Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
For those on your list who are the creative type, or aspire to nurture their creative side, Big Magic is a gift to consider, especially for fans of Eat, Pray, Love. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us.
If You Want to Write – Brenda Ueland
In her ninety-three remarkable years, Brenda Ueland published six million words. The Minneapolis native said she had two rules she followed absolutely: to tell the truth, and not to do anything she didn’t want to do. Her integrity shines throughout If You Want to Write, her bestselling classic on the process of writing that has already inspired thousands to find their own creative center. Carl Sandburg called this book “the best book ever written about how to write.” Yet Ueland reminds us that “whenever I say ‘writing’ in this book, I also mean anything that you love and want to do or make.” It is a gift of getting to know Brenda Ueland as much as learning about writing.
Bluets – Maggie Nelson
A lyrical, philosophical, and often explicit exploration of personal suffering and the limitations of vision and love, as refracted through the color blue. With Bluets, Maggie Nelson has entered the pantheon of brilliant lyric essayists.
The Snow Leopard – Peter Matthiessen
IN 1973, Peter Matthiessen and field biologist George Schaller traveled high into the remote mountains of Nepal to study the Himalayan blue sheep and possibly glimpse the rare and beautiful snow leopard. Matthiessen, a student of Z en Buddhism, was also on a spiritual quest—to find the Lama of Shey at the ancient shrine on Crystal Mountain. As the climb proceeds, Matthiessen charts his inner path as well as his outer one, with a deepening Buddhist understanding of reality, suffering, impermanence, and beauty.
The Dead Ladies Project – Jessa Crispin
Fascinated by exile, Crispin travels to places that have drawn writers who needed to break free from their origins and start afresh. As she reflects on William James struggling through despair in Berlin, Nora Barnacle dependent on James Joyce in Trieste, Maud Gonne fomenting revolution in Dublin, or Igor Stravinsky starting over from nothing in Switzerland, Crispin interweaves biography, incisive literary analysis, and personal experience into a rich meditation on the complicated interactions of place, personality, and society that can make escape and reinvention such an attractive proposition.
For the curious traveler, or simply the curious reader, who is always in search of new adventures both on the page and off.