Archive for the ‘Books’ category

The Saturday Book Shop – How Far You Have Come

May 15, 2021

Morgan Harper Nichols has a marvelous new book How Far You Have Come which was just released a few weeks ago.

I talked about her All Along You Were Blooming book here a few months back, and I’m just as excited and enthusiastic about this new book.

New stories, prose, poems, and illustrations by an exceptionally talented author and artist.

AND HERE ARE MORE PLACES TO FIND WONDERFUL BOOKS & TERRIFIC WRITINGS ABOUT BOOKS …

Reese Witherspoon has some great selections over at Reese’s Book Club (and an app too!). I am also especially fond of the marvelously thoughtful Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, Austin Kleon’s brilliant and eclectic weekly newsletter and blog, AND: Elizabeth Gilbert’s new Onward book club as sources of sharing a wide wealth of writings and books. Well worth being on their mailing lists.

That’s it for now, other than a plea to support local independent booksellers whenever you can—these intrepid entrepreneurs have made the publishing world go round for a long long time and are essential nooks of civilization and creative caffeine everywhere! 

What are you reading now? Would love to hear what’s on your nightstand table or in your book bag or e-reader if you want to share in the comments. And if not, that’s cool too. To be here to celebrate books and reading is enough. See you most likely next Saturday …  I’ve taken some extra time recently to just read, write, get vaccinated, be grateful, make some art, and just enjoy being as well as being out and about a bit more. Sending reading smiles and book hooray thanks to everyone checking in at The Saturday Book Shop. 📚 

“A book is a present you can open again and again.”

 

The Saturday Book Shop: The Poetry Deal

April 10, 2021

April is National Poetry Month. This is the 25th Anniversary of the Academy of American Poets celebration of the meaningful role poets and poetry play in our culture, our dreams, and our inspirations. It has become the largest literary celebration in the world with readers, writers, publishers, educators, librarians, and anyone who loves the written word uplifting the importance of poetry in helping us see life anew.

I thought I would share a couple of books from a poet I greatly admire: Diane di Prima, a legendary feminist Beat Generation poet and activist. To quote Allen Ginsberg, she was “… a learned humorous bohemian, classically educated and twentieth-century radical, her writing, informed by Buddhist equanimity, is exemplary in imagist, political and mystical modes. A great woman poet in the second half of the American century, she broke barriers of race–class identity, delivered a major body of verse brilliant in it particularity. — Allen Ginsberg”

Pieces of A Song is one of my favorite Diane di Prima books. It contains her Poems from Loba series as well as so many other gems, such as Rant, in which she reminds us in her bold caps refrain:

The Poetry Deal (San Francisco Poet Laureate Series, 7) is a collection of poems and personal reflections on her 40 years in the Bay Area, which became her home after moving to San Francisco from New York in the 1960s.

My ongoing thanks to Rob Brezsny, author of Pronoia: the Antidote to Paranoia—How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You With Blessings for introducing my the poetry of Diane di Prima via his weekly email news and vivid writings.

I’ve also written here about favorite Mary Oliver poetry books.

May April be a month of rediscovering your favorite poems, exploring new poets like Morgan Harper Nichols, or jotting down some lines of your own poetry or a brief haiku.

POETRY ALL AROUND

Poetry is an ongoing gift whether you’re reading it, writing it, or being inspired by it. I was delighted to find a list of collage prompts drawn from lines of poetry last month on Instagram, which both helped rekindle my collage joys, and also brought a talented new poet to my attention, Nayyirah Waheed, who has written a book called salt.

“remember,
you were a writer
before
you ever
put
pen to paper.
just because you were not writing
externally.
does not mean you were not writing
internally.”
Nayyirah Waheed

You’ll find poetry I’ve written over the years scattered throughout the posts here on this blog, as well as included in several books published recently, including these titles which are filled with visual poetry in the form of amazing art and fabulous photography. Was thrilled to be a part of both of these books:

Beyond the Surface: Art, Discovery, Healing and Transformation by Chantal e.y. Bethel

Exumas: The Kingdom of Blue by photographer Alessandro Sarno

Here’s to poetic days! Would love to hear about any of your favorite poets or books of poetry or anything else you’re excited about reading.

