Blogging Awards, Books, Music, Podcasts, The Library Stack

Library Stack Attack

Before I get into this post, which is a continuation of my ongoing series, The Library Stack (in which I share my stacks of borrowed books from my local public library), I would like to say thank you to the very talented Mariss @ Fabrications for also nominating me for an Outstanding Blogger Award. In the Postscript section of this post I will answer the questions she posed to her nominees.

It’s been a while (November 2020) since I shared my latest “Library Stack” and I thought I would just catch you up on several stacks over the past several months.

Here is my current stack and I’ve been enjoying the book The Best of Me by David Sedaris. Thanks to Anne @ I’ve Read This for her review – Book Review: The Best of Me by David Sedaris.

And here are the previous library stacks that I have not shared before:

As you can see there appears to be a limited number of general themes of the types books I borrow from the local library – home decor and crafting. These are my fabric subjects for a book browsing over a pot of tea!

You might have noticed that I have The Shopkeeper’s Home by Caroline Rowland in two different stacks – if I really enjoy a home decor or crafting book I just borrow it again and again!

I’ve been reading a lot (well “a lot” for me) of fiction books but those I am reading from my home library (see post Curating a Home Library) or library borrowed audiobooks; and I might share some reviews in a future post. You can follow me on Goodreads @tierneycreates if you’d like to see what I’ve been reading fiction wise and read my reviews.


Okay now to answer the questions from my Outstanding Blogger Award Nomination from Mariss @ Fabrications:

  • For how long have you been writing a blog? Since October 2013 – over 7 years
  • What made you start? Originally it was a vehicle for my soon to be opened (and eventually opened) tierneycreates Etsy shop – I closed the shop after a couple years but kept the blog
  • Why do you continue to blog? I enjoyed sharing my experiences with others and reading their experiences on their blogs – I get inspired
  • Have you ever met any of your fellow bloggers face to face? If so, how did it feel? Yes I’ve met the lovely ladies from Gray Barn Designs when they attended a show opening of one of my pieces – see post Visioning Human Rights in the New Millennium, Part I
  • Do you write regularly? If so, why? I go in spurts – where I write regularly and then take a break, it all depends on my mood

If you’d like to see my other nomination and the questions answered (by my tierneycreates Beastie) check out the post Outstanding Blogger Award (and snow).

Books, Music, 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.

photo credit:

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

Books, Music, 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.


Books, Music, 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!

Books, Music, 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.


Books, Music, 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!