A sparkling blueprint for stimulating creativity.

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THE LITTLE SPARK

30 WAYS TO IGNITE YOUR CREATIVITY

A professional artist presents a guide to unlocking one’s inspiration and inventiveness.

In her debut how-to manual, fabric designer and artist Bloomston offers hands-on techniques and hand-holding encouragement to help overcome an inert imagination. The author recognizes that inspiration can be blocked and that creativity is sometimes offset by procrastination. In this book, she presents practical advice, motivational words, fun suggestions and write-in exercises in a colorful, highly attractive format designed to produce tangible results. The book’s design beautifully weaves together text, blank write-in spaces, stellar photos and a host of other charming design elements. The titular “spark” refers to a person’s creativity, which the author says is “like a pilot light—it’s always on, even if you aren’t using the stove.” She explores how to get cooking creatively in 30 short chapters that advise readers to, among other things, not be stingy with materials, begin with tiny goals (“achievable, quick steps you can take every day until you are less intimidated by starting”), carve out workable work spaces, discover personal learning styles and disrupt normal patterns of activity to “see the world with new eyes.” Along with encouraging quotes, the author offers practical ideas, such as keeping mugs and jars filled with markers and colored pencils at the ready for when inspiration strikes. The book also offers ways to “share your creations with the world.” Extremely valuable “Do This” exercises in each chapter invite readers to make specific items, such as a “soul box” or a “vision board”; to answer soul-searching questions; and to do activities outside the home that may be beyond one’s comfort zone: “Step outside the normal. Step outside the expected to find your creative self. Be curious.” Bloomston also offers her own personal anecdotes as well as stories and tips from numerous others; the extensive list of contributors includes designers, artists and business owners.

A sparkling blueprint for stimulating creativity.

Pub Date: Nov. 14, 2014

ISBN: 978-1607059608

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Stash Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should...

MASTERY

Greene (The 33 Strategies of War, 2007, etc.) believes that genius can be learned if we pay attention and reject social conformity.

The author suggests that our emergence as a species with stereoscopic, frontal vision and sophisticated hand-eye coordination gave us an advantage over earlier humans and primates because it allowed us to contemplate a situation and ponder alternatives for action. This, along with the advantages conferred by mirror neurons, which allow us to intuit what others may be thinking, contributed to our ability to learn, pass on inventions to future generations and improve our problem-solving ability. Throughout most of human history, we were hunter-gatherers, and our brains are engineered accordingly. The author has a jaundiced view of our modern technological society, which, he writes, encourages quick, rash judgments. We fail to spend the time needed to develop thorough mastery of a subject. Greene writes that every human is “born unique,” with specific potential that we can develop if we listen to our inner voice. He offers many interesting but tendentious examples to illustrate his theory, including Einstein, Darwin, Mozart and Temple Grandin. In the case of Darwin, Greene ignores the formative intellectual influences that shaped his thought, including the discovery of geological evolution with which he was familiar before his famous voyage. The author uses Grandin's struggle to overcome autistic social handicaps as a model for the necessity for everyone to create a deceptive social mask.

Readers unfamiliar with the anecdotal material Greene presents may find interesting avenues to pursue, but they should beware of the author's quirky, sometimes misleading brush-stroke characterizations.

Pub Date: Nov. 13, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-670-02496-4

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2012

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