Book Recommendations #1

Book Recommendations #1

Hello! The ever-present stress of college has been forcing me to focus on school work. Therefore I thought that I would post a compilation of books that I had meant to talk about. I definitely persuade you to consider reading them yourself!

Thought-Provoking Memoirs

I Remain in Darkness” by Annie Ernaux

I Remain in Darkness

A memoir-journal-esque writing style of a woman’s entries as she lives through her mother’s impending old age. The pains of age and mortality on loved ones, and the painful desire to be selfish and comforting. Heart-wrenching and recommended for reflection on not only our own aging but when we have to say goodbye to people we never thought we’d have to go without.

When Breathe Becomes Air” By Paul Kalanithi

When Breath Becomes Air

Another memoir of mortality, written from the perspective of a medical professional as he faces his degrading health as an effect of cancer. Even when you know what’s happening to your body but still cannot do anything to stop it, a venture into illness. It isn’t you until it is you.

Being Mortal” by Atul Gawande

Being Mortal

A personal account of deteriorating health as a result of age from experience with different patients and family. A book that goes out of its way to help the reader to better understand the idea of mortality from years of watching it happen over and over again. This book helps people understand that a doctor’s goal is sometimes not just “disease, diagnosis, prescription, repeat.” What can a doctor do against the disease of mortality that which has no cure? Not giving a cure, but a higher quality of living. “What do you still want to be able to accomplish?”

Contemplative Fiction

1984” by George Orwell

1984

A confusing, helpless-feeling story of a man who tries to survive and feel alive at the same time. A possible future and the alternate universe that may be closer than we think to be a reality. A struggle against something ever present but not emphasized in society, Big Brother is always watching.

How to Stop Time” by Matt Haig

How to Stop TIme

A man’s condition causes him to age much slower than the average human being. While promising to live, he fights the desire to end his life and continues existing, falling in love, and figuring out what it is he should be living for. How much hardship should a man go through before he knows it’s the worse part of the storm has passed?

Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World” by Haruki Murakami

Hard Boiled WOnderand

An outstanding manipulation of prose to exemplify the unconscious and conscious aspects of the mind in a story that uses every aspect it has access to create a relatable experience. When the main character is you as you make your way through the existence of the mind and the Freudian ideas of id, ego, superego.

Jane, Unlimited” by Kristin Cashore

Jane Unlimited

An exhilarating tale that exemplifies the butterfly effect, creating a reality depending on the choices she makes. Life is a series of choices that end up somewhere. An omnipresent perspective of reality as we look into parallel mirrors and see an infinity of reflections. Where will you end up? When you come to discover a reality, what information did you have to sacrifice?

 

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Thought7-Realistic Fantasy

Thought7-Realistic Fantasy

Is this real life or is this fantasy?

Deadline, social obligation, grind, exam, deadline.

It’s easy to get sucked into the daily grind and ongoing stress of just existing in the present. While it is important to live in the moment, introspection can create a better understanding of self in order to live a fuller life.

Fantasy- the faculty or activity of imagining things, especially things that are impossible or improbable.

Impossible until it’s possible. Improbable until it’s probable.

Okay fine, there probably won’t be any dragons anytime soon, but the hardships, the conflicts in relationships of characters that don’t exist–there is still something to learn from fantasy. Sometimes it takes a life-threatening situation that would realistically never happen to better understand the deeper emotions of humans.

Fantasy has the wonderful ability to reveal the real you. Everyone will try to get along in the workplace, be nice to superiors. Fake it until you make it, herding the sheeple. What would you do if you had to choose between saving the world and saving yourself?

Should we create Frankenstein’s monster? Is Dr. Jekyll also Mr. Hyde, or do two people inhabit one body?

We humans think we’re all that, but in a scenario where we aren’t at the top of the food chain, what does being human even mean anymore?

If anything, fantasy exercises the mind, expands thought, and creates a better understanding of one’s stance in the world in relation to people we’ve never met without even meeting them.

