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Out With the Old...In With the New

Also, a bit of a book review.  It's been awhile since I've been here.  It feels good to be back.  I had my issues with 2015 but she's gone and I'm moving on. So just to get started I wanted to tell you about a new class I'm taking with Christina Greve, called Slow Down with Stills.  Each week we will receive a prompt to help us stay focused on slowing down while taking stills. She is such an awesome person and her posts each week are so inspiring.  This is for week one.  It's a combination slowing down lesson for me but also a book review for you.  I'm way behind in my book reviews.  

This weeks prompt is nuanced textures of life. It is to showcase a part of my daily life that I wish to pay more attention to. That was so easy for me.  I feel like I pay so much attention to everything else and yet I let my one big love down every year...No, not Jim.  The book pile.  Each year I promise to read more, give myself permission to do the things I really love and stop putting them at the bottom of my to-do list.  I want to move them up to Top Priority.  Although I did o.k last year, I didn't read as many books as I wanted to.  I also spent more time fluffing through magazines than reading hard core books and photography lessons.  So this year...I've doubled my expectations for myself.  I've already carved out slots of time and I've stopped some wasteful magazine subscriptions.  Feeling good about making space, everyday, for reading.  Feeling good about lesson one being complete for Slow Down With Stills and feeling very good about being back...

Just a quick review from some of my favorites from 2015:

One of my favorite writing books this year was Stephen King on Writing.  Five stars from me.  It was different and unique and because I loved it so much my husband gave me his newest book of short stories for a Christmas gift. The first half of this book was surprisingly a mini autobiography which was utterly fascinating and the second half was his thoughts about writing. Some really good tips and a different spin than most writers, and purely entertaining.  Honestly, I couldn't put it down.  

I also read Ernest Hemingway on Writing.  Such a really enjoyable book.  It's very easy to read, has lots of quotes and he tells his story in small tidbits so you can pick it up and put it down easily.  He was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1954.  The first book I ever read of his was The Old Man and Sea, which won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1953. I could not get that book out of my head and continue reading him time and again.

The last writing book I read was by Jeff Goins, You Are A Writer.  I think it is worth a read. I found lots to underline and to look back over.  Some very good tips.  I read with the hope of finding something that sparks me, even if the entire book isn't overflowing with advice.  That's what I found with this book, but honestly, I found enough to keep me going.

Moving on to some fun and entertaining books, which you have probably read by now because I'm so late reporting on them...but just in case you haven't.

I read one Memoir, The Liar's Club by Mary Kerr.  The reason I read that book was because I have heard so much about what a great writer she is.  So I thought I would start with her story.  Honestly, I didn't finish the book.  Very dark and depressing and maybe because there was a similar string that ran through that book for me, I decided to leave it.  She has also written Cherry and Lit, which I have heard good things about but I'm thinking those are also biographical so I probably won't read them either.  This was the only book that I did not finish and I tried really hard.  I got to page 149.  In this new year if I notice that a book isn't doing it for me, I'm letting go a lot sooner than that.  

A quick read that I loved...if your a fan of E.B White you might like Here is New York.  In the summer of 1948, E.B. White sat in a New York City hotel room and, sweltering in the summer heat , wrote a remarkable, pristine essay, Here is New York.  If you love E.B.White or New York, you will love this little book.

Two other small ones that I'll group together here.  Steal Like an Artist..a good one. Then The Hen Who Dreamed She Could this book.  I would recommend both of these and they are keepers.

Just for pleasure...I loved them all.  After You, by Jojo Moyes.  A good read but not as good as You Before Me..but a good book.  All The Light We Cannot, love, loved this book.  Rumi and the Red Handbag, by Shawna may have heard of her.  Enjoyed this book.  Finally, for now, Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue..simply a fun book to read. 1748 working class London. Very descriptive of London in those days, and the story of a strong willed girl.  I just sank into this one.  Emma Donoghue also wrote the book Room..which I read a few years ago...that was a fantastic book also and now it is out in film in the states.  

So there you have it...some of my very favorites.  This year my goal is to read two books at a time, one technical and one for fun.  It seems the technical never get read because the fun books speak louder.  Not sure how it will all end up but I'm off to a good start.  I'm on my second book and I'm almost done with a book of poetry...Thanks for stopping by and happy reading...

"All my life I've looked at words as though I was seeing them for the first time."  Ernest Hemingway

"Books help me breath better.  It's that simple."  Nina George 


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Reader Comments (14)

I read every day after lunch. It's time that I just set aside to read. I also read before bed. And, if I'm reading a really good book, I may sneak in extra sessions or two!

January 9, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterpam

That's great Pam...I have given myself permission to read first thing in the morning for about 45 minutes to an hour and like you, I like to read before bed. Sometimes if I can squeeze it in, I'll read around 4 with a cup of tea. As a matter of fact, that's where I'm going right now...xo

January 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl c.

