Every year for the past 5 years I have been taking on the personal challenge of reading 50 books a year. Of course, I’ve yet to actually achieve said goal, averaging at approximately 20 books/year, however as they say – it’s the journey not the destination eh? I’ve read some excellent books over the past 5 years, and some others which, let’s just say, helped me overcome my obsession with always finishing a book. As far as I’m concerned some books are shelf fodder! huff! Anyway,
One of the major beauties of reading is in the population of the mind with new ideas. Some books leave behind imprints – strong images like mental photographs. I don’t remember the action or the characters, but a few particularly poignant scenes linger like rediscovered artefacts. These are often scenes which reveal something new about the world or introduce me to something I had never heard of before. They become part of my mental museum’s permanent collection.
But more satisfying still, are those books which don’t simply populate you with visions, but with ideas so thoroughly and beautifully elaborated they unwind in curled, lettered strings from each page and loom themselves into the fabric of your being. Books which change your mind, open it, stretch it, challenge it. I love that feeling.
So after the 5th year of 50 books (~ ~) the 1st instalment of Ideas That Stayed from Books I’ve Encountered So Far:
The echoes of a person’s past reverb in their present and the future of their children. In a sense our families’ and our parents’ pasts become our so called ‘destinies’. Similar idea to: “The sins of our fathers” from Beowulf; the forces that shape us are often insidious, and go back for generations. Events that take place in a person’s life ripple for generations. Read further: Grandma’s Experiences Leave Epigenetic Mark on Your Genes – Fault Lines Nancy Huston
The importance of a personal and collective history in laying ground, establishing cultural stability and creating bonds between communities – Burry Me Standing Isabel Fonseca
Meditation on the differences in perceptions of people knowing and understanding each other. The fluid meaning of intimacy. The soul mate vs the lover, complimented by this article from Brain Pickings on the labels we give ourselves & each other – The Unbearable Lightness of Being Milan Kundera
Adding this one just for good measure, I read it like most disinterested teens, in high school. But other than the oft-quoth “Out vile jelly” (oft quoth by yours truly), the concept of the Tragic Flaw really latched on. When one is capable, wise and clear-headed, except for the one negative trait that cannot be overcome. Another version of Achilles heel, or some modern neuroses : Imposter Syndrome and the plight of Overthinking – King Lear Shakespeare
Listening to the wisdom accumulated over centuries of experience, in this case food – what our grandparents ate is what is best for us and our bodies, contrary to pop science and fad diets. But respecting human observances accumulated over centuries is the core of the idea and can be applied to so many other examples (here’s one more) – 1000 Million Years of Food Steven Le
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Anybody else setting a reading challenge this year?
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Bonus! New Mantras up for grabs:
“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt,” “So it goes,” &
“The guide invited the crowd to imagine that they were looking across a desert at a mountain range on a day that was twinkling bright and clear. They could look at a peak or a bird or cloud, at a stone right in front of them, or even down into a canyon behind them. But among them was this poor Earthling, and his head was encased in a steel sphere which he could never take off. There was only one eyehole through which he could look, and welded to that eyehole were six feet of pipe.
“This was only the beginning of Billy’s miseries in the metaphor. He was also strapped to a steel lattice which was bolted to a flatcar on rails, and there was no way he could turn his head or touch the pipe. The far end of the pipe rested on a bi-pod which was also bolted to the flatcar. All Billy could see was the little dot at the end of the pipe. He didn’t know he was on a flatcar, didn’t even know there was anything peculiar about his situation.
“The flatcar sometimes crept, sometimes went extremely fast, often stopped–went uphill, downhill, around curves, along straightaways. Whatever poor Billy saw through the pipe, he had no choice but to say to himself, ‘That’s life’.”
– or, a perfect metaphor to illustrate the limited view of time us Earhtlings are restricted to, holed in our 3rd dimension, according to tralfamadorians anyway; take comfort in knowing: everything is always happening.
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Onto the next! Thank you for reading & Happy New Year!