I have really enjoyed sharing a book of the week this year, but I’ve realized it’s just given me another excuse to buy more books when I really didn’t need another excuse! I already have way more than 52 books to share and recommend! But, it has been fun to look for new books and revisit old books that have stuck with me through all of the moves and purges.
A couple of weeks ago, Jeff and I went out to dinner and then hit Barnes & Noble. We usually split up, since we like to browse different sections. He likes books about nature, fishing, history, theology, and I like books on decorating, art, cooking, gardening, crafts, creativity, and business. So, yeah, we’re not hanging out in the same aisles! I have my little route that I take from the magazines to the discount books to the cookbooks then to decorating/crafts/art which are grouped together in the back corner. I do regularly buy books on the spot, but I’ll also look them up on Amazon to see if I can buy them used. That helps me stay within my monthly book budget. When I walk to the checkout holding a big stack of books, Jeff just rolls his eyes. In my defense, I’ll smile and say, “It’s my continuing education!” And he can’t say much to that since we worked hard together towards his Master’s degree, which also involved buying a boat-load of books.
And I do interact regularly with these books. I pull them off the shelf when I feel stuck, need some inspiration, instruction or encouragement. They are a resource to me that feels richer and more personal than the results yielded in a Google search.
So, anyway, here are my picks for February…
I got this book when it first came out and I immediately liked it. The thing I enjoy most about it is that it’s a mix of inspirational spaces (the kind that most of us don’t live in like 150-year-old-farmhouses) and suburban homes with microwaves over the stove and all. A decorating book that is all ideal spaces can feel unattainable and even discouraging. This book shows beauty in a variety of settings, giving you ideas that can be carried out in your own home.
This is an old one! I think I got it from one of those mail-order book clubs about 20 years ago! I hadn’t picked up this book for a few years, but when I flipped through it recently, I could see how much it influenced my style. It’s not an organizing book in the sense of what we expect by today’s standards. It’s not filled with plastic bins and the contents organized in a rainbow. It’s not about minimalism and decluttering. It’s about designating a place for everything you have and encourages merging display and storage. Practical and pretty things can be tidy, visible, accessible, and enjoyed.
This book made me fall in love with bakelite flatware and storing beautiful things on open shelves.
I can see reflections of that book in my decorating style even today!
The book is in the pre-digital photography era, so there are a lot of lighting and white-balance issues with the photography. Many of the images have a yellow glow from overhead lighting or they are messy snapshots of real-life organizing efforts. I think all of this is forgivable, though, because the content is great – especially for antique lovers who want to manage their stuff, not get rid of all of it!
I am absolutely smitten with this book. As someone who loves color, this was fascinating! Not only is it filled with all sorts of interesting information about the history of color, but it is filled with colored plates from books that are hundreds of years old.
The watercolor “blobs” from the 1800s inspired my oil painting abstracts from last week…
And I love these color charts from Werner’s Nomenclature…
And a color wheel from the 1700s…
I take for granted that people had to figure out color! How can the colors be made and how will they be sorted on a palette or in a wheel. Who figured out the complimentary colors? Just fascinating! (And a little nerdy, I know.)
I read this book on my creative retreat and it’s so good for anyone who wants a little creative encouragement. I didn’t follow Philippa on Instagram (@5ftinf), but I do now! This book is very approachable, practical, and inspiring. She shares her thoughts on common creative struggles like comparison, burnout, and originality and gives exercises and tips for each subject.
I journaled through some of her suggestions and found them to be so helpful! Sometimes, as a creative, you just get stuck in your own head and need to hear from someone who “gets it.” Not only does Philippa “get it”, but she has a theatre background as well, so I felt an immediate kinship with her.
This is a quick read with lots of beautiful photos, so it was perfect to read on the plane…
I hope one of my book picks this month tickles your fancy!
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