Posts Tagged ‘books’

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Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

I had a lot of time to kill at my last art event because I went down a day early to check out the gallery space for an upcoming show. This meant a lot of time just sitting around the hotel. So I decided to hit the local book store and see if anything appealed. I do tend to read … correction … buy, quite a few books on creativity. I’m not sure why. Sometimes they inspire me, mostly though they are a bit boring. Sort of regurgitating the same ideas in different voices. But I enjoy Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Super Soul Sunday programming and she recently interviewed Elizabeth Gilbert and talked a little about this book.

I’d like to say that she was so inspirational and I just had to run out and get it, but no. I was however … just a tiny bit … intrigued.

So I stood in the book store holding this book, pondering purchasing yet another book that I may or may not end up reading. I held this book in one hand and “Furiously Happy” by Jenny Lawson* in the other. I went back and forth on it but in the end this is the one I walked out with.

Turns out I enjoyed much of it. I thought Gilbert really hit it on the nose with her no nonsense approach to what it is to live the creative life. I talk with a lot of aspiring artists and by that I mean those who want to take their hobby into a profession. But so many truly don’t understand what it takes, and how much you really have to want it. You have to love what you do so much that you’ll continue to do it no matter what. No matter if you work three jobs and can only create an hour a day and that hour is at 5 am.

She speaks of the paradox of being a creative. You need to believe your work is the most important thing yet know in the end it is not really important. It is absolutely meaningless and yet deeply meaningful at the same time. I mean lets face it my latest cow painting isn’t going to change the world, it’s not even going to change my life, but I must honor the creative spirit and endeavor to work on it as if it is of utmost importance and deserving of all of my efforts.

“Creativity is sacred, and it is not sacred. What we make matters enormously, and it doesn’t matter at all … Art is a crushing chore and a wonderful privilege.”

She also talks about creativity as if it is a magical thing or spirit with it’s own agenda to make manifest its inspiration and that you need to build a relationship with, be open to and share a dialogue with. If you ignore this creative spirit it will take it’s inspiration elsewhere. Now that doesn’t mean that another creative inspiration won’t come your way but it’s up to you to act on it.

She speaks quite a bit about fear, which seems to be common theme in so many art books. Not something I personally struggle with when it come to the creativity end of thing but I got fears a plenty when it comes to paying my bills. There’s something about just trusting year after year that I will sell enough of my work to make it rewarding both financially and emotionally that is an act of courage for me. But if you do have fears regarding your art this book will go in deep with you and give you whatever permissions you think you might need to move forward.

“…if you can’t learn to travel comfortably alongside your fear, then you’ll never be able to go anywhere interesting or do anything interesting. and that would be a pity because life is short and rare and amazing and miraculous, and you want to do really interesting things and make really interesting things while you’re still here.”

In the end it’s kind of a no nonsense guide and somewhat realistic look at living the life of creativity. I like that she doesn’t celebrate artists as particularly special, it’s simply something we have chosen to do. The magic happens when you connect to the universe (or God or the angels or your higher self. Whatever you prefer to call it …) and manifest an idea into reality.

Of the many books I’ve read on living the creative life, this has definitely been one of the most interesting, honest and enjoyable.

  • Jenny Lawson is one of my all time favorite bloggers who’s blog I’ve been reading for as long as I’ve been blogging. So for say 8 years now … She is a sensational writer and a New York Times Best Seller. She’s funny and real and tells it like it is no matter how crazy or painful. You can check her out here at The Bloggess

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In honor of Cyber Monday
Yeah okay it’s not what you think. Besides my horse pages I’ve also been working on puzzle pages and some book pages.

A couple of friends were reading various paranormal romance book series and kinda got me hooked. So I created squidoo pages for them. Most of these are kinda for the young adult ages (along the lines of Twilight saga) but the Anita Blake are completely adult content with the sex and violence getting far more graphic the deeper into the series that I go. I’ve never been a reader of romance, but add a few vampires, werewolves, zombies and some sprinkling of trolls and faeries and apparently I can’t get enough. So at any rate

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The Books Of Lauren Kate
Yup I already mentioned this one to you but since it’s not yet indexed by google I’ll mention it again.

The story line surrounds Luce who finds herself in a boarding school for delinquent children. She is scared because at a party when she snuck off and kissed a boy he somehow burst into flames. Her parents seem afraid of her and she thinks she just might be a little crazy as she sees shadows moving in dangerous and sinister ways and that no one else can see.But everything changes at the school. She meets Daniel who for some reason hates her and yet she has the distinct feeling that they’ve met before. It turns out they have. Indeed they have been falling in love over and over again throughout history until she dies. Only to have it all repeat itself again.

