Reading is fundamental. No really, reading is one of the most positive and rewarding hobbies around! What do entrepreneurs, business moguls, politicians and scientists all agree on? Books. Reading. Not the same book, per say, but reading in general expands horizons y lo sabes. Technology has taken heavy, tangible paper books and condensed them into an extremely manageable electronic form. Now with the swipe of a finger, you can scroll through an endless digital library. Reading makes you smarter, more culturally aware, and cognizant of the world around you.
There are some who argue that a book a week is not only a realistic goal, but a bare minimum. Others take it as far as reading 100 books a year! Between audio books, and e-readers, we can no longer use the weight of hardcover books or the impending danger of paper cuts (just me?) as an excuse not to read! Perhaps you've been feeling a bit "meh" lately, or uninspired. Here are some books that are certain to light a fire in your life, in the best way possible, of course!
For the Restless Spirit:
Dust Tracks on a Broken Road - Zora Neale Hurston
“I have been in Sorrow's kitchen and licked out all the pots. Then I have stood on the peaky mountain wrapped in rainbows, with a harp and a sword in my hands.”
This is the autobiography of "Their Eyes Were Watching God" author Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston is the exception to the rule. In fact, Hurston breaks the rule. Not everyone is born with a silver spoon, some people have to hustle, grind, and kick down the doors that they build with their bare hands. Hurston has such an ease with her words as she recounts her life story-- drama included-- that begins in the first all-Black incorporated city in the United States. If you see 'no' as an invitation, and welcome the up-and-down rollercoaster that is life, this is your book!
For the Writer & Storyteller
The Year of Yes - Shonda Rhimes
“I realized a very simple truth: that success, fame, having all my dreams come true would not fix or improve me, it wasn't an instant potion for personal growth. Having all my dreams come true only seemed to magnify whatever qualities I already possessed.”
If you've turned on a television in the last 7 years, then you know Shonda Rhimes. Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder. Do any of those mildly successful series ring a bell? You'd think she'd be all over the inter-web and talk show scene, but what you'll find out if you read her memoir is that she's an extreme introvert, who awkwardly and pointedly avoids the camera at all costs. Rhimes is funny without trying. She's honest to a fault, and oh so raw! She reiterates the fact that she's both old, and loves to lie several times throughout the memoir. She's a storyteller who feels safer in her mind where she creates the world around her, than out dealing with people who may, or may not get it. If you have this instinctive desire to create stories, and weave ideas, thoughts, and dreams, together, Rhimes' novel should be on your list.
For the Optimist
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly - Jean Dominique Bauby
“I need to feel strongly, to love and admire, just as desperately as I need to breathe.”
This novel will restore your faith in humanity. It's about a man who seemingly has it all: he's got a lovely family, lives in Paris and is the Editor-in-Chief of the French "Elle" magazine! One day his entire life changes after he suffers a stroke and becomes paralyzed. Although his body is crippled, his mind remains intact. He's totally cognizant of his surroundings, but only has control over one part of his body: his left eyelid. What would you do in this situation? I bet you didn't respond: Why, I'd dictate a novel one letter at a time! You probably thought, well, crap, I'd just lie there! Bauby... dictated this entire book letter by letter... with his left eyelid, and the help of a translator/writer. Yeah, Monday blues don't seem so extreme anymore do they? No wi-fi? Try not being able to move your body! You'll feel like you can do anything after reading this text so lovingly written.
For the Tenacious Revolutionary
Brainwashed - Tom Burrell
“Negative media reinforcements not only influence how cops, judges, employers, and others view black males, they affect how young blacks view themselves.”
"Brainwashed" made me want to kick over some garbage cans and start a FREAKING REVOLUTION! There are some books that are just required reading, especially if you're a person of color, and even more if you're not: this is one of those books. Burrell, a self-made marketing mogul, breaks down the "inferiority myth" surrounding Black Americans in the most poignant and logical way. He takes large concepts such as the emasculation of the Black male in Hollywood, to consumerism, to the broken Black family structure, to Black comedians and explains how the media both perpetuates, and exacerbates the myth that people of color in America are some how "less than." If you're interested in marketing, or understanding a bit of the context to the question "How did we get here?" this book will shine a light on some of the answers.
For the Prolific Voice of Our Generation
We should all be feminists - Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
“My own definition is a feminist is a man or a woman who says, yes, there’s a problem with gender as it is today and we must fix it, we must do better. All of us, women and men, must do better.”
Are we still trying to convince people that feminist does NOT mean scary, hairy, yelling, man-hater? That's still a thing? I'm definitely not here to preach or reprimand. This concise text is both relevant and moving. There's really nothing more to be said. Read it. Memorize it. Share it. Live it.
For the Aspiring CEO
The 4-hour Work Week - Timothy Ferriss
“To enjoy life, you don't need fancy nonsense, but you do need to control your time and realize that most things just aren't as serious as you make them out to be.”
Have you ever been at work, and looked at the clock and thought: I'd simply rather not be here right now. Who hasn't? Well, if you're itching to break away from the normal 9-5 and write your own rules, this book can help to get you started! Ferriss dives into subjects such as effective time management, how to travel while still earning money, and how to optimize productivity without sacrificing quality. When you're running a multi-million dollar company while lying in a hammock in Chang Mai, Thailand, don't forget me!
For the Dreamer & Believer:
The Alchemist - Paulo Coehlo
"When you truly want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you achieve it"
This book is on every top ten and favorite's list... and rightfully so! It's been translated into over 65 different languages and it's sold over 65 million copies! If only a fraction of those 65 million readers would adopt just a bit of Santiago's passion, drive and curiosity, we'd all be living on a completely different planet! The protagonist, Santiago starts out in Andalusia, Spain, and both the reader and Santiago go on an adventure of a lifetime. The main theme in this novel: destiny. This is a read for the traveler, wanderluster, and the sage individuals who truly believe in humanity and the magic of the universe.
What's next on your reading list?
Danni, Community + Content Director at Las Morenas de España, is a twenty-something, Chicago native currently residing in Madrid. Lover of language, words, and travel, she's managed to combine all of her passions through her work. In her free time, you can find her exploring the winding streets of Madrid, hunting down good flight deals, planning her next adventure and writing & researching for LMDES. Danni loves spicy food, natural hair, music and of course, her wonderful life partner. If you need to find her, she’s the girl with huge hair and her face buried in her Kindle.