Three Books You Should be Reading This Week
More than ever, now is the time to find sanctuary but not only in a physical sense, in a way that is spiritually and mentally fulfilling. Sometimes the environments we find ourselves in do not allow us to find that sense of security. I think these books do a great job of building that home we desire, in whatever way that may be.
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran is composed of dozens of prose-poetry excerpts that cover various aspects of life. From Houses, Eating and Drinking, Pain, and Beauty, Gibran reveals his philosophies on multitudes of feelings and actions. Following the composition of prose, yet sharing the qualities of poetry, the book has a unique form that makes it simple to read yet is still captivating in content. Between the pages of poetry feature Gibran’s own drawings, mainly of human figures, that complement the text they accompany. He captures the sincerity and vulnerability of the human form in each. Due to its structure, the book can be read at any point; each poem is divided up by subject. The book is available online for free through Project Gutenberg
Gibran writes in “On Marriage”
“You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”.
The Alchemist by Paul Coelho is also a sweet and easy read. The book is extremely popular all over the world— second most translated following the Bible. Readers follow the journey of an Andalusian shepherd named Santiago who makes a fateful encounter with the alchemist. He decides to travel to the pyramids of Egypt in search of a treasure, and towards the end of the book, he discovers what he has been looking for the entire time. He meets a variety of characters including the alchemist, gypsy, Englishman, and wife, Fatima, who each brings him closer to his goal. While trekking far, the book creates an aura of tranquility through each character interaction, good and bad. Coelho brings out the curiosity and youthfulness in all of us, emphasizing the importance of our dreams.
“This is what we call love. When you are loved, you can do anything in creation. When you are loved, there’s no need at all to understand what’s happening, because everything happens within you.”
Finally, my new personal favorite is Forget Us Not by Malachi Jones. Rooted in nostalgia, Jones explores topics like community, racial identity, and personal growth. The author reflects on race by splitting the book into essays and slam poems. He provides readers with an insight into his observations and how he navigates life as a response through essays like “Blackface” and “Blonde”, and in poems like “Shooting Pebbles at the Sun”. He examines identity through the multiple facets of his life including school and church. Jones traces cultural phenomenons, like blackface, historically. The author attributes pantoums to his mother and father. Rhythm and soul are breathed into each work regardless of structure or genre. Jones creates a deep connection with the reader, drawing you in from the very first words; he creates a home, a sanctuary, a path to follow his life and experiences.
“Your hands no longer keep me balanced.
We’ve both fallen from grace, but
I won’t weigh you down, mommy.
I’m not too big to pick-up and hold anymore.”