I enjoyed "reading" about your reading list Cheryl. It's certainly a good way to relax and learn new things, or escape into a fantasy world. Maybe one day I'll take time to join in. Love your photo!!

January 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly

Happy New Year, Cheryl!
The class sounds wonderful and loving your goals for 2016. I'm thinking I should make some goals for myself but haven't yet. I've only succeeded at relaxing much more, which is a good one ;-) Lovely photo, my friend.

January 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterKarin

Well, I have to admit I LOVE your still life the BEST of all!
Especially seeing your model so content in the background.
Your focus and mood are fabulous! Richard is the reader in this family . . . I think he consumes about 4 books at once . . .
I have to be REALLY into a book to relax and enjoy. I get so frustrated with books that "hook" you but have little substance and one keeps thinking it will be worth it in the end . . . and then it isn't! I used to love Jodi Picoult, but would get so stirred up by the plot! Sometime I'll have to try one of your suggestions! I do love biographies! I'm excited to see you're enjoying books on writing! Remember when you went to see Natalie Goldberg and we almost connected! ENJOY your winter hunker down time! I love to organize and create from found objects! Then photograph the results!!! silly me . .. .

January 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAntoinette

Thank you Beverly...I do understand the desire to read and not stop but that did get me in touble many years ago when the kids were younger. Now I am able to put the book down after and hour or so..unless it's really good, then it sticks to my mind. Besides, at my age, a book is a good sleeping pill..Not long into it and i"m out like a light...

January 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl c.

Karen, learning to relax is a good thing. I need to do more of that, hence my reading time. It forces me to sit and be still for a bit each day...thanks for the compliement on my's been awhile since I've been inspired to shoot. The class is good for me until the sun shines again and the color outside is more than grey...Have a great Sunday..xo

January 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl c.

Ah, there you are my friend...Antoinette I think you have way to much energy to sit and just read. Your eyes would be on the page but your brain would be creating something else. I think we all have our loves and we should honor them. I so appreciate what you do and how creative you are. It's good for me to have your support in my writing and reading and yes, hopefully more reading on writing this year. Enjoy your Sunday and we'll catch up soon...xoxo

January 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl c.

I have to tell you that I am completely captivated by your image. I keep coming back to it. Of course I'm crazy about books but I think it's maybe the candle and the quiet presence of Jim reading in the background -- all seems well here. I so enjoy your thoughts on the books you have read. I love reading but I do not enjoy writing reviews at all - any kind. But I'm glad you and others are willing to share. There are some books here that grab me. One of them is the EB White book on New York. I have always been a huge fan of his but have't read this one. I hope to read more this year for fun. I tend to go for non-fiction, technical books, how to's and memoirs and the novels slip to the bottom of the pile. Probably because I'm always trying to learn something that I can use. But a good novel teaches so much too -- but in a different way. Last year I brought way too many physical books on the boat -- they are so heavy and big when you have to carry them and store them in a small space so this year I brought more e-books. We'll see how that goes… One book I will love dipping into is a poetry book from a special friend. Enjoy your 2016 with books, Cheryl.

January 9, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterSherry

Cheryl, I am happy for you that you've found this class with it's focus on finding stillness in such creative ways. Your photo for this prompt is perfect - not only in craft but also in vision as it tells the story of love for books and words and reflection. I totally agree with you on your philosophy of tossing aside the books that do not draw you in - life is much too short to force yourself to complete a book that is simply not for you. Thank you for the reading list and reviews. Like you I tend to keep 2 books going, one for pleasure and one for learning. That words can change our perspective and open our hearts - this is a blessing for us all!

January 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

I love reading but with my job as an analyst I read, analyze financials, businesses, industries etc and am on the computer all day. Come night time I am so blind I can't see straight and I am mentally exhausted. The only time I read is when I'm on vacation. It has been this way for the past 12 years. There will be a time when I have the time to relax and read but probably not for another decade or so! :(

January 10, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterLiz Thomas

I do love to read. I actually just downloaded (from the library) the book you recommended to me over on Instagram, You before Me. I haven't had a chance to start reading it yet but am looking forward to it. Thank you for your other recommendations. I just popped over to Christina Greve's site...she does have a lovely site. I hope you had a wonderful Holiday!

January 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle B

Thank you Michelle...I'm pretty sure you will like that book. Yes, Christina has a wonderful site and she is so kind and helpful. I think you would like her also...Have a beautiful weekend...and may all good things come to you this year.

January 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl c.

I'm visiting from Barbara's blog. Your photo tells so much about the quiet and all-encompassing world of reading. I've always been an avid reader. I find time for a favorite book each day. I've read several of the books you mentioned. In the past, when I was younger and still teaching, I collected books on writing.

January 26, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBarb

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