One thing I can’t be without is books and reading them until sore. I understand the importance of needing to find one that is specific for a moment or experience. Sometimes they are needed to assist in the development of an idea. Reading a book with the right amount of inspiration is like witnessing a rainbow at the end of a rainy day. It fills me with light. Sometimes I find myself smiling at how relatable a read is. And then, magically, a muse explodes out of nowhere and the combination pulls me to create. Here are 5 books that inspired my 2015.
I started reading The Black Jacobins in February of 2015 because I wanted to learn more about my Haitian father’s culture. I needed to find something real. I needed the writer to be someone educated and they had to have a respect for the history and people of Ayiti. I purchased several books pertaining to Haitian history and The Black Jacobins is the only one that touched me.
I was driven in more ways than one when I learned that C.L.R. James wrote about Ayiti because “[he] made up [his] mind that [he] would write a book in which Africans or people of African descent (instead of constantly being the object of other peoples’ exploitation and ferocity) would themselves be taking action on a grand scale and shaping other people to their own needs.”
He writes about Ayiti before the settlers, during and when they became the first and only independent black country. He writes about a pride that you can’t find everywhere. He says about the people, “There was no need to be ashamed for being black. The revolution had awakened them, had given them the possibility of achievement, confidence and pride. That psychological weakness, that feeling of inferiority with which the imperialist poison colonial peoples everywhere, these were gone.”
This book inspired me so much! I started reading it in April because I wanted to challenge myself with a different style of writing. I wanted to read something that would force me to look at the world with a new perspective.
Dr. Michio Kaku explores different levels of our consciousness and how our mind works. He contemplates the idea of traveling without our bodies and what we’ll need to make that happen. What I appreciated the most about Kaku’s initiative to write The Future of the Mind is that he provided a lot of research that made it easier to perceive some of his theories as a possibility. He also provides the negative outcomes when it comes to experimenting with such complex creations like our brain.
I started reading Mastery in May and I remember being able to utilize the words while I was outside running. It unconsciously taught me how to better meditate, focus and organize my thoughts.
It’s an important read that anyone can benefit from but I think creatives will find the most use for it. Greene, ultimately, writes about how to become a master in your craft. I enjoyed how Greene referenced real experiences to show the relevance of some practices; he also gives us a first look into tragedies. I learned, most importantly, the necessity to give some of my ideas time to marinate before developing. He helped me to truly appreciate my creative process.
I picked up the War Against All Puerto Ricans in August because of my Puerto Rican mother. I was experiencing an identity crisis and was diving into my parent’s culture like a maniac, trying to find anything and everything that would tell me more about myself.
This is a relevant text, one that many people don’t talk about. Nelson A. Denis (who is Puerto Rican and Cuban) wrote on a very difficult subject of suffering. The history of Puerto Rico: why America invaded, what they did and how they did it, left me shattered. My own ignorance of the island’s history made it difficult for me to imagine Puerto Rico has endured such madness. But the more I searched, the more I discovered that the suffering of Puerto Rico is far from over.
I absolutely love this book! After reading it in November, found myself telling everyone about it. I have to admit: I never read Eat Pray Love by Gilbert, so I was oblivious to her way of thinking and mental space. I purchased Big Magic not because of her name but because the cover said “Creative Living Beyond Fear”. Those words caught my attention.
I was living in a new state for only a couple months, had just gotten a new job that appeared promising but I was leaving home at the crack of dawn and returning late in the evening. I wanted to read something that would remind me of my creative self; something that would align those vibes. Big Magic did more than that!
I understand everyone may not find an interest with this list. Because, after all, these reads are very specific to me. They are the ones that I stumbled upon at the right time so they taught me something I needed to know. If you relate to any of my sentiments, I surely hope you pick these up. If not, I hope you search for what works for you so that it can meet you in the middle.
If you’re interested in viewing all my 2015 reads, click here.
Happy New Year!