• 2016 reading log

    21. A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara

    I’ve spent every spare moment of the past few days buried in this book, laughing and crying as Yanagihara weaves together one of the most beautiful, epic stories I’ve ever read. It captures life at its fullest and richest: gloriously optimistic and redemptive, and crushingly hopeless and devastating – a paean to love and friendship and life. I feel wrecked having turned the final page. 

    “There had been periods in his twenties when he would look at his friends and feel such a pure, deep contentment that he would wish the world around them would simply cease, that none of them would have to move from that moment, when everything was in equilibrium and his affection for them was perfect. But, of course, that was never to be: a beat later, and everything shifted, and the moment quietly vanished.”

  • 2016 reading log

    20. Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free – Cory Doctorow

    Doctorow manages to make pretty dense, stuffy topics – copyright and creativity in the internet age – totally understandable and, more than that, interesting. It’s a time of dramatic change in the arts, especially with regards to how anyone is supposed to make money from their creative pursuits, and this book is a valuable resource for creators (or anyone) who want to get a better understanding of how creativity and the internet interact. 

    “A bad copyright system has fewer creators making fewer types of work, enjoyed by fewer people. A good copyright system is one that enables the largest diversity of creators making the largest diversity of works to please the largest diversity of audiences.”

  • 2016 reading log

    19. Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert

    This is the best book I’ve read on ‘creativity’, definitely this year, maybe ever. I almost highlighted the whole thing. If you’re pursuing a life in the arts, or just want to live more creatively and adventurously, read it. 

    “I don’t sit around waiting for passion to strike me. I keep working steadily, because I believe it is our privilege as humans to keep making things for as long as we live, and because I enjoy making things. Most of all, I keep working because I trust that creativity is always trying to find me, even when I have lost sight of it.”

  • 2016 reading log

    18. Letters to a Young Poet – Rainer Maria Rilke

    “Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to have love for the questions themselves, like locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Do not seek out the answers now, which cannot be given to you because you cannot live them. What matters is to live everything. Live the questions for now. Perhaps then, without noticing it, you will gradually come, on some far-off day, to live your way into the answer." 

    My dear friend @tomalprice sent me this beautiful quote at the start of the year in response to my impatience and anxiety with everything in life. I set it as my desktop wallpaper and when I made the time to notice it, it always offered comfort. This week, I finally read the collection of letters it’s taken from, where Rilke offers counsel to a young poet who writes to him. It’s filled with profound words like those above – I basically highlighted the entire book. Beautiful.

  • 2016 reading log

    17. So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport

    “The passion hypothesis convinces people that somewhere there’s a magic "right” job waiting for them, and that if they find it, they’ll immediately recognise that this is the work they were meant to do. The problem, of course, is when they fail to find this certainty, bad things follow, such as chronic job-hopping and crippling self-doubt.“ 

    As a "chronic job-hopper” myself, I loved Cal Newport’s book that sets out to disprove the ‘follow your passion’ hypothesis. Smart, well-researched and full of solid advice.

  • 2016 reading log

    16. Good Trouble – Joe Biel

    Detailing his 20-year journey of founding and running a publishing company, Biel’s book is a painfully intimate account of his trials along the way. It covers his divorce, struggles with OCD, and how he managed to make the company work against seemingly impossible odds. If you’re interested in punk rock, DIY or entrepreneurship, this is a must-read.

  • 2016 reading log

    15. Brave Enough – Cheryl Strayed

    I’m a big Cheryl Strayed fan. She’s incredibly wise, stern and encouraging in equal measure, and has a beautiful way with words. And while this book – a collection of her quotes and excerpts – was a little bit like eating too much chocolate cake all in one go, it came at exactly the right time in my week and was balm to the soul. 

    “Did I do the work I needed to do? Did I give it everything I had?”