My previous post The Books Of Lauren Kate

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Shiver (Wolves of Mercy Falls)

The Books Of Maggie Stiefvater
Some of you may be familiar with Maggie (I know Angela is) as she was an amazing animal artist. I discovered her blogs just about the time she got signed with a publisher. Her writing became a huge success and as far as I know she has left the art behind.

So this summer during one of the artfairs I was in need of some reading and Mike pointed out Shiver at Target. I read it and then the following two in the series. These are a really good young adult type paranormal as the sex and violence are very mild. Maggie has created a wonderful world with werewolves that shift because of temperature changes until eventually they become all wolf.

I enjoyed them mostly because I was familiar with the author but if I had young tweens it would be a perfect read for them.

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Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter)

Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Book Series
Here’s a strictly adult type paranormal romance. The early books in the series deal more with murder mysteries that Anita Blake must solve. But as the series progresses (and so far there are 20 books int he series and counting) both sex and violence become far more graphic.

Anita Blake is an animator (she raises zombies for a living – mostly to settle legal disputes) but her powers grow and she becomes a much feared necromancer.

These books are filled with all sorts of mythical creatures but circle primarily between vampires and werewolves and of course she has powerful love interests in both factions. There are also zombies, ghouls, trolls, fairies and some far more unheard of kind of supernatural beasties.

The mysteries are intriguing and the storyline a fun romp on the paranormal. Currently I’m not yet half way through the series but I’m pretty sure I’ll see it through to the end.

The Page which describes all my Paranormal Books Series is Paranormal Romance Books Series

My Other Lenses Regarding Paranormal Books
House Of Night Vampire Books
The Vampire Academy Books
The Outlander Series by Diana Galbadon

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I’m back from my event and will tell ya’ll about tomorrow. But for today I just published a new book lens covering the Young Adult Paranormal Romance genre by Lauren Kate.

I found these books rather fascinating in that they coupled the traditional paranormal romance (if there is such a thing) with biblical stories. It took the complex concepts of angels and demons as being more than just good or evil but combinations of both things.

The story line surrounds Luce who finds herself in a boarding school for deliquent children. She is scared because at a party when she snuck off and kissed a boy he somehow burst into flames. Her parents seem afraid of her and she thinks she just might be a little crazy as she sees shadows moving in dangerous and sinister ways and that no one else can see.But everything changes at the school. She meets Daniel who for some reason hates her and yet she has the distinct feeling that they’ve met before. It turns out they have. Indeed they have been falling in love over and over again throughout history until she dies. Only to have it all repeat itself again.

For more information visit my lens The Books of Lauren Kate

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So Budda isn’t really one to read children’s books but since he has some young siblings on the farm he thought he would peruse a few and has come across this delightful series starring Sunshine the cat. The books feature Sunshine in photos and rhyme as she searches for her lost mousy toy.

Now every cat knows that mousy toys are wily little critters and often have a habit of disappearing. Budda tends to find his throwing some sort of secret meeting under the couch.

Budda thinks these are fun books for parents to read aloud and a real joy for any animal lover.

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Where Is Your Mousey?

The author Audrey Simonson is local to Iowa and has written several books featuring Sunshine and her friends.

Here’s a sampling from the book Oh, No … Not Again!.which is part of a trilogy of books about Sunshine and her mousy toy.

Sunshine, the cat, just loved her yarn “Mouse.”
But, she kept losing that “Mouse” somewhere in the house.

Well, it’s lost once again.
We don’t know just when.

She’s looking just like an orange, furry grouch!

To learn more about Audrey Simonson and her books please visit her website.
You can also purchase her books from this site at a lesser price than amazon.

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In The End I Blame Disney

It has been awhile since I’ve done a rant.
So at the moment my marriage is going through a rough patch. This is not news to most who know me personally. After 20 some years these things happen.

But nonetheless it gets me to pondering my own ideas about love and marriage and how did I miss out on getting my “Happily Ever After.” Indeed why did I ever think I’d get a happily ever after in the first place. So I felt the need for letting a little of the crazy (and by crazy I mean bitterness) out. On the whole this helps me to feel far less stabby.

This post has nothing to do with art or critters or my usually perky disposition
, so feel free to skip over and come back tomorrow for the Tree Topper painting start to finish post.

