Asking people about their childhood, many will remember playing in a sandbox or sitting in the swing set and soaring high into the air. Although I have great memories of this, one of my most favorite and strange memories is of opening a book and smelling it. Sounds weird, right? Realizing this didn’t stop me from opening every book and discovering that a new hardback smelled fresh and clean while an old, worn book shoved in the library’s shelves had the scent of being loved and read over and over again. Books were always my escape, my way of traveling to worlds I’d never seen and imagining what my life would be like as I ventured out into a brand new world. Lovers may come and go, but books have always been my true soul mate. To celebrate the joy they’ve brought to my life on UNESCO’s World Book and Copyright Day, here’s a few books that have inspired my passion for travel and fashion:
Looking through my parent’s bookshelf, I stumbled upon this picture book and realized it was more than a children’s book. I’m beginning to see this is where I got my fascination about how the rest of the world thinks and lives, as well as an understanding and tolerance for those who are not like me. The book is honest about people, telling the audience that we don’t always agree and not everyone has good motives and intentions for what they do. The best part about the book is that it tells us everyone is different, and that’s what is so great about our world. If you’re looking for a book to teach children about acceptance, this one is it.
OK, I’m a little biased for picking this one, since my aunt wrote it, but now I’m beginning to see where some of my fascination for the culture and history of clothing started. Telling the story of how silk was discovered after a silkworm cocoon fell into a teacup, this children’s book uses delightful illustrations to bring the audience to a deeper understanding of fashion and fabrics. After reading it, you’ll see how culture and traditions can be deeply woven into a society’s textiles.
Pretty much any of Bill Bryson’s books would be on this list, although I haven’t gotten through all of his publications. After reading “The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way” for my History of the English Language class, I knew I had to find more of Bryson’s work. My reason for picking these books is not simply because they’re the ones I’ve read from his collective works, but because they influenced me to look at travel through history, politics, and culture of each country. Bryson always uses his personal experiences and information he’s gathered to make each journey one beyond the tourist books as he searches through mysteries of the world. After reading “In A Sunburned Country,” I knew I wanted to go to Australia to uncover the stories of a place others often overlook.
Picking a fantasy book sounds like a strange choice, but I’ve always looked up to the lead character, Cimorene, after reading the first book in the series, “Dealing with Dragons.” I continue to admire her courageous and adventurous spirit. Based on a story about Princess Cimorene, a young woman who doesn’t want to let expectations of royalty and being a princess define her, I was inspired to learn, pursue, and explore what I want. Both men and women often feel they have to fulfill specific standards in order for society to accept them or for someone to love them. Cimorene’s adventures told me that I could go out and venture in the world and someone would love me who for who I am.
When I graduated from college, my mom made me a fantastic present: a quilt featuring the children’s book character, Olivia. What attracted me to Olivia the most is her independent and imaginative personality, and she’s a pretty cute pig. Olivia marches to the beat of her own drummer and is always eager to take on a new adventure, whether it’s a travel destination or a fashion style. She listens to her inner fashionista and adventurer, never letting other people’s doubt get the best of her. What better way to express your individual style or plan your next travel experience?
In recent years, I unfortunately haven’t been able to make time to read while balancing multiple jobs and starting a blog, but that doesn’t mean books have lost their luster. Bookstores and libraries are still my favorite places and I tend to purchase books more often than I do clothes or shoes. Books open up other worlds, time periods, and cultures with their unique stories I might not have seen elsewhere. The internet may provide a wealth of information and ideas, but their ideas are short and simple for short attention spans, and they don’t smell authentic. Books, on the other hand, share experiences as if you were right beside the characters the whole time. I can’t think of a better adventure. So, if you don’t mind, it’s time for me to get offline and stick my nose in a book.
What books have influenced you? What books would you recommend for travel and fashion?