Thanks for checking in here at The Saturday Book Shop. Hope you have a great weekend with time to read …enjoy and see you back next week!

A book is a present you can open again and again.

The Saturday Book Shop: Bisa Butler—Portraits

April 3, 2021

I am in awe of Bisa’s Butler’s art. Her work creates stunning and powerful portraits made from myriad vibrant fabrics and patterns, cut and stitched together with meaning and a depth that almost defies description. Her portraits speak of a multitude of life layers, generations, and experiences that are expertly woven into a new picture both moving and mesmerizing in its depth and humanity.

Bisa Butler—Portraits was published in conjunction with an exhibit by the same name that opened at the Art Institute of Chicago last fall, and where it continues through September 6, 2021.

The catalogue is exquisitely done. 96 beautiful pages of Butler’s incredible art, along with wonderful essays focusing on her influences, process, and stories held within the individual art pieces. Printed in Italy. Hardbound. This book leaves you feeling as if you almost got to be at the exhibit. Always better to get to see original art in person, but this book brings me closer, and I’m grateful for it during this time.

Bisa Butler’s work is a treasure. This catalogue captures both the intricacies of her art and how her work illuminates the family album of humanity.

Thank you for being here at The Saturday Book Shop for a few minutes during this holiday weekend amidst Easter — Passover — and Springtime celebrations of the Revival and Renewal of The Spirit. Hallelujah! ❤️🙏🏼❤️

The Saturday Book Shop – The Art of Aliveness

March 27, 2021

The Art of Aliveness: A Creative Return to What Matters Most is a new book by Flora Bowley, who taught me, via her Bloom True online course, about intuitive painting back in 2014.

Just released a few days ago, this book is about way more than painting. The stories she tells here are personal and leave me feeling as if I’ve just had a chance to sit in on one of her sought-after in-person workshops!

The timing on this book couldn’t be better as we all have this pause in the world to reflect more deeply on the underpinnings of creating a joy-filled life. Filled with prompts and exercises as well as generosity and vulnerability, this book applies the soulful “Be Bold. Let Go. Unfold” mantra into memorable lessons of discovery for forging your own empowered path of fulfillment. She shares her insights into moving effortlessly between both structure and free-flowing freedom—a fluid trust forged in strengthening intuition and self understanding. 

Flora Bowley has been a pivotal part of my own creative journey and I adore her work PLUS the way her practice of creativity flows through every aspect of her life. She taught me about layers. She taught me about contrasts. She taught me there’s no wasted paint. And that’s especially important moving forward as the layers of time are brushed on.

I can already tell this will be a read-and-reread kinda book favorite. I’m still learning. We’re all still learning and discovering and can use reminders of what we already know. The wisdom, pain, inspiration, renewal, and permission-giving Flora shares here encourages connection, reconnection, and living by creative wellness, whether you paint or not.

Here’s wishing everyone green new days of Spring sunshine, a beautiful full moon this Sunday, smooth vaccinations, a wonderful Passover, a Happy Palm Sunday, and paperbacks like this one by Flora that you can take along to read on your next walk, picnic, or pause by the water.

Always happy to hear what’s on your reading table right now or any book club favorites you’re enjoying. 

Thanks for being here and see you back next week at The Saturday Book Shop.

© 2104 paula boyd farrington my first brave intuitive painting as inspired by Flora Bowley

The Saturday Book Shop – The Four Winds

March 20, 2021

I haven’t actually been reading much beyond a chapter here and there lately. I’ve been happily working on creating some new art in a creative collage challenge on Instagram the past few weeks. Am enjoying it very much, and will look forward to maybe starting a new novel after that. Here’s the one I have in mind … it’s one you might have heard about as it’s a New York Times bestseller:

The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah.


