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Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Gilbert’

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It’s been a slow reading month so far. But I’ve still spent time with a few good books. Here’s what I’ve been reading:

The Midnight Queen, Sylvia Izzo Hunter
Merlin College student Graham Marshall agrees to participate in a dangerous prank. But when a classmate ends up dead, he suspects a more sinister plot. An entertaining (if slightly confusing) fantasy set in an alternate Regency-era England and France. Great settings, though I wanted more Oxford. The magical stuff was a little obtuse, but I liked the characters.

Counting Thyme, Melanie Conklin
When Thyme Owens’ brother gets into a new drug trial for cancer patients, her family moves from San Diego to New York City. All Thyme wants is to go home, but she gradually finds a few things (and people) to love in New York. A fresh, winsome middle-grade novel about home, family and building a good life even when things are hard. (Out in April 2016 – I received an ARC from the author.)

Home by Nightfall, Charles Finch
While investigating the disappearance of a German pianist in London, gentleman detective Charles Lenox is called away to stay with his recently widowed brother in Sussex. The brothers are drawn into a mystery in their home village. I like Lenox and his supporting cast, and this mystery was well plotted and satisfying, though I rather wish the two cases had connected. To review for Shelf Awareness (out Nov. 10).

The Bloody Tower, Carola Dunn
Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher spends a night at the Tower of London to gather material for an article. But when a guard is murdered, she and her husband end up investigating. I love Daisy, but this story dragged. Too much focus on the layout of the Tower and the politics of its military troops.

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, Elizabeth Gilbert
I’ve been loving Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast, which is a companion to this series of essays and musings on creativity. But the book was a mixed bag. Some gorgeous lines that rang true and wise; some advice that felt too woo-woo or patronizing. It’s still worth reading if you’re curious.

I’m in the middle of several books and recently put down a couple I wasn’t loving. I’m hoping for a better reading roundup next time, though I did love Counting Thyme. 

Most links (not affiliate links) are to my favorite local bookstore, Brookline Booksmith. It’s also pictured above.

I’m linking up with Anne at Modern Mrs. Darcy for Quick Lit.

What are you reading?

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magic lessons podcast elizabeth gilbert

Thank you so much for the thoughtful comments on my recent post. It’s good to know I’m not alone. And now, for something completely different…

Since I came late to the smartphone game (and never owned an iPod), I also came late to the world of podcasts.

I’m still a novice – I don’t listen as much as Anne, who shared her favorites recently, or Elise – who hosts her own podcast and also wrote about her favorites. If I’m riding the subway, I’d rather be reading (an actual paper book).

But I have a few podcasts I love – one reliable standby and several newer discoveries – and I thought I’d share them with you.

Books on the Nightstand

The first podcast I ever fell in love with – and still my favorite – is Books on the Nightstand, co-hosted by Ann Kingman (a Twitter pal I’ve met in person once or twice) and Michael Kindness. Ann and Michael both work for Random House, and they started this weekly podcast to talk about their favorite new books. I started listening a couple of years ago, and now I never miss an episode.

Nearly 350 episodes (!) in, BOTNS has regular features about new books and audiobooks, a monthly segment highlighting older books (called Don’t You Forget About Me), an annual Summer Book Bingo game, and much more. I love the glimpses into the inner workings of the book industry, the “themed” episodes such as 500 Pages Plus, and the warm, generous, often funny conversation between Ann and Michael. Their tastes don’t always match mine, but I love hearing them talk about books and book-related issues.

Magic Lessons

Elizabeth Gilbert (yes, that Elizabeth Gilbert) recently launched a podcast called Magic Lessons, in advance of the release of her new book, Big Magic (out this fall). I haven’t read the book yet, but I am loving Liz’s conversations on creative work, bravery, motivation and – yes – magic with people who are struggling to build a creative life.

So far, she’s alternated between talking to people who are dealing with frustration or feeling “blocked” in their creativity, and talking to people like Cheryl Strayed and Rob Bell, who may have helpful insights to share. Liz’s voice is so warm and friendly, and I love what she has to say about creative work. This is a new podcast, so I’m excited for what’s to come.

Book Riot: All the Books

How could I not love a podcast with this title? Liberty Hardy and Rebecca Joines Schinsky, known as “The Well-Readheads,” are both part of the (smart, sarcastic, book-obsessed) team at Book Riot, and they chat once a week about brand-new books they can’t wait for people to read. This podcast launched in May and I’m slowly making my way through the backlog of episodes. Not surprisingly, my TBR list gets longer every time I listen.

Liberty and Rebecca both read widely (of course), and they talk about (and/or gush about) books on this podcast that I might not hear about otherwise. Also, they are good friends (like Ann and Michael above), and it’s so much fun to listen to their exchanges.

Elise Gets Crafty

I’ve been reading Elise Blaha Cripe’s blog for a while now, and I’ve listened to quite a few episodes of her podcast. Some of them are aimed at small business owners (which I am not), but nearly every episode also touches on some combination of blogging, motivation, inspiration and balancing creative projects with your daily life. Super fun and accessible.

Do you have a favorite podcast, or a handful of them? Please share in the comments!

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Via Karen, this recent TED Talk from Elizabeth Gilbert is the best thing I’ve seen in a long time. (I loved her first TED Talk too, on genius and the creative spirit.)

Gilbert explores the emotional effects of success and failure, and the value of coming back home: “Your home is whatever in this world you love more than you love yourself.” Wise and powerful words – definitely worth a watch.

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From a 2006 Barnes & Noble interview:

“I can’t get behind the ambition to be ‘discovered’ as much as I can get behind the ambition to write beautifully and honorably and steadfastly. Here’s what I believe about creativity. I believe that creativity is a living force that thrums wildly through this world and expresses itself through us. I believe that talent (the force by which ephemeral creativity gets manifested into the physical world through our hands) is a mighty and holy gift. I believe that, if you have a talent (or even if you think you do, or maybe even if you just hope you do), that you should treat that talent with the highest reverence and love.

“Don’t flip out, in other words, and murder your gift through narcissism, insecurity, addiction, competitiveness, ambition or mediocrity. Frankly – don’t be a jerk. Just get busy, get serious, get down to it and write something, for heaven’s sake. Try to get out of your own way. Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about results – the only thing it craves is the PROCESS. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless. Just love the work.”

And then there’s this brilliant talk she gave at the 2009 TED conference. After listening to it, I wanted to take her out for coffee, and I also wanted to go and spin and twirl and dance in a field, and then sit down and write madly.

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