Daily Rituals: How Artists Work – book review


I picked this recommendation from Lena Dunham’s twitter and felt a guilty moment like Hannah, the protagonist of her series “Girls“, procrastinating her to-do’s over annother excuse to bring her life in order…

Curiously the author himself, Mason Currey, merely stumbled upon some working rituals during reseach for an other project and decided to compile (and ultimately publish)  the daily rituals of artists (writers, composers, painters, etc) in a book.

What I like:
the non-necessity to read this book from cover to cover, the short chapters are a nice right-before-bed-lecture and require no reading in an orderly sequence

What I admire:
the thoroughness of his research, although most artists share resemblance in their habits

What I found suprising:
he regulary of most artists‘ working habits. Imagining the classy artist like person with somewhat unsteady working routines, this book prouves that a lot of artists know through-out history have eagerly earned their fame through continuous work, personal development and close correspondence with fellow artists.

What I miss:

  • an order (what a contradiction!): the book has no apparent order (not even an alphabetical one).
    This makes it tough to read IF you want to read some more chapters, because every 1-4 pages you are with a different person/situation/century.
    It wouldn’t have been bad, if he had stuck to a chronological order or diveded them into loose profession groups.
  • Context: As much as I am a child of the internet generation and student of the Google University of Advanced Studies of Everything, a 3-line introduction of every artist would spare a lot looking up and consequently enhance the overall reading flow. If I buy a book for leisure reading, I want to be able to cuddle up and just read. We all know Picasso, but ever heard of Soren Kierkegaard? (Danish philosopher of 19th century) Yep, thought so. Me neither (even though Danmark is a mere 400 km). As problably no person reading this book, would be able to distinctly identify all artists, a super short introduction wouldn’t hurt and in case you know the artist, you can always skim or skip.
  • A picture of every person…maybe a short CV?! (kind of an extension of the point before)
    Even though this person is blogging and having a slightly different angle, his „access files“ are nicely done and rumored to have gotten several readers into touch with history, that did not interested them before:

Still the author has managed to stick to the stated objective of the book: the daily schedules
That earns him an: met expectations (but honestly we all love the ones exceeding them)

Get it as a real book as a read-in-bed-before-I-turn-of-the-light novel OR an ebook for the occasionaly on-the-train read. Desperate for immediate distraction I bought the ebook, which was not as fun to read at home as leisurely browsing through a real book.

(Source of picture: http://a.scpr.org/i/66856326ed5ddac64a699fab988e2331/61159-eight.jpg)

Transfered from readthatshit.wordpress.com on February 10th (published on September 11th, 2013)


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