Something that comes up again, and again, for me when I review the state of things in my practice, is the need for me to take quality time to do creative things that are not work-related and that nourish me. So often we hear about the need to 'feed the well' of creativity if we are to draw from it. We know it to be true and yet it's so hard to do. Difficult to justify the time we feel we are taking away from other more useful or productive things. In the spirit of being kind to myself and doing things that are good for me I have decided to make an effort this month to start feeding that well again. Things I used to do automatically (like read a book or go to an exhibition) have become things I have to plan to do, and I'd like that to change. So, here are some books I've read recently, as I've returned to the habit, and some exhibitions I'd like to visit to inspire me.
My summer reading began with these three books. All of them are written in such a way (conversational style, short chapters, accessible language etc) that they are easy to read in short bursts or quickly over the course of a few sittings. I read Fewer, Better Things on a plane, Diary of a Bookseller in bed at night and Chasing the Sun on the tube/trains. Perfect.
I'd recommend Fewer, Better Things by Glenn Adamson as a great starting point for questioning the way we respond to objects (especially as consumers, but also as makers). It covers quite a lot of ground and flits around quite a bit, which is why it's a good summer read when you feel you want to read something work-related but not feel like you're researching for a thesis.
The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell is a hilarious (and yet simultaneously hearbreaking) insight into the life of a modern secondhand book shop. If you, like me, have ever harboured secret dreams of running your own book shop, this book will make you think twice, but will also make you want to run out an hug everyone still clinging onto that dream, buy a book from them (a rarer occurance than you'd think) and shut down your Amazon account.
Chasing the Sun by Linda Geddes feels like one of those non-fiction, popular science books that could have been written for me. Over the past few years of being freelance I've come to recognise that the rhythm of the year, and the influence of the sun on that rhythm, has a massive effect on my well-being and work life. This is a very interesting, general survey of how the science of light can be used to help us manage our lives better, to feel better and to work better. Again, a starting point for futher investigation or a nice dip in to a new topic that feels aposite on these long sunny days.