5 Inspiring Books to Read for a More Creative Summer

Summer is the perfect time to get lost in a good book. Why not choose a book that will help  you see the world in a new way and revitalize your creative spirit? Whether you’re packing a book in your beach bag or toting an e-reader in your carry-on, these 5 good summer books are guaranteed to pack inspiration and creativity into the dog days of summer!

1. On Looking: Eleven Walks with Expert Eyes

on looking

Sometimes the best way to awaken your creative side is by looking at familiar things in a different way. In this good summer book, author Alexandra Horowitz takes the same walk around a city block eleven times, each time bringing with her another person who adds their perspective to illuminate what Horowitz herself is missing when she takes the walk alone. With companions ranging from a geologist or a sociologist to a dog or a child, Horowitz experiences an incredible range of perspectives. Take a walk with this book and find a fresh way to look at the world around you.

2. Letters to a Young Poet

letters to a young poet

In 1902, a young Austrian torn between joining the army or becoming a poet wrote a letter to his favorite poet and hero, Rainer Maria Rilke, seeking guidance and feedback on his poetry.  In an incredible turn of events, Rilke actually wrote back, and this collection of ten letters from the poet form a slim yet incredibly moving volume filled with ideas about life, art, and the relationship between the two. Rilke encourages you to find your own inner voice and to follow your intuition in the creative process.

3. The Writing Life

the writing life

Annie Dillard’s lovely guide to The Writing Life deals frankly with the uncertainty and pain involved in doing creative work. Dillard dives into the nitty-gritty of writing, exposing the commitment and bravery that true creativity requires. The Writing Life is a fine companion for any reader who is struggling with doubts about their work or abilities. This book will inspire you to keep working on your art, even through difficult times.

4. Effortless Mastery

effortless mastery

Have you ever felt like you were reaching a plateau in your work? In this good summer book, author Kenny Werner shares his experience with a creative plateau as a jazz pianist. Werner provides examples of ways to change your thinking and get back to the roots of what you love about what you do. In creative work, passion is key, so use this book to help get back into the joy of playing music, writing, dancing, or however else you express yourself.

5. The Book of Disquiet


For anyone who has difficulty balancing their creative passions with the demands of work and life, Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet can be quite reassuring, as a reminder that you do not struggle alone. Composed of short fragments written from the point of view of a struggling writer working as a clerk in Lisbon, you can easily dip into this book when you have a spare moment to reflect. Pessoa writes about everything from dream imagery and the creative process to human nature and poetry. It’s also very beautifully written, and the language might just inspire you to create something of your own to break through the every day.

Is there a special book that inspires you? Share your summer reading suggestions in the comments below!


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Photos by Alex Proimos, R. Nial Bradshaw, Jeffery James Pacres, Bryan Ong, and BenPrks.

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