I hold many roles: artist, teacher, graduate student, fiance, workshop leader, book author, and more. I love the things I do. With so much creation and output, I find it helpful to also have input. Things that fill my soul. Reading is one of the primary ways I do this. Here's what has been fueling me along:
I'm currently creating a grief art activity book. I borrowed "Unattended Sorrow" from the library, with the intention to flip through it for topic ideas. I ended up reading the book cover to cover within a weekend because it is that good.
I don't typically like reading about grief. Sometimes it makes me feel more sorrow. However, this book helped me to see the value in not turning away from the pain.
A View of the Ocean
I saw this short book in the biography section of the library and was intrigued because the author describes the life of his mother. I've always wondered how I would accomplish such a feat.
I've been missing my mother terribly lately. I appreciated reading the author's descriptions of his own mother whom he admired immensely. His words about her health decline were difficult (for my mother's last weeks are the most painful memories for me). Perhaps facing that sorrow and letting it surface on occasion is helpful though. It's hard to know.
Can We Talk about Something More Pleasant?
I was really excited to read this book because the creator both wrote and illustrated her experiences of watching her elderly parents' gradually decline until they passed away. It sounds depressing, but just like me, the author tries to depict tough topics with illustrations and humor.
It was a funny read. I believe we all have family moments that are just so bizarre that they are funny. It was also fun to see how another illustrator/author approached difficult memories and subjects.
Everything is Teeth
This is a graphic novel that I saw at the library and wanted to flip through. First, I love sharks. Second, I wanted to see how the author used illustrations to tell her story. It's a quick read.
It does leave me wondering how they market this book. Who buys it? What made them think it would sell? Who is the target audience? As I progress in my own book career, I find myself asking these kinds of questions more.
How to Relax
In March, I found myself so focused on classroom management at my high school that I wasn't enjoying teaching or being with my students.
I work with incredible students. They are seriously funny, insightful, wise, and fun. However, that was being overshadowed by minor problems I was having with some students, my desire to ensure all students were calm and working, and my preoccupation with having a clean, organized, orderly classroom.
This short, insightful book helped me refocus on being fully present. I want to be me at my best, which is kind, loving, funny, and quirky. I want to continue growing toward this. I consider my classroom my spiritual growing ground.
My fiancé jokingly pointed out that I read a lot of nonfiction and "self-help" related books. I decided to expand my reading genre a little with this biography (hey, baby steps).
"Escape" is about a woman who leaves a fundamental latter day saint sect. It was interesting to read about the fundamentalist culture and the author's gradual decision to leave.
How to Sell Your Art Online
This summer I will be offering a month-long internship in social media marketing for my high school students. I'll be paying students to help me market my books and other artwork. I picked this book up from the library. It's a great reference for ideas in various media areas.
Show Your Work
I loved this book the first time I read it. I let a friend borrow it, but never got it back. I decided it was time to get another copy. I seldom reread a book, but this one is worth it! I highly recommend it for any artist looking for ways to market their artwork.
The Gift of Years: Growing Older Gracefully
Joan Chittister, the author of "The Gift of Years," has been my favorite spiritual author since I was in high school. She's a Benedictine nun who speaks directly to the topics we face today.
This book is intended for individuals who are 65+, but I just couldn't resist. It directly addresses many topics I contemplate. What is the meaning of current life? What do you do with fear? Who are you if you're not productive? I'm hoping this book will be a helpful companion as I spiritually reground my life.
If there's any book that is currently feeding your soul, I'd love to hear about it!