September & October 2020 Reads
September & October 2020 Reads

September & October 2020 Reads

Here are the books I finished in September and October:

1. Choose Us by Caylie Marcoe

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FORMAT: Kindle

GENRE: Fiction/ YA Novel/ Romance

ABOUT: Riley and Travis have been best friends for 15 years. Travis is a pro BMX athlete, whereas Riley is his personal assistant. They are just friends. One day, Travis gets injured and during his down time, is talked into starring on a reality dating show, something like The Bachelor. He agrees to do it, PROVIDED Riley comes along as a contestant to help him weed out the girls and provide him with insight.

Guess who he chose in the end?

THOUGHTS: Sob. Firstly, this book barely passed the Bechdel Test, but I knew what I was getting myself into and was ready to overlook that. However, I expected better. I was so ready to love this book—the cute best friends turned lovers trope; buried feelings; stolen kisses… And they started so well too! But then it went downhill about 49% into the book, when the characters inorganically realised their feelings for each other.

2. The Lost Gospel of Judas Iscariot by Bart Ehrman

FORMAT: Audiobook

GENRE: Non-fiction/ Religion/ History/ Spirituality

ABOUT: The gospel of Judas Iscariot

THOUGHTS: I maintain that Judas Iscariot has been scapegoated by the Christian community. Need a common enemy? Why not that dude that supposedly betrayed Jesus?

3. Mulan (Live Action Novelisation) by Elizabeth Rudnick

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FORMAT: E-book (Kobo)

GENRE: Fiction/ Live action novelisation/ Historical fiction fantasy (Don’t kid yourself, Disney)

ABOUT: This is the novelisation of Disney’s Mulan. It includes bits and plot lines that were left out of the movie’s final cut.

THOUGHTS: Please refer to my blog post Disney’s Mulan: Honour, Dishonour, and Everything in Between

TL;DR? The book helps shed light on some of the illogical parts of the movie. The biggest one being the Phoenix—the Phoenix was supposed to act like a guardian angle, saving her and her identity a couple of time. Removing that version of the Phoenix left holes all over the storyline.

Then there’s Ramtish and Skatch, two fake monks who appear on multiple occasions. Erasing their roles subtracted a lot from Mulan’s personal growth.

4. What’s So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey

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FORMAT: Audiobook

GENRE: Non-fiction/ Religion/ Spirituality

ABOUT: Christians should practice more grace.

THOUGHTS: Philip Yancey is pH 7. Neither acidic nor alkaline. Much like C. S. Lewis, he takes a messy world and forces it into a neat package. He, also like C. S. Lewis, might start out outside the lines, but always ends up neatly within the borders. That might work for some people, but it doesn’t for me now. I propose that it’s okay to end up outside the lines. Maybe even get rid of the lines altogether.

I love that he argues for grace—if there’s one thing our world needs, it’s more understanding and more love. But he is assuming that we need grace to begin with. I mean, we all need some form of micro grace. But on a macro level… I’m just uncomfortable with the doctrine that forces us to believe that we are terrible beings. Telling us that we are fundamentally sinners that need saving—and voila, He’s the saviour—sounds a lot like an abusive relationship to me. Let’s give God more credit than that.

5. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

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FORMAT: Audiobook

GENRE: Non-fiction/ Self-help/ Spirituality

ABOUT: How to become enlightened.


6. A Macat Analysis of Edward Said’s Orientalism by Riley Quinn

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FORMAT: Audiobook

GENRE: Non-fiction/ Orientalism

ABOUT: Edward Said’s book Orientalism

THOUGHTS: Bye bye, Eurocentric world! Good riddance forever.

7. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

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FORMAT: Audiobook

GENRE: Non-fiction/ Self-help

ABOUT: How to manipulate people and bend them to your will.

THOUGHTS: Click here for a comprehensive summary of this book by fs.

I know a guy that practices every trick in this book, all except the sincerity part. He has been branded a snake. He might successfully trick people he just met, e.g. new employees in the company, but anybody who has known him more than 2 seconds has seen through him.

I reiterate: great advice. But MUST be coupled with earnestness.

8. Currency Wars by James Rickards

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FORMAT: Kindle & Audiobook

GENRE: Non-fiction/ Finance

ABOUT: The ongoing war of the currencies. How easy it is to screw over another country’s currency, how easy it is for said country to retaliate, and how this is going to ruin us.

THOUGHTS: Time to buy gold (and more books) before the pseudo concept of money collapses and all the dough I slaved to make just ceases to hold the value they once did, becoming what they actually are—pieces of scrap paper.

9. Ikigai by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralles

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FORMAT: Audiobook

GENRE: Non-fiction/ Self help

ABOUT: Ikigai means reason for living. The subtitle of the book says it: The Japanese secret to a long and happy life. (Mostly Okinawa Japanese, not just any Japanese) Also sprinkles of Chinese mindfulness.

“Life is not a problem to be solved. Just find something to keep you busy while being surrounded by the people who love you.”

The 10 Rules of Ikiga are as follows:

  1. Stay active, don’t retire—don’t lose your purpose in life. (Unless you, like me, find meaning in binging Netflix with an oversized packet of potato chips.)
  2. Take it slow.
  3. Don’t fill your stomach. Less is more.
  4. Surround yourself with good friends.
  5. Get in shape for your next birthday.
  6. Smile.
  7. Reconnect with nature.
  8. Give thanks.
  9. Live in the moment.
  10. Follow your Ikigai.

THOUGHTS: Fuck. That’s hard. Maybe living a long and happy life is not for me after all.

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