A Crafter's Life, Audiobooks and Podcasts

Neil Gaiman

I am in love with the author Neil Gaiman. Unabashedly in love.

My love is not in a crazy obsessed “fan girl” sort of way (I have no plans to stalk him at Science Fiction conventions). My love is more a deep awe and respect for him as a writer and his incredible creative mind.

He is my favorite fantasy/science fiction/horror writer. His work transcends genre and I am not sure where he neatly fits. His writing is like HP Lovecraft, Clive Barker, Grimm’s Fairy Tales, J.R.R. Tolkien and Douglas Adams were locked in a room together until they created something wonderful.

I have read many of his works, some of my favorites being:

  • Trigger Warning (2015) – a collection of his short stories
  • American Gods (2002) 
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane (2013)
  • Neverwhere (2009)

I have also read some of the Sandman series of graphic (illustrated) novels.

Most of Gaiman’s novels, I have listened to on audiobook.  I remember several of them (if not all) being narrated by Neil Gaiman himself – my favorite type of audiobook to listen to: where the author reads their own work. Neil Gaiman has a delightful British accent and the timbre of his voice is nearly hypnotic as he shares his tales.

Before I started on a path, a couple years ago, of primarily reading/listening to nonfiction books, I only read or listened to fiction.

My favorite genre of fiction is Science Fiction and I love when it mixes with Fantasy (like a Tolkien or Fairy Tale flavor) or Horror (like an H.P. Lovecraft flavor).

I am currently listening to my first nonfiction book of Neil GaimanThe View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (2016). It is an excellent collection of his essays and speeches and narrated of course by Neil himself.

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photo credit: amazon.com

Neil Gaiman is a kindred spirit of mine related to his love of public libraries and bookstores. He shares in The View from the Cheap Seats: Selected Nonfiction (2016), wonderful stories of summers in the library as a child. He also pleads and lobbies for the protection/preservation of public libraries in the UK (where it sounds like they are in danger). He discusses how important libraries are in creating and fostering a literate society; and that reading fiction as children develops their creativity.

I am only 5 essays into the book but I am also enjoying the stories behind the development of some of his greatest works to include American Gods (2002). He also discusses his evolution as a writer and the sources of his inspiration.

Neil Gaiman is a huge fan of Ray Bradbury and in the preface/instruction to his book Trigger Warning (2015) he shares how Ray Bradbury inspires him and how he got to meet his childhood hero. I have read several of Ray Bradbury’s novels (including the mandatory Fahrenheit 451 required in my high school) but now I have a longing to return as an adult and an experienced reader to the science fiction classic and revisit them.

Thinking about taking a break from nonfiction, self-improvement books for a while and lose myself in worlds created by brilliant authors.

So what are YOU reading these days and what authors have you fallen hopeless in love with? 


Feature photo credit: Bob Smith, free images.com

Audiobooks and Podcasts, tierneycreates

Grit

Just started listening to a fantastic audiobook (well fantastic so far) – Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth (2016).

The audiobook is read by the author (I love when an author reads their own audiobook) and explores the role of GRIT in the journey to success (however you define success).

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Photo credit: Amazon.com

Wikipedia describes “grit” as:

…a positive, non-cognitive trait based on an individual’s passion for a particular long-term goal or end state, coupled with a powerful motivation to achieve their respective objective. This perseverance of effort promotes the overcoming of obstacles or challenges that lie within a gritty individual’s path to accomplishment, and serves as a driving force in achievement realization.

Whenever I think of the word “grit”, I think of the movie True Grit (original 1969 and remake 2010).

This movie was based on a novel by Charles Portis (1968). This movie was about a teenage girl hiring a man with “true grit” to capture the man who killed her father. It  is a story of dogged retribution for a wrong, as well as a story of valor and courage.

In the audiobook Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, the author does not discuss hunting down people who do you wrong (could you imagine reading a self-improvement book that focused on that topic, ha!) but explores “natural talent” vs. “hard work and perseverance”.

I am early in the audiobook but I am fascinated by the author’s anecdotal examples of individuals who society or schools wrote off as low aptitude and low achievers who went on to achieve great things due to their efforts, hard work, and perseverance. The author also shares how one teacher believing in one child that no one else believed in can make a huge impact on that child’s life and future. Teachers are higher life forms in my opinion and the lives they positively impact have an impact on society as a whole.

More later on this audiobook as I continue my listen…


Postscript

Speaking of “grit” (or my imaginary grit), I have been hard at work making items for the tierneycreates Etsy shop. I am taking a break from working on art quilts and instead focusing on making fun items for people to enjoy in their homes or give as gifts. I am working on make a bunch of the Vintage Beer Coasters (see the post Quilt Retreat Weekend: The Projects for the story of how I made 9 sets at a quilt retreat and left with retreat with 0 sets as the other quilters bought them all as gifts!)


