Songs of Happiness and Sorrow: The Sad Love Affair of Lady Yang Guifei

I often wish that historians highlight the beauty of events – even if they are sad. Some stories just lend themselves to poetry. The true story of the Lady Yang Guifei and the Emperor Xuanzong of China is one of the great love stories and tragedies of all times, lending inspirations to some of the greatest poets in ancient China, including Li Bo, who wrote “A Song of Pure Happiness”, and  Bo Yuji, with his poem “A Song of Unending Sorrow”. Therefore, in retelling them, it is often better that I step back and let the verses tell the story because, really, how would I even compete with great writers in the ancient world? However, if you prefer the less-romantic retelling of this story, I have written about Yang Guifei as one of the Four Great Beauties of China which you can access here.

Yang_Guifei_(Yôkihi)_Viewing_Cherry_Blossoms_from_Verandah.jpg

“Appreciating feminine charms,
The Han emperor sought a great beauty.
Throughout his empire he searched
For many years without success.
Then a daughter of the Yang family
Matured to womanhood.
Since she was secluded in her chamber,
None outside had seen her.”

Yang Yuhuan, later to become Yang Guifei (713-756 CE), was the daughter of Yang Xuanyan, a census official in Sichuan.  An only child who lost her father early in life, Yang Yuhuan was raised in the household of her uncle, Yang Xuangui. She grew up to be one of the few women whose beauty has caused the downfall of monarchs and nations.

“Yet with such beauty bestowed by fate,
How could she remain unknown!
One day she was chosen
To attend to the emperor.
Glancing back and smiling,
She revealed a hundred charms.
All the powdered ladies of the six palaces
At once seemed dull and colourless.
One cold spring day she was ordered
To bathe in the Huaqing Palace baths.
The warm water slipped down
Her glistening jade-like body.
When her maids helped her rise,
She looked so frail and lovely,
Immediately winning the emperor’s favour.”

In the twenty-second year of the Kaiyuan reign, Yang Yuhuan was chosen to enter the imperial harem. In the twenty-eighth year, the Tang Emperor Xuanzong summoned her to the Huaqing Palace where she first rose to imperial favour.

Yang_Guifei_in_a_Flower_Garden,_woodblock_print

Her robe is a cloud, her face a flower;  Her balcony, glimmering with the bright spring dew, Is either the tip of earth’s Jade Mountain Or a moon-edged roof of paradise. There’s a perfume stealing moist from a shaft of red blossom, And a mist, through the heart, from the magical Hill of Wu– The palaces of China have never known such beauty– Not even Flying Swallow with all her glittering garments. Lovely now together, his lady and his flowers Lighten for ever the Emperor’s eye, As he listens to the sighing of the far spring wind Where she leans on a railing in the Aloe Pavilion.

Emperor Xuanzong of China had many concubines, but surpassing them all was Lady Yang. “If she but turned her head and smiled, there were cast a hundred spells.” He became absorbed in her to the exclusion of all others, and of affairs of state. “The cloud of her hair, petal of her cheek, gold ripples of her crown when she moved, were sheltered on spring evenings by warm hibiscus-curtains.”

Chogonka_Emaki_by_Kano_SansetsuHer two lovely sisters Guo Guo and Qin Guo were brought to the court and ennobled, her cousin Yang Guozhong was appointed prime minister; her elder brother, Yangxian became an official of the second rank while her younger brother, Yangqi was given an imperial consort as his wife.

Constantly she amused and feasted with him,
Accompanying him on his spring outings,
Spending all the nights with him.
Though many beauties were in the palace,
More than three thousand of them,
All his favours were centered on her.”

Yang_Guifei_LACMA_M.80.219.61

There was a general named An Lushan, whom Lady Yang adopted as her son. But in 756 the exiled An Lushan led a revolt against Emperor Xuanzong, driving him from the Tang capital Chang’an.

Emperor Xuanzong fled towards the south- west, taking Yang Guifei with him.

“The emperor’s green-canopied carriage
Was forced to halt,
Having left the west city gate
More than a hundred li.
There was nothing the emperor could do,
At the army’s refusal to proceed.

 

 

They had not gone far from the capital when the soldiers refused to go on, demanding the death of Yang Guifei.

Ch'ien_Hsüan_002

The Emperor could not save her, he could only cover his face. And later when he turned to look, the place of blood and tears Was hidden in a yellow dust blown by a cold wind.

Emperor Xuanzong had no choice but to watch Yang Guifei kill herself at the slopes of Mawei village.

“On the seventh day of the Seventh-month, in the Palace of Long Life,
We told each other secretly in the quiet midnight world
That we wished to fly in heaven, two birds with the wings of one,
And to grow together on the earth, two branches of one tree.”
Earth endures, heaven endures; some time both shall end,
While this unending sorrow goes on and on for ever.

Things My Grandmother (and Ancient History) Taught Me about the New Year

For my first blog post in 2018, I would first like to say Happy New Year. I hope your New Year’s period was pleasant in a way that suits you best – whether it was by meditating, taking part in a small gathering with your family and friends or big celebrations. I hope excitements and new plans are happily bouncing around in your minds, and may this year brings more joy to you and your loved ones.

I have been thinking back on some New Years advice from my grandmother. Spend a little time to pray around midnight to be grateful for the year that has passed and ask for blessings for the coming year. If possible, despite the long night of partying, get up early in the first day of the New Year to watch the sunrise. Another advice is to not travel long distance so near the major holidays. If one does need to travel, try to travel one or two weeks (5-13 days) before 25 December at the latest and ideally wait for one or two weeks after the holidays to return. There are ancient precedents for these advice that are rather beautiful.

Nowruz is not only an ancient holiday that is still celebrated globally, it has the distinction of being one of the longest continually celebrated holiday in the world. There are records of it being celebrated in 550 BCE by Cyrus the Great, but versions of the same celebration were also known to be observed 2,000 years earlier in the Kingdom of Aratta. Nowruz is traditionally observed on the day of the vernal equinox, when the coming of spring also heralds the new year. The first five days of the ancient Nowruz celebration were very public, then followed by a more reverent observance. On the 13th day of the festival, people would throw wheat grass into rivers and canals to throw away bad luck and misfortune.

In Babylonia, the festival of Akitu honored Marduk and marked the beginning of the growing season. For the general population, the beginning of the festival meant a week of holidays and celebrations. But, it is the king that I’m especially interested in. The king would begin the festival by going to the temple of Nabu, where the priests presented him with a royal scepter reminding him of his responsibility. He then traveled to the city of Borsippa, where he spent the night participating in religious ceremonies in this city’s temple such as the re-enactment of their creation myths to remind him of his past and the past of his people. When the king returned to Babylonia, he would go to a temple and stripped off his weapons and royal regalia to approach his god with humility befit someone given their rule by a supreme deity.

The hieroglyph for the word renpet (“year”)  is a woman wearing a palm shoot, symbolizing time, over her head. She was often referred to as the Mistress of Eternity. She also personified fertility, youth and spring. The New Year, Wepet Renpet (“the opening of the year”), was based on the annual flooding of the Nile River, an earthly cycle which also coincided with a heavenly cycle. Therefore, the New Year was marked with community feasting and a mix of hope and fear. To the ancient Egyptians, every year was potentially their last, because they didn’t know how the flood would impact them. The annual flood left behind rich deposits of silt, which fertilized crops to feed the entire country. Just the right amount of flooding assured a fruitful harvest – too little means famine, too much means destruction.

The celebration celebrated the death and rebirth of Osiris and, by extension, the rejuvenation and rebirth of the land and the people. Solemn rituals related to the death of Osiris were observed as well as singing and dancing to celebrate his rebirth. The call-and-response poem known as The Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys was recited at the beginning to call Osiris to his feast.  The lamentation is when the two goddess-sisters call the soul of Osiris to rejoin the living. The dual entreaties of the two sisters echoed each other in their attempts to symbolically revive Osiris. The best-preserved version of this work comes from the Berlin Papyrus 3008 dating to the Ptolemaic Dynasty (323-30 BCE) although the work is much older.

