January 2018: The Anthropology of Turquoise by Ellen Meloy
I stumbled upon this book at a roadside outdoor store / pizzaria outside Escalante National Monument in Utah last Summer. (Seriously, some of the best pizza I've ever had.) They had an amazing selection of books. I was immediately drawn to this one because of its beguiling cover (no surprise). It is not a book specifically about art or painting. However, it is probably the most inspiring book I read in all of 2017 - certainly the most dog-eared book, as every other page seemed to contain a line worthy of returning to. Ellen Meloy's prose is the kind that leaves you wanting to savor every sentence for its depth, complexity, and beauty. As a result, the reading can be a little slow going - but in the best way.
In essence, this is a book of nature writing, which, I must admit - I don't usually like. I know it's something like sacrilege, but I'm excruciatingly bored by Thoreau and I have no patience for Muir. Reading about nature tends to make me feel restless and exasperated that I'm not out enjoying it myself. So I was initially skeptical about this book, despite its intriguing cover. The tagline on the cover is apt: Reflections on Desert, Sea, Stone, and Sky. It reads something like a book of short stories (more writing I don't usually much enjoy, with the exception of Hemingway, of course), but with the color Turquoise acting as a connecting thread that ran through each tale. Beyond the beauty of each story, this book caused me to think about color differently - about the role it plays in my life and the different ways that it is always present in all of its various forms.
Beyond the depth and beauty of Meloy's stories, she is frankly hilarious. Her humor is dry and sarcastic, which provides a contrast to the beauty of her descriptions - it is somehow a perfect combination.
While this book was not about plein air painting, it left me inspired as each chapter ended, itching to plan new adventures, and viewing the world a little differently.
Your local independent bookseller likely has copies available or can easily order you one.
I would love to hear what you think after reading it. Please share your thoughts with #greenleafblueberrybooks so that we can all connect!