Postscript Postscript

Do you remember the days of writing letters (on paper!) and adding a “P.S. P.S” after your initial “P.S.”? Well here is one more thought before I close this post:

I continue to enjoy all the blogs I follow by other creative individuals. I wanted to mention one blog post I recently really enjoyed from the blog Dewey Hop in which the blogger discusses interesting finds in the Economics section of the library, discussion of those finds and some wonderful humor:

Economics

The blogger, Feisty Froggy, is blogging through the entire Dewey Decimal system of the local public library in order; and shares favorite finds in each section. If you have followed my blog for a little while, you know about my love of and obsession with the public library.

I look forward to Feisty Froggy’s next post on the next library section!

Audiobooks and Podcasts, The Library Stack

Listening and Reading

Hope your week has gone well.  It is nearly the weekend and time for “power crafting” or just relaxing. Thought I would share an update on audiobooks and physical books that I have mentioned in recent posts (all borrowed from my local library).


AUDIOBOOKS

  • Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes – I first mentioned this audiobook in my post Embracing the “Yes”.  Last week, I finished this wonderful audiobook and I highly recommend it. It is read by the author which makes the book even more wonderful. Shonda Rhimes (writer/producer of shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) authentically shares her struggles to break from her extreme introversion and embrace life. She shares some exceptional stories, experiences, and life lessons with humor, humility and grace. The audiobook also includes the recording of the incredible commencement speech she gave at her alma mater, Dartmouth College as well as several other highly inspirational speeches. She also delves into some of the autobiographical stories weaved into the plot of her shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Little did the TV viewers realize she was working on her own personal struggles through the storylines of the TV characters. Only problem with listening to this audiobook while on a walk is I had to stop a let out a belly laugh – her excellent television show writing skills are apparent in her book writing skills!
  • The Here and Now Habit by Hugh Byrne – this is my first time mentioning this audiobook as I started listening to it after finishing Year of Yes. It is not as exciting and engaging as the audiobook I just finished but so far is has wonderful tips on incorporating mindfulness into your life. More thoughts on the book after I finish it.

BOOKS (These books are from my 05/26/16 post The Library Stack)

  • The Quilter’s Practical Guide to Color by Becky Goldsmith – I have read several books that explore color and fabric selection for quilters, but I think this one of the best. Using many photo examples, the author discusses the color wheel, color schemes, value and contrast, clarity, texture and scale and other interesting and engaging topics related to quilt design. This book also includes several patterns to test out your color and design skills.
  • Modern Quilts from the Blogging Universe by The Patchwork Place – This book had one pattern that engaged me – Tree Quilt – which was made from scrappy free form tree shapes. The rest of the patterns did not interest me though I recognize and appreciate the efforts by the different pattern designer/bloggers that contributed to the book. What I did enjoy was reading the bio of each designer and the website addresses for their blogs! If I had my choice I would just read and look at other crafter blogs all day.

Postscript

Sassy of Schnauzer Snips asked me to post this “public service announcement” for my human readers:

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Audiobooks and Podcasts, Studio

Update: Recycled Door

In the March 2016 post BLOG TOUR DAY 4: Unlikely Materials I shared a work in progress called Recycled Door. This art quilt is part of the Central Oregon SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) group exhibit “Doors” that will debut at the 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt show.

We were challenged with making an 18″ x 40″ art quilt/wallhanging that represented our interpretation of a door. I found a door image I liked on Australian door and window manufacturer’s website Brisbane Timber . I created my interpretation of one of their doors, using recycled materials: jeans, corduroy shirts, a tweed jumper, and home decor fabric.

I just got this piece back from Betty Anne Guadalupe, my long-arm quilter and collaborative partner in The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection.  She quilted it to represent the texture/grain of an wooden door.

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Now I need put finish the facing for the back (finishing off an art quilt with a smooth edge instead of binding the edge) and it is ready for the July 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show!

As it was made with recycled materials, it will become part of The Wardrobe Meets the Wall Collection.


Postscript

I am listening to a new non-fiction audiobook, The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Grosz, Stephen.

It is pretty DEEP. The author is a British psychoanalyst who shares 25 years of his client’s stories (confidentiality maintained of course!) in relation to baffling behavior based on hidden feelings.

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The narrator also is British and I am enjoying the British English pronunciation of words such as “schedule” and “garage”!

One of the most interesting parts of the book so far, besides all the interesting stories, is the author sharing a very profound interpretation of Charles Dickens’ famous story, A Christmas Carol. He delves deep into what actually made Ebenezer Scrooge change his ways!

