This week’s book recommendation is Art Matters by Neil Gaiman & Chris Riddell. This book is less a traditional book and more of a small collection of essays that are both a defense of art, its importance to humanity, and a call to action to not give up on your dreams. There are four sections of this little book and each page is filled with Neil’s words accompanied with brilliant illustrations by Chris Riddell. This book is one I already consider essential to anyone who aspires to create anything. It’s short enough to be enjoyed in one, brief sitting.
I was fortunate enough to see Neil in person last month (the day before this little book officially released), and he read a section from it called “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreaming.” This section was also from his book A View from the Cheap Seats, but before that it was originally given as the second annual lecture of the Reading Agency in 2013. This section goes on to detail the importance of (you guessed it) libraries, reading, and daydreaming. The importance of aspiring to create thing that did not exist before. To put forth into the world something it has never seen. It details how libraries are havens for more than just books. It informs us…..well….I shouldn’t give it all away and spoil it for you.
This tiny little book, so small it could easily be overlooked, has now become one of the most important books in my personal library. It is important because it is a reminder. It is something I can easily pick up when my self-doubt tries to overwhelm me into giving up on my aspirations of being a writer myself. It washes away that doubt and replaces it with inspiration to get back to it and write. I simply flip through the pages and my brain is rinsed of negativity and the imagination glands begin to pump out ideas. Of course this makes this book even more valuable to writers and artists, but it is important for everyone. Each of the four sections have been previously printed or recorded, but they are all collected here in a convenient, pocket-sized book, for you to enjoy when you most need it.
I know it is the holiday season and Christmas is only a few days away. If you need a last-minute gift idea for the creative person (or anyone who likes books), here it is. If you don’t get this book as a gift this year, go out and treat yourself.