The Four Winds seems eerily prescient in 2021 . . . Its message is galvanizing and hopeful: We are a nation of scrappy survivors. We’ve been in dire straits before; we will be again. Hold your people close.”—The New York Times

“Through one woman’s survival during the harsh and haunting Dust Bowl, master storyteller, Kristin Hannah, reminds us that the human heart and our Earth are as tough, yet as fragile, as a change in the wind.” Delia Owens, author of Where the Crawdads Sing.

Will look forward to reading this soon—the setting and storyline does indeed seem quite timely. In the meantime, have been getting reacquainted with my Devotions poetry book by Mary Oliver (a favorite!), and discovering a new poet named Nayyirah Waheed (author of Salt), whose wonderful writings I was introduced to via the collage challenge (as the prompts this month are based on excerpts from poems). 

Happy Spring Equinox All. 🦋 Would love to hear what you’re reading, or what you’re doing when you’re not! The shift in time and seasons are upon us with a new moon arriving for an emotional reset and fresh new energy … enjoy & Happy Sunday!!🍍

written across the sky digital collage by paula boyd farrington © 2021

The Saturday Book Shop – Dusk Night Dawn

March 14, 2021

I think I have a copy of every single book Anne Lamott has ever written, so I’m excited to read this new one that seems quite timely:  Dusk, Night, Dawn: On Revival and Courage. 

Anne Lamott has a way of holding all the ups and downs with a warmth, thoughtfulness, and smart sense of humor that somehow puts things into perspective with a quirky and endearing blend of honesty and steady grace. Her stories are seriously funny and rock solid in staying open to love, even when it ain’t easy. Uplifting and hopeful, without shying away from any of the awfulness out there, Anne Lamott helps renew the faith and the laughter within life’s most fallible and fabulous moments—quiet tender places where the heart asks the important questions and anchors us back to the divine roses within our thorny humanity. 

Anne Lamott is the author of the New York Times bestsellers:  Hallelujah Anyway; Help, Thanks, Wow; Small Victories; StitchesSome Assembly RequiredGrace (Eventually)Plan BTraveling Mercies; Bird by Bird; and Operating Instructions.

I can’t believe it’s time already to be looking at setting our clocks forward at the beginning Daylight Savings Time later tonight. Augh. Maybe a couple chapters of this new book will help me get through this annual “Spring Forward” transition that usually feels anything but!

Happy Reading All, and see you back here next week at The Saturday Book Shop!

The Saturday Book Shop – 100 Unknown Women

March 6, 2021

I love this book any time, but especially on International Women’s Day.

She Caused a Riot: 100 Unknown Women Who Built Cities, Sparked Revolutions, and Massively Crushed It by Hannah Jewell.

This book is witty, wise, WONDERFUL. Can’t recommend it enough. Amazing stories about women doing all sorts of things we didn’t know about because they were too often left out of the history books. Hannah Jewell is a terrific writer. Funny. Empowering. Memorable.  She’s created a totally bad ass tribute to forgotten women throughout history. Mega-inspiring. And laugh out loud funny.

The hot pink and electric chartreuse green drew me to the cover when I found this right after it was published 3 years ago. The stories and bold perspective kept me coming back to this book again and again for reminders about women who fearlessly and fully lived life. Colorful. Bold. Satirical and insightful. In the best possible ways. A little shocking. A whole lot enlightening.

Shake up your bookshelf.

Hope to see you back next week at The Saturday Book Shop, which is published pretty much every Saturday talking about books I like. Love to hear from you in the comments about books you like and/or any page-turners you’re reading these days.

The Saturday Book Shop – All Along You Were Blooming

February 20, 2021

The words of Morgan Harper Nichols wrap you in gratitude, in grounded open empathy, in beauty, in heart song — and especially in hope.



