1. The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits This book had been on my TBR list for a while, knowing the author was a favorite of Ruby's. When she sent me a copy recently, I figured now was a great time to finally indulge. If you keep a journal, or are a naturally inquisitive person, this book is fascinating. It's hard to explain really what about the book made it so enjoyable, but I think the cover definitely has something to do with it. I can't wait to give this book to friends.
2. The Complete Artist's Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice by Julia Cameron If you're an artist, unafraid of a 700+ page count, and long to know more about the heart of the creative process, this book is a complete must. I'll admit; it took me about half a year to finish it. I would come back to it on weekend afternoons, inspired after every chapter. It's really a collection of three books, but I like having them all in one referenceable place. Julia Cameron talks a lot about morning pages and artist dates, two practices I've since integrated in my creative practice. She offers a good mix of practical advice for treating your artist self with care and sharing her own journey to success in the creative realm, with honesty and vulnerability.
3. Style Book by Elizabeth Walker Remember in that bit about vintage shopping when I talked about getting inspired? Meet the perfect antidote to uninspired, dull dressing, Style Book. I've read more books on style than I would care to admit (fashion school, what can I say), but this book really is the best part of every style book I've enjoyed. It includes fashion icons, of past and present, as well as average, well-dressed people. Here's the catch-it doesn't feature that tired picture of Audrey Hepburn in a black dress and pearls. Instead, it's her on the back of a speed boat, smiling, her signature button up tucked tight. Other favorites include Lauren Hutton in her ever classic menswear and Brigitte Bardot at the market in cut off shorts.
4. My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff Franny and Zooey is my favorite novel of all time. I'm currently (finally!) reading The Catcher in the Rye. J.D. Salinger is an idol of mine. In fact, when I moved back to Iowa, I thought I lost my bent, faded copy of Franny and Zooey and had to buy a new copy that night. Don't worry, I found the original and now keep both in case of emergency. Rakoff's book functions as a memoir of sorts, documenting her time as Salinger's literary agent's assistant. It's fascinating to read about working in publishing in the late 90s, as computers rose in popularity. Sometimes I can find memoirs about working a low paying job in New York, as a twenty-something, partying every night, and dragging oneself back to their railroad apartment in Brooklyn can feel a like trite, but the opposite is true of My Salinger Year.
5. Selected Poems by Mark Strand I ordered this book on a whim, having read one of Strand's poems isolated somewhere on the internet. I had no idea how impactful and captivating his work would turn out to be. I savored this book, only reading a few poems before bed, until I couldn't limit my intake any further-it's that good.