Archive for the ‘good books’ Category

I am reading a beautiful writer at the moment, he’s like reading a Michael Leunig cartoon in novel form, very plain spare words speaking about the wonder of all things.
from “Martin Marten” by Brian Doyle pages 200-201 (2015) a book about martens in NW Washington state
and so much more;
“… Who knew? And perhaps that’s how all things change; one decides to try this, and another notices and decides to try also, and then there is a new idea loose in the world, from which even newer ideas might someday hatch. And there is time and time enough for such ideas to flower, over the course of millions of years and ideas, and while some beings do not change – having found the idea in which they wish to stay forever, like the ancient ideas in which crabs and crocodiles and dragonflies live – other beings do change, some constantly, like the human beings, who were once animals who snarled and hooted and hunted and were hunted, animals little different from their omnivore mammalian cousins. But ideas bred easily among the human beings, and their snarls and hoots became songs and poems, and their solitary pursuits became plans and plots, and their slabs of split stone became swords and rifles, and so they commandeered the world, or tried to. But once they were dominant, their ideas began to wither, their success being poison to their dreams, and there were those among them who wondered if some subtle wildness had been the food of their greatest creativity, and if their salvation as a species, and their dwindling chance to clean and balance the world they had fouled and rattled, depended on something in them that yearned for trees and ice, waters and animals, mountains and caves, mystery and attentiveness, the humility before wonder that once they had thought merely their lot and fate, but was instead perhaps their greatest gift and grace.”

from “Chicago” by Brian Doyle pages 294-295 (2017) a book about the chigago-ness of Chicago and a dog called Edward who is an extraordinarily ordinary illuminated being;
“… At this magazine I hope you have learned the rudiments of the craft, the way you must balance ego and humility, the way the profession is finally one of service, not of heroic gratification of your urge to be important. We are not important. We are crucial, yes; without us there is naught but lies and thievery and souls easily led to the altar of Mammon, thereupon to be sacrificed to serious profit, which is our first and foremost deity and principle; but we are not important in the eyes of the world, and will never be. I hope you learned that here. Those among us who expose and uncover the most chicanery and greed will be soon found to have feet of clay, and hands of the stickiest glue, and the sexual proclivities of maddened weasels; those among us who ferret out the true facts of imbroglio and crime will soon enough be banished and exiled, doomed to flog useless products of one kind or another for the rest of their days; those of us who write most beautifully and gracefully and eloquently and powerfully will be suspected of plagiarism, rumoured to be dope fiends, assumed to be self-absorbed egomaniacs, and eventually doomed to be forgotten, our books and articles turned to mold and mulch. That is the fate of all journalism.
“But we are crucial. That is what I hope you have learned. We listen and collect and share stories. Without stories there is no nation and no religion and no culture. Without stories of bone and substance and comedy there is only a river of lies, and sweet and delicious ones they are, too. We are the gatherers, the shepherds, the farmers of stories. We wander widely and look for them and gather them and share them as food. It is a craft as necessary and nutritious as any other, and if you are going to be good at it you must double your humility and triple your curiosity and quadruple your ability to listen.”

and from “Mink River” by Brian Doyle p16 (2010) a book about a not especially stunning town in Oregon “bounded by four waters: one muscular river, two shy little creeks, one ocean”… and a crow
“Billy, he says quietly. Billy. We heal things. That’s what we do. That’s why we’re here. We’ve always agreed on that. Right from the start. We do as well as we can. We fail a lot but we keep after it. What else can we do? We have brains that still work so we have to apply them to pain. Brains against pain. That’s the motto. That’s the work. That’s what we do. Soon enough we will not have brains that work, so therefore.”

