Here are the books I finished in September and October:
1. Choose Us by Caylie Marcoe
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
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
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
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
GENRE: Non-fiction/ Self-help/ Spirituality
ABOUT: How to become enlightened.
THOUGHTS: I’M WORKING ON IT.
6. A Macat Analysis of Edward Said’s Orientalism by Riley Quinn
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
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.
Amazing stuff in this book—provided one is sincere and the intentions come from the heart. I know a guy that practices every trick in this book, but he has been branded a snake. He may trick people he just met, e.g. new employees in the company, but anybody who has known him more than 2 seconds has seen right through him.
I reiterate: great advice. But MUST be coupled with earnestness.
8. Currency Wars by James Rickards
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
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:
- 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.)
- Take it slow.
- Don’t fill your stomach. Less is more.
- Surround yourself with good friends.
- Get in shape for your next birthday.
- Reconnect with nature.
- Give thanks.
- Live in the moment.
- Follow your Ikigai.
THOUGHTS: Fuck. That’s hard. Maybe living a long and happy life is not for me after all.