Books 35-40 for 2018 – thoughts

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Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu

Simple. Brilliant. Timeless.  I have read perhaps an embarrassing amount of self-improvement books, which could be completely boiled down into one or two of the simple poems contained in this book. Also in this translation, the translator uses the feminine pronoun a choice made based within the Tao itself:

Know the masculine

But keep the feminine:

and become a watershed to the world,

And I think that choice (and text) shows the amount of ‘still’ humility and grace that is contained within this collection of poems.

The Fall – Albert Camus

It’s amazing how many post-WWII writers were trying to piece the world together.

This novel was full of the unspoken thoughts many of us share about society, with strong tones of Nihilism – it definitely has a “God is dead and we killed him” vibe.

The story may actually be an interpretation of Nietzsche’s final days of mental stability/instability. A great read for anyone interested in modern/postmodern philosophy.

Kitchen Confidential – Anthony Bourdain

I have worked in a few kitchens – and so much of this novel was spot on: the stress of a rush, the sense of working with a pirate crew, achieving good flow, and the principals he described as to what makes a good worker. Perhaps the part I found most interesting was the tales he regaled about “BigFoot” arguably one of his principal mentors; I was reminded of a former heavy mechanic I use to work with whose manners and ethics I still respect to this day.

A great read for anyone that has worked in a rough environment or just plain loves food and the passion that goes into it.

The Story Grid – Shawn Coyne

A fantastic tool – a way to lay out a story in all of it’s working parts.

For myself, I edit and revise until the point of memorization, this takes a long time and many drafts. Using the story grid method, you can see all the elements of your work ‘visually’ after draft one. This is a structural editing practice I’m definitely going to try out with my next work.

Harry Potter – Philosophers Stone (audio)

I wanted to read this series because as a young kid discovering the world, HP made a big impact on me, but I stopped reading them after the fourth book, around the time the first movie came out.

I’ve made it the third book now.  The first one is a tough read as an adult, I’m not going to lie and the 2nd book is even harder. Even through a nostalgic lens its tough – but it is amazing how JK improves and grows as a writer even within the first three books, and this notion of watching her style and creativity strengthen is the driving reason why I’m reading them now.

Lordly lordy this first book is a push.

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