February's book report is a bit late! Last month I ran across this article, How to Read Books for Maximum Retention and Learning. And I decided that I wanted to make some changes to how I'm tracking what I'm reading.
The simple task of recording the books that I read each month has been huge for me. I like knowing the number, it subtlety motivates me to read more. I like having the list to refer back to. At the end of the year I break down the list into categories: fiction, non-fiction, memoir, graphic novel, etc. Analyzing the types of books I read & enjoy has helped me to choose better books. I rarely pick up a book and not read it anymore. I know myself well enough now to know if I'm going to like a book when I pick it up.
But I'm ready to take it further. I'm not really remembering much from the books I'm reading so I thought I'd make a few changes. One fun change that's not related to retention is that I started photographing each book. Back in 2014 I photographed my sketchbook with my breakfast and so I'm kinda bringing that back with this project. I'm also beginning to take a few notes or jot down a quote from the book.
This month I'm kinda in between so I have a few photos and quotes but not every book. It'll just have to do though. In February I read 6 books for a total of 13 this year.
#8 As Bright As Heaven (Book of the Month selection)
It was really good... though all the talk of the Spanish Flu during flu season got to me! Here's a couple quotes from the book that I liked:
"I hope [Willa] still thinks butterflies are beautiful. I think they are. We shouldn't think for a moment that just because their lives are short they shouldn't be here.”
"And what does war even accomplish? How does one country win over another by simply killing its people? None of it makes any sense.”
#9 Turtles All the Way Down
I love John Green and this one is just as good as his others. All of his books remind me of John Hughes 80's movies that I love so much. There are SO many good quotes from this book but here's just two of them that kinda go well together:
“The problem with happy endings is that they're either not really happy, or not really endings, you know? In real life, some things get better and some things get worse. And then eventually you die.”
“No, it's not, Holmesy. You pick your endings, and your beginnings. You get to pick the frame, you know? Maybe you don't choose what's in the picture, but you decide the frame.”
#10 A History of Pictures (our year of creative habits book club selection)
This one wasn't what I expected and so I'm disappointed but I did learn a lot, mostly about the role of photography in painting. The line "pictures influence pictures' is the motto that I'll takeaway from the book. And then this idea:
"In a photograph it's the same time on every part of the surface. That's not true in a painting; it's not true even in a painting made from a photograph. That makes a considerable difference. ... The portrait ... by Lucian Freud took a hundred and twenty hours of sitting and you see that time layered into the painting."
#11 Widow Basquiat
I reread this book while studying Basquiat in February. It is a really good book that gives a real look into his personality, the things he said, how he acted, what he did. If you love Basquiat, you've got to read this book.
#12 Fear is my Friend
My friend Brittany gave me this book and I wasn’t really sure if I’d like it because I’ve written a lot about fear and I thought it might be the same, similar to what I’d thought and written already. But it wasn’t and it was really good. It’s beautifully illustrated and it takes a step back and looks at fear and self, not just how fear sabatoges our creative work but the whole person and how it works in our lives.
#13 Quiet Girl in a Noisy World
Another book borrowed from Brittany, she knows me pretty well. :) I loved this graphic novel. It's so funny and true. The surprising thing for me was the story all came together in the end. A lot of times graphic novels are funny but they can lack story. This one comes together and the author accepts who she is and it felt like it had real meaning at the end. I love that.
And then last I wanted to share this book. I didn't read it so it doesn't count as #14. I just looked at (drooled over?) the pictures. I found this book on the new shelf at the library and it is fantastic, such great compositions and colors and type totally ready for stealing. I think I might want to buy this one so I can have it in my studio for reference.