As I’ve mentioned before, I am an avid reader. I learned the alphabet and how to read pretty early on in my life, and from that point forward I’ve loved to read books of all kinds. When I was younger, I could stay up all night reading if I really loved a book and wanted to see what happened next.
Because of that, I thought that today I would share a few books I’ve read that have inspired me in one way or another. Honestly, it’s hard to pick just a few, but these are some of the books I’ve read most recently that have left an impression on me. The books I’ve chosen are mostly memoir/self-help style books for some reason, but those are just what I’ve been drawn to lately. I love fiction as much as the next person, but it’s also cool to be able to relate to someone’s real-life experiences. Those are often the books that I find most inspiring anyhow.
The first book on my list is Wild by Cheryl Strayed. This was super popular a few years ago, and even was made into a movie (which stupidly I haven’t seen yet!), and I can understand why it’s so popular after reading it.
Here’s the summary from the back of the book: “At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State — and she would do it alone. Told with suspense and style, sparkling with warmth and humor, Wild powerfully captures the terrors and pleasures of one young woman forging ahead against all odds on a journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.”
I am absolutely the kind of person who never takes risks and is pretty much afraid of doing anything new, but there is something so empowering about reading about someone who went out completely on her own on a trail with no previous hiking experience, especially dealing with the emotional struggles that she had. She had to learn how to rely only on herself and her own strength, and was able to heal from that.
Now, I’m still not sure if I would ever go out hiking on my own, especially hearing all the horror stories around here about New Hampshire hikers disappearing and/or ending up dead, but this book did inspire me to want to take more risks and gain more confidence in myself. It was also just amazing hearing about her journey on the trail and all of the things she encountered. Being out there alone forced her to be more independent and self-sufficient, and that’s definitely something that I aspire to be more like.
The next book on my list is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I read this at the beginning of 2017, and this was just what I needed for the new year. Here’s the summary: “Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective on creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.”
I am by nature a very creative person, and while I can’t imagine not being creative in one way or another, it can be difficult to share that creativity with the world. As a more reserved and emotional person, I can be thin-skinned when it comes to letting people in on my creative ventures. I think this book offers so many amazing pieces of advice on how to pursue your own creative passions without worrying about what other people think.
In fact, this book and others like it are what inspired me to create this blog. I can not tell you how scary it was for me to create my own website and share my thoughts with people, many of whom I don’t know. It’s hard for me to feel confident when it comes to my own work and passions, especially when I’m not sure whether or not it will be successful. In this book, Gilbert talks about many of the insecurities that creative people have, and encourages everyone to keep toiling away at their craft despite the doubts. I would encourage anyone who is looking to be more creative to check this book out, I’m sure you’ll find something interesting to take away from it!
The third book I chose to share is Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. This one is different from all of the others on the list, simply because it is a book of poetry. I love that with each short poem, Rupi Kaur is able to express so much emotion and heartache in such a small space. This book is divided into four parts, and while it deals with very intense struggles, there is also empowerment at the end.
I found out about this book through Tumblr, and it is such an amazing and inspiring piece of art to me. Even more inspiring than the poems themselves is the fact that Kaur wrote this book when she was only 21 years old in 2014! In fact, she’s the same age as me. I am so encouraged and inspired by her ability to express her feelings and emotions through the written word.
The section at the end, called “the healing” deals with women empowerment, and explores how she realized her own strength. I love the poems at each stage of the book, but I feel especially empowered by the ones at the end. It is inherent in our culture for women to want to compare themselves to each other, and base their own value on physical appearance only. I love the fact that Kaur addresses this negativity and instead sees what’s underneath the physical beauty of women.
Finally, my last book is On Writing by Stephen King. I read this one the summer after graduating college, and it made me feel inspired to continue on in my journey as a writer. Here’s the summary: “‘Long live the King’ hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999 — and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery. Brilliantly structured, friendly and inspiring, On Writing will empower and entertain everyone who reads it — fans, writers, and anyone who loves a great story well told.”
Something that I enjoyed about this book is that along with all of the great advice he gives, King also talks about his own life and experiences. Some of his novels are so bizarre, but I just find him so interesting as a person, so I liked being able to find out more about his life.
At the same time, I was also inspired just by learning about writing from someone who has excelled at writing books for many years. From description to dialogue to grammar, King talks about pretty much any aspect of writing that you need in order to be a writer. One of my ultimate life goals is to write my own novel, and this book made me feel like I could actually do it. He doesn’t skim over the struggles that a writer faces by any means, but it’s awesome to think that despite all of the hardships, King was able to find success as a writer and do something he is passionate about.
Obviously, there are so many other books that have inspired me over the years, so many that it would take me forever just to get through them all, but these are definitely a few of my favorites. I hope you enjoyed this post, and that you might check out a few of the books that have inspired me along the way. Do you have any inspiring books that you’ve loved? Feel free to share! I have bookshelves full of books that I still need to read, but I am always looking for more recommendations!