I love to read. I love mysteries, history, fiction and books that pique my curiosity for learning more about how we do what we do. I know that for me reading can be a real retreat, a time to close out the rest of the world and immerse myself in a different time and place learning about others customs and ways of thinking. I also love spending time understanding more about myself or reconfirming my own beliefs by reading what others have discovered when delving into the intrinsic, universal side of the intellect.
When I read mysteries, historic novels or fiction I have taught myself to use them to ferret out the secrets of living in those particular and differing times. As I get to know the characters, I try on some of their personal characteristics. This often gives me interesting and fresh ideas concerning particular behaviors that are different from my own that could be incorporated into a character I am playing within an opera. It helps me understand how and what shaped a particular society. I get a glimpse of the complexities of the clothing, hair and shoe choices and the possible restrictions or freedoms their in. It helps me appreciate and grasp the choices and belief systems available during differing times in history.
When I ready inspiring books, I often find new ways of expressing myself. There are “Ah ha!” moments that allow me to reflect on issues within my own life in an atypical way. Or it can simply be a reaffirmation of what I believe to be my truth. It is continuously food for though and nourishes my soul by keeping me in balance – mind, body, spirit.
I have put together a short list of books I think you might find interesting in all categories for your summer reading.
“The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.”
~ Oscar Wilde
Promise Not to Tell, by Jennifer McMahon
More than just a murder mystery. Part ghost story, part whodunit and part coming-of-age. It’s a story of friendship and family, devotion and betrayal- tautly written, deeply insightful, beautifully evocative and utterly unforgettable.
The Book of Air and Shadows, by Michael Gruber
A fire destroys a New York City rare bookstore and reveals clues to a treasure worth killing for. A disgraced scholar is found tortured to death and those pursuing the most valuable literary find in history are about to cross from the harmless mundane into inescapable nightmare.
“History is not melodrama, even if it usually reads like that.”
~ Robert Penn Warren
Founding Mothers – The women who raised our nation, by Cokie Roberts
These are the stories of women who fought the Revolution as valiantly as the men, sometimes even defending their very doorsteps from British occupation. While the men went off to war or to Congress, the women managed their husbands’ businesses, ran the farms, and raised their children. These women who sacrificed for the fledgling nation spent months or even years apart from their husbands, at a time when letters were their only form of contact.
1421 The Year China Discovered America, by Gavin Menzies
The incredible true story of the discovery of America before Columbus was even born. On March 8k 1421, the largest fleet the world had ever seen sailed from its base in China. The ships, huge junks nearly 500 feet long and built from the finest teak, were un the command of Emperor Zhu Di’s loyal eunuch admirals. Their mission was “to proceed all the way to the end of the earth to collect tribute from the barbarians beyond the seas: and unite the whole world in Confucian harmony. Their journey would last more than 2 years and circle the globe.
“The reason that fiction is more interesting than any other form of literature, to those who really like to study people, is that in fiction the author can really tell the truth without humiliating himself.”
~ Jim Rohn
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of WWII, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’d never met, a native of Guernsey, the British island once occupied by the Nazis.
Snow Flower & the Secret Fan, by Lisa See
The story of feet binding in China in the 1800’s and the tradition among the women’s society of that time to enlist a matchmaker for the daughters who would undergo the foot binding process to find not only a suitable husband, but also a “same old” female friend to share intimate secrets with throughout their lives.
Lambrusco, by Ellen Cooney
The extraordinary Resistance movement of the Italian people during the Second World War is brought to life in a captivating, deeply moving story of a mother’s search for her son.
“Masked by the snowflakes, the colour of your petals may well be hidden: Yet still put forth your scent that people may know your flower. ”
~ Ono Takamura
Johnny Bunko – The last career guide you’ll ever need, By Daniel H Pink
Six career secrets no one ever told you. This is the first business book in the Japanese comic format known as manga. Packed with smart, life-changing advice.
The Art of Possibility, Transforming Professional and Personal Life, by Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander
This book provides a life-altering approach to fulfilling dreams large and small. The Zanders’ book is the product of a synthesis of the diverse worlds of the symphony orchestra (he is an international conductor) and cutting-edge psychology (she is a psychologist).
You Are Enough, by David J Walker
If we don’t accept the fact that what we ARE is more important than what we DO, we will live a lifetime with the self-inflicted pressure to perform.
Do & Be, by A.C. Ping
Easy books to read! If you are one who questions the mindlessness of our times and are interested in finding your own purpose, know what you truly believe in and how you can transcend the self to reach your goals, these two books are for you.
Do It! Let’s get off our butt, by John-Roger & Peter McWilliams
Learning how to successfully get out of your comfort zone and feel comfortable doing it. To accomplish something new requires new behavior and a new behavior by its very definition lies outside the confines of the comfort zone.
A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle
Learn how to transcend your ego-based state of consciousness to end conflict, anger, jealousy, unhappiness and suffering and move to a more fulfilling existence. Live life “in the now”.
When you finish one of these books, I would love to know your thoughts about it. Or if you have other interesting book suggestions, please send them my way. [email protected]
Ciao until next time,