD by Keri Smith
Luckily one of NZs best bookstores UNITY Books had a copy, but to illustrate theory 2, in the same category they also had a book that I bought for myself as it instantly appealed, this one:
THE ART OF CRITICAL MAKING by Somerson & Hermano
And right there is the value of the idea of providing ‘related’ feedback ie I appreciate the advice of the person who silently grouped those two books together. So in kind, I did whatever the equivalent is for ‘digging in the crates’ for similar books in my own collection and these are what I found/own/reccomend on the subject of creative process:
ART FROM START TO FINISH by Howard Becker, Robert Faulkener & Barabara Kirshenblatt-Gilmblett
WHAT I TALK ABOUT WHEN I TALK ABOUT RUNNING by Haruki Murikami
DAMN GOOD ADVICE (for people with talent!) by George Lois
BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott
ART & FEAR – Observations on the perils (& rewards) of Art Making by David Bayles & Ted Orland
THE CREATIVE PROCESS – Reflections on invention in the Arts and Sciences by Brewster Ghiselin
MAKING CONTEMPORARY ART by Linda Weintraub
ITS NOT HOW GOOD YOU ARE, ITS HOW GOOD YOU WANT TO BE by Paul Arden
CATCHING THE BIG FISH by David Lynch
All of these books have been part of a long term course of study for me, for my work in film and in my own work & personal projects. And while on a daily basis I sometimes dont feel like I am making much progress, when I think back to where I was at when starting this blog in 2006 I feel a bit better about evolution. And if you’re only a recent reader here, three older posts that imho are worth revisting are from my earlier research into actually finishing work:
Is there an insightful, philosophical book you’ve read about creativity & making art?
Let me know in the comments!