File this one under “Titles Whose Time Has Come.” Sure, there are other guides to the chemical intricacies of cannabis and its therapeutic properties, but none are quite like Nikki Furrer’s A Woman’s Guide to Cannabis: Using Marijuana to Feel Better, Look Better, Sleep Better—and Get High Like a Lady, which keeps a central question in mind at all times: How do I help my mom discover the joys and benefits of this amazing stuff? Furrer thoroughly and conversationally lays out the uses of cannabis (analgesic, antidepressant, anti-anxiety, anti-aging and more); explains the whole sativa/indica breakdown; and explores the differences between THC and CBD. If you’re already a cannabis consumer, you’ll be a much better informed one for having read this book. If you’re new to the green? Well, hi(gh), glad you’re here!
Speaking of evergreen topics: Creativity and how to nurture it is one of them, but Conscious Creativity: Look. Connect. Create. strikes me as a truly fresh take on the subject. This is a redefining of creativity as an improved state of being in a world that constantly wears us down. Partly it’s the bright, wabi sabi photos accompanying the text; partly it’s Philippa Stanton’s encouraging but matter-of-fact tone. This book doesn’t try too hard to be inspiring, and as such, it succeeds. Plus, I love Stanton’s attitude toward mess: “The amorphous contents of a drawer which have been secretly shaming you might in fact turn out to be a creative liberation,” she writes. The exercises she provides are designed to make you see and experience surroundings in a new way—to utilize boredom, to notice color, to challenge ingrained perception. Note to self: Put down yo’ phone and pick up this book.
“I often forget just how many people lack basic photography skills,” I groused recently to a friend. A tad harsh? Perhaps, but seriously—with just a few smart tips, anyone can snap much better photos, no matter the camera. And in the Instagram age, doesn’t this qualify as a life skill? Henry Horenstein’s Make Better Pictures is a succinct, handy resource for shutterbugs of all stripes, with each page focused on a single aspect of photography. Take “Clubbing,” page 85, which offers four practical tips for shooting at low-light events and concerts. Or “Hip,” page 103, which details the advantages of positioning your camera not at eye level. Throughout, a single image illustrates each topic.