review: ‘Daily Rituals: How Artists Work’ by Mason Currey

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work

2 stars

A review? From me? It cannot be. But, it is.

So I’m feeling a bit bad only giving this 2 stars. However, when reading something becomes tedious and you reach the end not being able to even say ‘I liked it’, you can’t really justify giving it much more.

This book is a compendium holding snippets of writing taking a peak at various different authors, artists and other creative types. Each new piece is prompted by the artists name, and then we get a couple paragraphs or so (and the odd photograph!) looking at a typical day in their life when they felt most productive in their work. Some of the writing is taken straight from other writers, like extracts from biographies and such, and some is what Currey has written himself after gathering information from various different sources.

It’s probably relevant to mention that I read this on kindle, which may have given me a completely different reading experience than being able to flick through to different sections and having the physical book in my hands. But regardless of this fact, for the first two thirds of this book I read it straight through, and was finding it fairly interesting.

Although I personally only had a specific interest in a mere handful of the writers and artists featured, it was nevertheless insightful to read about how a whole bunch of creative types approach or plan their days and nights, in order to be the most productive. And to give the book something, there were a lot of examples (although a bit too lopsided in favour of white men if you ask me!), and a huge amount of work and research must have gone into it. But despite this, I will admit that the last chunk of reading was really skimming at best.

The prelude to this book had me thinking that I wouldn’t be able to help being inspired whilst reading it. But during maybe the 15th or so person in, I began to feel bored, and felt that most people mentioned didn’t seem to have any real radical ways of squeezing the most of their creative juices. I’ll admit that some were a bit uncommon, but after a while I realised I didn’t really care if a guy got up at 10pm of 3am to take his croissant or cafe au lait. In effect, a lot of the daily rituals (which I think sounds far too exciting for this content, I would of gone with the simpler ‘routine’) were quite similar.

Maybe I approached this book wrong in trying to read it continuously instead of just dipping in and out at leisure. Maybe I’ll try it again in a few years (although pretty unlikely – so many books, so little time!)
But sadly, in conclusion, I would not go to this book if I was ever feeling like I needed to be perked up, motivated or inspired. And if this wasn’t the intended point of the book, what was? Soz.

sign off heartJess

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