Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

I hadn’t read Bird by Bird in years so when the 25th anniversary edition popped up on Overdrive, I checked it out. I didn’t love it quite as much as I did the first time, but only because her voice and advice weren’t the revelation now that they were way back when.

Lamott isn’t perfect (and I’m positive would never ever claim to be), but her advice is practical and caring and inspirational all at the same time. How I wish I’d had a creative writing teacher like her.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

I confess I didn’t expect to like this book. New York Times bestsellers with blurbs by Katie Couric on the cover don’t tend to be my cup of tea. No offense, Katie.

But I did like it. Gottlieb has a clear and honest writing voice and her recounting of her personal misfortunes and interesting career arc – or career zigzag, I should say – is every bit as compelling as her stories about the patients she sees.

Definitely recommended, but be prepared to get a little teary from time to time.

Conscious Creativity by Philippa Stanton

Beautiful, colourful, inspiring photographs, but I found the text a bit flat and vague and so kept skimming through it to look at the next set of photos. It’s less a book of advice than Stanton’s portfolio, which is fine, but anyone looking for practical tips and advice will probably be disappointed.

The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket

Jane Brocket’s idea of domesticity is a lot like my own: making, baking, reading, gardening and looking for the beauty in everyday objects and happenings.

I first read this book not long after it was published in 2007 and was both thrilled and depressed to discover there was someone out there living the kind of life I wanted to lead while I was still so bogged down with child care. The idea of having time to pursue my own interests seemed a long way off – and it was – but the kids are grown now and it’s my time to fool around with yarn and experiment with recipes and take a ridiculous number of photos and read as many books as possible.

This is not a how-to book, although it does contain a few recipes. I’d call it inspirational or aspirational, perhaps, because Brocket has a great eye for colour and composition and, it seems, the budget for very high quality materials. Highly recommended for anyone interested in pursuing a creative life.

The Moving Finger by Agatha Christie

Audiobook, perfectly narrated by Richard E Grant.

I checked this out after watching the Joan Hickson version on VisionTV one night and not only was it better than the tv adaptation (this should go without saying), but it was even better than I’d remembered from my first read however many years ago. Ideal treadmill listening.

UnDo It! How Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Reverse Most Chronic Diseases by Dean Ornish MD and Anne Ornish

I don’t have a chronic disease – as far as I know, dun dun DUNNN – and hopefully I never will since I already follow most of the advice in UnDo It!

For anyone living the standard North American lifestyle (heavy on the animal products, light on the exercise), however, this might be able to convince them to change their ways.

The early chapters on the science were good, but after that, there was a little too much advertisement of their workshops and weird insistence that group therapy would be helpful for everyone. Frankly, I’d rather have the chronic disease.