Isn’t that amazing?

Aesop and Grimm fairy tales have become ingrained into society for many years, teaching children from an early age important aspects of being human. Who are we to say modern fantasy literature can’t do the same? The world is always changing, there is always a new hypothetical to think about.

Amour Armor

Amour Armor

Striking, you strike me

As the type of person who doesn’t see

The you who comes down like

Lightning, like love

 

Sometimes, suddenly, and

All at once your righteous fury,

loyal and angry, comes to my aid

with a thunderous roar

 

Soft flame, warm steel,

never think you are not enough

when to others

you are so much more.

 

The Arts on College Campus

The Arts on College Campus

I wrote a short paragraph for why I think the arts were important to my university campus and thought I’d share it here:

 

What is art but an expression of tangible human thought formed to spur the minds of others? In the fast-paced track of university students, especially those in more technically-based majors, there is an appalling lack of self-reflection and growth as a people.

What good is knowing the different types of bone fractures when one can’t place themselves in a hypothetical realm of self-discovery? What good is knowing everything except yourself?

The campus does not emphasize the arts to the same degree as the math and sciences on campus, and I feel that an expansion of student exposure to creativity will solidify student confidence in their life choices. I know more practice rooms would be a great improvement in itself because many clubs on campus aren’t able to practice due to lack of space, resorting to using open lobbies and outdoors to practice. I also think a performance hall dedicated specifically for performance and art exhibition alone would also greatly enhance the importance of what art means to students. A physical separation from guest lecturers and speakers, giving art its own kingdom to shine.

 

How important do you think the arts are? A luxury or a necessity? Or both?

Thought6-Here

Thought6-Here

You know you’ve reached a deeper level when you think about thinking.

Whenever I write about things on my mind, they tend to be melancholic or analytical; in the past or in a general future. I’d be sitting at my desk planning my week: what to do tomorrow, what to do before graduation, what’s due tomorrow…

Suddenly, my brain would remind me that I said something cringy to a guy five years ago and I’d have to bury my face in my hands and groan. The mind is strange in this aspect: always focusing on what to do and what you have done.

 

Instead, at this very moment, I become hyper-aware of where I am right now. Two mugs sitting side by side, the tea has gone cold hours ago and aren’t going to be finished. I sit essentially in darkness except for string lights flickering softly above me. I squint to check the time of my digital clock. 10:45PM.

Papers from school shuffled into neat piles at my left, my phone blinks notifications at my right. Let’s flip that face-down now, I’m in the middle of something,

The chill of winter slips in from my window, and the space heater hums to life. All I hear is the ticking of the clock on my bookshelf and the clack of my computer keys as I write this.

As I take all of this in, I forget the past and the future just for a second. The now, being alive at home and in my pajamas. This is nice, the present.

I realize this is not the most eloquent thing I’ve written nor the most thought-provoking, but I hope we can all agree in appreciating simplicity.

It’s nice to stop focusing on living for a second in order to feel alive.

I am here. You are here.

Sometimes that’s all we need.

 

Never Not There

Never Not There

The trials of life placed before me

has me busy fighting

against all odds

It makes me forget that you are there.

 

When everyone and

everything

comes at us from all directions

I find the farthest distance you can be from me is

standing back to back.

 

Close enough to always be there

but

never close enough for me to know.

 

Here’s a toast to

my shadow; always at my side

even in the dark.

Hold On.

Hold On.

Tread softly in my wake

for I am as likely to strike out at you

as I am to reach out and embrace you

as I am to escape your benevolent reach.

 

The willing victim who desires an escape

from the contract I’ve signed

with the demons who are friends with the realists;

deep breaths stifle my lungs with haze.

 

I remember you in my hour of need

yet every time I survive another day

I forget you until I don’t.

I miss you then I don’t.

 

Please keep your hands in the vehicle at all times

and your arms around me at all times

I don’t know when the next time

we’ll be together will be.

 

With all my love,

******.