Books15 May 2017
One of my biggest regrets I had in college, was not being able to read as much as I did in high school. I was swamped with school work, and knowing who I am, committed myself to it recklessly. Regardless, it was a good lesson learned; considering I know now, that reading is a huge necessity in my life.
Today’s blog centers on the halfway point of this year. I made it a goal of mine to try to finish a book or so a month this year, which admittedly, is pretty low. I can happily say though that I’m actually at eight books this year, finishing up my ninth one right now! It’s certainly been an interesting time period for me, considering that I have a lot of catching up to do in regards to literature. Despite that, I want to take a moment and reflect on some of my favorite books I’ve read thus far, ranging from nonfiction to poetry.
I’ll also try my best not to introduce any spoilers.:
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I have to admit, the initial kickoff of committing myself to reading this year was partially due to this autobiography. I’m a little biased, due to always having an affinity for hospital-esque stories, but Dr. Kalanithi’s life can be applied to any domain from my experiences.
His eloquent tale of courage, sacrifice, and love pushes through so many different levels, that it’s left a truly lasting effect on me. I grew to love my work even more, and at the same time, push myself harder in ways that I never knew was possible. I owe my thanks to Dr. Kalanithi, for helping me grow so much more emotionally this year than I have ever before, and for challenging myself constantly. I highly recommend this book to anyone, and possibly put it at the top of my list so far.
Some of my favorite quotes:
“You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.”
“I had met her in a space where she was a person, not a problem to be solved.”
“Human knowledge is never contained in one person. It grows from relationships we create between each other and the world, and still is never complete.”
Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
It was just by chance that I figured I’d read Hemingway. My dad’s an English major, so of course he always recommends me books to read. Hemingway is at the top of his list, and eventually I caved, buying Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls at a local Half Price Books. Needless to say, Farewell to Arms is such a poignant novel that describes the world during WWI from a different point of view.
Society tends to glorify war, making it an act of bravery, courage, and heroism. Little do they acknowledge the deserters, the people who struggle with their own desires / beliefs that are counter to the majority. Farewell to Arms depicts such a tale, and along with it, tells of a love story many of us have probably seen in movies / television.
Unsurpriingly enough, Hemingway is a brilliant writer. He uses words in such a succinct and poignant manner. His descriptions of nature are more picturesque than anything I’ve ever read, and at the same time, the many words he also uses to describe the feeling of love is so accurate.
Some of my favorite quotes:
‘“Maybe…you’ll fall in love with me all over again.” “Hell,” I said, “I love you enough now. What do you want to do? Ruin me?” “Yes. I want to ruin you.” “Good,” I said. “That’s what I want too.”‘
“If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them to break them, so of course it kills them. The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”
“I know the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started.”
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn Ishmael is one of those novels you read, and have a life-changing experience when finished. I can truly admit that was somewhat the case for me. However, I can agree to a lot of the comments in the story, and there’s a lot of knowledge to be taken from it. Daniel Quinn does make a lot of interesting points, and exceedingly enough, has predicted the current state of the world, many years ago when he released Ishmael.
Ishmael has definitely left an impact on me, which can be explained only through a single quote:
- “You’re captives of a civilization system that more or less compels to go on destroying the world to live.”
Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn
Poetry is definitely one of my favorite parts of literature, and Our Numbered Days is one that I’ve fully finished so far this year. Hilborn’s writing is refreshing, charming, and witty. It breathes a sigh of relief into you, and then takes your world and crushes it into pieces. Hilborn is a fantastic writer, and his poetry is wonderful. Each word carries its own weight, compiling into deeply emotional tales that reflect on love, tragedy, and mental illness.
Some of my favorite quotes / poems:
Things that I Hope Are True about Heaven
That the radio always plays
what would ahve been your favorite
songs. That there’s always coffee
if you want it. That you’re
there. That it’s real.
“If a tree falls in the forest
and no one’s around to hear it, it does
make a sound, but then that sound is gone.
I am not saying you will find the meaning
in other people. I am saying that other people
are the life to which you provide the meaning.”
“I will whisper your name
from the cracks in the canyon rocks
and you will know that this is heaven,
knowing that someone will always remember
your irises and where you hid your love
letters and why you could never speak
in anything but short sentences.
It’s not a golden escalator
or a glowing choir conveying you into the sky.”
Unfortunately, that about sums it up for this small review. I would write more, but I’m hesitant to spam with more content. If you’re actually curious, or are willing to recommend me books, please don’t hesitate to contact me, or maybe I’ll write a second part when I finish this next book!