Nurturing inspiration through books


During the last book club session at Okkio Cafe, we – the bookworm society met, read books to each other, asked prompting questions to discuss the topic of fostering creative energy through books. Hearing the word “creative”, a lot of people think “creativity” always goes with “art”, which means if I don’t pursue any arts, my life has nothing to do with creativity. In the intuition writing class that I am the host of, some of my students also feel hesitant to do creative thinking-triggering exercises. But have you ever thought, whether we are “framed” in our own narrow thoughts?

The essence of “creativity” is limitless. We don’t have to do art to be creative. An accountant working with Excel spreadsheets every day can be creative in the presentation to make the work more elaborate, devising new ways to save time rather than using the old one. A housewife cooking the same dish thousands of times can creatively decorate it in many different ways. A gardener does not only sow seeds, water, fertilize, but also creates a garden plan into a lovely campus with a gravel path leading to vegetable beds. Accordingly, the word “creative” becomes very close and practical to our work and daily life, right?


Please listen to the sharings from everyone in the podcast episode 05: http://bit.ly/PHB-podcast-05

I will review some of the books that we have shared in the book club session for you to find and read together:

The book set “THIS IS…” of many authors includes 8 books about 8 famous artists: Dali, Vincent Van Gogh, Monet, Warhol, Matisse, Gauguin, Leonardo da Vinci & Rembrandt. In this set, there are many silly and interesting stories about those artists. When we finish reading, we will have a very different perspective on them. For example, the crazy Dali as a child used to sit in the bath to draw pictures because it was too hot; Monet used to write letters asking his friends for money when he was poor but he was kind to help people when he was successful; Van Gogh loved to go in details on the circumstances of his composition as well as his sentiments in his work; Leonardo da Vinci was realistic to always choose the royal family to be the patron of his creative career and also quite dreamy when he easily forgot his main goal but so passionate to learn about a certain detail, etc.

> https://shp.ee/e86n3e5

Classical music, colorful pieces – various authors. The book includes the names, authors, compositional circumstances, or the behind stories of the familiar classical music pieces that most people have heard but sometimes do not understand. I often listen to music first, imagine, feel it in my own way, then read the interpretation in the book.

> https://shp.ee/qzny2c5

Words of adventure – Helen Russell. The journey through 33 sparkling words from 33 different countries, giving us a brand new perspective on the view of happiness in every corner of the world.

> https://shp.ee/vf3mja7

Lucky game of children – Chuong Dang. Each dish mentioned in the book is associated with a specific character or a certain memory of the author. Although this is a cookbook, it does not only have recipes for people but encourages everyone to create and cook dishes according to their own tastes. I love this book because of the author’s little vibrations with his everyday life.

> https://shp.ee/h73bmi7

The recipes for my daughter – Gong Ji Young. I just wanted to buy the book right after reading the quote: “There are always days like that. The day you suddenly fall for a random word. The truth is, because of that, you’ve been sad all day long. It is also the day when all doors of hope suddenly shut before your eyes, blocking all the rays of the world. The hopes that you used to think that with all the hard work you could reach are suddenly falling apart… Such days… In those days, all I could do was just listen to you, telling you that there’s nothing out of the ordinary about you, sharing your hurt, and inviting you out to eat something delicious. On days like that, let’s cook according to my recipes.”

> https://shp.ee/qexwr5u

Joy magazine. A type of magazine book that updates new trends of young people, paying attention to positive and profound things. Personally, when I read Joy, I often come up with many new ideas. I also especially like the “Language of the soul” – a place to keep beautiful poems and writings.

> https://bit.ly/3xi1R8k

Leonardo da Vinci – Walter Isaccson. The book about the most creative genius in history. Historian David McCullough commented: “Reading the biography of Leonardo da Vinci is like touring the life and career of one of the greatest figures of all time, with the companionship of one of the most literate, attractive, most intelligent guide in the world”.

> https://shp.ee/9cb8nh7

Parallel coordinates – Nguyễn Mai Chi. The special re-edition of “5 time zones, 10 hours of flight and one blink” sends the reader a reminder of a strong bond, through space and time between the past and the present, between Paris and Hanoi – two “peaceful resident coordinates” attached to the author. I read this book and like the details in the story told on the first pages, about the glass windows on the side of the road, and below are the artists who are working hard.

> https://bit.ly/3tLfdrp

Anger is an instinct, tranquility is bravery – Tong Mac. The book is a collection of lessons, sharing words about human life, treatises on the life of great master Hoang Nhat – the master who let go of all mundanity to take refuge in the Buddha, who is known to be adept at all matters of life and also of great influence in Buddhism.

> https://shp.ee/xf5iizk

A return to love – Marianne Williamson. The content of the book is based on the author’s experience as a teacher and professor. She explains how applying the principles of love to all difficulties can help heal and bring about the personal transformation of the readers, helping us to broaden our perspectives on all matters of life, to take everything easily.

> https://bit.ly/3eonCul

The things that keep me alive – Matt Haig. The book, called “a modern classic” by Entertainment Weekly, topped the UK chart for 46 consecutive weeks, is a true, emotional autobiography about the author’s journey to overcome depression. This book is relevant to the topic of fostering creativity because falling into depression means that we are losing connection with the world around us, and with ourselves, and at such times, our creative energy will suffer, be broken, and difficult to maintain.

> https://bit.ly/3gyB4hW

I am self-studying – Nguyen Duy Can. “Everyone receives two kinds of education: one infused by others, and one much more important is self-studying” is the philosophy of the book, along with its effective, self-learning methods.

> https://shp.ee/w8sdzrx

Think opposite and do differently – Paul Arden. I think the title of the book speaks for the author’s point of view. And for creativity, there are never limits. Therefore, “think opposite and do differently” is very realistic advice. In any case, just change the perspective, not following the old way, we will produce a new result, right?

> https://shp.ee/4ysfe2v

Lagom, just enough – the Swedish living style – Linnea Dunne. > https://shp.ee/if22axd

Lagom, knowing enough is freedom – Niki Brantmark. > https://shp.ee/p3gidyu

Both books talk about the Swedish philosophy of life, with a focus on finding balance in all aspects of life – from work, relaxing, family, friends, and everything else. Finding the right balance is important to nurture your creative energies. There are also many interesting Swedish methods that we can apply in our daily life to help change and renew our existing habits.

To sum up, to foster our creative energy, we need to pay ourselves back to the status of a child, knowing how to listen to ourselves, deeply connecting with the world around us, understanding ourselves, understanding people, knowing how much is enough, being constantly curious, being confident, courageous to change, being spontaneous because the spontaneity will bring unexpected results. Accordingly, creative inspiration can come from anywhere, anytime.

The podcast recorded many interesting sharings from everyone, and there is also an improvised poem composition at the end of the podcast, so take your time to listen! See you at the book club sessions later. > http://bit.ly/PHB-podcast-05

Please update the book club information at Storytellers – Renaissance Books & Okkio Cafe!

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