Adult Summer Reading ListThe Creative Process
This list of books goes along with our 2018 Adult Summer Reading program: “Libraries Rock!”
The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron provides a twelve-week course that guides you through the process of recovering your creative self. It aims to dispel the ‘I’m not talented enough’ conditioning that holds many people back and helps you to unleash your own inner artist. Its step-by-step approach enables you to transform your life, overcome any artistic blocks you may suffer from, including limiting beliefs, fear, sabotage, jealousy and guilt, and replace them with self confidence and productivity. The Artist’s Way will demystify the creative process by making it a part of your daily life.
From Alicia Keys to Elizabeth Gilbert, Patricia Cornwell to Pete Townshend and Russell Brand, The Artist’s Way has helped thousands of people around the world to discover their inner artist. Whatever your artistic leanings, this book will give you the tools you need to enable you to fulfill your dreams.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
A succinct, engaging, and practical guide for succeeding in any creative sphere, “The War of Art” is nothing less than Sun-Tzu for the soul.
What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor-be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? Bestselling novelist Steven Pressfield identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.
“The War of Art” emphasizes the resolve needed to recognize and overcome the obstacles of ambition and then effectively shows how to reach the highest level of creative discipline. Think of it as tough love . . . for yourself. Whether an artist, writer or business person, this simple, personal, and no-nonsense book will inspire you to seize the potential of your life.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity.
With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us.
Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.
The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life – A Practical Guide by Twyla Tharp
Creativity is not a gift from the gods, says Twyla Tharp, bestowed by some divine and mystical spark. It is the product of preparation and effort, and it’s within reach of everyone who wants to achieve it. All it takes is the willingness to make creativity a habit, an integral part of your life: In order to be creative, you have to know how to prepare to be creative. In The Creative Habit, Tharp takes the lessons she has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career and shares them with you, whatever creative impulses you follow — whether you are a painter, composer, writer, director, choreographer, or, for that matter, a businessperson working on a deal, a chef developing a new dish, a mother wanting her child to see the world anew.
Tharp’s exercises are practical and immediately doable — for the novice or expert. In “Where’s Your Pencil?” she reminds us to observe the world — and get it down on paper. In “Coins and Chaos,” she provides the simplest of mental games to restore order and peace. In “Do a Verb,” she turns your mind and body into coworkers. In “Build a Bridge to the Next Day,” she shows how to clean your cluttered mind overnight.
To Tharp, sustained creativity begins with rituals, self-knowledge, harnessing your memories, and organizing your materials (so no insight is ever lost). Along the way she leads you by the hand through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts into productive grooves. In her creative realm, optimism rules. An empty room, a bare desk, a blank canvas can be energizing, not demoralizing. And in this inventive, encouraging book, Twyla Tharp shows us how to take a deep breath and begin!
Art Thinking: How to Carve Out Creative Space in a World of Schedules, Budgets, and Bosses by Amy Whitaker
Anyone from CEO to freelancer knows how hard it is to think big, let alone follow up, while under pressure to get things done. Inventing Point B offers practical principles, inspiration, and a healthy dose of pragmatism to help you navigate the difficulties of balancing creative thinking with driving toward results.
With an MBA and an MFA, Amy Whitaker, an entrepreneur-in-residence at the New Museum Incubator, draws on stories of athletes, managers, writers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and even artists to engage you in the process of “art thinking.” If you are making a work of art in any field, you aren’t going from point A to point B. You are inventing point B. Art thinking combines the mindsets of art and the tools of business to protect space for open-ended exploration and to manage risks on your way to success.
Inventing Point B takes you from “Wouldn’t it be cool if?” to realizing your highest aims, helping you build creative skills you can apply across all facets of business and life. Warm, honest, and unexpected, Inventing Point B will help you reimagine your work and life—and even change the world—while enjoying the journey from point A.
Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to Be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are by Danny Gregory
Packed with the signature can-do attitude that makes beloved artist Danny Gregory a creativity guru to thousands across the globe, this unique guide serves up a hearty helping of inspiration. For aspiring artists who want to draw and paint but just can’t seem to find time in the day, Gregory offers 5– to 10–minute exercises for every skill level that fit into any schedule—whether on a plane, in a meeting, or at the breakfast table—along with practical instruction on techniques and materials, plus strategies for making work that’s exciting, unintimidating, and fulfilling. Filled with Gregory’s encouraging words and motivating illustrations, Art Before Breakfast teaches readers how to develop a creative habit and lead a richer life through making art.
Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self by Manoush Zomorodi
Has your smartphone become your BFF? Do you feel bored when you’re not checking Facebook or Instagram? Bored and Brilliant: How Spacing Out Can Unlock Your Most Productive and Creative Self explains the connection between boredom and original thinking, and explores how we can harness boredom’s hidden benefits to become our most productive selves.
In 2015, WNYC Studio’s ‘Note To Self’ host Manoush Zomorodi led thousands of her listeners through a week of experiments designed to help them reassess their technology habits, unplug for part of each week and jumpstart their creativity. Throughout the book are a series of challenges that will help readers rethink their relationship to their devices without completely leaving the digital world.
Zomorodi also explores why putting greater emphasis on “doing nothing” is vital in an age of constant notifications and digital distractions. She speaks with neuroscientists and cognitive psychologists about “mind wandering”–what our brains do when we’re doing nothing at all, and the link between boredom and creativity.
Bored and Brilliant is about living smarter and better within a digital world. Technology isn’t going anywhere, and who would want it to? Bored and Brilliant teaches us how to align our gadget use with what we hold dear and true, and find equilibrium in this new digital ecosystem.
The Perfect Wrong Note: Learning to Trust Your Musical Self by William Westney
In this groundbreaking book, prize-winning pianist and noted educator William Westney helps readers discover their own path to the natural, transcendent fulfillment of making music. Drawing on experience, psychological insight, and wisdom ancient and modern, Westney shows how to trust yourself and set your own musicality free. He offers healthy alternatives for lifelong learning and suggests significant change in the way music is taught.
For example, playing a wrong note can be constructive, useful, even enlightening. The creator of the acclaimed Un-Master Class workshop also explores the special potential of group work, outlining the basics of his revelatory workshop that has transformed the music experience for participants the world over. Practicing, in Westney’s view, is a lively, honest, adventurous, and spiritually rewarding enterprise, and it can (and should) meet with daily success, which empowers us to grow even more.
Teachers, professionals, and students of any instrument will benefit from this unique guide, which brings artistic vitality, freedom, and confidence within everyone’s reach.
Zen Guitar by Philip Toshio Sudo
Unleash the song of your soul with Zen Guitar, a contemplative handbook that draws on ancient Eastern wisdom and applies it to music and performance.
Each of us carries a song inside us, the song that makes us human. Zen Guitar provides the key to unlocking this song—a series of life lessons presented through the metaphor of music.
Philip Sudo offers his own experiences with music to enable us to rediscover the harmony in each of our lives and open ourselves to Zen awareness uniquely suited to the Western Mind. Through fifty-eight lessons that provide focus and a guide, the reader is led through to Zen awareness. This harmony is further illuminated through quotes from sources ranging from Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix to Miles Davis. From those who have never strummed a guitar to the more experienced, Zen Guitar shows how the path of music offers fulfillment in all aspects of life—a winning idea and an instant classic.
The Inner Game of Music by Barry Green
The Inner Game of music is that which takes place in the mind, played against such elusive opponents as nervousness, self doubt, and fear of failure. Using the same principles of “natural learning” Timothy Gallwey developed so successfully for tennis, golf and skiing and applying them to his own field, noted musician Barry Green shows how to acknowledge and overcome these internal obstacles in order to bring a new quality to the experience and learning of music. And for those who don’t play an instrument but who feel their appreciation of music will be enhanced if they understand more about the process of playing, this book is Ideal.
In precise, easy to understand language, Green and Gallwey explain how natural skills can be nurtured and enhanced, and through a series of special exercises they demonstrate the ways in which musicians can achieve exact intonation, artistic phrasing, and improved technique.