3 Books That Changed My Life

Kindred By Octavia Butler: My friend gave me this book and I never gave it back. Instead I loaned it to someone else. Dana, a black woman in 1976 gets transported to a Maryland Plantation before the Civil War, in order to save her ancestor Rufus. Turns out he’s her great-great-great-great (something like that) grandfather, a red headed, hot tempered slave master. She only travels back in time when his life is in peril, because if he doesn’t exist neither will she. African Americans are a product of slave and master, a torturous truth; we hate the former, but without them we wouldn’t be. How does one reconcile that? Butler uses science fiction to explore this dynamic of lineage brilliantly. It bought so many questions to mind: what type of slave would I be? One who risks the dogs and runs? One who is subservient? One who chooses suicide as an escape? Changed my life and everything about my trip to Paris made sense. I will post about that later this week.

The Fountainhead By Ayn Rand: Howard Roark is my spirit animal. No matter what anyone told him he did it his way, getting him kicked out of school. Architecture is an art form and passion for him. While his contemporaries stuck to the ways of old (with classical buildings, typical of Greek and Roman structures) Roark could see the future. His creations were unique, modern and never before seen. He starved for his art, everyone writing him off as a joke. Sheep. Roark taught me to continue to live with integrity despite social norms. Are you living truthfully, or as others want you to be?

I love architecture because of my dad. When I walk around the city, I always wonder which buildings Roark would have built.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: Two sisters in Africa are given necklaces as heirlooms from their mother. They have different fathers and come from different tribes. The book spans centuries showing the continuous lineage of the sister who remains in Africa, versus the one who gets forced into slavery. It perfectly encapsulates the African diaspora, how the slave trade has impacted the history of those stolen and those who stayed. The necklaces are so perfectly symbolic, it’s meaning staying with me long after finishing the book.

What three books changed your life? Why?