There are some books you read for fun, others to help you relax, and some to teach you something new, but there’s nothing quite like books that guide you through a season of life. To me, these are the books that I’ve mulled over and have shaped my thoughts. Here are some of mine from this past year:
Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino // In my perspective, this book is a living, breathing masterpiece. It’s everything I could have asked for in a book: beautifully written, metaphoric, and about cities. Through this book I’ve learned to observe cities better, and experience the unseen and intangible spirit of cities rather than the tangible, physical things alone. As I travelled, I was able to experience different cultures, yet a part of all these cities I visited were still the same in that they were all human.
Celebration of Discipline by Richard Forster // This past year I’ve learned the hard way that my spiritual habits were not well balanced when I experienced extreme spiritual burnout. I didn’t want to read anything spiritual, go to church, or pray. I had started reading this book a while back but never finished it, so as a form of self discipline, I decided to finish it, one chapter at a time. It was through this book that I realized my faith did not have to always face outward in serving people at all times in order to serve God. There’s a beauty and element of faith to be able to focus inwardly as well, including disciplines such as simplicity and solitude, both of which are super important to me, but I had neglected.
ESV Devotional Psalter // It was really hard for me this past year to pick up a bible and study passages from it. At first I felt guilty for not wanting to study the word of God, but when I reached a point of severe anxiety over my faith, I realized that being Christian didn’t mean meeting a certain criteria. Faith isn’t always about studying or serving people at all times. I had to scale back this year as I rested, and this devotional was and still is perfect in that it’s simple. It’s the Psalms and each psalm had a devotional/explanation to go with it. The Psalms are also poems/lyrical, which is the type of literature that I had been craving this year as I rested.
Designing Design by Kenya Hara // This one is the most recent one I’ve read, having just finished it days after the end of my 25th year. I had struggled for a long time with my interest in design. A lot of times I felt shallow for having such high standards in aesthetic appearances/design. I have a carefully designed room, am highly selective about my clothing choice, and make so many decisions on my purchases and activities based on design aspects that matter to me. This book isn’t a design how-to book and is actually in some way a design philosophy book, in which the author describes a rich thought process along with cultural and historical contexts in which his designs are created. It made me realize that I had been thinking about design wrong this whole time, and that designers are intelligent people who have very well thought out reasons for what they do. I had let others’ opinions of paying attention to aesthetics as being shallow squander my own value in appreciating the visual beauty of things.