THE FEAR OF WHO WE ARE SURPASSES THE URGE TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IS TO COME...
If you've not read Americanah, by Chimamanda Adichie, now is the chance to do so. The fear of who we are surpasses the urge to understand what is to come. The unanswered questions, the blank pictures, the masked faces, the meaningless words, the deepest of thoughts. This book moulds all these into a fine bundle of excitement, in the heart of it's reader.
The Book Everyone Should Read? The Bible
In 1970, while in the Navy, I stole a book. It happened in Atsugi, Japan. Someone left a Bible in the Admin Office. I picked it up and began to read Psalm 40:
“I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock…”
Those words touched me.
The year before, I’d been under investigation on suspicion of drugs, but because I’d just become a father, I was given leniency. Afterward, I was sent overseas.
In June 1971, my first wife wrote me a “Dear John” letter. It shook me up. That Sunday, I went to Chapel. The chaplain gave an invitation. I went forward. A counselor had me read Roman 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The promise of Psalm 40 was fulfilled.
I study the Bible regularly now. It gives me comfort when a loved one dies. It gives me wisdom facing decisions. It gives meaning to life. Best of all, it gives me insight into my destiny—in this life and the next.
“Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be”
If you are interested in the topic of the egoic mind, might I recommend, A New Earth, or The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle. I know you asked for one book, but they are primarily analogous.
A small sample of Eckhart Tolle quotes:
“The past has no power over the present moment.”
“Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.”
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.”
“Sometimes letting things go is an act of far greater power than defending or hanging on.”
“To love is to recognize yourself in another.”
“Life isn't as serious as the mind makes it out to be.”
Beloved, by Toni Morrison.
This book means so much to me. The relationships between women are forged differently than the rest, I swear. This book demonstrates that magic, and the profound links that tie us together. The power of memory, of trauma, of repressing moments that bring us pain, and generational trauma. So many emotions, captured flawlessly in a book that illustrates a flawed woman in a difficult world. I recommend this, as well as everything else in Toni Morrison's corpus of work.
Going Solo by Eric Klinenberg
In these times of excessive urbanisation, the concept of cities planned for single people is on the rise. Single people are a new consumer demographic that is being newly catered to from the economic viewpoint? But are they getting the same support from the societal aspect?
In Going Solo, Eric Klinenberg dives into that question along with several others, ranging from the reasons for the rise of the single-person household to the effects that it is having is changing our global society today.
The writing style is beautiful and simple and backed with scientific evidence and real-life accounts making it an interesting read. It allows a lay-person to understand some complex sociological concepts while at the same time encouraging them to come to their own conclusions - taking into consideration their personal life experiences. It introduces new ideas gently, allowing you to come to terms with what you have read so far, letting you put that knowledge in the context of your own life.
Most importantly, it gives us this line:
“Living alone helps us pursue sacred modern values - individual freedom, personal control, and self-realisation - whose significance endures from adolescence to our final days.”
#bookreview #bookrecommendation #goingsolo #writingchallenge
″...it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.”
When I am asked to recommend that one book I used to be tempted to choose something epic, a book on spiritual or cultural relevance.
Now, older, I am attracted to finite and situated issues, and increasingly skeptical of the 'catch-all' books that I once devoured.
Atonement by McEwan is a different book. A book about writing, for writers, I think almost everyone here would enjoy it. Some quotes:
“It wasn't only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.”
“Was everyone else really as alive as she was?... If the answer was yes, then the world, the social world, was unbearably complicated, with two billion voices, and everyone’s thoughts striving in equal importance and everyone’s claim on life as intense, and everyone thinking they were unique, when no one was. One could drown in irrelevance.”
It suffers from that which most British fiction suffers - an obsession with class. But that perhaps just reflects a nation of people who never really quite completed their revolution all those years ago.
Six of Crows
It is a hilariously funny book with well-written characters and aspects of seriousness. The book is full of twists and turns, and the author never fully reveals the full plot until the very end to keep the readers engaged. Kaz is a criminal mastermind with PTSD and lockpicks up his sleeves. Inej is a spy saved from sex trafficking who belongs on the high wire. Jesper is a sharpshooter with a gambling and fashion problem. Wylan is a dyslexic demo expert who can play a mean flute. Nina is a Grisha (witch) who is not afraid to flirt her way out of trouble. Finally, Matthias is a reluctant (sort of) ex-convict that knows the place they need to break into. It was Nina’s fault he was in jail.