Book reviews: Living out Loud, Hello Cruel World, Little Book of Craftivism

I read quite some books in the past year, here are some I haven’t reviewed elsewhere but enjoyed reading a lot. They range from self-care to creative activism.

Living out Loud – Keri Smith

If you’re a bit stuck creatively or have always wanted to do/make stuff but don’t quite know how or where to start, please grap a copy of this book. The author encourages you to find the playfulness we used as children in our artwork, to boost your creativity and for me that certainly worked. It’s fun to even just quickly read through the book and will give you instant inspiration and ideas. It comes with lots of little games, activities, stickers, paper dolls, and other such child-like fun, and it’s spiral-bound which makes it easy to use. The book is written by Keri Smith who’s know for her Guerilla Art Kit book and other similar public space creativity workbooks.

Hello Cruel World – Kate Bornstein

I wish everyone had this book on their bookshelf, in case of need. Really, get one for yourself, and then some for your friends if you can afford it. You may know Kate Bornstein for her books about (trans)gender outlaw identities which were way ahead of their time and being in her 70s she still kicks ass. In this book, Bornstein talks about suicide and about the 101 alternatives she lists to prevent it. Sure, not all those alternatives may be usuable for everyone, or are legal or healthy, but they may be of help for someone at some point, and she clearly states that anything is better than killing yourself. The first part of the book focuses a lot on gender and sexuality, as these are/were inportant in Bornstein’s life and related to her wellbeing. If that’s not relevant for you, you can skip it and go directly to the list of alternatives. There’s really plenty of diverse ideas here and she presents each option in a down-to-earth friendly and even funny way. The ideas range from staying in bed and running away to reinventing yourself and taking drugs or staying sober. Really, get this book, it’s probably the best self-help book out there, and in this shitty world we can all use a little Kate Bornstein in our lives.

A Little Book of Craftivism – Sarah Corbett

Craftivism means using craft for activist purposes. Sarah Corbett founded the Craftivist Collective and in this small book she gives some practical ideas or recipes for doing your own craft actions. She explains how to cross-stitch mini protest banners, how to embroider protest masks, how to make speech bubbles with shrink plastic, and how to create activist bunting, while mixing in tips for becoming a craftivist and ideas for slogans. This is a fun creative handbook if you’re looking for some new inspiration in your activism as well as if you’re an activist newbie.

More reviews I recently wrote: about comics (in Dutch), about The Archivist Turn in Feminism (in English) and about The Handmaid’s Tale (in Dutch) and there’s more to come!

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