Books of interest for creative people

Here is an widely varied list of books and one article. A sci-fi alternative universe novel, photography, painting, weaving and a political novel.

Nalini Singh has written a series of novels which are sci-fi or alternative universe which take place several decades in the future. The psy-changeling series. Her latest is titled “Shield of Winter”. It is about a race of psy enhanced people who have attempted to weed out empathy and emotions. Sort of like a population of Star trek’s Spock. This book is about a psy subgroup of assassins – Arrows, one Arrow in particular. But the Arrows rebelled in an earlier novel and have been working against some of the psychotic psy leaders. Purely human serial killers are tame compared to the psy serial killers in this series. Killing comes easy for some who have absolute control. The other races – both human and non human have to learn to work together in order to survive. Nalini Singh’s world building is exceptional. San Francisco is different yet still familiar, and the Sierra Nevada mountains are home to species not of our world.

Another novel set in a world like our own but one with extremist judges on the supreme court. “Supreme Justice”, by Max Collins. A right-wing nut reviewed this book – the nerve of Collins not to preach the propaganda of the right-wing. Hey fella this is a novel where the author can ask – what would happen if . . . and follow where the characters lead. The beauty of Frank Herbert’s books (and his son who followed his father’s outlines) was that he asked “what would happen if this cultural extreme continued for hundreds of years?” Right wing nuttery does not nurture creativity.

For photographers who want to push themselves beyond mere snap shots there are two books to start your journey – “Creating Better Images”, by Doug Sahlin. “The Lens” by N.K. Guy, is a bit more advanced.  But if you take the steps outlined in Sahlin’s book then you need to know how the lens helps you take creative photos. In other words finding your own voice through the photos you take. It takes about 10,000 photos before you start getting the very best ones – according to those who have taken 10,000 photos.

Taking great photos or painting break away from the crowd exceptional photos requires that we learn to see the world differently. See with a fresh eye – look up or look at the world from a different angle or through a different lens. Even in the city or an old rusting car there are bits and pieces that can be beautiful or unique if isolated from the rest. Rigid personality types can’t understand this.

Creative street photographers are sometimes stopped by cops or bothered authoritarians who can not comprehend what an photographer sees in a rusting piece of machinery. Even when shown world class photographs authoritarian personalities can’t see the beauty in the ordinary. Flipboard app has a collection of articles on photography. From time to time an article is published about street or urban photographer meets the authoritarian enforcer. As a student of personality I recognize the authoritarian – they are everywhere.

The authoritarian doesn’t like abstract paintings or photographs. Yet the macro lenses allow us to go inside of a flower or a piece of wood and find abstract art. Who knew the interior of flowers could be so beautiful. The is a whole new photo hobby. Then there are the HDR – high dynamic range – photos which can be one photo or a stack of photos. Post development of photos using software is a creative way to push digital photos.

For weavers there’s a new book on rug weaving. The fundamentals are easy and you don’t necessarily need to weave rugs to make use of this book. You could use a small rigid heddle loom and make scarves or whatever. “Weaving Rag Rugs” by Tom Knisely. Weaving is both therapeutic and creative. Both are needed to survive the Koch inspired political climate.

For painters – two books. One by Ev Hales, “Painting Boats: Dynamics and Dimensions.” “Intro to Loose Watercolor: Secrets of Fast Painting Revealed”, by Roy Simmons. One doesn’t need to spend a fortune on paint and paper. Student grade paint of today is superior to what artists a century or more used. That is nice to know.

The last on this reading list is a hopeful article – really! This one is on the Guardian (from the UK). “How to Rebuild America’s Mental Health System in 5 Big Steps.” The author of this article, Paul Appelbaum, is knowledgeable and his plan is way better than the current non system in the U.S..

The books are all ebooks ( and the article on ways to fix the mental health system is also online.


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