Audiobooks and Podcasts

Life is Nonfiction Revisited

(The featured photo is a beautiful sunset in Central Oregon, photographed while on my evening walk, listening to a nonfiction audiobook!)

Back in October 2014 I began a series of posts discussing my favorite non fiction audiobooks beginning with Life is Nonfiction. In the subsequent post: Life is Nonfiction: Part IILife is Nonfiction: Part IIILife is Nonfiction: Part IV, and Life is Nonfiction: Part V.

My sister is a Student Advisor for the Department of Social Work for a university. She contacted me yesterday to see if I had a list of inspirational books I recommended for their resource library for Social Work students (she knows about my addiction to self-improvement books).

I sent her the links to the above posts and then realized that since posting the original series, I have mentioned or discussed numerous other nonfiction audiobooks.

Somedays I cannot believe just how many nonfiction audiobooks (primarily in the “self-improvement” genre) I listened to over the past several years. Most of these audiobooks are from my local public library’s free digital downloads/audiobook loans; a couple of the books I purchased through audible.com.

I go on two walks each day for approximately 75 – 90 minutes of walking each day. This leaves a lot of time to listen to audiobooks. I also listen to them on the weekend while working on quilting projects.

If I am not listening to an audiobook, then I am listening to one of my favorite podcasts: The Miminalists, The TED Radio Hour, Freakonomics Radio, or The Moth Radio Hour. I am drawn to listening to material in which I learn something or I am inspired by someone’s personal story. Occasionally I do listen to a Science Fiction/Fantasy novel (I love Neil Gaiman!) or Young Adult Fiction (yes I have listened to the Hunger Game series, Twilight, etc.) but I continue to primarily seek out inspirational listens.

I put together the list below for my sister of my favorite inspirational nonfiction books and  I am sharing in this post as a summary of all my recommendations posted on this blog to date. (Disclaimer: In graduate school, we were required to use American Psychological Association (APA) format for citing references and bibliographies; this list is not in proper bibliography format and if you are a stickler for correct format – my apologies!):


Favorite Nonfiction Audiobooks Mentioned on the tierneycreates Blog:

  • Acuff, Jon – Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck
  • Brown, Brené  – Daring greatly: how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead
  • Burroughs, Augusten –  This is how: proven aid in overcoming shyness, molestation, fatness, spinsterhood, grief, disease, lushery, decrepitude & more – for young and old alike
  • Cain, Susan – Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking.
  • Dyer, Wayne – 101 Ways to Transform Your Life
  • Dyer, Wayne – Excuses Begone!: How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits
  • Duhigg, Charles – The power of habit: why we do what we do in life and in business
  • Fey, Tina – Bossypants
  • Fiore, Neil – The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play
  • Gilbert, Elizabeth – Committed: a skeptic makes peace with marriage
  • Gilbert, Elizabeth – Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
  • Gladwell, Malcom – What the dog saw and other adventure stories
  • Gladwell, Malcom –  David and Goliath: underdog, misfits, and the art of battling giants
  • Gordon, John – The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy
  • Guillebeau, Chris – The art of nonconformity: Set your own rules, live the life you want, and change the world
  • Heath, Chip – Decisive: how to make better choices in life and work
  • Heath Chip & Health, Dan – Switch: how to change things when when is hard.
  • Huffington, Arianna – Thrive: the third metric to redefining success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder
  • Huffington, Arianna – The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time
  • Iyer, Pico – The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere
  • Jeffers, Susan – Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
  • Kaplan, Janice – The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life
  • Kelly, Matthew – Off balance: getting beyond the work-life balance mouth to personal and professional satisfaction
  • Kondo, Marie – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
  • Lamott, Anne – Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace
  • Levitin, Daniel – The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload
  • Levitt, Steven and Dubner, Stephen – Think Like a Freak
  • Loyd, Alexander- Beyond Willpower
  • McGonigal, Jane  – SuperBetter
  • Patchett, Ann – This is the Story of a Happy Marriage
  • Robinson, Ken  – Finding your element: how to discover your talents and passions and transform your life
  • Rubin, Gretchen – Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives
  • Singer, Michael – The untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself
  • Souza, Brian – Become Who You Were Born to Be
  • Stulz, Phil and Michels, Barry – The Tools: Transform Your Problems Into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity
  • Taleb, Nassim – Antifragile: things that gain from disorder
  • Tolle, Eckhart – A new earth: awakening to your life’s purpose
  • Tolle, Eckhart – The power of now: a guide to spiritual enlightenment
  • Weber, Lauren – In cheap we trust: the story of a misunderstood American virtue
  • White, Jennifer – Work less, make more
Audiobooks and Podcasts, Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: My Journals

This continues my series of posts on my sources of creative inspiration

Two Journals, Two Different Purposes

I keep two journals. One journal for art quilting ideas and inspirations; and another journal for tierneycreates business, blogging and life in general ideas and inspirations.

