Stuff I learned

What I learned: A Farm Dies Once a Year

Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 10.06.06 PMI’m not sure I actually learned anything from this book but it was one of my favorite reads of the year. The memoir is about a guy around my age (29) who returns to his parents’ farm where he grew up.

He returns to help and to learn and he ends up building a structure in which he lives. Maybe that means more to me because I just watched the Tiny documentary but it really buried me at the end.

Here’s one of my favorite excerpts:

For just a brief second I had the feeling of being glad to be alive at that exact moment. The anxiety of time receded back to its furthest point, and the present took up all the available space.

I suddenly wanted to find my mother and h and tell them that I loved them. I wanted to stay here forever in the hollow, closed off from the world, in the shelter I’d built, with a table and a chair, a bed and a full bookshelf.

I wanted my grave dug under the black walnut, with Sarah’s there beside it, our children to plant a forsythia that would bloom in the spring, the first yellow flowers of March. I wanted our bones to molder and the stone to grow dim, the rain to seep into the box and the tree roots to grow down through it, and someday the creek to rise and wash us all away.


Stuff I learned

What I Learned: Daily Rituals

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Daily Rituals by Mason Currey

This book reaffirmed my belief in curation as a highly demanded skill over the next few decades. Currey didn’t actually write anything but he worked his ass off to collect stories of how artists work.

This exchange made me think more than any other in the book:

Alexander Graham Bell told his wife “I have my periods of restlessness when my brain is crowded with ideas tingling to my fingertips when I am excited and cannot stop for anybody.”

His wife wrote to him “I wonder do you think of me in the midst of that work of yours of which I am so proud and yet so jealous, for I know it has stolen from me part of my husband’s heeart, for where his thoughts and interests lie, there his heart must be.”

Also, the author of this book wrote a thought-provoking piece in the New York Times comparing letter-writing and email and how we handle each.

Stuff I learned

What I Learned: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

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It’s been a while since I’ve dived into some good fiction but this was fun.

It doesn’t have much to do with the narrative but this was probably my favorite line:

“Whenever he’s not at ILM, Mat is working on some project of his own. He works with crazy intensity, feeding hours like dry twigs into the fire, just absolutely consuming them, burning them up. He sleeps lightly and briefly, often sitting up straight in a chair or lying pharaoh-like on the couch. He’s like a storybook spirit, a little djinn or something, except instead of air or water his element is imagination.”

Read it.

Photo Attribution: Dealtrackersf

Stuff I learned

What I learned: Show Your Work

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

When I create the Entrepreneur’s curriculum for my 12-year-old in 12 years, this baby will be at the top of the list.

After reading a book I love I often do more research on the author, follow her on Twitter etc. (I think this is kind of the pointing of writing a book like this). Anyway, I came across this great quote by Kleon on what creativity is:

“Taking what’s in front of you and everybody else and making something new out of it.” (Copyblogger)

Also, Kelon has a really cool recommended reading list — a number of which I just added to my GoodReads queue.