08 January 2012

Sunday Salon: Inspirational vs. Aspirational Books

 Lately I've been hearing the term "aspirational" a lot. I'm not sure that it is a real word (I couldn't find it in an online dictionary search), but I think most people would be able to surmise what it means. It is usually used in reference to something like the work of Martha Stewart, projects that use the finest materials and involve meticulous attention to detail. The end results are something that many people wish they could produce but realize that they don't have the money or patience.

After you read that definition of the word "aspirational", I wouldn't be surprised if you asked yourself, "Why not use the word 'inspirational' instead?"  In my brain those words have slightly different meanings. When I think of something inspirational, I think of a speech or a locker room pep talk -- words that pump you up to do well in any endeavor. "Aspirational" suggests something more specific and visual, like pictures of the style of living room you want to have someday or wonderful descriptions of baking bread from scratch. Pinterest is a perfect example of an aspirational website.

With those definitions in mind, do you think you read more inspirational or aspirational books? I believe my attraction to cookbooks is purely aspirational. I like to think that there will come a day when I will cease my reliance on store-bought bread and Hamburger Helper, and these books will be my road map. Cookbooks and craft books with beautiful photographs and anecdotes energize me, while self-help tomes that are meant to inspire usually cause me to scoff and throw the book down.

QUESTION: What are your favorite aspirational books?

No comments: