I don’t know how anyone can write a review of a book like the ones I have listed below.
It is such a subjective process. What I hope you’ll gain by reading one of these books is a perspective larger than the one you currently claim, and I would be pleased if seeing the listing here encouraged you to actually acquire or read one of these titles.
They are books that changed my life.
Inspiration and Spirit:
1. The Prophet, Kahlil Gibran, Alfred Knopf, New York; 1968
2. Tao te Ching, Stephen Mitchell, translation HarperCollins Publishers;1992
3. Memories, Dreams and Reflections, Carl Jung, Vintage Books; 1965
4. 365 Tao: Daily Meditations, Deng Ming-Dao, HarperCollins Publishers, New York; 1992
5. Picnic, Lightning, Billy Collins, University of Pittsburgh Press; 1998
6. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho, Harper One; 1994
7. Sacred Contracts, Caroline Myss, Harmony Books; 2001
8. Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, Chogyam, Trungpa, Shambhala Dragon Editions; 1988
9. The Places That Scare You, Pema Chodron, Shambhala Classics; 2002
Writing and Journaling:
10. Life's Companion: Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest, Christina Baldwin, Bantam Books, New York; 1991
If you have never journaled and are curious about beginning, this is a wonderful place to start. Baldwin takes the whole thing—and you—seriously. Her suggestions for writing are the best I’ve ever seen in thirty years of journaling my own art and life into being.
11. Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott, Anchor Books/Doubleday, New York; 1994
Hilarious, biting, agonizing, sad, lonely. She is talking about writing, but you’ll know she is also talking about art as life.
12. Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life, Natalie Goldberg, Bantam Books.
People usually think of Goldberg’s first book, Writing Down the Bones, as her best. But this is a fantastic book and could be subtitled “living the artist’s life.”
13. Fierce Conversations Achieving Success at Work & in Life, One Conversation at a Time, Susan Scott, Viking; 2002
Wow. I adapted her suggestions to my own critique sessions in classes and it was good. Anyone who reads this will gain insight into and more honestly and accurately get at whatever is going on in their lives or their art.
14. Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth, Brad Blanton, Dell Trade Paperback, New York; 1996
You may not agree with Blanton, but this is certainly food for thought—and even embracing some of the ideas will set your life on a more straightforward course.
15. Thirteen, Remy Charlip and Jerry Joyner, Aladdin Books, Macmillan Pub. Co., New York; 1994
This is a children’s book for everyone. You will study it over and over again.
16. The Secret Life of Bees, Sue Monk Kidd, Penguin Books; 2002
A poignant, funny, heart-rending book that will especially resonate with children of the sixties. A great book for anyone younger, because it paints such a great portrait of that time.
Art and Textiles:
17. A Primer of Visual Literacy, Donis A. Dondis, The MIT Press; 1973
I had to read it a few pages at a time, and then re-read it again. That’s really good! There are so few books to read that offer lessons every single time you read them. This is a very strong, interesting exploration of design and visual language.
18. Art and Fear, David Bayles and Ted Orland, Capra Press; 1973
I used to think I needed to read this so that I could share their ideas with students. But then one time when I was stuck, I realized I needed their wise words as much as anyone. Read a few pages as a great way to get unstuck.
19. The Stitches of Creative Embroidery, Jacqueline Enthoven, Van Nostrand Reinhold, republished at least twice. THE best book when it comes to seeing how stitches are formed. No one has ever done a better job, in my opinion. I learned from it before I knew classes existed, and I am basically inept when it comes to following written instructions.
20. Selvedge Magazine... offers the world's finest textile photography, unparalleled design and peerless writing.