The journal on the left, used for art quilting ideas and inspiration, has a handmade cover that I made during an intuitive design piecing class homework assignment. The lime green “sketchbook” on the right is what I use for tierneycreates, blogging ideas and life inspiration.

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I got the idea of keep an art quilt ideas/inspiration journal from Jean Wells Keenan‘s brilliant books Intuitive Color and Design: Adventures in Art Quilting and Journey to Inspired Art Quilting. I was also fortunate enough to take her series of classes, Journey to Art Inspired Quilting, twice and see in person her wonderful inspirational art quilting journal.

In my art quilting journal I keep clippings from magazines and photos from my travels and nature that are future inspirations for art quilts. At first I had planned to use my art quilting journal for blogging ideas and tierneycreates business ideas. I discovered I wanted to keep the art quilting journal for quilt ideas and development. So I started a second journal.

I love both my journals, but I use the second journal (which I will refer to as the “tierneycreates journal”) more frequently.

The “tierneycreates journal” is where I write down ideas I get from listening to home-based business related audiobooks; books from the library on small business development and growth; quotes I find in magazines, books or hear on the media (radio, TED Talks, television, etc.); and any notes from searches on the internet (for example:  What are the standard sizes for table runners that I should use for my tierneycreates Etsy shop table runners?).

I also use the”tierneycreates journal” to map out my future blog posts or blog post ideas. Sometimes I will spontaneously write a blog post, and sometimes I will write a post about a topic I have been thinking about for a couple of weeks and already fleshed out in my journal what I want to write about that topic.

I find it challenging to keep sudden ideas and inspiration stored in my mind. It seems that inspiration and ideas can come to you at any time. My journals provide a way to record them, even if they are only a skeleton of an idea that will need its internal organs and flesh added at a later date!

Postscript 

As mentioned in my series of posts on Nonfiction Audiobooks, I continue to enjoy listening to audiobooks while I work on quilting projects.

I recently finished a wonderful and inspirational audiobook by Anne Lamott – Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moment of Grace (Riverhead Books, 2014). The audiobook was read by the author which is always a treat for me – you get to experience what the author feels should be emphasized in the reading of a book based on their vocal inflections.

This book is basically a collection of personal biographical essays on the author’s experiences. Anne Lamott tells these stories  with raw, relatable, and passionate language from a deeply spiritual yet deeply irreverent perspective! So far one of my favorite nonfiction audiobooks of all time.

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Quality of Life

The Four Cardinal Virtues

I just finished the audiobook CD Excuses Begone!: How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits by Dr. Wayne Dyer, positive thinking guru. I did not realize until doing a little “googling” for this post that Dr. Dyer passed on August 30, 2015. What a legacy he left behind.

I loved this audiobook and his writing appears to be heavily influenced by Eastern Philosophy. In the book he discusses Lao-tsu’s Four Cardinal Virtues. They really resonated with me and I wanted to share them with you:

Four Cardinal Virtues

  1. Reverence for all life
  2. Natural Sincerity
  3. Gentleness
  4. Supportiveness

What a beautiful and peaceful world we would live in if all humans lived these virtues.

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Audiobooks and Podcasts, Studio

Progress and Fear

Interesting combinations of words, huh? One sounds positive (Progress) and the other sounds, well…fearful (Fear)!

Actually the title is about two positive things!

PROGRESS

Making progress on the five (5) quilts that are back from the long-arm quilter and need bindings to be completed (refer to the posts “Some Progress Made” and “The Quilting Husband Saga Continues” for more info). Terry the Quilting Husband assembled the bindings and I have sewn them onto all 5 quilts. Now they are waiting in a nice pile to taken turns sitting on my lap and have their binding sewn down. Then they will be complete!

"Please complete us" (Pile-o-Quilts waiting for their bindings to be sewn down)
“Please complete us” (Pile-o-Quilts waiting for their bindings to be sewn down)

FEAR

My previous post was on Creative Inspiration: Words. Currently listening to Susan Jeffers’ fantastic audiobook Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and feeling very inspired. I wanted to share her 5 Truths About Fear she has published on her website (susanjeffers.com):

  1. Fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow (this is a good thing)!
  2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out and do it!
  3. The only way to feel better about yourself it to go out and do it!
  4. Not only are you afraid when facing the unknown, so is everyone else!
  5. Pushing through the fear is less frightening than living with the bigger underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness!

