I just finished reading Bento’s Sketchbook: How does the impulse to draw something begin? by art critic/writer/artist John Berger. It’s a meditation on the practice of drawing, inspired by Berger’s curiosity about Spinoza – also known as Bento de Spinoza – who, besides being a philosopher, was also a sporadic draughtsman, though none of his sketchbooks were ever found. For years, Berger imagined finding the missing sketchbooks, wondering what the drawings might reveal about the famous philosopher. One day a friend gives him a new sketchbook and he decides, “This is Bento’s!” So he starts to draw, taking inspiration from the philosopher’s vision and exploring the practice of drawing and the way in which art guides our gaze to the world. While the book rambles in places and the philosophical quotes from Spinoza’s Ethics need a couple of reads, there are many inspiring comments about drawing. Berger draws parallels between the act of piloting a bike and the act of drawing. He notes that drawing is an exercise in “orientation…When I’m drawing, I feel a little closer to the way birds navigate when flying, or to hares finding shelter if pursued…” And Berger’s own drawings are lyrical, exploratory and beautiful. His most famous books are Ways of Seeing and About Looking but another good book is Titian: Nymph and Shepherd, a kind of imaginative meeting of the great Venetian master and a poetic rambling commentary on the meaning of art.