“Steal Like An Artist” week: the magic of books

This is the second of three posts on how much I loved this book.  Bear with me! If you missed Part 1 on “creating your own world,” I hope you’ll check it out.

The book is Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon.  Here’s today’s excerpt.

“Always be reading.  Go to the library.  There’s magic in being surrounded by books.  Get lost in the stacks.  Read bibliographies.  It’s not the book you start with, it’s the book that book leads you to.

Collect books, even if you don’t plan on reading them right away.  Filmmaker John Waters has said, ‘Nothing is more important than an unread library.'” p.20

BooksI used to have a sweatshirt that read, “So many books; so little time.” Being that we live in Texas, I never wore it much, but I remember buying it at one of those mall kiosks (this was the 80’s) and feeling like I’d finally gotten something that I loved.  (I am positive that if I found something like this sweatshirt today, my hubby would never let me purchase something so hideous.)

I also used to own hundreds, maybe thousands, of books.  Every time I read one, I had the need to own it, to surround myself with all the stories and adventures I had “been through” with the authors.  I think the folks at Amazon used to know me on a first name basis.  You know, when it began and they were small and the folks that worked there had blogs about their favorites, etc.

I immerse myself in movies and books to the extent that I lose my sense of the present tense.  I am in the movie or in the book’s story.  So a good book literally leads me on new adventures or to new understandings.  And once that happens, I want to always have a souvenir from the trip.


It wasn’t until I got married and my hubby helped me move all those books into our first home that I considered there might be too many.  I tried giving some away but it felt physically painful.  Since then, I have gotten really good at separating myself from the actual paper in which the stories reside.  (There should be a 12-step program for this! Bibliophile Pack Rats Anonymous?) Thanks to the encouragement from my sister, my hubby, and decluttering books and blogs, I have lighted my load.  Of course, I have my favorites (the ones in the photo above are pretty much all I have now) and I have my Pinterest boards (Haven of Books and other people’s Bookshelves that I love to look at.  A girl can’t go cold turkey now, can she?

books canvas headerRemember also that I painted my favorite books so I can look at them every day.  Am I obsessed? Tell me you are like this too!

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12 Responses to “Steal Like An Artist” week: the magic of books

  1. Lori Moon says:

    Naomi – sign me up! You are not alone. I live in 320 sq feet with over 200 books. Thank goodness Superman is a very patient man. xo
    Lori Moon recently posted…May Flower Challenge – Day 27 – Memorial DayMy Profile

  2. Yes, I am very much like that! We had 2 big ol’ built in bookcases in our old house, and I stuffed them full. The new house is much smaller, so I had to part with the lion’s share, and it was one of the harder parts about moving. If I loved an author, I felt the need to own every book they ever wrote! But your taste is much classier than mine! Any way, I’m learning to love the library…
    janet forrest recently posted…Flower Month Day #27My Profile

  3. Cheryl says:

    Such a great post Naomi…I love books also..actually wrote a blog post about it myself awhile ago…like you I was trying to part with a few books…have so many..and I did get rid of 5 pages of them but I sure do love the real deal…I’m going to come back here later and check out all your book titles to see what your holding onto..kind of like a virtual visit to the library..
    Have a great week…
    Cheryl recently posted…A Time to Remember and Give ThanksMy Profile

  4. I have shelves and shelves (and shelves) of books (mostly history) and I make absolutely no apologies for this fact. 🙂
    Kerry Mark Leibowitz recently posted…Variations on a ThemeMy Profile

  5. christy says:

    YES YES YES! I am like this too….though somehow in a purging binge while pregnant with my second child (and living in a tiny house) many books (including faves) were taken to the second hand shop! I have a tiny collection now and get very excited when I buy a new one. In the meantime, I read so many library and borrowed books and I fill our bookshelves (my hubby has to build more every couple years) with children’s books. I say they are for our girls, but I think you Naomi will know that they are really for me! Oh to find a special new story book or a fading vintage classic! There is nothing like it!

    Your collections (especially the painted ones) are incredible! I am inspired to sort mine out and purge those that I thought I would love (gifts) but never did and refill the spaces with new ones that call to me! For now, I will order a few titles from the library that I see on your shelf and try to save money so I can buy some more kids books for summer reading!!!

    Love your blog!!!
    christy recently posted…hummingbirds (and new art supplies) taking flightMy Profile

  6. Janice says:

    I looked at the book “Steal Like an Artist” but choose “How to be an explorer of the World” by Keri Smith, and I love Susannah Conway’s book “this I know” For me books are a great source of inspiration and sometimes a quiet retreat.
    Janice recently posted…Dixieland Hibiscus Flower and Paul CezanneMy Profile

  7. Naomi says:

    Oh yes, I completely agree. I hadn’t heard of Keri Smith’s book so I’ll check that out for sure.

  8. Naomi says:

    Lol. I’m so glad you came by, Christy! It looks like we have a ton in common! I love how you talk about favorite books getting taken to be sold as if you were not involved at all. Truly our bodies are not our own when we’re pregnant, but you are too funny. And yes, I’m guilty of buying too many children’s books too. 🙂

  9. Naomi says:

    I think I read your post, Cheryl, because I remember identifying with you on how hard that sorting process can be. 🙂

  10. christy says:

    Naomi, I am having so much fun getting to “know” you! You make me smile and I am glad I am not the only one who is going overboard on the kids books!
    christy recently posted…married to a marketer man = mmmMy Profile

  11. stacie says:

    I’m a book addict too 🙂 Love to just look at them at times.

  12. Pingback: September book love: what I’ve been reading lately |

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