Okay, so I couldn’t wait anymore to share with you one of the gifts that I got for my birthday: it’s a Kindle!
Which means, I’ll be needing a lot more book recommendations once I get this baby in the mail.
Since I got some really great recommendations from you guys in my post 5 Books You MUST Read Before You Die I decided I’d make sequel. This time, the books we will be talking about are going to be exclusively non-fiction. I am very excited to hear about what 5 NON-FICTION books you think everyone MUST read before they leave this earth.
But first, here are mine:
The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (Self-Help/Spiritual)
I find myself recommending this all the time to my readers and to fellow bloggers. Turns out 1 out of 3 posts written by writers that I read in the blogosphere are posts about writer’s block. I’m not kidding. Writer’s block is an increasingly pervasive affliction–a terrible pandemic that is spreading more and more among writers and other artists, and I can’t help but feel that it is my duty as a fellow artist to do something about it. But of course I don’t want to ram this book down your throat if you already heard about it a million times and honestly are not interested, so this will be the last time I will be mentioning this book on this blog or on any other blog (I mentioned it once before in my post about writing and spirituality.) What is this book about? That’s hard to explain, because it encompasses so many things. It’s basically a workshop in getting your life back together. I could have said it is about removing that writer’s block, or to help those creative juices flowing, but the truth is you will find that this is the most life-changing book you will ever read. This isn’t a self-help book–this a cure, a giant step in the right direction, a revelation, a bold way to look at the world and creativity, the answer to all of your prayers of despair and frustration as a lonely and lowly artist. Well, what are you still doing reading this? Go out, buy this book and start the first week of exercises today. You will never regret embarking on the first step toward a new, fulfilling life.
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (Spiritual/Psychology)
If you do only have one year left to live ,and you have only 5 non-fiction books you can read before the end, what better book is there than the one that will teach you how to savor every last moment on this earth? This book is more than just the prequel to Oprah’s Book Club pick, it may very well be the defining book of the 21st Century. I may be exaggerating, but it also may be pointing towards the next stage of human evolution. After all, won’t world peace and love reign once we all stop being so obsessed with past and future worries, and just live right here, in this very moment? If this book can help us become more present in our lives, then humanity may be on the road to paradise.
The Decade of Betrayal: Mexican Repatriation in the 1930s by Francisco E. Balderrama and Raymond Rodriguez (History)
Did you know that during the 1930′s and 40′s it was U.S. policy to exile hundreds of Mexican immigrants and their American-born children out of the United States, and send them back to Mexico? Neither did I, until I read this book. A very in-depth and fascinating read, Decade of Betrayal illustrates how a great nation can resort to shameful actions of dehumanization when under great fear and uncertainty. During the The Great Depression, much of the countries financial woes were blamed on Mexican immigrants who supposedly were taking American jobs. (Sounds eerily familiar, uh?) The immigrants were thrown into trains, ships, and some had to take the long drive south of the border by themselves. The conditions using all three methods of transportation were awful. Many of those who traveled in trains had to stand for hours on end, without food or a bathroom to use, and you can imagine how that was like. At the end, they were often thrown out of the train in the middle of the night, in a random town in Mexico they were unfamiliar with and had no relatives they could contact for help. The story doesn’t end there. Repatriated Mexicans had a very difficult time adjusting to their new home, because it was evident that they were in fact Americans who had already adjusted to an American way of living. This book is an important reminder for us to never let our fear and ignorance lead us to abuse and demoralize our fellow human beings.
One with Nineveh: Politics, Consumption, and the Human Future by Paul and Anne Ehrlich (Science)
I use a canvas bag at Target; when I use a plastic bottle I guard it with my life until I reach a recycling bin; I am aware of how long I take in the shower; I try to use hand wash and detergent that is good for the environment. This is all thanks to–not Al Gore but–this book. I read this book a year before Al Gore’s documentary came out and was fortunate enough to take a class with one of its authors in college. Let’s just say that Al Gore’s movie only scratches the surface of a very very very urgent issue. Forget everything else, CLIMATE CHANGE IS the issue of our times. The great thing is that the authors aren’t pessimistic about solving the problem, they offer very practical and doable solutions (such as a high-speed railway, a solution that is already being made real-which shows the influence of this book since high-speed trains were one of the book’s big recommendations.) You will UNDERSTAND climate change after you read this book. I mean, like, every little detail of it. It will automatically make the person who reads it totally conscious of their effect on the planet. If after ALL the talk, you still don’t think climate change is a big deal, then all I have to say is this: YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. After you’re done, I won’t be surprised if you rush to turn off any light that isn’t in use from then on.
Walden and Civil Disobedience by Henry David Thoraeu (Philosophy)
It is often said that the greatest thinkers and philosophers came from Europe. Well, lucky for Americans, they are wrong. We got Thoreau, so there. Thoraeu was way ahead of the game. You might even say he was a precursor to many of the future leaders and thinkers of the 20th and 21st Century, like Martin Luther King, Jr., Eckhart Tolle, Barack Obama, gay rights activist Lt. Dan Choi, and hippies. Yes, hippies. He may very well be the missing link between early American settlers and Cheech and Chong–except without all the psychedelics. No, but seriously, his message of “power to the people” is something that should be read over and over again. His way of life during that year in Walden–simplicity, respect of nature, quiet meditation, just being not striving– should be replicated in our everyday lives. If you haven’t read HDT, you should. If you read him in college or in high school, you should read it again, because I guarantee you missed something. That’s the thing with HDT, he needs all your focus and attention, so if you got other things going on, you’re likely to miss his point. But if you give him all your focus, I guarantee that happiness and peace will bloom.
much “I love sharing!”