Another ancient Egyptian interpretation is that the New Year’s Day itself was also regarded as the birthday of the god Ra-Horakhety. The belief was that, on New Year’s day the sun was reborn and grew increasingly frail over the year’s final few months. This is another reason why the end of the year was considered dangerous. At the end of the year, the sun god was weak and vulnerable to attack from his enemies. If he were to be defeated, the new year might never arrive.

Therefore, it was a time of great relief when the sun rose on New Year’s day, because the end of the world had been averted. People would then make offerings to Ra-Horakhety at sunrise, pour black ink into the Nile for the goddess Nut and the god Nun as a sign of gratitude, then cleansed themselves by bathing in the Nile. Afterwards, they wore their best clothes and went off to riotous banquets to celebrate their opportunity to see another year.

nile-2090264_960_720.jpg

Another belief is to do with the fact that the Egyptian civil calendar consisted of 360 days, with five “extra” days added to the end. These five extra days were regarded as a dangerous, transitional time, when the goddess Sekhmet controlled 12 demonic murderers who travelled the earth shooting arrows from their mouths and cause plague wherever they went. To protect themselves, the Egyptians performed rituals and wore charms around their necks to pacify Sekhmet, ensuring her protection instead of her wrath. This is similar to the Aztec calendar where the passing of the old year and the coming of the new were two very different sets of days. The last five days of the year were called nemontemi, and they were considered very dangerous days where dark spirits wander the land. People mostly stayed indoors, kept to themselves, and kept quiet to avoid attracting the attention of these spirits.

trail-1405898_960_720.jpg

I would like to thank you for the support and encouragements for “Time Maps: Matriarchy and The Goddess Culture”. The book is now available through Amazon Kindle and will be available in its physical form soon. I am at the moment going through the round of interviews to promote it. One of the interviews is already available through Sakura Publishing and there will be more interviews and articles to come. Apart from this site, you will also find some of my articles in Ancient Origins and Ancient History Encyclopedia where you will find many more interesting articles on Mythology and Ancient History by other authors, and my talks in Udemy and Yoohcan. I look forward to producing more books, courses and articles this year and will be sure to keep you updated.

 M

 

New Release – Time Maps: Matriarchy and the Goddess Culture

book cover 6x9 goddess culture

What happened when women ruled the world?

There are many questions about the Old Culture – a culture even before history was written. Whatever happened to the Great Goddess? When did patriarchy start? How did women become objectified? This book is about the Journey of ancient women with their many glories and challenges. It talks about the gender partitioning which still survived in some cultures today, women as warriors, advisers, goddesses and properties.

Chapters included are:
•The Goddess Paradigm
•Women Warrior
•Dethroning the Queen of Heaven
•The Queen in Exile

Written with a Mathematician’s precision and a Historian’s curiosity, Time Maps covers over millennia worth of developments & impacts of civilizations, migrations, leaders and continents. Illuminating concepts of societies, dynasties, heroes, kings and eras through incisive and thorough research, looking at ideas, theories & world views with a sense of wonder and delight.

Set to publish on 1 January 2018

Now available for pre-order here

Martini

 

Honoring the Mother Creator, the Passionate Princess and the Lady of the Sea

The descendents of the Great Mother, or Queen of Heaven, still have a place in the local mythologies and cultures from Indonesia and the Philippines to Hawaii.

The Tinguian people of the Philippines honor Agemem (“Lady Creator”) as co-creator (with her husband) of the sun, moon, earth and stars. In Borneo some Dayaks honor Jata who, together with the sun, created the world and sky. She is a serpent or dragon figure, and an inhabitant of the primeval chaos, like Tiamat. Rabia is an Earth goddess who, like Inanna, Eurydice, and many others, enters the underworld and is then reborn – her story is from the island of Ceram, in Eastern Indonesia, near New Guinea.

