The Artists Way:

This book made a huge impact on my life. By the time I'd gotten through week 8 my artistic block was cleared along with a whole bunch of other life problems I'd been struggling with for years. I still write my "morning pages" every day because I always feel better and am much more productive afterwards. If you want to jump-start your own creativity, I highly recommend this book.

The back of my (dog-eared) copy says: "The Artist's Way is an empowering book for aspiring and working artists. With the basic principle that creative expression is the natural direction of life, Julia Cameron leads you through a comprehensive twelve-week program to recover your creativity from a variety of blocks, including limiting beliefs, fear, self-sabotage, jealousy, guilt, addictions, and other inhibiting forces, replacing them with artistic confidence and productivity."

Click here to look for more of her books at Julia Cameron Books

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain:

I used this book to brush up on my drawing skills after several years of artists block. I can see how it would help even non-artists to see differently and to discover they can draw after all!

The dust jacket says: "..the most widely used and highly praised drawing-instruction book in the world...This book is for people at all levels of skill who want to learn to draw. ...Applying discoveries in brain research to the teaching of drawing skills, Dr. Betty Edwards presents a set of basic exercises designed to release creative potential and tap into the special abilities of the visual, perceptual right hemisphere of the brain."

The Gradual Vegetarian:

I wanted to eliminate meats, pork and poultry from my diet for many years but couldn't manage it until this little book landed in my lap. If you are in the same boat I was - thinking about it but not sure how to go about it - then this book is for you! It appears to be out-of-print now but you can usually find it used on Marketplace at some super low prices. If it's available right now you should see a price in the image to the left.

"A sensible guide to the adoption of sound eating habits....her advice is bound to change typical ways of thinking about food." -Publishers Weekly

The Vegetable Gardener's Bible:

" of the most American gardening tomes ever published. In every small town, there is a vegetable garden that people go out of the way to walk past. Smith is the guy who grew that garden." -The New York Times Book Review

" impressive accomplishment by a seasoned expert. It is destined to end up dog-eared in the potting shed." - Country Living Gardener

Dr. Richter's Fresh Produce Guide:

I'm not a great cook and my family knows it. When my Dad got sick and I was taking care of him I had to learn really fast how to prepare healthy meals for him. My sister bought this little spiral-bound book in the produce section at the grocery store one day and brought it home for me. I absolutely LOVE it. It lists over 300 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, with information on nutrition, selection, preparation, storage, handling and even cooking tips. It's awesome. I use it all of the time. One problem, though, is that you can't get it new at - but lots of the time you can find a good used one through the Marketplace. The image for this link will tell you whether or not has any right now so you don't have to go search for it. If doesn't have it, you can contact the publisher (Try-Foods International, Inc.) by calling 1-800-421-8871 or visit their web site:

The Fur Person:

"This charming story is drawn from the true adventures of May Sarton's own cat and recounts his evolution from a Cat-About-Town to a Gentleman Cat and finally his emergence as a genuine Fur Person." - editor's note on back of book

A friend loaned this little book to me a long time ago and I loved it. Now I have two copies! It's longer than a short story but still a quick read. I've given it as a gift to several other friends and they love it, too. If you like cats and have a soft spot for strays (or even if you don't!) you've got to read this one!

Cat and Dog Stories:

If you've ever read James Herriot's well known series of books "All Creatures Great and Small" (etc.) then you'll appreciate these collections of short stories. You'll even recognize one or two of the cats and dogs. This is also a great little book to give as a present.

Click here to find more books by James Herriot on James Herriot books

The Purina Encyclopedia of Cat Care:

And while we're on the subject of cats - this is the book that I reach for most often when I want non-emergency information about cats. It's an authoritative A-to-Z guide, from cat care and behavior to breed characteristics. It's so interesting that I have to watch or I get lost in it! (Of course no book can take the place of a trained veterinarian - when in doubt, ask your vet!)

Barron's Encyclopedia of Dog Breeds:

I live with so many cats that I wouldn't dare bring a dog home (my fur-babies would never let me hear the end of it), but I just love meeting other folks' dogs. The more dog portraits I do, the more I love dogs. I sometimes use this book for reference material when doing portraits. The cover says: "Profiles of 150 dogs. A profile of every AKC breed: History, physical traits, health aspects and longevity, behavioral rankings, exercise and upkeep needs. Plus facts to consider when choosing a breed: size, coat, energy level, playfulness, affection level, watchdog ability, protection ability, ease of training - and more."

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