Notes on the Need for Beauty: An Intimate Look at an Essential Quality

J. Ruth Gendler

Marlowe & Company,  May 2007

Beauty builds bridges and makes connections between the senses and the soul, between contemplation and expression, between ourselves and the world.

In this wide-ranging and deeply felt book, J. Ruth Gendler invites us to reclaim the often misunderstood quality of beauty as one of the most profound forces in our lives. Drawing on observations from art and nature, contemporary culture and personal experience, Gendler looks at her subject in its most generous implications -- not simply as a reflection of surface and image, but as a pathway to wholeness, integrity, coherence, and ultimately, to love. Written with curiosity, courage, a discerning eye and a lyrical sensibility, and illustrated with evocative line drawings, Notes on the Need for Beauty displays the strong personal voice that has made Gendler's previous book, The Book of Qualities, so beloved. It is a work to savor and to share.

paperback | ISBN: 9781569242926 | Publication Date: May 2007

"Like a  rose disciple, Ruth Gendler takes note of what's beautiful and assembles this wholly original text, full of children talking, mystical insight, the history of cosmetics, sublime etymologies, and big mirrors that someone attached to the sides of NYC sanitation trucks. Look out. Here comes the aquarium."
--Coleman Barks, A Year With Rumi

"Who dares not have a thirst for more beauty in their life? Who has provided themselves with the necessary time to savor the beauty that already surrounds them? Ruth Gendler's Notes on the Need for Beauty is studded with wise counsel and crafted prose, coaxing us gently to turn from our current ways, to better witness and so be nourished by the infinite beauties of the world -- just as it is."
--Peter London, No More Secondhand Art

"The very act of reading Notes on the Need for Beauty will change the way you see things. It will awaken you to notice beauty, to make beauty, to remember beauty. And this is a cause for celebration." 
--Christiane Northrup, MD, author of Mother-Daughter Wisdom, The Wisdom of Menopause, and Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom

"Notes on the Need for Beauty is delicious, a feast for the soul. Ruth Gendler's eye and heart are true and the vividness, constancy, and meticulousness of her meditation calls us to the banquet of beauty like music heard across a meadow. This is an utterly nurturing book, savory with loveliness from the exquisite cover art to the last morsel of wisdom." 
--Tim Farrington, author of The Monk Downstairs and Lizzie's War

"Beauty is as beauty does and Ruth Gendler outdoes herself with this completely charming illustrated compilation of information and inspiration. Notes on the Need for Beauty is warm, winsome and very, very wise." 
--Donna Henes, author of The Queen of My Self

"Changing Light makes two moves that are of absolute importance; it gives us an effective way to imagine daily life poetically, and it helps us be mindful of the cosmic rhythms and lighting that shape our lives -- an ancient tradition that we've lost . . . I recommend spending at least a year with this little book." 
--Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul

"The Qualities are wise and whimsical and express truth in a very personal way." 
--Jean Bolen, author of Goddesses in Every Woman

"How I treasure this splendid collection of writings! Ruth Gendler must be one of those ancient mystical needleworkers, so skillfully has she selected these shimmering poems and luminous threads of prayers and songs and artwork and spun them for us into a precious cloth. I carry this with me when I travel, wrapping myself in it whenever I am distracted or tired, whenever I need to remember my interconnectedness in the weave of life." 
--Sherry Ruth Anderson, author of The Cultural Creatives and The Feminine Face of God

"In this time when we are losing our own senses by one percent per year, rediscovering the sense for beauty is an urgent priority that requires conscious employment. In Notes on the Need for Beauty, Ruth Gendler presents us with faceted seeds that can be planted in our own souls for rumination. She urges us to look at everything as aesthetic events, to not just look, but to look as if with our arms open. This book is a lighthouse of a gift for individual reimaginations for beauty wherever we uncover it." 
--Paulus Berensohn, author of Finding Your Way With Clay