I, Emily Pierce, am a book worm. And yes, I do pass some judgement on the stacks (or lack there of in some cases) of catalogs, books, and magazines that litter most people’s book shelves and coffee tables. In fact, there is a pretty good chance I will pull something from your shelf and ask if I can borrow it for a read. Should I be around your office space or home, you can consider yourself warned, haha. (And don’t worry, if I like a borrowed book, I go out and buy myself a copy instead of “acquiring” your copy. )
The first time I met Kyle, he asked me “Have you read any good books lately?” And I have to say, that was such a refreshing question to hear. As a creative in the “digital age” it can be so easy to hop on the internet for inspiration or to navigate over and see what your peers are creating. (Don’t get me wrong, I sure do love me some Pinterest and Instagram) however, these can sometimes be the equivalent of a restaurant drive-thru when it comes to inspiration. I do believe there is a place for “inspiration/creative instant gratification”, if you will, however with most things in life, balance is key. For me, books are where I turn to for balance.
Reading to me feels deeply personal. Its just my mind, the printed page, and my pen. When I was a freshman in college, a thoughtful professor encouraged me to write, doodle and highlight within the pages and it has done wonders for recall, imaginative exploration, critical thinking, brainstorming and plans for world domination (just kidding on the world takeover bit, hehe!). I highly encourage everyone to mark-up their books, catalogs, and magazines… really wherever inspiration may strike on a page! I never cease to be surprised about where the written word leads me… I often find myself reaching for my sketch pad mid-paragraph to conceptualize an idea. Overall though, the best part for me is just exercising my mind and exposing myself to new perspectives of thinking and interpretation. The mission has never been content for my sketch book or finding the next great idea, but just the act of allowing my imagination to run free without the pollution of technology or overstimulation of the typical day-to-day.
All of this said, I encourage each person to visit your local bookstore or library and pick something out that sparks your interest. Reading isn’t a race, so take your time. If it takes you a year to read it, well, it takes you a year. If you’re in the greater Nashville area, I highly recommend Parnassus Books located in the Green Hills area – they haven’t lead me wrong in a recommendation yet! As for me, I thought I would share some recommendations of my own. Below is a list of books/publications that have been highlights of 2016 for me that I keep coming back to reference. Enjoy!
- The Tsar of Love and Techno by Anthony Marra
This book was a gift from my husband and it is easily one of the top ten best books I have ever read. I cannot recommend it enough! Don’t believe me? Do a quick Google and read the reviews for yourself.
- Uppercase Magazine
Dreier & Company subscribes to this gem, so whenever I’m in a creative rut in the office, I flip through the pages! I always walk away feeling inspired by the creativity and curiosity of this publication.
- The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman
This book is an insightful and entertaining look at why certain products frustrate us, as well as, cognitive clues on how to design better products for the consumer market. Side note: this book made me feel 100% better about consistently flipping the wrong light switches in my house, haha!
- Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!) by George Lois
This is a fun, quick read with direct, blunt, and highly useful advice on how to attack your creative potential. Although George Lois comes from an advertising background, I found that his advice applies to all sectors of the creative life.
- Spruce: A Step-By-Step Guide to Upholstery and Design by Amanda Brown
Nerd Alert! This isn’t a cup of cocoa by the fireside read, but a favorite of mine to reference. And yes, I have read it cover to cover. One of my favorite hobbies is refurbishing antique/vintage furniture. I’m currently restoring a mid-century dining set and between sets of sanding I’ll thumb through the beautiful step-by-steps of Amanda’s projects.