Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My Book List

I love books and lots of them. Books are definitely my most precious possessions despite the internet revolution. I am not about to give up my right to hold a beautifully bound hardcover book in my hand and curl up with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine on my couch in front of the fireplace. My evenings could not be more perfect. Nor am I ready to migrate my entire life to the web and do all my reading with my eyes peeled to the computer screen. I am old fashioned in that sense. I am convinced in a decade or so, real books are going to be in short supply and much sought after. I want to keep collecting these precious books and add to my library. In my utopia land, I am surrounded by books that span wall to wall and floor to ceiling and my wine cellar is just a stone's throw away.

Of my sea of books, I have many favorites. Since I am passionate about photography and colors and could spend my life in a little cabin on a vineyard, you can probably imagine what those books might be.

Here are a couple of my all time favorites:

1. Homestead (The World As Home) by Annick Smith.

I was very moved by the poignant story of her life journey and the time she spent living in Montana's beautiful countrywide. It is as if you are taking the journey with her from the time she was in Seattle to her move to Montana during the cold winter. The book also chronicles her friendship with Norman Maclean of the Big Blackfoot in A River Runs Through It and Other Stories, Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition. Homesteadis a rivetting read and it is hard to put the book down. I had stumbled on the book in a little quaint bookstore on Third street Promenade in Santa Monica.

Another book by Annick Smith and William Kittredgethat I like is The Last Best Place: A Montana Anthology "This collection of vivid and compelling literature ranges across Montana's literary landscape in descriptions of explorers' discoveries, stories from mining and agricultural frontiers, and powerful memoirs from Native Americans, as well as unforgettable images created by contemporary writers." well said by one of the readers.

2. If you are looking for another good story to read this holiday break: Vintage Feastng by Joy Sterling.

Vintage Feastng

A book of personal recipes in the wine country and tending to vineyards and the winery business. How despite having graduated from Yale and a long journalism career, Joy Sterling answered the call and returned to the family vineyard outside Sebastopol in Sonoma county, California and lives the life of a vintner. It is a wonderful book of great recipes, stories, landscapes and nature's garden.

3. A Phaidon photo book on Dorothea Langeby Mark Durden.
I am not much of a portrait photographer but Dorothea Lange's work reminds me of what humanity is and what photography is all about. You have seen her works in exhibits, especially "The Migrant Woman". Numerous books have been written about her and her photographs of the Great Depression. She is definitely the people's photographer extraordinaire holding all of us to very high standard!!

4. Fine Art Nature Photography by Tony Sweet.
On my To-Do List for 2009 is to learn more about fine art photography where advanced techniques such as multiple exposures on single frame is used to creative vibrant image capture. Tony Sweet's book on Fine Art Nature Photography offers insights on his mastery on the subject. It is definitely very Monet, Van Gogh and Matisse.

5. Mastering Black & White Photography by John Garrett.
If you wonder how one could take such beautiful black and white imagery and if you want to learn the master's techniques of traditional darkroom, John Garrett's book is a wonderful book full of ideas and inspiration that offers many "ah-ha" moments.

6. Finally, a book on Yoga. Hatha Yoga Breath by Breath by Godfrey Devereux.
I am a great believer of wellness and healthy living and am learning yoga. This book is a valuable reference for "anyone wanting to experience deep and lasting benefits of yoga practice" to borrow the words of the author. It has detailed step by step instructions and explanations on each pose from beginning to intermediate to advanced in addition to indepth write up on hatha yoga. It has been a great companion book for me. Unfortunately Hartha Yoga: Breath by Breath is no longer in print so look for a used copy. Alternatively, get the Dynamic Yoga: The Ultimate Workout that Chills Your Mind as it Charges Your Body also by Godfrey Devereux.

Happy reading this holiday season.

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