American performance poet Dorian Rogers credits his mother with sparking a lifelong interest in books. This was not because she used to read to him as a child, which she did, but because of the effect he saw that reading had on her.
“If she was going through some trying times or wanted to step away from the everyday stresses of life, I remember her going to her room and lying down to read a book religiously for a few hours each day,” says Rogers, who lives in Abu Dhabi and founded the poetry open mic night Rooftop Rhythms in 2012. “As an adult, when I step away and read, it reminds me of those times. I always have positive memories of that calmness she created through reading.”
Pure love for the spoken word inspired Rogers to read as a young adult.
“Being a multi-racial growing up in South Georgia, I never really felt understood or accepted as a child,” he says.
“I found the art form of poetry as a freshman in college. It was the perfect mix of being positive and hip, which was really important to me when I was 18.
“Poetry became a safe haven of positivity, and I think my love of reading came out of my appreciation of poetry.”
Rogers, who uses an e-reader but still loves the feeling of reading physical books, is a self-confessed slow reader.
“I read only one book every two or three months, because I like to savour each one,” he says.
His 5 favourite books:
Gorilla, My Love by Toni Cade Bambara
A beautiful, well-connected book of short story-telling and dialect from one of the top black American short-story writers.
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
The story of Janie Crawford, an African-American woman living in Florida at the turn of the 20th century. One of the most amazing and tragic narratives ever written, full of beautiful imagery and mastery of language in standard American-English and black-English vernacular. I started getting into reading for pleasure with this book during the summer after high school – it really blew my mind.
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses by Isabel Allende
A hybrid book that is equal parts sensual cookbook and conversational historical analysis of the importance of food and its relation to love.
Find and Use Your Inner Power by Emmet Fox
A spiritual guide written in very simple chapters that focuses on tapping into positivity in a constantly negative world.
The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard
With chapters themed around simple items and themes such as corners and nests, this book pushes the reader to focus on the poetry and universality of what people may consider ordinary, everyday objects.
Source: art & life