Friday, July 20, 2012

Books that inspire

Have you ever read a book and then become inspired by its story?  By its characters or by the message or emotion you felt when reading it?  I have.  And more than just being inspired to read more! I'm talking about inspiration that has changed me in some way, changed my focus or way of thinking.  It hasn't happened in awhile, but I think I'm always searching for more inside my books and in my life.  I like feeling inspired and hopeful. 

Here is a small list of books that has inspired me since beginning this blog...

Looking For Alaska by John Green - This was the first book that I read by John Green and it really knocked me on my ass.  I read it at the perfect time, right when I needed to be reminded that people who are unhappy don't need to stay stuck in an unhappy place.  Just like Pudge, I realised that I'd been in a rut in my life, doing the same things over and over, saying the same things, thinking the same things.  I think it can be very easy to do as a stay-at-home mom.  Things became habit and routine and I carried on with things even when I found myself becoming more and more weary of my life. 

So I read Looking For Alaska, felt inspired and decided to make a change.  I figured I too could search for a great perhaps of my own... and while a boarding school out of state WOULD be fun, I settled for making daily changes in my life.  The Doing Things Differently project began.  I've been meaning to recommit myself to the same project again, and I will, just not right now.  I think that even if that first year didn't go exactly to plan and even if I haven't successfully completed my target of an entire month of doing things differently, that at least I'm still TRYING.  I'm doing the best that I can to change things up and do things that are scary and new and different.  I think the lasting effects of this project can be seen in loads of different areas of my life and that can only be a good thing.

Notes From the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell - I haven't really written much about this book.  Aside from my (glowing) review, I think that not many of you know that this book is the primary inspiration for my Awesome Women series of posts?  I can't quite recall how I first came across this book, Simmone is an Australian writer of YA and I don't see a great deal of reviews for her books.  But something about the title and the cover excited me and I accepted to swap for this book many years ago.  In a happy coincidence, soon after, Simmone Howell appeared with Sarra Manning, Keris Stainton and Luisa Plaja for an absolutely brilliant Chicklish event in London which I was lucky enough to attend.  I went along and I loved listening to Simmone speak, she seems like a really cool lady, very quirky and interesting to listen to. 

But of course, it is her book, Notes From the Teenage Underground that inspired me.  It's the story of a group of girls who have a summer project.  And for that project, one of the girls writes out a script celebrating some awesome historical and more recent women and there's talk of Germaine Greer and other feminism and the whole book has a very arty and creative feel to it.  I absolutely adored every single page of it.  And when I was finished reading it, I was inspired to celebrate awesome women in the only way I knew how - which is through writing about them on this blog.  I hope to continue doing so for many more years to come...

Broken Soup and Finding Violet Park by Jenny Valentine -  I've written about it before, the way in which reading these two books by Jenny Valentine has inspired me to begin writing again.  It's a fairly big deal for me.  I always thought that I would grow up and write books and when I was in middle school and the early years of high school, I was constantly jotting down story ideas, character sketches, little poems and bits of dialogue.  And then I lost both my floppy disk (remember those!) and my confidence in a very short amount of time. I've been struggling with a huge case of the self-doubts for a long time and only in the very recent past has the idea taken root in my head to possibly start writing again. 

And that is in large part due to the brilliance of the writing in both Broken Soup and Finding Violet Park.  I loved both books very much and I'd love to write something as emotional and raw and honest as either of them.  I do have a main character that sits inside my head as well as some rough details of a story line, but I haven't done much to put these things down on paper.  It's been a slow process, getting back into writing, but I'm not giving up this time. 

Have you ever been inspired after reading a book?  I'd love to hear about it!


  1. I love Simmone Howell's books too (and Simmone herself!) How wonderful that Notes from a Teenage Underground inspired you. And I find your Awesome Women series inspiring in turn!

    1. I am such a fan of Simmone's! Thrilled to have read her books and to meet her :)

  2. I haven't read the other two but I loved Looking for Alaska. What a great idea, the Doing Things Differently Project. Sounds exciting!

    1. It was exciting, and very fun to do! I'll probably do unofficially doing it again over the summer holidays :)


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