Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My summer reads to feed creativity

I've bitten off more of a reading list than I can chew this summer, but I'm just loving it. When I was younger, I'd drink gallons of iced tea and sit on the wraparound porch and read all the way through Austen, or Shakespeare, or anything that moved. This summer's feeling a lot like that, except that I'm reading on the fly: while commuting, before I start writing, in waiting rooms. Kinda miss the porch.

I have a long reading list with purpose which you can see tomorrow on The Eloquent Woman. I'm researching a book and some articles on public speaking, and chairing a conference of speechwriters, many of whom have written books I want to read before we meet. But I'm also trying to feed my creativity with some reads I'm sneaking into the mix, new books and a few old favorites. Here's the fuel to my fire this summer:
  1. Hemingway's Boat: Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, by Paul Hendrickson, is a book I've given to a couple of special Hemingway fanatics, and I'm in the process of re-reading it so I can discuss it with the latest recipient. I always hope I can do what this author does: Choose an unusual angle for a familiar subject. This book reminds me of some favorite writers who dive deep into their subjects, and it reeks of summer and sun and loss and love. I'm reveling in the re-read.
  2. The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life with Language, from Natalie Goldberg, is a new approach to writing developed after her classic, Writing Down the Bones, and it's based on writing retreats she does. It's not the only retreat-like book on this list, either.
  3. Conamara Blues: Poems is John O'Donohue describing in poetry his country, one of my favorite places. The first poem I read from this collection inspired some writing of my own.
  4. Challenges for the Delusional: Peter Murphy's Prompts and the Poems They Inspired is another retreat-in-a-book from Murphy, who offers writing seminars. I'm interested in the idea of prompts and  how they can jump-start writing.
  5. Smoke and Pickles: Recipes and Stories from a New Southern Kitchen is Edward Lee's new cookbook. I love cooking as creative work, and am eager to see what this Asian chef brings to Southern cuisine. Maybe it will prompt some mashups in my own work.
  6. Life Itself is Roger Ebert's memoir. I'm listening to this in audiobook form (although, due to his cancer, it's not read by Ebert himself) to learn more about this pioneering newspaperman and social media whiz. I miss him on Twitter every day.
  7. The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly? is Seth Godin's attempt to prod you out of worrying about flying too close to the sun and warn you about flying too low. A little inspiration for my summer.
  8. The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career from LinkedIn founder and chairman Reid Hoffman is the kind of book I often pass over. I'm glad I didn't. It takes an unusual look at networking and using your connections to create new opportunities, about which I can always use new ideas.

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