Books That Have Inspired My Writing

I’ve written so many books, blogs, recorded podcasts and there’s one thing I haven’t discussed. As an author, a lot of us surely read to get inspired, motivated and help us to write the content that I do. I read so many books and I’m thankful that I can buy paperbacks, sit down and learn things. It’s time to list books I’ve read over the years that have helped me on my journey:


Assata: The autobiography of Assata Shakur was amazing and it opened my eyes to the life she had. It also made me think of how much women have dealt with in history. This book helped me to write the Woman’s Worth series and she was on my mind as I wrote the book series. It’s an amazing book full of imagery, a hard life, growth, struggle and finding your truth.


The Assassination of Fred Hampton by Jeffrey Haas: Fred Hampton’s fight to make things right in communities is what inspired the Alphabet City series. There’s so many struggles that black and latino families go through on an everyday basis. While Martin Luther King, Jr and Malcolm X are discussed so much in American history, Fred Hampton and Huey Newton don’t get enough love for the impact they’ve had on their communities in society and how they became targets of the U.S. government and law enforcement agencies. 


Evicted by Matthew Desmond: This book is powerful and how underprivileged people in America struggle to make it financially and how evictions impact the housing market in America in tough neighborhoods across the country. There’s so much that goes into this book, the struggles of various families who are fighting to make it in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 

Evicted helped me in writing ‘Alphabet City’ and I talk about eviction that happens to a family. It’s the reality of a lot of people in the world. 


1984 by George Orwell: This book has changed the landscape of my life and how I think of the world. George Orwell you would think is a once in a lifetime writer and author and I feel he is. The verbiage in how he writes this book correlates to how life operates right now. There's so many layers to this book and paying attention to detail is imperative which is what kept me engaged and is one of my favorite books to have read. 


This book helped to write ‘America Under Mind Control,’ ‘America, A Country Divided,’ and ‘The World In Ruins.’ This was one book that changed my outlook on life, where we are in the world and how far we have to go to get to a place of peace and harmony.


Brainwashed by Tom Burrell: This was one of my favorite books to read and it made me realize how poorly represented black people are in the media today. A man who worked in advertising was able to craft a book that shows examples of how black men and women are portrayed in the media, time and time again. 


This book helped me to write ‘A Man’s Plight 1’ where I delve into the portrayals of men in today’s world. A lot of times people don’t realize that books I read spark ideas and allow me to write stories that bring thought and conversations. 


Dumbing Us Down by John Taylor Gatto: The education system has been flawed for over a century and sadly, it hasn’t changed much. This book delves into how we aren’t taught the things necessary to do well and succeed in life. 


This book contributed to a book in the ‘Alphabet City’ series, how inner city schools don’t give young black and latino kids a chance to succeed. It sparked something in me that helped to write the content I did. It’s important to utilize information you learn and incorporate it into writing and a story that holds truth to it. 


Our America by LeAlan James and Lloyd Newman: This book takes place in Chicago and it comes from the perspective of two young kids who talk about the struggles of living in a bad part of the city. The violence, death, school, learning about their surroundings and the fight to survive. 


This book was my inspiration to write a 12 book series on life in a tough neighborhood. This was the stepping stone to writing the Alphabet City series and it’s definitely a must read book. It’s impactful, powerful and it shows the true, raw side of life in Chicago.


Relentless by Tim Grover: While this book wasn’t a contribution to my writing, it was a factor in my work ethic. This book taught me how Tim Grover became the personal trainer and motivational speaker he is today. Along with that, he tells stories of his training with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and other athletes that have come through his doors in Attack Athletics based in Chicago.


It’s a deep journey into the mind of Tim Grover, his upbringing, how he got to where he is, how he intends on staying at the top of his game but also teaching you how to become the relentless person you’re capable of. 


For those who know me, most understand my journey and why I do what I do. It’s to impact the world, start conversations and make changes to what’s going on around us. It’s a collective effort and not depending on others to help make the world a better place to live in. 


I’m thankful that I got to read this book because I know it’s a contributing reason to why I go so hard everyday to accomplish my goals. There are no excuses and I know I’m going to get where I need to be in due time. 


These are some important books that contributed to my writing journey and without them, I’m not sure I have the mindset to write the social issues books that I do. 


That’s my blog for today, thanks for reading as always, be good everyone, and go accomplish your goals!


Jamell Crouthers


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