The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Here’s one of my most recent favorites — It’s a story set in a post-apocalyptic scenario where everyone’s scared to death about their own survival, to the point where one would fire at the sight of another human being, for fear that her own life would be in jeopardy.
In a world so drenched in hatred and fear, the love of a father for his son still survives, as they march through their desolate, violent streets.
One thing that struck me is not so much of what the story said, but rather, it’s what it didn’t say. The author never reveals what caused the people to live that way — For what we know, it could be because of a war or any tragedy of that color, judging on our current condition. If we keep on living like how we’re living now, we’ll might end up living like how he characters are. It’s not a story about them, it’s about us.
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss
I’ve been doing selective-reading on this book for almost a year now, and I just love it. I’m not really a fan of Ferriss’s exotic health drink recipes and quite frankly, the fitness section, because I guess I’m just not personally invested in those kinds of things.
But the contents in this book are life-changing, to say the least. You have more than a hundred profiles to seek help from in this book — From writers, to entrepreneurs, to world-class athletes.
Ferriss also gives his own advice, and if you’re not familiar with him, he has a knack of giving you questions that no other human being would probably ask you, in order to turn your life around.
Here are a couple of my favorite questions on testing the seemingly impossible : “If I could only work 2 hours per week on my business, what would I do?” and “What would this look like if it were easy?”.
Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins
There’s always been this belief that you can’t make money with art. There still are artists who take pride in that belief, who would rather live a miserable life than give up their love for their art.
But that’s just unnecessary. Being an artist means being an entrepreneur, and that’s an undeniable truth. You need money to make art — You also need money to take your art to more respectable levels that it deserves.
This book gives great advice on starting out, why you don’t have to quit your day job, and why you can’t succeed on your own (you need patrons who will vouch for you) and most importantly, how.
All Quiet On The Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Being a huge Bob Dylan fan, I picked this one up after he spoke in his Nobel Lecture about how this book (alongside Moby Dick and The Odyssey) strongly influenced his songwriting themes.
He said about not wanting to read another war novel after he read this one, and now that I’ve read it, that’s exactly how I feel too.
It’s a very honestly written book about the confusion and disillusionment that the soldiers felt during the First World War, when they were actually placing their lives at risk in the battlefield — Where was all the glory everyone said they were going to get? Where was all the pride for wearing a uniform?
“A hospital alone shows what war is,” Remarque wrote in this book. It’s a story of those who may have survived the wailing shells, but were spiritually and morally destroyed by the war.
Also, I’d advice you to be mentally prepared before you read all the gruesome depictions in this book. Thank me later.
To a Mouse by Robert Burns
My fourth time reading John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men made me think deeper of where he got the title from. Sure, I knew that it was taken from a poem called “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns, in which Burns expresses his guilt over accidentally destroying a mouse’s nest, but I never realized how Steinbeck very brilliantly turned this poem into a novel.
We’re no different from mice (or from any of God’s creations) in that we have our plans. In the mouse’s case, it’s building a nest to prepare for the cold winter. We’re also alike because no matter what our plans may be, we aren’t free from the hands of fate. If God wills anything, it will happen — Our car breaks down, something happens, or that mouse’s nest gets knocked over.
But the bright line that separates mice from men is that mice — They’re blessed because they live in the present. They have no memory. Their nest gets destroyed, they move on, they do what they can to survive. But us? — We have to live with the guilt, the regret that we feel for our actions, even if they were done with the best intentions.
A Bronx Tale
I learned about this movie after coming across that one scene (a particularly badass one) where an immaculately dressed Mafia leader teaches a gang of ill-behaved bikers some manners in his bar.
Well that’s not the whole story. This movie’s about a teenager who is lost and torn between the advice of a father and a father figure.
This really isn’t a movie about black-and-white or good versus bad — Rather, it’s grey and grey. The character realizes that the advice of both figures he looks up to actually point in the same direction, that they both want him to lead a respectable life. His father, an honest bus driver wants him to stay out of crime. His father figure, a Machiavellian Mafia leader wants him to stay out of crime too, because the life he leads doesn’t have to be his. He learns to take the best out of these two men in forging his own identity, because you and I both know, being a teenager is a pretty rocky place in life.