In spite of variations of language and culture, the words Hine and Hina are common across the Polynesian part of the Pacific for the names and titles of goddesses, and always denote something great, sacred and feminine. The various Hine/Hina goddesses may simply be aspects of one Great Goddess. This uniformity suggests that there may have been one great goddess with a similar name who was worshipped by the Polynesians in ancient times. In particular the New Zealand Maoris have Hine Te Iwa Iwa, who is the Maori Goddess of women, childbirth and creativity.

Hinaura was the sister or cousin of Maui who met and married the famous rangatira, Tinirau, who could speak to whales and befriend them. Hinaura and Tinirau had a son, Tu-huruhuru. They were very happy living in his kainga, village. Then one day Tinirau hit her. Hinaura took her son to her whānau kainga.

After many months of his pleading with her, Hinaura returned to his village. They were happy until one day Tinirau found another woman. Hinaura objected, so Tinirau imprisoned her behind a wall of magic whale rib bones. She was angered and called her brother/cousin Maui-mua. He changed himself in to a rupe, pigeon, and she rode on the bird’s back out of the prison.

Hinaura gathered her courage and decided to move on with her life. To mark the event, she changed her name to Hine te iwa iwa. She left Tu-huruhuru with Tinirau in order to pacify him, knowing that his whānau would continue to care for him. She became an expert in women’s affairs and responsibilities supporting ruahine and puhi, including the domestic arts. She protects and defends women in their work especially in childbirth.

Hine Moa (“Passionate Princess”) is honored for the virtues of loyalty and courage. Noble born Hine Moa was charmed by the sound of music played by Tutanekai. When Tutanekai visited the mainland with his people, he met Hine Moa and they fell in love. The young man had perforce to return to his village, but the lovers arranged that every night he would play and that Hine Moa would follow the sound of his music to join him.

Tutanekai kept up a nightly serenade but Hine Moa’s people, suspecting something was afoot, had hidden all the canoes. The maiden, however, was not to be deterred and, selecting six large, dry, empty gourds as floats, she decided to swim to the island. Guided by the strains of her loved one’s music, Hine Moa safely reached the other shore and landed near a hot spring, Waikimihia, in which she warmed and refreshed herself – the pool is on Mokoia Island to this day. Just at that moment Tutanekai sent his servant for water. This man disturbed the girl who, pretending to be a man, spoke in a gruff voice and, when she learnt his errand, begged for a drink from the calabash which she smashed as soon as she had had her fill. The servant then went back and reported to Tutanekai what had happened. He was ordered back again and again, each time with the same result, until all the calabashes were broken. The now irate young man himself went down to the pool and to his joy discovered Hine Moa. Like all good stories, the legend has a conventional ending – they lived happily ever after.

There is also Hine Moana is “The Lady of the Sea”, which is natural enough considering the Polynesian tradition of seafaring.

401px-In_Awe_(2054095712).jpg
Giant Kauri tree Tāne Mahuta, or “Lord of the Forest”.
According to Maori mythology Tane is the son of Ranginui and Papatuanuku. 

The Maori Earth Mother is Papatuanuku, and her husband Rangi Nui is the Sky Father. These two were created by Io, the fundamental divine principle, and together, as the productive and generative principles, they created everything that is between the Earth and the Sky.

Haumea is an Earth Mother goddess and called the “Mother of Hawaii”. She is particularly concerned with childbirth and women’s affairs. Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, and Hi’iaka Laka, the Goddess of the hula, love and fertility, are her daughters. Again the trinitarian nature of the goddess is evident and the relation between the three aspects parallels that of the aspects of Ratu Kidul.

People in Hawaii also respects the Queen of the Sea, also sometimes called the Queen of the South Sea. This respect is encouraged by the tradition that she can appear as a very beautiful young woman, wearing a scarlet red dress and walking by the side of the road, but that men who stop to pick her up sometimes vanish and are never heard from again. Many people claim to have seen her, but since none of them disappeared we still hear only half of the story.

