The No B.S. blog about Travel, Writing and Life

Inspirational Books to Live By, 50-46

As I close in on to my 100th blog post, I have thought a lot about writing and inspiration, and where do all those blog posts come from when so much of my time is spent doing so many un-inspirational tasks: paying bills, doing dishes, eating a microwave burrito, stuck in Los Angeles traffic and trying to get more sleep.

Fortunately, my inspiration is never far away. The books are piled upon other books and then crammed into every possible nook to fill my bookcase. In fact, all my bookcases look the same, too many books for too little space.

One of my favorite ways to find inspiration is by reading someone else’s writing. It does not matter what the subject, genre, style or tone is to me, as long as the writer is talented, passionate, knowledgeable or funny I get inspired. I am not sure how it all works, but while I am reading something I am enjoying pictures and thoughts just come. For a moment, I tap into something beyond myself.

Here are my top 50 books that take have given me a lot of reason to fill blank notebooks and computer screen. These works have also helped me get off the couch, make the bed, and have a better day. While many of these books are not any precise order, the last ten really are my best of the best. Enjoy.

50. The ABC Murders by Agatha Christie

This was the first grown up book I ever read. I would eventually go on a brief but intense Agatha Christie compulsion when I was 12. Not sure how I feel about her writing now, but she sure got me reading then.

49. The Cosmic Serpent by Jeremy Narby

A compelling read about the Ayahuasca people from the jungles of Peru and how intelligence and consciousness come together. Narby is academic without being dense and made me rethink what I know about primitive cultures.

48. Lonely Planet’s Iceland

It was an older addition that included a fascinating sidebar about the chess fanatics of Grimsey. The story inspired me to take a tiny plane to a small island in the Arctic Circle north of Iceland to discover the story was bogus. I was stranded on the boring little island for several days until the weather improved.

47. On Golden Porch by Tatiana Tolstaya

I was turned on to this obscure writer by one of the best writing teachers I have ever had. Tolstaya’s writing is about childhood boredom, sorrow and 30 other emotions that made me want to do nothing but write.

46. A Beginner’s Guide to Constructing the Universe by Michael S. Schneider

This book is on the philosophy of numbers and how they work in nature. There are also bits of math, science, and a sense that there really is order to the world.

More of the inspirational 50 coming next week.

46-41 40-36 35-31 30-26 25-21 20-16 15-11 10-6 5-1


  1. Now that we can digitalize many of these books, they would certainly be a lot less heavy to bring around on trips!

  2. Hey Clint,
    You just hit on a painful topic for me. While I have completely embraced the digital age, I have not been able to accept one of those hand held book readers as a replacements for all these books littered around my home.
    .-= Devin Galaudet´s last blog ..How to Get a Press Trip =-.

  3. I hope you wrote LP about that Iceland story!

  4. @Devin Galaudet

    I agree, I’m a real bookworm but I’m reluctant to give up my old fashioned paper and ink. Part of the pleasure of reading is the turning of pages, seeing much loved books start to look well used too. I’ve got so many books and the idea of not having bookshelves full is not one that I’m ready to contemplate just yet.

    Two of my favourite books are both about travel in South America – Paul Theroux’s Old Patagonia Express and Bruce Chatwin’s In Patagonia. Both decided me that I had to see this amazing continent and when I did it all blew me away.

  5. Hi Heather,
    I never did write LP. By the time it occurred to me to say something they had come out with a new edition — without the magical sidebar.

  6. Hi Margitravelling,
    I am wit you on the books. And I also love Theroux. I am reading “Dark Star” right now — very slowly. Last I read we were in a train in Djibouti.
    .-= Devin Galaudet´s last blog ..Free Stuff: Cruising and Cruise Ships 2010 & Insight Guides Caribbean =-.

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