I am really enjoying this audiobook. Of course now you all expect that I will quickly complete the bindings on the stack-o-quilts as I should feel pretty fearless about them now…

Audiobooks and Podcasts, Creative Inspiration

Creative Inspiration: Words

Check out Sassy the Highly Opinionated Miniature Schnauzer’s blog on the Schnauzer Snips page for her latest insights from a 16 inch tall person’s point of view…

Words…

Time to continue my series on my sources of creative inspiration. In my last post on creative inspiration, Creative Inspiration: Organization?!?!?, I explored how getting organized makes me feel inspired creatively.

Recently I have been thinking about how written or spoken words inspire me creatively.

Not just any words. The “words” that inspire me are motivational words, inspirational sayings, words of truth, insights into the human struggle, words with meaning – words that matter.

The Spoken Word

In previous posts I discussed some of my favorite nonfiction audiobooks (see my series “Life is Nonfiction”) that I enjoy listening to while walking or working on a quilt. Most of these books are in the “self-help” or “self-improvement” genre and they inspire me to be bold and take chances creatively with my art or with my tierneycreates business.

Recently I listened to some very inspirational audiobook with lots of “great words” to inspire me:

  • Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck by Jon Acuff
  •  The Tools: Transform Your Problems Into Courage, Confidence, and Creativity by Phil Stulz and Barry Michels

I continue to be addicted to self-improvement books and they inspire my creativity. When a book encourages me to be brave and take risks, I translate this into my work on art quilts or new ideas for tierneycreates. These books reinforce what I already know deep in my spirit but somehow do not implement in day to day life.

Quotes

There are some wonderful quotes that stick with me and encourage me to continue on my creative artistic journey:

 “Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” – Henry Van Dyke

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu

“Life is a balance of holding on and letting go.” – Rumi

All these quotes I have posted in my house somewhere: in a frame, on a bulletin board, or in a piece of wall art. I feel like the words in these quotes are part of me. They make me feel safe to do my art and to go where I want to go creatively.

One of the quotes is by Rumi.  Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī was a 13th century Persian poet and scholar. I am currently listening to an audiobook, Pure Water – Poetry of Rumi and I want to close this post about inspirational words with one of Rumi’s poems, The Guest House.

The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness
comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
On a walk, listening to inspirational audiobook, stopped to look at the sun through the trees
On a walk, listening to inspirational audiobook, stopped to look at the sun through the trees
Audiobooks and Podcasts

Life is Nonfiction: Part V

We arrive at the conclusion of a series of posts which began with Life is Nonfiction, a listing  of my favorite nonfiction audiobooks and subsequent discussion of key insights I gained from listening to these books.

In my prior post in this series, Life is Nonfiction: Part IV, I opened with a brief discussion of  the fictional audiobooks I have listened to recently as part of my 2015 “a year of fiction”. I realized forgot to mention that I had recently finished the Ann Patchett’s book The Magician’s Assistant, a highly enjoyable listen about being in love with someone you cannot have, closure, and finding your own way. Currently I am listening to Ann Patchett’s The Story of a Happy Marriage, an excellent collection of her essays. After reading or listening to Bel Canto, State of Wonder, The Magician’s Assistant and now The Story of a Happy Marriage, I have decided to start with her earliest novel, The Patron Saint of Liars and read/listen to her entire catalogue of novels. I have become interested in exploring an author’s entire body of work. It is intriguing to find reoccurring themes in an author’s writing. So far several of Ann Patchett’s novels touch upon some version of unrequited love.

Now onto the key insights I gained from the remaining favorite nonfiction audiobooks:

Robinson, Ken (2013). Finding your element: how to discover your talents and passions and transform your lifeNew York, NY: Viking.

KEY INSIGHT: Be brave and identify where your passions lie. The pursue them!

Singer, Michael (2013). The untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.

KEY INSIGHT: I think this book is a mandatory read for humans. I first read it and then I listened to the audiobook. The audiobook is humorous in a way, after reading this very profound book, as the narrator sounds like a slightly irritated New Yorker telling you to “get over yourself”. The key insight of the book is basically “get over yourself”! Don’t listen to your ego talking and bossing you around, find your real voice, the voice at your core. This book helps you dispel with the negative self-talk and “chatter” and get to the magic and the beauty of being a conscious living being. I must recommend that for your first exposure to this book – read the book and then if you want to revisit it listen to the “slightly irritated New Yorker” narration!

Taleb, Nassim (2012). Antifragile: things that gain from disorder. New York, NY: Random House.

