4 books i read in the desert

bookthiefThe Book Thief, by Markus Zusak

theoretically a young adult fiction, but i can’t see why it’s not an amazing book for adults also. set in nazi germany, it’s the story of an orphan girl, into a family who hides a jew in their basement. part coming-of-age story, part adoption story, part holocaust history. oh, and it’s narrated by death. seriously. truly an amazing book, worthy of the accolades and awards it’s received.

succeedAre You Ready to Succeed?: Unconventional Strategies to Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life, by Srikumar Rao

i had big-time mixed feelings about this book. a friend suggested i read it on my trip to the desert as i wrestle with some issues about where i am and where i’m headed. there was some massively helpful stuff (especially in the first 1/3 of the book), particularly the parts about mental models. i found several tools and exercises that will impact me, and journalled quite a bit in response. but other parts of the book were too “buddhism veiled in positive thinking business language” (or maybe hinduism — not sure) for me. some parts i could swap out my own language and make them work, but others i just flat didn’t agree with.

jungModern Man in Search of a Soul, by Carl G. Jung

a collection of Jung’s essays, first translated into english in 1933. interesting from a historical “point of view”. some of the essays had great insights for me and my current situation. other were interesting, but didn’t “speak to me”, per se. and some were just boring. particularly, i found some help in one particular essay where he wrote about the suppression of emotions, which is how i have lived my whole life. it had some great insights that made me think in some new ways.

genAGeneration A: A Novel, by Douglas Coupland

i love coupland’s writing, and have read every single one of his many books over the years. i enjoyed this one, but liked the concept of it better than the actual experience of it. it’s about a 5 young singles from around the world who are stung by bees after the supposed extinction of bees, and the weirdness that brings them all together. the final climax is a bit over the edge, and not coupland’s usual subtlety. but it was still a fun read, and — as an aside — an interesting commentary on the power and role of stories in our lives.

3 thoughts on “4 books i read in the desert”

  1. i forgot we shared a love for coupland. i finished Gen A last week. really liked it for a while, and then i wasn’t so sure about it… the ending felt a little like he said, “crap, i need to figure out how to end this…” but i still have nothing but love for douglas!

  2. Have you read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? A YA book, but some interesting things to think about in it–life, society, etc.

  3. Oh, The Book Thief! I think that’s probably my most favorite book! Good taste! Also finished a rather disturbing book called Undiscovered Gyrl last night. Not necessarily recommending this one, more like a caution to any teens you might know who pick it up. Supposedly a young adult book, but I would never let a teen I know pick it up. Ack! Just another degrading book that glorifies everything it is attempting to condemn.

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