Bad Boys are sexy.
I am currently out of fresh reading material so I have started rereading the twilight series books as I enjoyed them the first time despite being far older than their target audience. I was talking with a friend the other day about how I can see the huge allure of the storyline for teens despite the fact that the book is full of really bad messages for young girls. She agreed and said the bad boy type is a strong fantasy for most girls. Truthfully most never grow out of it and maybe that’s why so many … um … older than target audience type women read them as well.

Why is this do you suppose? Well as the post title implies I blame Disney.

Both Disney and Twilight like to think their message is “Love conquers all, even death.” But here’s what the Twilight books are really telling young girls and the various and subtle ways in which Disney said it first:

Twilight:: If a boy doesn’t like you, just keep trying. This is especially true if he hints at wanting to kill you. Also his being rich makes it all worthwhile.
Beauty and the Beast: Scary, dangerous men (or beast) who are rich will in the end, make a good husband because you can change him if you try hard enough.

Twilight: Creepy stalker behavior like watching you while you sleep is really just romantic.
Snow White: Rest easy and eventually prince charming will arrive to be there to wake you up. And if you’re really pretty, it doesn’t even matter if you’re already living with a bunch of other men.

Twilight:: If a boy dumps you, start doing life threatening activities because you are really nothing unless you’re with him.
Pocahontas You need to be willing to leave everything you’ve always known including family and friends for a man when he asks you to or else he’ll leave without you.

Twilight: If all else fails, change enough (ie die) and you will get him in the end.
Little Mermaid If you’re willing to change everything that you are, you can win yourself a handsome husband.

Bonus Twilight Message: Nice guys are not nearly as good a choice for life partner as scary, murdery types who hurt you.
Bonus Disney Message: Cinderella: If you are a pretty girl, you don’t need to work your way up in the world. You just have to “pretend” (deceive is such a ugly word) to be rich in order to get a man to fall in love with you and then he’ll take care of everything.

I just googled I Blame Disney and apparently I’m not the only one. It has 18,500,000 search results. Wow! And here i thought I was being original.

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A Cat Of Many Hats
So it’s been a little while since Budda the literary scholar has sat down and dictated a book review to me. I’m sure you all have missed his witty commentary and helpful advice column. But happily Budda has decided to once again don his hat of literary genius. It is of course only one of many hats which include the all important job of gallery greeter, husband and child entertainer, stress reductionist, massage therapist and advice columnist just to name a few. He also conducts wine tasting clinics in his free time.

So What’s Budda Reading Now?
We had just finished reading Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen last week after I had told him about the movie he insisted he get the opportunity to peruse it’s pages. (Alas theaters frown on cats in the audience … some people are so speciest.) Budda very much enjoyed the book especially the parts involving the lions and panthers. He rated it 3 out of 4 paws up. The book varied from the movie in a million small ways that made me wonder why they bothered to change things. The important difference being the movie combined two bad guy characters into one which made sense to me in an effort to streamline the storyline.

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Water for Elephants: A Novel

Story Synopsis
Young Jacob Jankowski is just a final exam away from graduating from Cornell as a Veterinarian. His parents die unexpectedly in a car accident and Jacob finds himself left with nothing. The story is set during the depression and Jacob’s father had been accepting food or whatever in exchange for payment coupled with the fact that his parents has mortgaged everything to send Jacob to Cornell meant Jacob has no money, prospects or home. Disheartened he just starts walking away from everything he has known. In the middle of the night a train goes rumbling by and he hops aboard. It’s not until later does he learn it’s a circus train filled with an odd assortment of people and run by a scary and corrupt owner. Jacob falls for the head act Marlena who does a liberty show with horses. Unfortunately for Jacob Marlena is married to his new boss, the menagerie man who has fits of ruthlessness and violence.

Ape House by Sara Gruen
Having finished Water for Elephants Budda wanted to further explore the work of Sara Gruen and so has now begun Ape House. He has not yet finished the story but it has started off with a bang. (literally) Budda found it interesting that the author did much of her research, not to mention studied linguistics and a system of lexigrams in order to communicate directly with the Bonobos living at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines Iowa.