KEY INSIGHT: Awareness of the fragility in systems, what makes them fragile, and how to protect yourself professionally and personally.

Tolle, Eckhart (2005). A new earth: awakening to your life’s purpose. New York, NY: Dutton/Penguin Group.

KEY INSIGHT: Like the book The untethered soul, this book focuses on the awareness of the ego and then letting go of the ego. Listening to this book helped me gain quite a sense of peace and release from things that I was obsessing and worrying about as ultimately many of them do not matter in the whole scheme of the universe.

Tolle, Eckhart (1999), The power of now: a guide to spiritual enlightenment. Novato, CA: New World Library.

KEY INSIGHT: Live in the moment. The past is not changeable and the future is not ultimately known. This book helped me let go of many worries and to appreciate what I am experiencing in the moment. This book is about being fully present in the Present.

Weber, Lauren (2009). In cheap we trust: the story of a misunderstood American virtueNew York, NY: Little, Brown.

KEY INSIGHT: This book was an enjoyable discussion on the history of frugality and that “being cheap” is not a bad thing!

White, Jennifer (2004). Work less, make more. Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audiobooks.

KEY INSIGHT: This book encouraged intense scrutiny of what was really important to me in life. I realized that my health care career was not at the top of the list. At the top of the list is family (including furry family members) and my tierneycreates creations!

Whew – not sure what I was thinking when I decided to take on discussion/key insights of so many nonfiction audiobooks. I hope you will find a book or two that inspire you after all these insights. I did notice repetition in “self-help” nonfiction audiobooks but repetition of important ideas/concepts can be a good thing. Happy Listening!

Audiobooks and Podcasts

Life is Nonfiction: Part IV

After spending last couple years primarily listening to Nonfiction audiobooks, 2015 continues to be an enjoyable year of Fiction audiobooks as I focus my audiobook selections to fictional stories. So far all have been excellent. After listening to Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being, I delved into Margaret Atwood’s impressive collection of short stories – Stone Mattress: Nine Tales. The book was narrated by the author herself as well as several other wonderful narrators. Several of the short stories are connected in a masterful way and others stand alone. Many deal with themes about aging and empowerment in the face of loss of youth, while others are just marvelous little fantasy stories. After finishing Stone Mattress, I listened to Rene Denfeld’s mind blowing novel The Enchanted: A Novel that provided a lyrical story about life on death row from the perspective of an incarcerated  sociopath with profound mental illness. It does not sound like something appealing to listen to but the narration by Jim Frangione is amazing as is the extremely masterful story.

Now you are thinking: “Wait a minute Tierney, the title of this post is Life is Nonfiction: Part IV!”  You are right and the actual purpose of this post is to continue sharing the key insights from the list of my favorite nonfiction audiobooks which I began in the post Life is Nonfiction.

So here we go:

Guillebeau, Chris (2010). The art of nonconformity: Set your own rules, live the life you want, and change the world. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

KEY INSIGHT: To live life on your own terms; and that it is okay to give yourself permission do that! I have always felt like I never quite “fit in” and have always considered myself an outsider. This book reinforced it is okay to be an “outsider” and to walk your own unique path. The more I listen to books like this more I am at peace with being an outsider and walking my own path.

Heath, Chip (2013). Decisive: how to make better choices in life and work. New York, NY: Crown Business.

KEY INSIGHT: This audiobook provided great insights on making better choices personally and professionally. I loved the “WRAP” method of decision making discussed in the book: 1) Widen your choices; 2) Reality test your assumptions; 3) Attain distance before deciding; and 4) Prepare to be wrong.

Heath Chip & Health, Dan (2010). Switch: how to change things when when is hard. New York, NY: Books on Tape.

KEY INSIGHT: Looki at change in an optimistic way and honestly examine obstacles to change.

Huffington, Arianna (2014). Thrive: the third metric to redefining success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder. New York, NY: Random House.

KEY INSIGHT: This is one of the best nonfiction audiobooks ever in my opinion. The female narrator has a Greek accent to give you the feel that  A. Huffington (of The Huffington Post) herself is reading the book to you. This book inspires one to rethink, or think about for the first time what success really means to you personally and professionally. This audiobook inspires you to examine what is actually important in your life. This audiobook importantly encourages you to take care of yourself in a loving manner and to protect yourself from burnout. This audiobook inspired me to get more sleep, which has been a wonderful thing (and has made our miniature schnauzer Sassy very happy as she loves to go to bed as early as possible if you read her blog on Schnauzer Snips).

Kelly, Matthew (2011). Off balance: getting beyond the work-life balance mouth to personal and professional satisfactionAshland, OR: Blackstone Audio.