“Time Maps: Matriarchy and the Goddess Culture” is due in January 2018. Meanwhile, other volumes of “Time Maps” can be found through this link.

books_2

 

 

No Such Thing as “Nice”: Serpents and the Great Goddess

The Toltecs and Aztecs had originally worshipped a person/couple called Ometecuhtli (the male part) and Omechihuatl (the female part). Sometimes these are shown combined into one being with male and female aspects. Omechihuatl was referred to variously as the wife, twin sister, or female aspect of Ometecuhtli, and was his complete equal in power because she was distinguishable from him only by gender. This couple acted as one Creator God and symbolized the duality of nature and the inseparable unity of the Great Life Force. After Ometecuhtli and Omechihuatl, who can be considered as the first generation in the genealogy of the Aztec gods, next came the great Mother Goddess.

800px-Aztec_statue_of_Coatlicue,_the_earth_goddess.jpg
Coatlicue, Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City.

The Great Goddess was not nice. Really, after centuries of evidence of women going off to wars and are perfectly capable of doing some pretty awful things, we should just accept that female niceness is something that exists mainly in the imaginations of men and politicians because, before the needs of the new religious ideas and the social order that goes with it, the goddess was never just nice and sweet. She was female – nice, terrifying, gentle, powerful, compassionate, horrifying, and much more. One can still see some of this in the images and representations of the goddess Kali in India. In ancient Mexico she was called Coatlicue, or “Serpent Skirt”, and she had many of the same characteristics and symbols as Kali. They were both fierce protectors and compassionate mothers, wore severed hands and skulls draped around them, and had protruding tongues. Some representations of Kali show her with fang-like teeth, Coatlicue is sometimes shown with a human skull as a head.

800px-12th-century_Durga_Mahishasuramardini_killing_buffalo_demon_at_Shaivism_Hindu_temple_Hoysaleswara_arts_Halebidu_Karnataka_India_2.jpg
Durga. CC BY-SA 4.0

In later forms, their powers were dismembered. In India the compassionate protector function went to Durga, who battled only against demons, and in Mexico it went first to Tonantsi (who accepted only the sacrifice of birds and small animals, not of humans). The darker, underworld, aspects of the old goddess went to a number of lesser goddettes such as Tlazolteotl and Cihuacoatl. Cihuacoatl was an Aztec earth and mother-goddess, and patroness of childbirth. She was sometimes portrayed holding a child in her arms, but her roar was a signal of war – perhaps because there is nothing more ferocious than a mother protecting her children.

 

 

“Coatl” is the Nahuatl word for serpent, and the use of serpent symbolism is ubiquitous in Mexican and Central American iconography prior to the Invasion. As far back as the time of the Olmecs, the mouth of the serpent was a symbol of womanhood. It was a sacred place, a safe place, the womb from which all things were born, and also a symbol of the place to which all would return. As remarked by Gloria Anzaldua, a native Mexican, (Entering into the Serpent, Anzaldua, 1979), “The destiny of humankind is to be devoured by the Serpent.”

“Time Maps: Matriarchy and the Goddess Culture” is coming soon. Meanwhile, other volumes of “Time Maps” can be found through this link.

books_2

Dismembering the Great Mother through the Mythology of Demeter and Persephone

The upcoming Time Maps: Matriarchy and the Goddess Culture is a book that is very near to my heart for a number of reasons. In it, I have the freedom to not only explore mythology from many different cultures, but figure out how the myths known to us today actually come about. Another reason is that I have always been fascinated by goddesses in particular. I believe that they all come from the same source – many of them retaining some of the characteristics as time goes on.