All Along You Were Blooming: Thoughts for Boundless Living by Morgan Harper Nichols is one of those books you can pick up at any time of day, read a few pages, and come away with a perspective polished up with grace. As beautifully illustrated as it is written, these poems shine light through the bumps, the worries, the hard unknowns, the shadows, the joys & Love—as if her hand unfurled a prayer through the pages.

An artist, poet, and musician, Morgan Harper Nichols’ work touches the weary, the wisdom, and wonder of life. Her compassion and kindness beams through in her writings and art, and she quickly grew a devoted audience on Instagram. This book is a blessing. And Nichols has a new book, How Far You Have Come, slated for release in Spring 2021. 

Morgan Harper Nichols has also just launched a phone app called Storyteller, that delivers daily messages of encouragement alongside beautiful original art. Enjoy the inspired talents of this extraordinary bestselling young author and artist. ❤️

 

The Saturday Book Shop – The Snail with the Right Heart

February 13, 2021

Most book stores do not have a section labelled “Simply Enchanting”, but they ought to, and this book definitely falls into that category of undefinable magic (mixed with true science) that will no doubt make it a contemporary classic for young readers—and everyone young at heart too.

The Snail with the Right Heart: A True Story by Maria Popova with illustrations by Ping Zhu is a children’s book that holds a fascinating story with down-to-earth wisdom alongside soaring wonder of the ages within its covers. (And if you’re a book printing/design geek like me, you’ll notice that not only the stunning pages, but even the end papers of the covers are delicately and brilliantly illustrated. The tiny details of book production, along with the inner workings of tiny gliding snails zing me.) Three years in the making, the book is quite timely, especially in these times:

“A love story, a time story, an invitation not to mistake difference for defect and to welcome, across the accordion scales of time and space, diversity as nature’s wellspring of resilience and beauty.” – Maria Popova

Maria Popova’s name is familiar if you’re a reader of her fabulous BrainPickings site where she mesmerizes us all with her passionate and poetic writings about all things books, art, design, poetry, music, marvels, philosophy: LIFE.

Popova is after my own heart here when she describes so wonderfully what I have long felt about the best of children’s books:

“Great children’s books move young hearts, yes, but they also move the great common heart that beats in the chest of humanity by articulating in the language of children, which is the language of simplicity and absolute sincerity, the elemental truths of being: what it means to love, what it means to be mortal, what it means to live with our fragilities and our frissons. As such, children’s books are miniature works of philosophy, works of wonder and wonderment that bypass our ordinary resistances and our cerebral modes of understanding, entering the backdoor of consciousness with their soft, surefooted gait to remind us who and what we are.” – Maria Popova

There’s more to Popova’s behind-the-scenes about writing this gem, as well as more photos of the gorgeous inside pages of the book here.

And while we’re on the subject of snails, and because it’s the day before Valentine’s, I’ll leave you with a little poem I wrote back in 2014 about embracing the spirit of snails and all they can teach us about unexpected blessings of perspective, whether we’re in full tilt hummingbird-heartbeat doings mode or embracing the reminders of slow and steady rhythms of just being that come our way … Happy Heart Day All! ❤️❤️❤️

OF SNAILS AND TRAILS
by Paula Boyd Farrington

 

I read about Totem Animals
whose essence shows The Way
The article said if you don’t know yours,
Be aware: it will somehow speak to you; show up during your day
 
And there you were
when I went out to the car
In plain view—a darling little snail
On the rear view mirror: driver’s side
 
Oh no, I groan …
I don’t want my totem to be a SNAIL!
Sluggish. Slow. Escargot.
No, thank you. No. Just … no.
 
But there you are again
In the evening dusk
climbing outside the kitchen window,
seemingly everywhere I look.
 
Oh my. Not what I wanted to see.
Why couldn’t I have glimpsed a National Geographic Gazelle?
A Lion. A Jaguar. A Hawk. A Flamingo!
Something powerful or exotic. Oh hell.
 