KEY INSIGHT: That work-life balance is a myth! This audiobook inspired me to look beyond that myth and honestly examine where I want to focus my energies in life.

Kingsolver, Barbara (2007). Animal, vegetable, miracle: a year of food life. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.

KEY INSIGHT: In this wonderful book narrated by the author, Barbara Kingsolver takes the reader along with her family’s one year experiment of growing and raising their own food. She shares all the hurdles and challenges to eat “clean” and local in humorous, educational and poignant ways. After reading Fast Food Nation and The Omnivore’s Dilemma years ago I was already conscious about “where does the food I eat actually come from and how it is processed?” This book helped remind me to make wise choices on what food I bring in my house/place on my table/put in my mouth.

Kornfield, Jack & Siegel, Daniel (2011). Mindfulness and the brain. Louisville, KY: Sounds True.

KEY INSIGHT: Why slowing down and being mindful is so important to your mental health. After listening to this audiobook I began to believe in the power of meditation.

McKeown, Greg (2014). Essentialism: the disciplined pursuit of less. New York: Crown Business.

KEY INSIGHT: I already knew you do not need a lot of stuff or achievements to be happy but this audiobook beautifully reinforced this concept. This audiobook made me think about living my life more simply and carefully deciding where I want to put my time and energy.

I hope you experience some of these excellent nonfiction audiobooks for yourself.

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Audiobooks and Podcasts

Life is Nonfiction: Part III

I did not realize so much time had passed since my last post briefly discussing my favorite Nonfiction audiobooks that I enjoyed listening to while working on quilts and various textile projects.

Interestingly, I have decided for 2015 to try and make it a year of Fiction and to listen to primarily Fiction audiobooks while I working on quilting projects. I did begin in December by listening to Ruth Ozeki’s wonderful audiobook A Tale for the Time Being (2013), narrated by the author. I love when an author reads/narrates their own book – they are able to give the inflections and emphases that they want on the reading of their book. I have listened to several Barbara Kingsolver audiobooks and she does an excellent job of narrating her own books, giving a real sense of authenticity to the story. I also enjoyed listening to Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Love Pray and Committed) narrate her own books.

Of course my plan to primarily only listen to Fiction audiobooks did not lasted long, and I just finished listening to a very interesting nonfiction audiobook – The Disaster Diaries: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Apocalypse by Sam Sheridan.

Returning to the nonfiction audiobooks I originally listed in the post Life is Nonfiction: I realize you as the blog readers, can search the web yourself and read the synopsis/overview and reader reviews on each book; so I am going to just focus on the key insight(s) I gained from each audiobook as I continue the discussion started in Life is Nonfiction: Part II.

Gordon, John (2007). The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

KEY INSIGHTS: This book presents taking a different perspective/view of your life via a parable of getting on a bus and taking charge of the ride. Though this book is strongly focused on how to successfully lead and motivate a team by being a role model of radiant positive energy, for me it reinforced how destructive negative thoughts and energy can be on moving forward in my life. Although I know it in my heart it is wonderful to have a reminder to just say no to “victim” behavior and that I am in charge of how I react and act in life!

Gladwell, Malcom (2009). What the dog saw and other adventure stories. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

KEY INSIGHTS: Malcolm Gladwell is another author who also provides the narration for his audiobooks. He narrated this intriguing book which is a collection of stories published in the New Yorker. The key insight I gained listening to this book is the importance of being open to different perspectives and experiences of others. Gladwell is a master storyteller and his stories make you think about how you would personally handle a specific experience and gain respect for what others have experienced and persevered.

Gladwell, Malcom (2013). David and Goliath: underdog, misfits, and the art of battling giants. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.

KEY INSIGHT: Another great nonfiction audiobook narrated by the author; the key insight I gained from listening to this book (which is also the theme of the book) – is it is not always a bad thing to be the “underdog”. Gladwell discusses many examples of where the outsider, underdog, misfit succeeds and why this success make sense. I like books which reinforce selecting the path less traveled and I admire the bravery of those who walk on those paths!

Duhigg, Charles (2012). The power of habit: why we do what we do in life and in business. New York: Random House.

KEY INSIGHTS:  1) The science behind habits and how habit operates in the brain; and 2) how to remake your habits – eliminate those you want stop, implement new positive habits, or modify existing habits. This well written and well researched book is about taking control of those habits you feel control you.

Fiore, Neil (2007). The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play.  New York, NY: Tarcher/Penguin.

KEY INSIGHTS: Well, my key insight was that I have an issue with procrastination – but isn’t first admitting you have a problem the first step to dealing with it? This book provides an excellent plan to overcome procrastination and I did implement many ideas from the book. Unfortunately they did not include my plan on keeping up my blog on a more frequent basis! Seriously,  I think this book helps you work through an honest and non judgmental examination of why you really procrastinate. I found the self honesty empowering and each day is a new opportunity to as Nike says “Just Do It”!

Wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Audiobooks and Podcasts

Life is Nonfiction

Please see Sassy’s blog in Schnauzer Snips for an update on her (and her new brother Mike’s) adventures.

I like to multitask – even though I once saw a magnet that read (and I bought it for my fridge) : “Multi-tasking: Screwing a lot of things up at once”.

I could never just work on a quilt, in the quiet, I have to be also watching a movie, listening to music or an audiobook. When I was primarily working on traditional quilts from a pattern, I would watch what I call “Quilting Movies” – movies or documentaries that do not require my full undivided attention, just an occasional glance at the screen an listening to the dialogue. I have discovered that when I work on non patterned quilts – art quilts – glancing at a screen breaks my creative thought. Instead, a couple years ago I developed the habit of listening to audiobooks while I quilt.

My next discovery was that I enjoyed to listening primarily to nonfiction audiobooks and over the past 2 years I have listened to one nonfiction audiobook right after the other – while quilting, while walking my fellow blogger Sassy (and her new brother), in the car (audiobooks are exquisite for long drives), and while gardening, cooking, or cleaning. The nonfiction audiobooks I am drawn to are those that expand my view of the world, bring new insight and understanding, and contribute to helping me be a better version of myself. There are moments listening to these types of books that I had to stop sewing a moment, pause in my power walk or sit for a quiet moment in my garden when a big “Ah Ha Moment” came upon me.

Over the next couple of weeks (or more) I will share a little about audiobooks that I have found meaningful over the past 2 years. I will provide a brief summary of the book and share what were the key insights I gained from the books listed below.

Life is nonfiction.

Favorite Nonfiction Audiobooks (alphabetical by author)

  • Brown, Brené (2012). Daring greatly: how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. New York, NY: Gotham Books.
  • Burroughs, Augusten (2012). This is how: proven aid in overcoming shyness, molestation, fatness, spinsterhood, grief, disease, lushery, decrepitude & more – for young and old alike. New York: NY: St. Martin’s Press.
  • Cain, Susan (2012). Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking. New York: Crown Publishing.
  • Fey, Tina (2011). Bossypants. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Gilbert, Elizabeth (2010). Committed: a skeptic makes peace with marriage. New York, NY: Viking.
  • Gordon, John (2007). The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Gladwell, Malcom (2009). What the dog saw and other adventure stories. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Gladwell, Malcom (2013). David and Goliath: underdog, misfits, and the art of battling giants. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company.
  • Duhigg, Charles (2012). The power of habit: why we do what we do in life and in business. New York: Random House.
  • Fiore, Neil (2007). The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play.  New York, NY: Tarcher/Penguin.
  • Guillebeau, Chris (2010). The art of nonconformity: Set your own rules, live the life you want, and change the world. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
  • Heath, Chip (2013). Decisive: how to make better choices in life and work. New York, NY: Crown Business.
  • Heath Chip & Health, Dan (2010). Switch: how to change things when when is hard. New York, NY: Books on Tape.
  • Huffington, Arianna (2014). Thrive: the third metric to redefining success and creating a life of well-being, wisdom, and wonder. New York, NY: Random House.
  • Kelly, Matthew (2011). Off balance: getting beyond the work-life balance mouth to personal and professional satisfaction. Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audio.
  • Kingsolver, Barbara (2007). Animal, vegetable, miracle: a year of food life. New York: Harper Collins Publishers.
  • Kornfield, Jack & Siegel, Daniel (2011). Mindfulness and the brain. Louisville, KY: Sounds True.
  • McKeown, Greg (2014). Essentialism: the disciplined pursuit of less. New York: Crown Business.
  • Robinson, Ken (2013). Finding your element: how to discover your talents and passions and transform your life. New York, NY: Viking.
  • Singer, Michael (2013). The untethered soul: the journey beyond yourself. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
  • Taleb, Nassim (2012). Antifragile: things that gain from disorder. New York, NY: Random House.
  • Tolle, Eckhart (2005). A new earth: awakening to your life’s purpose. New York, NY: Dutton/Penguin Group.
  • Tolle, Eckhart (1999), The power of now: a guide to spiritual enlightenment. Novato, CA: New World Library.
  • Weber, Lauren (2009). In cheap we trust: the story of a misunderstood American virtue. New York, NY: Little, Brown.
  • White, Jennifer (2004). Work less, make more. Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audiobooks.
Listening to audiobook while I sew
Listening to audiobook while I sew