Reading // 6 Books For Creative & Curious Minds
I love to read. I've made myself sick and completely screwed up my internal clock by reading into the not-so-wee hours of the morning. And I'm not ashamed to admit that my reading tastes vary from high-brow classics to children's literature and science fiction. When I was a kid (read: late teens), I was at the bookstore at midnight for every release of Harry Potter, and my parents reluctantly accepted the fact that there was basically nothing they could do to keep me from reading that book non-stop until I reached page 766.
As an adult, not much has changed. My long list of all-time favorites includes Alice in Wonderland and Siddhartha. I'm all over the map. So, true to form, here is a short (and characteristically diverse) list of 6 books that creative and curious minds will adore.
1. The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams
This is arguably the funniest book I've ever read. On top of its completely amazing, adventurous, and unpredictable storyline, I love Adam's hysterical matter-of-fact delivery of absurd and ridiculous plot points. He makes you think deeply about almost everything, and somehow manages to turn your most kosher ideals into a pile of tangled spaghetti without your realizing it. I can't even explain it. So, here's a quote.
"In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move."
2. Brand Thinking And Other Noble Pursuits by Debbie Millman
I've only just started reading this one, but I can already tell I'm going to love it. This definitely falls into the high-brow, deep thinking, business-minded category, and I've been told that it's a staple read for graphic designers. However, I think that anyone interested in marketing, advertising, or the human experience in general and how branding effects us daily would find this really eye-opening. While the topic sounds a little droll, the actual read itself is very entertaining, and the tone is more like listening to friends chat over coffee than listening to a lecture on what branding "is," or if it exists at all. (Spoiler alert: It doesn't.)
3. The Last Time I Saw Paris by Elliot Paul
Not to be confused with the Elizabeth Taylor movie or the Lynn Sheene book, both of the same title. I picked this absolute gem up in a used book store in Nashville, and I imagine it's probably not the easiest thing to come by -- at least, not an original 1943 edition like mine. (The back cover of the dust jacket has printed on the bottom, "The Last Time I Saw Paris is just the kind of book that the boys in the services are craving. Send them your copy when you have finished reading it!") For someone as obsessed with French culture as I am, this is an absolute must-read, but I hold that nearly anyone would find this fascinating. Author Elliot Paul, a Bostonian journalist, stumbled upon a tiny street in the heart of Paris, and fell so in love with it that he basically decided to post up there -- on and off -- for eighteen years, engraining himself in the community and documenting the daily lives of the (now, obviously, long dead) residents. It's truly fascinating to watch them live through normal days, times of war, etc., and by the end, you feel sort of bonded with these people who would have otherwise been completely lost to the ages. I highly recommend this read.
4. #GIRLBOSS by Sofia Amoruso
Here's another one that I haven't read yet, but can't wait to dive in to. As a #girlboss myself, I figured I kind of had to read this, as I'm always looking for innovative ways to grow my business and create new opportunities. At 22, the author Sophia Amoruso was dumpster diving, hitchhiking, committing petty theft, and had pretty much resigned herself to unemploy'edness (that's a word now, I said so.) Within 8 years, she'd built herself a $100 million plus online fashion retail business with more than 350 employees. So, yeah. Could probably learn a thing or two there.
5. The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan
I'm not even really sure how this book came into my life, but as soon as I read the synopsis, I knew I had to have it. The author, Marina Keegan, graduated second in her class from Yale in 2012. She had a play waiting to be produced and a job at The New Yorker waiting for her after graduation. Tragically, she died 5 years later. The essays and short stories in this book are ones that she left behind, including her last essay for the Yale Daily News, “The Opposite of Loneliness." I haven't read this one yet, but I expect lots of tears and lots of inspiration.
6. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
I've read this book (well, play, really) so many times that the pages are literally falling out. When I was a kid, my grandmother had a VHS collection comprised almost entirely of mid-century movie musicals. I was obsessed. One of my particular favorites was My Fair Lady starring Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison. It's the original makeover story: classy guy discovers wholly un-classy gal, makes a bet with an equally classy friend that he can class her up in no time flat, and, BAM. Total hottie. In this version of the familiar tale, Prof. Higgins is a snarky jerk of a linguistic specialist who makes a bet with his lovable colleague, Colonel Pickering, that he can't pass a common Cockney flower girl (that'll be Audrey/Eliza Doolittle) for a Duchess in some number of days. The play by G.B. Shaw is pretty outstanding and a quick read, and even more outstanding when you understand that Shaw basically is a snarky jerk of a linguistic specialist in real life.
Happy reading, kids. If you've read (or plan to read) any of these books, post your thoughts in the comments below.