Tag Archives: books

Roque’s Weekly Review for 8/8/2018

August 8, 2018

Creativity / Roque's Weekly Review

Hello Beautiful People,

This is another weekly check-in on progress that I am making toward all of my creative projects. I have to admit that it is challenging to be productive in the summertime. It is sunny outside and the warmth in the air makes it conducive to lounging about and being decadently lazy. I’ve done some of that, but there is always a small voice in my head telling me to get up and do what I do.

I’ve been doing lots of creative work despite the sun and her temptations. Let’s run this down .  .  .

1. I have started a new art piece. I’ll post a photo of my progress every week on these updates.  It will be glacial in its formation.
Check out the first photo:

2. My blog, Tropical Shade of Green, is my way of practicing my writing and laying out my thoughts in an engaging and concise way.  Here are links to my most recent posts. (This first one is particularly valuable.)

I Live My Life In a Generosity Loop

Learn From the Past But Live in the Present.

A Morning Routine Will Ground Your Life.

3. I am an avid book reader, and much of my time this summer has been spent getting lost in several writings. I just finished the first book in the His Dark Materials Series by Philip Pullman called The Golden Compass. Before I tackle the next book in that trilogy, I am currently reading this:

4. As I reported last week, the music from my first album Seahorses is now available on Bandcamp in a “pay what you want” format. You can download the songs for free or pay a nominal amount that would go toward funding my musical pursuits. Here is the link:

roquemusic.bandcamp.com

5. I have an annual show that I do in my home in the woods. It is called Roque’s Piano Salon, and it will feature local performers and all three of my pianos.  There will be food and refreshments. This is a private event, but if you are interested in going, please let me know in the comments. This is the event flyer:

Well, that’s all I have to report on my end.

Until next week, be kind and generous to yourselves and each other.

-Roqué

 

Reading Will Save the World: Summer Reading

June 24, 2018

Culture and Society / Reading Will Save the World

The Summer Solstice just happened, and that means it is officially summer. Reading books is one of my favorite activities during this time of year, and I have a small handful of them to recommend.

There are generally two kinds of books I read these days, and I’ll be offering up a couple of suggestions from each option.

The first kind of books I’ve been reading lately have been for pure escapism and entertainment. I love to dive deep into an imaginative space that is full of awe, mystery, intrigue, and wonder. On a daily basis, I exist in a literal and linear physical habitat, but in my head, there are no such limits. An imagination needs to be cultivated in ways that are boundless. I seek out books that help me do this.

The second kind of books I have been reading lately probably fall under what most would call “self-help” books. This designation seems to have a bad rap. It implies that it is usually a bunch of generic psycho-babble. I do not doubt that there is plenty of this out there, and this is why I take the time to find books that actually have substantive content that is well researched and thoughtfully written.

So, on with the first kind. Here is a book (or a series of them) that will take you on a sweet, engaging, and delightful adventure!

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs:

As you might already know, this book was made into a feature film. I first heard about it by watching the movie in a theater. The movie was great, but this book was even better.  It tells the story of how a group of children with special powers hide in plane sight among ordinary people across time. There are some incredibly clever plot devices in the story. It is well written  with steady pacing and endearing characters. I do not want to give anything away, and I highly recommend reading it! The story is so good that I believe it will eventually stand among behemoths like the Harry Potter Series and the Golden Compass as a modern fantasy classic. When I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

Wanna know something even better about this book?

There are already two of its sequels in print:

Hollow City:


Library of Souls:

Wanna know something even better? The fourth book, Map of Days, was just announced, and it will hit bookstores on October 2, 2018:

Now, on to the second kind:

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

There is so much wisdom in this little book. For myself, I want to live a life in which I am truly engaged in the activities and relationships that I actually want and desire. What this book provides is perspective and a framework on how to think more strategically about the decisions we make regarding our time and personal resources.  It gets down to the nitty gritty right off the bat, and it is truly a learning experience to devour.

Well, that’s it for now! I hope you can find a book that you can sink your teeth into and bask in for a while over these long and hot summer days.

Happy Reading!

-Roqué

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Reading Will Save the World: My Book Notes

January 21, 2018

Reading Will Save the World

Will reading save the world?  Yes.  This is an ongoing series about books and reading that I am carrying over from the previous incarnation of this blog.  Here at Bloom, I will continue to highlight books that I love but also delve deeper into my thoughts about what reading books means to me.  This week, I explain my book notes.

I have been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be an active reader.  In my mind, it means questioning the content as one navigates through the highs and lows of a book.  It means grappling with conflicts, contemplating ideas, and seeking insight.  Reading guides us into exploring stories that relate to our life experiences and emotions.

It is all of these things and more.

So then, my next question is how?  How do I become a more active reader?  Is it enough to just read the story?  I have come to understand that active reading is more than just reading.

It’s more like hunting for treasure.  As you read, your eyes move along until you come across a quote, an idea, a message, or a moment that elicits an emotional or physical response from you.  Maybe you laughed out loud.  Maybe you started to cry. Whatever it is that made you do that–wouldn’t it be wonderful to remember it? Maybe it is a brilliant quote or a poignant passage. Wouldn’t it be awesome to hold on to that treasure?

My answer to that question is an emphatic “YES!!”.

This is why I have started to take notes from most of the books I read; however, they are not just merely words scribbled down on paper.  I found a way to make it a little more creative and fun.

My friend and fellow artist Megan Kelley (@studiomnivorous on Instagram) takes the coolest notes when she is in an audience and listening to a speaker.  I’ve seen her doing this for months and decided to try it out for the books I read.  Here is a photo of what my book notes now look like thanks to her inspiring note-taking template:

These notes are from a book I read a while ago called Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.  (This is a fantastic book by the way.  It serves up an insightful and decisive primer on how to live a meaningful life. )  I generally do not acquire this much information from most books I read,  but there was so much knowledge from this particular book that I wanted to  document it all for future reference.

With my book notes, I basically go all arts and crafty with them.  I use one notebook until the pages are done. I include the name and author of the book, and I make each idea or quote part of a visual whole on the page.  Not only is this a lot more fun than just writing something down, but it helps me to process the information better by allowing each note/idea to be its own vignette.

You do not have to be a graphic artist to be able to do this.  The goal is to enjoy yourself and make the notes look awesome on the page.  Use different colors.  Create shapes.  Be goofy.

Roqué Book Notes

If there is one hard rule that I follow, it is that the notes still need to be legible.  If you can’t read it later, it becomes worthless.  Remember that.

If I am reading the actual book and do not want to stop reading, I mark the desired passage with a pencil or fold the corner of the page.  This lets me get back to a noteworthy point later on to add it to my book notes.

You might find just two or as much as twenty items from a book that are worthy of documentation.  In either case, this is a fun way of keeping those treasures for posterity and future inspiration.  By the way, if you have a child who loves to read, this form of treasure hunting might be a way to make reading more engaging and enjoyable.

Go ahead.  Hunt for treasure. Take your own book notes.  Make them fun.

Special thanks to Megan Kelley for ongoing inspiration.

-Roqué

Previous Posts:

My New Baby Grand Piano

I Am Not White, and I Have Less Power