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Ape House: A Novel

Story Synopsis
Isabel works with a small group of Bonobo chimps in a language research facility. These animals are her family and her life’s work. The ape’s understand English quite well and American Sign Language (ASL) as well as their own complex vocalization language which is clearly far more advanced than previously understood. The lab is blown up by animal activists who think that terrible experiments are being performed on the chimps. Isabel is badly hurt in the explosion and the chimps are then captured and sold and later show up on a reality TV show which becomes a huge success. Frantic Isabel needs help.them and has no idea what how to do it. With the help of a reporter named John who will risk everything to help, a green haired animal rights activist, and a retired porn star (we haven’t got to this part yet so no idea how she plays into this whole saga) they hope to solve the mystery of who’s really behind this and how to save the bonobos.

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The Business of Being an Artist

I usually include books on selling art on my various art business and art fair lenses so I finally up and made a page filled with a wide variety of books on selling art.

The Best Books On Selling Art has a broad range of subjects ranging from the business of being an artist to art licensing. For you potential art fair goers there is also a selection of books dedicated to being vendors at both and and/or craft fairs.

The Categories On Books On Selling Art On This Page Are:
* The Business of Being An Artist
Contains books on business management, legal issues and creativity.

* Selling Art & Marketing Yourself
Contains books about selling through galleries, self representation * art marketing

* Art Licensing

Make Money at Art Shows and Craft Fairs

* Selling Art at Art Fairs & Craft Shows
Contains books detailing the in and outs of marketing arts and crafts at street fairs.

* Selling Art Online
Covers online art marketing like Ebay, Etsy websites, blogs and more.

And since the art fair season is just around the corner I thought I’d include my compendium page which list all of my art fair and art business related squidoo pages. It’s an easy way to pick and choose the information you’d like to read up on.

A Full Compendium Of All Of My Art Fair & Art Business Lenses

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A friend of mine offered to lend me a book to me back when I was reading all those teeny bopper vampire novels, but forgot. No problem I eventually (as in a couple of days later) bought it myself. However several months later when she actually remembered, she felt really bad about it and despite my proclamation it was no big deal, forced several (a series) of rather large books on me that I hadn’t ever heard of.


I already had seven books I was planning to read (the last of the Jane Austens and a couple of vampire novels) and once I got through them I finally cracked open the first in the series. To my surprise once I got into the story I really enjoyed them. And then I noticed they were self proclaimed romance novels. Tauting sex and intrigue on the covers. (umm, hello … I don’t read romance novels.)

Well guess what, I liked them. Though I’d say they are pretty graphic. Not so much the sex parts (despite what the covers says) but the violence. The books are set around Claire Randall in the 1940’s who while visiting Scotland stepped into a henge (stone circle) and was transported back in time 200 years. The books are kind of non stop action where they befall one near death experience after another. Full of magic and mystery and a 1740 Scottish hottie.I’ll tell you no on the off chance one of you thinks you’d like to read them.

So I’m like how’d I get to this place of romance novel reading. Well my recent reading list has been vampire novels and they contained lots of young love for hunky men. And then I’m also reading all the Jane Austen books though technically she is more about angst.

Conversation with my husband when I was reading the first book.

A Breath of Snow and Ashes

Mike: SO is the sex as good as it claims

Me: Not really. I mean it’s okay but not quite the bodice ripper it portends to be. I think what makes the book seem so sexy is that he’s a hero. Women like a hero.

Mike: So women want to be saved
Me: No women want a hero. She killed a wolf with her bare hands, she doesn’t need saving. She needs a hero. Someone who’s equal to her greatness.
And let’s face it, that’s all any woman wants. A man who’s equal to our greatness.

Squidoo Lenses I Made About The Outlander Series And Those Vampire Novels
The Outlander Series

Vampire Academy Series
The House Of Night Vampire Series

I’m currently reading this book A Breath Of Snow And Ashes

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I am a voracious reader and so it’s not surprising that I combined my love of horses with my love of books and created several squidoo pages geared toward the horse enthusiast. Many of the books contained withing these pages (with the exception of the children’s horse books) I actually own or have read.

Horse, a Portrait:
A Photographer’s Life With Horses

The Best Horse Books For Women
This page showcases a wide variety of horse books ranging from photography and art inspired books like the one shown here, to literary non-fiction works written by women trying to define the relationships and the experience they share with their horses.

Horses undoubtedly touch out lives and for many bring emotional as well as physical healing and balance to us.

Book Categories On This Page Are:
Exploring The Spiritual Side Of Women And Horses
Books That Explore The Magical Kinship Between Women and Horses
Women And Horses by Writers & Artists
Horse Short Stories
Celebrating The Horse Through Photography
Understanding Equine Communication
Women In The Horse Industry
Reader Nominated Books
Women And Horses Calendars

If I Had a Horse:
How Different Life Would Be

The Best Books For Horse Lovers
This page is a collection of horse books that is a slightly broader range of equine subjects over that of The Best Horse Books for Women page. While there is some cross over books between the lenses their are also substantially different.

