5 Books that Inspire

Reading is my escape. Whether it’s a fictional story that immerses me into the world of endearing characters, or a non-fictional recount of the events of a random someone’s life, I always enjoy getting pulled into the prose. Page by page, I become more and more invested. Being a student, though, I hardly ever had the time to read for leisure. Now that I’m a recent college graduate — I graduated on April 30 — words cannot even describe how excited I am to get back into the world of devouring book after book.

I always enjoy reading books that inspire me to be better or remind me that life on earth is such a unique, non-coincidental, purpose-filled gift. I read all of the following books while I was still in school — I’m about to start Eat Pray Love: my first book I’ll read as a graduate!

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

I have been a fan of David Sedaris ever since I listened to an NPR podcast for the first time. He is a talented writer, radio contributor, and comedian. His comedic personality jumps out at you throughout the pages. He is blunt, honest, a bit crude at times, and insanely clever. Me Talk Pretty One Day is a collection of essays by Sedaris, but they are anecdotal of his life. Reading about his struggles as a child all the way into the starving artist phase into his escapades throughout France into present day gave me a hope. His stories remind me that life is not a coincidence — we are designed with a purpose. Though Sedaris never references a personal relationship with God, he reminded me that God sets a path for us and we will find it if we choose Him and choose to not take life too seriously.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

This is an Australian novel that I randomly picked up one Sunday when I needed something new to read. I cannot give you a reason as to why I chose it except to say that I liked the way the cover of the book looked. I’m very shallow, I know. The story is one of a man with Asperger’s Syndrome finding love with the woman he least expected. Sort of your typical boy-meets-girl cheesy-love-story book, but it provided enough unexpected plot twists and witty dialogue to keep me on my toes. And, of course, it reminded me that love — both romantic and platonic — is all we truly need on earth.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

This is the story (non-fiction) of a woman who loses herself then gets lost on a trail to find herself. Strayed has endured a lot of hardship in her lifetime, mainly through her familial relationships. Her journey on the Pacific Crest Trail is not an easy one — and at times, seems to be completely unenjoyable — but she uses it as a therapeutic experience to confront the issues of her past and overcome them. This is a story of healing, and a reminder of the beautiful earth we have been given to enjoy.

Love Does by Bob Goff

This is a collection of essays, like Me Talk Pretty One Day. Bob Goff is quite different from Sedaris, though. He walks us through his younger years — when a role model introduced him to Christianity, when he got into law school in the most unique way I’ve heard of to date, when he fell in love. But he also shares stories of adulthood and harsh realities. His stories all work to represent the power that God has in our lives and the vast joy that results from simply loving others unconditionally.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

I would like to say that this is the only book that I have ever broken down into a puddle of tears while reading. This is definitely the most moving book I have ever experienced, and I will probably read it annually until the day I die. The premise is an off-putting one — a man writes about life as he is dying — but the story itself is one filled with joy in the little things and awe in the incredible, unique, fortuitous gift we have been given called life. Kalanithi’s story, one that alternates between flashbacks and in-the-moment recounts, is one that I believe everyone should read. Especially if you have yet to sit back and truly ponder God’s purpose for each of us in this short vapor of time we have on earth.