The question then, of course, is why do we feel the need to have our goddesses retain only some of the aspects of the great mother? I suppose it is in our nature to complicate the simple and simplify the complicated. We do that with religions too although we can never seem to get it right. Beliefs in general are both simple and complicated. A belief is not good or bad – it is just “is”. Our need to simplify it boxing it as one or the other often complicates – bringing about things such as discrimination and destruction, while our attempt to complicate it by imposing all sorts of rules and restrictions often leads to fanaticism.

I have talked about how the all-encompassing nature of the Mother Goddess can be empowering and terrifying for men and women alike – also both simple and complicated. Perhaps it is too much for us to contemplate. Too much so that we find ways to simplify it for ourselves by “dismembering”, as it were, the Great Mother.

 

demeter2
Demeter

An example of the process of dismemberment of a goddess is the story of Demeter and Persephone. “De-meter” is from Da-mater, “The Mother”. She probably entered Greece from Crete, and before that she was strongly linked with Isis in Egypt, but she wasn’t called Demeter then, since that is an Indoeuropean name. The Indoeuropean era is when we start to see how The Mother became dismembered. Demeter’s function became more restricted and she was called the Grain Mother, representing the mature crops, and her daughter Kore, was the Grain Maiden, representing the new growths. The later Greeks changed Kore’s name to Persephone, possibly deriving the name from Phesephatta, who was an ancient pre-Indoeuropean Earth goddess native to the Greek Peninsula.

Since the growth of crops follows the seasons, Demeter came to be associated with summer and autumn while her daughter represented winter and spring. Originally the goddess, in whatever form she appeared, did not have a daughter, but she herself had maiden and mature aspects, and her appearance could change with the seasons. Evidently, that was a bit too complicated, so she was split in two – one became the daughter of the other. Thus Demeter and Kore were two aspects of the Triple Goddess (the virgin and the mother).

demeter mourning.jpg
Demeter mourning Persephone (Evelyn de Morgan, 1906)

When Hades abducted Kore, Demeter’s search for her daughter took her to the palace of Celeus, the King of Eleusis in Attica. She assumed the form of an old woman (the crone), and asked him for shelter. He took her in, to nurse Demophon and Triptolemus, his sons by Metanira. To reward his kindness, she planned to make Demophon immortal; she secretly anointed the boy with ambrosia and laid him in the flames of the hearth, to gradually burn away his mortal self. But Metanira walked in, saw her son in the fire and screamed in fright. Demeter abandoned the attempt. Instead, she taught Triptolemus the secrets of agriculture, and he in turn taught them to any who wished to learn them. Thus, humanity learned how to plant, grow and harvest grain (This whole section is all about birth, death and rebirth.)

The old stories of Demeter are identical with stories of Isis in Egypt – only the names have been changed – she was the sister-wife of the lord of the underworld, with power equal to or even greater than her brother, and she passed freely between the worlds.

Isis-Sothis-Demeter_MGEg_Inv22804.jpg
Bust of Isis-Sothis-Demeter. White marble, Roman artwork, second part of Hadrian’s reign, ca. 131–138 CE. From the gymnasium in the Villa Adriana, near Tivoli, 1736.

“Time Maps: Matriarchy and the Goddess Culture” is coming soon. Meanwhile, other volumes of “Time Maps” can be found through this link.

books_2

 

Reading: Study or Passion? Bloggers’ Book Suggestions

Books_from_18th_century1I am a big reader. In fact, I love reading so much that I make it my profession. I get to read, translate, summarize and write about texts from different languages and different eras in history.  However, I realize that not everyone is this lucky and I imagine some people would read that last sentence, roll their eyes and mutter “geek”.

I will spare you the usual spiel of “reading is fun” and “everyone needs to read” and give you a real-life example. When I was dating, nothing was a bigger deal-breaker for me than my date’s shrug and admission that “I don’t read”, because for me it’s more than running your eyes through some words in a book – it’s about imagination and finding information. “I don’t read” often translates to “I don’t imagine” which leads to “I don’t care”. ” I don’t read” also translates to “I don’t find out” and always leads to “I don’t care”. The books you read reflect your passion and passion makes you attractive. Passion makes you a leader and, if you want to be, passion makes you an expert.

booksTherefore, I want to change this conversation of “I don’t read” and “we’ve had enough of experts” and try to find practical ways to reintroduce the joy of reading. I am taking a break from my research on goddesses to have a little chat with a few bloggers about reading. Thank you Minuca Elena, Natacho Venegas and KatQ for their time and contribution to this project.

