by Anne Lamott
A must-read classic for writers and creative people in general. Funny, poignant, and wonderfully self-deprecating, Lamott gets to the heart of the creative process and the resistance we all encounter when asking ourselves to emote on the page.
by Barbara Kingsolver
I think of this book as the counterpoint to my own If The Rains Don't Cleanse, similarly themed. The books were written around the same time, but Poisonwood came out a decade prior to my own. I like to think that Kingsolver paved the way for me.
by Gore Vidal
Long before the film Night at the Museum, there was this gem of a book by Gore Vidal. Bitingly funny and irreverent, Vidal brings history to life in most unexpected ways.
by Pema Chodron
Amazing advice for getting along peaceably. Chodron, a Buddhist nun, suggests that the path to global peace starts on an interpersonal level. Brilliant stuff.
by Arundhati Roy
A little gem of a novel by Indian writer Roy, better known for her political and social commentary. This book is a great example of talking about large issues through the lens of individual human experience. Intimate and sweet.
by Joseph Heller
Many of us read this classic American war book in school. It deserves another look, both for Heller's brilliant use of dialogue as well as his exploration of the absurdities of war and the military machine.
by Chinua Achebe
Another classic, this time from 1958, Things Fall Apart is insider's look at tribal life in Africa before and after Colonialism that helped inform my perspective as I worked on If The Rains Don't Cleanse. Its author, Chinua Achebe, uses clean straightforward prose to explore complex issues that still resonate today.
by Maya Angelou, James Weldon Johnson, edited by Jr., Henry Louis Gates
A prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Johnson compiled this collection of Negro sermons for posterity, re-imagining them as lyrical poems. I read an excerpt from one of these at my own father's memorial service, and alluded to some of the imagery in If The Rains Don't Cleanse.
Recommending books so good, they'll keep you up past your bedtime. more...
About Ben Patrick Johnson
BPJ is one of the top voice-over actors in Hollywood. He's the author of three novels and is a familiar to the Los Angeles fitness community. He is politically active and sits on the boards of Equality California and the Leap Academy for at-risk kids. Johnson lives in the Hollywood Hills; his newest novel is If The Rains Don't Cleanse.
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