Out on the Wire
As anyone who’s been addicted to “Serial,” or who never misses a weekly installment of “This American Life” can attest, narrative storytelling is an extremely powerful tool. Podcasts and radio programs that use personal stories to help us understand ourselves and the world around us a bit better aren’t just a fad—they introduce a whole new way of listening. Cartoonist Jessica Abel goes behind the scenes of narrative radio (including fan favorites “Radiolab” and “The Moth”) and the result is this stunning (and staggeringly funny) graphic novel that is an innovative story about innovative storytelling.
Design the Life You Love
Get out your pencils and pens. Pour yourself a cup of coffee and pull up a chair. It’s time to design the life you love! If you or someone you know is ready to make some real life changes—and have fun while doing it, this is the book you’ll need. Unlike most self-help books, “Design the Life You Love” doesn’t tell you how to improve your life; it challenges you through reflection, imagination, listing, and drawing to become a more conscience participant in the “design” of your life. This beautifully illustrated book is a playful and practical step-by-step guide to self-discovery. It’s the perfect gift for anyone looking for an alternative to the traditional self-help rhetoric.
Ever look at gorgeous homes in magazines or on Pinterest and wonder how they look so chic and put-together? The answer is simple: it’s all due to the magic of prop stylists—people whose job it is to stack books, arrange knick-knacks and toss blankets effortlessly across the backs of couches. Now, you, too can take home the magic of a prop stylist—in a book. Emily Henderson, host of HGTV’s “Secrets of a Stylist,” has put all her tricks in one place. From arranging your bookshelves, to artfully displaying your, well, art, to creating a focal point that draws the eye, Henderson’s tips are as valuable as the gold trinkets she suggests layering your coffee table with. The perfect gift for the hostess with the mostess.
Brothers David Kelley and Tom Kelley, experts in innovation and design, join forces in this book to challenge the myth that only certain parts of the population possess natural, creative capabilities. They make the case that creativity is fundamentally human and that we all have the potential to be highly creative and imaginative. By nurturing and utilizing the specific strategies, techniques and principles demonstrated in this book, we can learn to tap into our creative capacity. “Creative Confidence” is an entertaining and inspiring read and is the perfect gift for the innovator in your life!
The Time Chamber
As children, our energy seems to run on an endless source of power we call imagination, taking us on impossibly magical journeys. As adults, we sometimes lose that sensibility, that freedom to go where imagination leads us, to break the rules, and draw all over life’s pages. Do you know someone who could use a dose of imagination, perhaps has stood on the sidelines, scoffing at the novelty of adult coloring books, all the while wondering what if? Or why not? This is the book for them.
Q&A a Day for Creatives
This four-year journal is a way to get you comprehending creatively every day. Out-of-the-box prompts on each page will get you thinking—and drawing—in whole new ways (for example: You’re lost at sea. What does the lighthouse that saves you look like? Or: Design a hat for the Kentucky Derby). Bonus: studies have shown that getting artistic once a day sharpens the mind and improves memory, focus and problem solving. So grab those pencils and get started!
Erik Wahl is a world-renowned graffiti artist and entrepreneur who believes creativity is inside all of us—not just in a certain few. His book teaches you how to tap into it by remembering how you thought—or, rather, didn’t think—as a child, before you were taught how to reason logically, assess risk or find ordered solutions. He argues that, by harkening back to our kid-like sense of play, we can better work together as adults—inside and outside of the workplace.
Art Students League of New York on Painting
James L. McElhinney
The Art Students League of New York was founded in 1875 to help American artists hone their skills and craft. Since then, famous artists such as Maurice Sendak, Cy Twombly, Roy Lichtenstein, Georgia O’Keeffe, Thomas Eakins and Alexander Calder have all studied or taught in the school’s renowned classrooms. Now, those who aren’t students can benefit from the incredible instruction offered at the school. This book, broken up into ten chapters written by ten painting professors, offers concrete lessons in composition, process, color and perspective so that you, too, can perfect your skills. Who knows, perhaps the next Jackson Pollack is inside you, waiting to be released?
‘Tis the season…to shop for everyone on your list. And, we may be biased, but we think the best gifts to give—and receive—are books!
Read It Forward is making your holiday shopping a cinch this year. We’ve curated seven different gift guides chock full of books that will thrill everyone you know: the foodie in the family, the creative thinker, the fiction devotee, the adventurous spirit, the former class clown, the ultimate fan (of podcasts, history, rock ‘n roll…you name it) and the sci-fi lover who’s already purchased their movie tickets for Stars Wars: The Force Awakens. All you have to do is swing by your local independent bookstore and shop ’til you drop.
The Creative Thinker loves a book that will get their wheels turning. Whether they aren’t quite sure they actually possess creativity (we have the books that prove that theory wrong) or they’re overflowing with it, these selections will help them tap into their imagination, think outside the dreaded box, act like a kid again and have the permission to dream. Who knows, these pages may inspire them to go on to capitalize on great ideas and achieve untold things—or just doodle on the paper placemat next time they’re out to dinner. Either way, you may seek a spark in their eyes that wasn’t there before, and they’ll have you to thank for it.
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What are you giving the creative thinker in your life this holiday season? Help expand our gift guide with your recommendations below!
Curated by the Read It Forward editorial team, illustration by Jane Mount of Ideal Bookshelf.