Time Traveler: A Scientist's Personal Mission To Make Time Travel A Reality, by Doctor Ronald L Mallet.
This touching and ambitious autobiography chronicles the life of one of the (still living) pioneers of theoretical physics and time travel theory.
Dr. Mallet's story starts with a childhood need--to reverse the premature death of his father. And ends with discovery and bittersweet beauty.
It made me want to be a theoretical physicist. But my affections did not that way tend... I read a lot of books but could never grasp the science. But it taught me to approach the rest of my life with a sense of wonder and the nerve to explore one's despair--even in the good times; especially in the good times.
True And False, Heresy And Common Sense For The Actor, by David Mamet
I never gave myself full permission to be an actor. And then I read this book... I disagreed with everything. I agreed with everything. But I knew I had to be an actor after reading it. What one agrees with never really matters with a book does it? What matters is the book affirms your place in the world.
And David Mamet knows how to do that. All of his essay books are worth devouring... but I mention this one because it came at such a vulnerable moment in my life. I read it once through standing up in the Barnes and Noble Theatre section. And I haven't looked back sense.
Sure, Mamet has been a bit of a shit show (in his writing) the past few years. But this is a reality of my life I can't just cover up.
How Should A Person Be? by Sheila Heti
I read this just a few months ago.
It rearranged my molecules. Lifted me out of a crippling indecision.
It is also one of the funniest and most disarmingly honest works of fiction that I have read. The language is simple and striking and always shipped with a humor that could make the most brutal of civilian impulses worth laughing at.
Safe to say this book is the reason I am being so bold as to write this on-the-fly-podcast, who's final installment will come within a day. And I have never written for myself before.
It is another book that seemed to affirm my place in the world.
I almost swore I would never make book lists.... there are just too many books, too many authors that hold a special place in my heart. And often I will be so sure that one book is my favorite or one author is my favorite because their work just happens to have extra resonance in that specific period of my life.
But in retrospect, it is these books that are the ones which have led (so far) to epochal shifts in who I am. Into decisions that I made to act a certain way or take a certain path.
It is the books not that comfort or pleasure you or get you excited by a new insight or way of looking at the world (though that is always important too) which are truly life changing. It is the ones that get you to actually act.
I can say for certain that these three books have done that for me.