Q. What is your favorite genre of books and why?

A. Minuca Elena (Minuca creates awesome influencer roundups that provide quality content, brings huge traffic, and helps bloggers connect with influencers.)

I love reading a lot. My favorite types of books are:

– detective books (start with Sherlock Holmes and Arsène Lupin series written by Maurice Leblanc)

– science-fiction books (Ender’s Game and all prequels and sequels are amazing. Orson Scott Card did an amazing job with this series)

– self-development books (read anything written by Brian Tracy). I also like reading about how to read body language.

A. Natacho Venegas (Beginner in blogging)

Personally I prefer fantasy books. They make you forget about the routine world around you and bring you to another world, where everything can be possible. Magical worlds, magic around and in you, different creatures and miracles… What can be more appealing for modern “technologized” people? It also expands your imagination and makes you feel a little less bored of the pragmatism in nowadays’ life.

A. KatQ

I love crime novels. I find them really immersive. I actually don’t like watching crime related TV shows. My memory is shocking so I always get confused when watching it on the TV. In a book though I can flick through and remind myself where I am in the story before I keep reading. I also love reading when I’m travelling. It’s a great way to get a bit of escapism on a long journey.

Q. Why do you like to read – specifically, how does reading help you personally?

A. Minuca Elena (Minuca creates awesome influencer roundups that provide quality content, brings huge traffic, and helps bloggers connect with influencers.)

I started reading a lot since I was a kid. You can learn a lot of things from books. You can learn about different cultures (the habits and beliefs from other countries in different historical periods), develop your imagination and improve your vocabulary. If you like reading self-development books, you will feel motivated and inspired to set new goals and fight to achieve them.

A. Natacho Venegas (Beginner in blogging)

I believe that reading makes you more intelligent. Smarter, or more clever,  I believe. Even if you read not scientific books, but some fiction – you still get your vocabulary expanded, as well as some understanding of how the language works. how sentences are built and yes, some new facts. I’m not reading very “smart” books, but still I’m growing personally. Can’t imagine my life without books. And wish for everybody to discover the world of literature.

A. KatQ

My favorite crime author is Karin Slaughter, she’s great at writing really tense stuff. I also love Kathy Reichs. She wrote the book series that inspired ‘Bones’. Kathy Reichs is also a forensic psychiatrist, so her books tend to be really accurate. I find forensics fascinating so I get a good dose of it in her books.

As a writer reading helps me in many ways. It helps improve my grammar and my vocabulary. It gives me ideas about unusual sentence structures. I can see how the authors build suspense in their books and can then replicate that in my own writing. I find there’s nothing like a good book for helping me improve my writing.

Q. If you can recommend a book right now for a person who says “I’m not a big reader” what would it be?

A. Minuca Elena (Minuca creates awesome influencer roundups that provide quality content, brings huge traffic, and helps bloggers connect with influencers.)

It depends very much on the type of person you are. I think that “Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life: How to Unlock Your Full Potential for Success and Achievement” by Brian Tracy is a great book that most people will find helpful no matter their social status or age.

A. Natacho Venegas (Beginner in blogging)

For the beginners it should be some easy-reading, though interesting, book. I’d say – not too big, with loads of dialogues and action. There is an awesome collection of short stories written by Ted Chiang, named Stories of Your Life and Others. It will make you think of things you couldn’t even imagine.

A. KatQ

I would recommend a short book!

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach. It’s a story every single person in the world should read. It’s a short book, I read it in one sitting on a trip to Africa a few years ago. The book is life changing. So if someone told me they weren’t a big reader and I had one shot to get them reading this would be the book.