I’m starting a new book club called Read Like an Artist, hosted by the folks at Literati.
Every month I’ll chose a book from an eclectic mix of creative nonfiction, novels, artist memoirs, comics, and more, all of which speak to living a more creative life.
You can choose to get the books mailed to you in a handsome package each month, or pick a digital-only, buy your own book option. Either option gets you access to the Literati app, where our discussion will happen.
The fun begins on June 1st, but you can sign up now.
(Unfortunately, only people in the US can sign up right now. Literati tells me they’re working on international memberships. If you have any more questions, please contact Literati!)
My first pick for the club is How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell.
It was really hard picking the launch book! Like choosing a first song on a mixtape, or the first sentence for a book — you have to set the tone. I wanted a book written by a woman who’s a working artist. The club starts in June, so I wanted a book that was deep, but could also be read on the beach. I wanted a book that’s a little weird but still accessible and I wanted a book that speaks to my belief in the creative power of idleness. (A northern Winter is for hibernation, a southern summer is for estivation.)
When I watched Odell’s original talk in 2017, I knew it could be a good book, but the book took off in a big way. Readers were loving it and sharing it and it was selling well by word-of-mouth, but then Obama named it one of his favorite books of 2019, and eight months after publication it finally hit the NYTimes bestseller list. (For the record, it was on my 2019 list, too.)
A bit of trivia: How To Do Nothing came out in April 2019, the same time that my book Keep Going came out. Jenny and I crossed paths at the very beginnings of our book tours in a morning talk show green room in Portland. We took this selfie together:
Anyways, I like reading books a lot more than I like writing books, so a book club seemed like a great idea.
Books are my creative fuel, and reading is at the very heart of my practice as a writer and an artist. Not many people know this, but I used to work the reference desk in a public library. In many ways, I still feel like a librarian: a big part of the joy of my work is pointing my readers “upstream” to the books I love.
I hope the books I choose will be both useful and beautiful, but most importantly, I hope these books will be fun to read.
I firmly believe that reading should be fun.
(And, again, if you have any questions, please contact Literati!)