Ten Must-Read Books For Artists

Ten must-read, extremely quotable, inspirational books every creative person should read.
Must Read Books


10. Security is a Thumb and a Blanket - Charles M Schulz

The title is just the beginning of beautiful quotables in this Charles Schulz classic <3 A perfect little dose of nostalgia and inspiration.

9. The Road Less Traveled - M Scott Peck

“Problems do not go away. They must be worked through or else they remain, forever a barrier to the growth and development of the spirit.”

“Millions of people waste vast amounts of energy desperately and futilely attempting to make the reality of their lives conform to the unreality of the myth."

“This knowledge that one is truly being listened to is frequently in and of itself remarkably therapeutic.”

“If we want to be heard we must speak in a language the listener can understand and on a level at which the listener is capable of operating. If we are to love we must extend ourselves to adjust our communication to the capacities of our beloved.”

“It is no wonder, then, that the world of humanity is so full of conflict. We have a situation in which human beings, who must deal with each other, have vastly different views as to the nature of reality, yet each one believes his or her own view to be the correct one since it is based on the microcosm of personal experience. … … We are indeed like the three proverbial blind men, each in touch with only his particular piece of the elephant yet each claiming to know the nature of the whole beast.”

“The path to holiness lies through questioning everything.”

8. The Camino - Shirley MacLaine

“I sat by the fountain and put my feet up, concluding that all I really needed in life were good shoes, a loyal stick, and pure water.”

“If strung too tight, it won’t play; if it is too loose, it hangs. The tension that produces the beautiful sound lies in the middle.”

“Of one thing I am sure -- I have a soul, and it knows more than I can presently comprehend with my mind.”

“As I walked our planet’s beloved surface, I realized deeply how important it is to protect her.”

7. Travels With Charley - John Steinbeck

“For how can one know color in perpetual green, and what good is warmth without cold to give it sweetness?”

“I was born lost and take no pleasure in being found.”

“When I face the desolate impossibility of writing five hundred pages a sick sense of failure falls on me and I know I can never do it. This happens every time. Then gradually I write one page and then another. One day’s work is all I can permit myself to contemplate…”

“It seems to me that coffee smells even better when the frost is in.”

“...So much there is to see, but our morning eyes describe a different world than do our afternoon eyes, and surely our wearied evening eyes can report only a weary evening world.”

“Curious how a place unvisited can take such a hold on the mind so that the very name sets up a ringing.”

“Energy must have an outlet and will seek one.”

6. The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

“He asked, that when he wandered far from his dreams, his heart press him and sound the alarm.”

“The simple things are also the most extraordinary things, and only the wise can see them.”

“Don't give in to your fears. If you do, you won't be able to talk to your heart.”


“...one of them had spoken Arabic and the other Spanish. And they had understood each other perfectly well. There must be a language that doesn’t depend on words, the boy thought.”

“Now, I’m beginning what I could have started ten years ago. But I’m happy at least that I didn’t wait twenty years.”

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself.”

5. A Year By the Sea - Joan Anderson

“This strong, silent place interrupts confusion, rage, and depression, and just now I feel more at home with the landscape than with people.”

“Do I roll over and fall back to sleep or get up? This is always the dilemma.”

“There is a sense of relief in admitting that everything is out of my control. … … On occasion being dead wrong and human offers some solace.”

“Boy, have I ever allowed too many days to go dull and permitted too many parts of me to go unused.”

“I suffer less pain alone, it seems, than in the presence of an indifferent partner.”

“I’m thinking how pleasant it is when two people try to be gentle with one another.”

“Time is a funny thing. Now that I am engrossed in life there is never enough time… ...I never saw the possibilities and promises that twenty-four hours actually offer.”

“I must live a little each day...”

“The big secret is that everything doesn’t happen in youth.”

4. Independent People - Halldór Laxness

“There are few things so comforting as to be able to weep.”

“The days were like grown-up people, the mornings always young.”

“To her inexpressible relief she discovered that night was almost over; however long, however grievous the night, dawn always comes in the end.”

3. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius - Dave Eggers

“Is it bravery to stay? Or bravery to go?”

“...and otherwise we lose weeks like buttons, like pencils.”

“We punish ourselves for our comfortable childhoods.”

“That’s why, for instance, I like bathrooms. I like bathrooms because usually while inside, I can be almost sure, at least more sure, that no one is watching me. I take great comfort in places where people cannot watch me--windowless rooms, basements, small rooms."

2. Bird by Bird - Anne Lamott

“Remember that you own what happened to you.”

“...and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind. The other voices are banshees and drunken monkeys. They are the voices of anxiety, judgment, doom, guilt. Also, severe hypochondria. … ...Yet somehow in the face of all this, you clear a space for the writing voice, hacking away at the others with machetes, and you begin to compose sentences. ...But you cannot will this to happen. It is a matter of persistence and faith and hard work. So you might as well just go ahead and get started.”

“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere.”

“Perfectionism, on the other hand, will only drive you mad.”

“Clutter is a wonderfully fertile ground.”

“Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”

1. Van Gogh: The Life - Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith

“I am a traveler,” he wrote, “going somewhere and to some destination… [only] the somewhere and the destination do not exist.”

“It is a good thing to soak oneself in coffee.”

“This was the power that brought tears to Vincent’s eyes over a passage of scripture, an Andersen story, or the sight of ‘the sun shining through the leaves in the evening.’ When Vincent felt this power--for it was more a feeling than a perception--he recognized it instantly. “Dat is het,” he would exclaim. “That is it.” … … … “You will find it everywhere,” he said; “the world is full of it.” He found it in a group of old houses on a little square behind the Oosterkerk--a vignette of humble persistence just waiting for an artist to see.” … … … He found it in everyday experience. “There are moments when the common everyday things make an extraordinary impression.” … … …

“If I cease searching, then woe is me, I am lost.”

“In spite of everything I shall rise again. I will take up my pencil.”

“What seemed utterly impossible to me before,” he said, “is gradually becoming possible now.”

“I should one day like to show by my work what such an eccentric, such a nobody, has in his heart.”

“If you hear a voice within you saying, ‘you are not a painter,’ then by all means paint, boy, and that voice will be silenced.”

“I do not invent the picture,” he corrected Bernard; “on the contrary, I find it already there in nature; I just have to free it.”

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