Ever since I quit social media I’ve had a burst of creative energy. From wanting to watch design shows on tv to reading books about making, everywhere I turn I’m looking for new ideas to feed this creative spurt. This month’s books were a lot about creating–Creating a gathering space, creating a slower life, and creating a home that is where you always want to be. I also snuck in two novels, one of which has been sitting on my shelf since I was about 12. I thought it was finally time that I decided if I liked it and if it still needed room on my shelf (the final consensus was it didn’t).
Without further ado, here are November’s reads.
Where do I even begin with how much I love this book. I’ve been really diving into Japanese culture these last two months and this book provided everything I was looking for and more. The pictures are breathtaking but the words really connected with me. It has a feel of reading a blog more than a book with these 2-4 pages being about a new topic. From learning to love natural fibers to making your own Miso or fixing your broken dishes with kintsugi there were a million ideas in this book to slow down and enjoy the finer things in life. If you’ve never wanted to go to Japan before, you’ll want to after reading this book.
While we’re still on the topic of Japan you might as well also grab Wabi Sabi while you’re at it. This has become my new favorite term and way of thinking about life. While wabi sabi, together, has no interpreted meaning it’s a feeling that can be interpreted in many ways. Wabi translates to appreciating beauty and recognizing that it is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. Sabi on the other hand is an appreciation of age and nostalgia. Together they create a phrase the embraces the beauty of the now, as imperfect as it is, while also making us reflect on the past. There’s also an ever-present love for nature that comes with Wabi Sabi which makes it feel complete.
This short little book will give you a new look at life and help you to embrace the idea of living slowly. Once you read it, it’s hard not to look for the wabi sabi in your life.
I’m reading a couple of books from Kinfolk and other books with similar formatting. From the creators of the magazine, Kinfolk, comes this beautiful coffee table book of homes that are embracing slow living. A short description of the home followed by beautiful photos of each place and sometimes an essay that matches with the philosophy of that homeowner. It gives you all the fixer-upper vibes but in a way that embraces sustainability and creates forever homes.
Home renovations are one of the biggest causes of waste in our society right now. We fix up a home just to sell it and then the new homeowners don’t like the tile or the countertops and proceed to flip it again. On top of that, the materials that are used nowadays are much cheaper than 50-years ago because we all want a cheap and quick flip, not something that will last us as long as we live in that home–forever. This book, and one I’ll mention next month, is inspiring when it comes to the home you want to create, but also a great reminder to go slow, choose high-quality and sustainable materials, and create something that you want to live with for years to come.
I’ll be honest when I say I skimmed this book. The Art of Gathering is all about learning how to create an intentional gathering whether it’s at your house or a conference. It’s a great book to learn ideas on getting people to connect, how to create boundaries, and how saying no and leaving people out can actually be the kind thing to do. It gets a little redundant and has a ton of examples that I got tired of reading. So take this book and jump around to learn about the areas that interest you and how you want to host gatherings in the future.
If you’ve seen the Netflix TV show Virgin River, you’ll most likely love the books too. Each book focuses on a different character (and their love life) while also keeping up with your favorite characters. They’re sweet, easy to read, and are the perfect escape. I’m about to start book #4 this month and just like to have something that will be an escape when I sit by the fire with my tea. These books don’t follow the TV show too closely so you’ll have surprised endings each time. I gave this book 4 stars because it’s essentially a lifetime movie in a book. So it’s entertaining, a feel-good experience, but nothing life-changing. Consider it your perfect book for a bath and possibly a good cry.
I should start by saying that this is a young adult book made for pre-teens. I’ve had it on my shelf for as long as I can remember because it’s a beautiful book with cool sketches inside and folded pages that make you feel like a secret agent (hence why I bought it). The writing is really simple, the dialogue is terrible, but for someone who is 10-12, I think they would love it. So if you have a child who loves adventure and spy movies, I think they would get a huge kick out of this book. As for the adults, I don’t recommend it. I’ll be cleaning up my shelf and donating this book to a home that will enjoy it.
Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave – 3 Stars
I’ve recently gotten into children’s books as I continue to dive into my illustration work. I listened to Jessica Hische on an episode of Design Matters with Debbie Miller. She had just released Tomorrow I’ll Be Kind, a sequel to Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave. While the family (including my 7-year-old niece) agree that we like Tomorrow I’ll be Brave both books are pretty cute. Jessica is known for her letting skills which take the stage in these books. I myself like a little more in-depth of illustrations and a bit more of a storyline which is why I gave it 3 stars.