I am loving every one of these books reading them back to back, sadly this beautiful man passed away in May this year but he has left a legacy of stories celebrating the magic found in observing the wonder in the ordinary, the beauty in the day to day met with deep love & compassion for our beautiful broken world
these passages may not make that much sense out of context, to get more of a sense of his deep compassion & grace read this short piece from that terrible moment when the twin towers in NYC fell
Leap by Brian Doyle

Hope in the Dark

Posted: December 9, 2016 by Mo Crow in good books, It's Crow Time
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hope-mo16Just finished reading “Hope in the Dark” by Rebecca Solnit
her fierce brave words open the heart like a flower, excerpt from p.67-
“… A couple of years ago, a friend wrote to urge me to focus on the lyrical end of my writing rather than activism and I wrote back, “What is the purpose of resisting corporate globalization if not to protect the obscure, the ineffable, the unmarketable, the  unmanageable, the local, the poetic, and the eccentric? So they need to be practiced, celebrated, and studied too, right now.” I could have added that these acts themselves are forms of resistance; the two are not necessarily separate practices.”opening-mo16

Michael-Leunig-The-Curly-Pyjama-Lettersa little levity from “The Curly Pyjama Letters” by Michael Leunig
Here’s a link to Michael’s keynote address – “Spirituality, Art & Innocence” April 2015
and a discussion about art, inspiration, irony & embarrassment with Helen Garner – “A Kind of Reality” 1992

Junko-Oki-Punk-2014I am a huge fan of Junko Oki’s artful stitching & her new book ‘PUNK’ is a treasure!
Punkinside the slip cover is a beautifully produced book of Junko’s work to date
Here’s the Preface for ‘PUNK’
“In this book, there are 115 short narratives attached to each of the works included in this collection. As I wrote the narratives, I looked attentively at the photos I took of my works and went on a trip deep inside my conscious mind. Collectively, the works were none other than a reflection of me, maybe even embarrassingly so. I desired to expose myself even more through my works; I wanted to be true to myself. What else matters? That is the one thing I know that I am good at. I remember the faces of people who have crossed my path.
Will you keep watching me through my journey?”
Winter 2014 by Junko Oki
I will certainly keep watching Junko’s journey, she is such an inspiring artist on so many levels.
I hope to see her work in real life one day!
Below are a few of the wonderful images Junko has shared in her book
Privacy-2014-Junko-Oki‘Privacy’ 2014 by Junko Oki
Work-in-Progress-2012-Junko-Oki‘Work in Progress’ 2012 by Junko Oki
Cats-2013-Junko-Oki‘Cats’ 2013 by Junko Oki ( loves cats too!)
To-Add-(close-up)-2012‘To Add (close-up)’ 2012 by Junko Oki
I don’t feel right typing out the short narratives that go with each of these works as there is an intimacy to them that needs to be read in the book not online
Here’s the links to  Junko’s website with direct links to where you can buy this rare treasure of a book
I used Google Translate to translate the information from Japanese to English & it worked fine!
PS Junko has made it easy for us non Japanese speaking folk
Here’s a link to an interview with Junko about the book and her process in English
& a link to the Cow Books webshop with a buy button for her book also in English

‘This Changes Everything’ by Naomi Klein

Posted: October 9, 2014 by Mo Crow in good books
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this-changes-everything by Naomi Klein“This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein
Everyone living on our beautiful planet today should read this book
there is a lot of hard truths but there is great hope too
“Imagine” as John Lennon sang all those years ago…

Ethnic-Jewellery-and-Adornment-by-Truus-Daalder‘Ethnic Jewellery and Adornment’ by Truus Daalder just arrived on my doorstep, a fabulously huge book full of great photographs and detailed information.
You can read excerpts from the book & buy it from their excellent website
Ethnic Art Press
and they share lots of photographs and information here
We will be meeting Truus and her husband Joost at the Powerhouse Museum for the next exhibition
A Fine Possession: Jewellery & Identity” which features many of the pieces in this book!
lonka-lonkaThe book starts out in Australia & this piece intrigued me straight away, love the pierced stars!
will talk more about it and the show next week!

The Textile Blog Summer Sale

Posted: July 14, 2014 by Mo Crow in good books
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John Hopper of The Textile Blog is a treasure on the planet, he is offering his ebooks at half price for one week! I just downloaded “Art Nouveau and Nature” and “The Textile Blog Reference Guide to Lace” they are both brilliant!
Here’s the link to his book page
The Textile Blog ebooksI love this 21stC world, thank you John!