Want to read more? Work better with a deadline? Looking to get inspired with me this summer?
Good, I thought so.
For spring-summer 2016, I’ve designed a hot hot hot summer reading list to both ignite my creative spirit and light a fire under my ass! I chose these six titles, intended to be read over the next six months, because they are touted as the kinds of stories that will get us thinking and moving and excited to do the creative work that’s so easy to sideline.
They’re stories of challenge and triumph, change and creative process. They tell of chasing dreams, standing up for what’s right, and making one’s way through the world as a strong, free-minded female. They are honest, life-breathing, empowering, head-shaking accounts of how the world works and how we can survive and thrive in – and even change – the world around us.
April – Women Who Run With Wolves
Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women. But she is an endangered species.
In Women Who Run With Wolves, Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés unfolds rich intercultural myths, fairy tales, and stories, many from her own family, in order to help women reconnect with the fierce, healthy, visionary attributes of this instinctual nature. Through the stories and commentaries in this remarkable book, we retrieve, examine, love, and understand the Wild Woman and hold her against our deep psyches as one who is both magic and medicine.
Elizabeth Gilbert digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration.
She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives.
June – The Writing Life
Annie Dillard has spent a lot of time in remote, bare-bones shelters doing something she claims to hate: writing.
Amid moving accounts of her own writing (and life) experiences, Dillard also manages to impart wisdom to other writers, wisdom having to do with passion and commitment and taking the work seriously. “One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place…. Something more will arise for later, something better.”
And, if that is not enough, “Assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients,” she says. “That is, after all, the case…. What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?”
July – Bossypants
At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon — from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.
Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy.
August – The Power Of Habit
“We are what we repeatedly do,” said Aristotle. “Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” On the most basic level, a habit is a simple neurological loop: there is a cue (my mouth feels gross), a routine (hello, Crest), and a reward (ahhh, minty fresh). Understanding this loop is the key to exercising regularly or becoming more productive at work or tapping into reserves of creativity. As this book shows, tweaking even one habit, as long as it’s the right one, can have staggering effects.
Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: our most basic actions are not the product of well-considered decision making, but of habits we often do not realize exist. By harnessing this new science, we can transform our lives.
September – The Autobiography of Malcolm X
In the searing pages of this classic autobiography, originally published in 1964, Malcolm X, the Muslim leader, firebrand, and anti-integrationist, tells the extraordinary story of his life and the growth of the Black Muslim movement to veteran writer and journalist Alex Haley.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X defines American culture and the African American struggle for social and economic equality that has now become a battle for survival.
Malcolm’s fascinating perspective on the lies and limitations of the American Dream, and the inherent racism in a society that denies its nonwhite citizens the opportunity to dream, gives extraordinary insight into the most urgent issues of our own time.
The Autobiography of Malcolm X stands as the definitive statement of a movement and a man whose work was never completed but whose message is timeless. It is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand America.
How The Reading List Works (Updated)
Join the summer book club and each month we’ll read the chosen #creativewakeupcall book. Then, we’ll reflect on the experience together through these 3 questions:
- How Would You Rate This Book Overall? – On a scale of 1 – 5 did this book get you charged up or was it not for you
- What’s Your Key Takeaway? – Short & simple, how did this book make you feel? Did it inspire action? How did it change or reinforce your POV? What will you take away from this experience?
- What’s Your Favourite Line Or Quote From The Book?
You’ll get a couple of email reminders to help keep everything on track.
Read along for the next six months, or join us for one or two titles you find interesting. Can’t wait to get started & hear what you guys think!