The Book Categories Showcased On This Page Are:
Art & Photography Horse Books
Women And Horses
Books On Natural Horsemanship
Horse Novels

Horse, Follow Closely:
Native American Horsemanship

The Best Natural Horsemanship Books
When I first got my horse I invested a lot of time in learning about natural horsemanship methods. The concept of Natural Horsemanship is that instead of forcing a horse to do what you want, you convince the horse that you and he want the same thing. This was an idea that resonated with me.

I reviewed several of the books from own collection and added many other books from various Natural Horsemanship greats like …

Monty Roberts
Pat Parelli
GaWaNi Pony Boy
John Lyons
Clinton Anderson

Also I included books on Natural Horsemanship & Equine Communication

Dream Horses:
A Poster Book

The Best Horse Books For Children
If you have a horse loving kid here is a page jam packed with an assortment of equine goodies in the form of horse coloring books, horse poster books and horse stickers.

The Books Covered In This Lens
Horse Poster Books
Horse Sticker Books
Horse Activity Books
Horse Coloring Books
Classic Horse Stories
Horse Story Series Books

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It’s the end of the day. A good day mind you as I took most of it off and I played some PS2 and did a little light reading.

As I was making dinner (or is it Supper? I can never keep them straight) Mike was reading my blog, which you may well be surprised to know he almost never does. (I know, I know you’d think he wouldn’t be able to get enough of me despite spending nearly 24 hours of every day together.)

The reason he’s reading my blog is because earlier he was at the computer and I had left a tablet next to it with the poorly (one might even say . . . franticly) scribbled sentence. “The voices in my head tell me to kill you.”

Now thinking he may have noticed this note I felt obligated to tell him why I wrote it. You know in case he was wondering if I left it out as some sort of premeditative insanity defense for when I killed him later in his sleep.

I’m like “Uh, that was a search term someone used and and for some reason google thought it best to send them to my blog for help. And well, I kinda wanted to know what I wrote that would qualify..” (Turns out it was my Breyerfest post – who knew?)

So after Mike uncovered the mystery of Google’s belief that my blog is exactly what potential killers need) he started reading my blog. Which happens so rarely I got the “Ah crap!” moment that I was just telling you about. You know where I feel like I’m being judged and it’s too late because I’ve already exposed my fluffy vulnerable underbelly through my writing.

Mike reading recent post “You’re a 40 something channeling a teenager?

looking sideways at him to see if he’s mocking me “Well I did just spend the day playing video games and reading a teenager vampire novel.” (borrowed from an actual teenager mind you)

Looks at me speculatively, then nods slowly in an understanding way and returns to looking at the monitor.

(Sigh) Perhaps it would have been better to let him believe I was plotting a murder. At least that makes me seem like more of an adult.

As To The Vampire Book I Was Reading
Actually I’ve been reading a couple of different series. Both are remarkably the same story though with of course different names and basic plots. But both books are set at some sort of vampire school and both have good vampires (who are considered alive and take blood from willing folks) and bad vampires (which are considered dead and take blood forcibly.) Of the two series I enjoyed the Vampire Academy (as opposed to the House Of Night) more. Rose is a kick butt kinda character (like Lara Croft of Tomb Raider) though she still makes really rather child-like decisions at times. All in all both are a fun easy read that entertains and fills the void for all those who read the Twilight Series

Spirit Bound by Richelle Meade is the fifth book in the Vampire Academy series and I believe from what I’ve heard (from the aforementioned teen who is also reading the series) the next will be th the last and then the author will start a new character line using the same school backdrop.

is a house of night book by Kristen Cast. What allowed me to actually read this series was that I started reading it after 6 books were written and I just read them back to back. Had I to wait 6 months to a year between books I would never had gotten past the first one. Frankly the first 5 books could have been condensed into two and the story would have progressed much better. The first few books cover like a couple weeks at a time. I really like to move a little faster than that in general. None-the-less I still enjoyed the series for what it was and by the time I got to the most recent book Burned the story had gotten more intricate and I was actually curious as to what happens next.

So there you go. If your looking for some fluff reading for summer and you’re one of the millions loving the whole vampire thing try a couple of these on for size. (Okay you can stop judging me now.)

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