But there you are.
Carrying your likeness of a gratitude symbol
upon your mandala of a spiral shell,
your home right with you, wherever you may dwell.
 
Let me look closer, your antennae sweeping out
Stretching forward, inquisitively sensing the air
I watch you quietly know where you’re going,
on your own glossy path, climbing here and there.
 
Let me rethink this tiny powerhouse of Now
to warm to What Is
seeing anew the natural grace
In everything that lives.
 
This little snail is more than cute,
It fulfills an important role
Recycles organic matter,
Strong and steady it goes and goes.
 
And your giant ocean cousin?
All pink lipped with curvy shell,
known as an aphrodisiac,
her majesty feeds the islands well.
 
Named the Queen Conch.
She sometimes sports a pearl.
A royal snail in aqua seas
Classic beauty, a crown of whorls.
 
So can I embrace this totem tale?
As a celebration of gentler slower trails?
Of gliding along smoothly through time & tide?
The heart’s humble wisdom says: oh, snail—be mine! ❤️
Paula Boyd Farrington ©2014Oh! And one last time-oriented p.s. … I had the pleasure of getting to create the art for the cover of this Exumas: The Kingdom of Blue coffee table book (and wrote a poem inside about my first flight to Exuma!). The book is filled with gorgeous photos by Alessandro Sarno, holding a reverent gaze on life in this beautiful chain of islands surrounded by some of the most stunning clear ocean waters anywhere. It’s perfect for anyone who loves The Bahamas or whose heart wants to visit. The publisher is offering a 20% discount through Valentine’s Weekend. Link to the site is here.

 

Enjoy & see you back next week at The Saturday Book Shop!

 

The Saturday Book Shop – How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?

February 7, 2021

February is Black History Month—a nationally recognized celebration that asks all Americans to reflect on accomplishments, contributions, and the significant roles African Americans have played in U.S. history. This book, How Long ’til Black Future Month by award-winning bestselling author, N.K. Jemisin, asks compelling questions, weaving personal histories and vivid future speculations throughout her first collection of short stories. This contemporary science fiction is told with deftly bold imagination: thought-provoking + mind-and-heart-expanding.

  

From the back cover blurb:

“One of the most exiting and original new voices in modern fiction. N.K. Jemisin’s work has been described as “intricate and extraordinary” (New York Times) “astounding” (NPR Books) and “break[ing] uncharted ground” (Library Journal). The first writer in history to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel three years in a row, Jemisin equally challenges and delights in her first collection of short fiction with narratives of destruction, rebirth, and redemption. How Long ’til Black Future Month offers the perfect introduction to one of the most important writers of her generation.”

Black Imagination, curated by Natasha Marin, is a diverse sample of black voices, as noted on the fly leaf:

” … This dynamic collection of Black voices works like an incantation of origin, healing, and imagination. Born from a series of conceptual art exhibitions, the perspectives gathered here are nowhere near monochromatic. Each insists on their own variance and challenges every reader to witness for themselves that Black Lives (and Imaginations) Matter.”

• CLICK HERE FOR OPRAH’S LIST OF 125 BLACK-OWNED BOOKSTORES IN AMERICA THAT AMPLIFY THE BEST IN LITERATURE.

• FOR MORE BOOKS ABOUT BLACK HISTORY,  CLICK HERE FOR A LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND SELECTIONS FROM THE ICONIC INDEPENDENT NYC STRAND BOOK STORE.

• THERE’S ALSO A WONDERFUL Bravery Magazine LIST OF BOOKS THAT INSPIRE BRAVERY: BLACK HISTORY BOOKS FOR KIDS HERE.

And a reminder to check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s year-round Onward Book Club devoted to spotlighting, studying, and celebrating the work of Black female authors at the link here.

See you next week at The Saturday Book Shop …

  

 


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