What I’m Reading This Month

[from top to bottom] A mug filled with matcha tea 😉 // Year of Yes // The Martian // Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs of People. // Royko in Love // The Complete Portrait Manual

This may or may not be a regular feature, but since I’ve been enjoying a few diverse reads this month, I wanted to share the books I’ve been or am planning on enjoying. Normally, I’m into nonfiction reads that involve photography, self improvement or business. This month, however, I added a fiction and a biography to the pile. Go me. 😀 The stack includes:

Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Dance In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes – This was not a book that was on my radar, but I noticed it at the library and thought, Hey, Grey’s Anatomy is a cool show – I bet Shonda has something worthwhile to say. This is the type of book I would normally read anyway, so it went with me to the check out line. I read it and HOLY COW. This is book is something of a game changer. My takeaways: say “yes” to opportunities that may scare you; even if there are emotional repercussions, say “yes” to yourself (Shonda, for example, broke up an engagement when she owned up to the fact that she didn’t want to get married); say “yes” to saying “no” to the toxic people in your life (“Bye Felicia.” That’s a direct quote on page 224); being a mom is not a job – it’s who you are (this sounds like a Mommy War thing and it’s not – she has asked us all to put our curling irons down and call a truce. Deal); take a compliment (and knock it off with the self deprecation and humble BS as a reply. Just say “thank you”) and oh, Shonda Rhimes is a bada**. The book starts off with the following quote from Christina Yang (Grey’s fans know who she is): “If you want crappy things to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something more.” If that speaks to you, then you may want to pick up this book. (One more thing before I move on: this link provides a a great summary of the book. Mothers, pay attention to #24. Everyone should live #27).

The Martian by Andy Weir – I have nothing to say about this book as I haven’t read it yet. Oh wait, I do want to say something: I might be the last person to have picked up this book. (And I’m looking forward to reading it!)

Read This If You Want to Take Great Photographs of People. by Henry Carroll – I’m reading this book for the 100th time because I’ve been getting into trying creative ways to take photographs of my kids. It’s a great reference for those who want to take pictures of people (and not necessarily in a portrait type of way).

Royko in Love by Mike Royko – I’ve been a Mike Royko fan for about almost two decades. (Wow.) I used to occasionally read his columns back in high school when he work appeared in The Chicago Tribune (or was it The Sun Times? I don’t remember – forgive me, my age is catching up with me) and rediscovered him later on in life. To me, Royko is a funny man in an angry way – my favorite type of person. 😉 But he had a soft side when it came to his first wife Carol, who died at the age of 44. If you’ve read A November Farewell (his first column after her death), you’ll understand the love he had for her. (Just a note: don’t read the words in that link unless you have a box of Kleenex nearby.) Royko in Love predates A November Farewell and is a collection of letters Mike used to send Carol while he was stationed with the military. Basically, this is a love story told through his letters – so beautiful. And even though you know how it ends (he gets the girl), you can’t help but root for him. I’m not done with the book yet, but I’ve been enjoying it very much. (Can you tell?)

The Complete Portrait Manual by Popular Photography – This is somewhat similar to Henry Carroll’s book mentioned above except that it offers more creative ideas and technical know-how. This is a great reference that I bought way back when and have severely (!!!) underutilized since. Portrait photographers, you need to get your hands on this book.

And that’s pretty much it.

Oh, and in case I haven’t mentioned it, this is a great book for artists of any type:

"Do the Work" by Steven Pressfield

I should say its predecessor “The War of Art” is a MUST READ. Steven Pressfield is my spirit animal. (Shonda is too.)

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