Author Archives: cityreadsnyc

Salvation on Sand Mountain by Dennis Covington

How did you come across the book?

It was assigned to me by my class. That is, ‘Spiritual Autobiography‘ at The New School.

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

Oh! The perspective of the religious… intensely Christian in the south… there are snake handlers, which I’ve never heard of before. And so, this is all new to me… and its very interesting.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

Oh! Um… I’m only a little bit in… like page 20. But, I’d… so far, I think its written really well and I would recommend it to people looking to learn more about places they don’t know, and parts of religions that they don’t know. And… for anyone looking for just a good book!

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Once Again

By Justin Cude
I’ve been out 
there
in the
burning
wind
the ground
roaring
under
and
I’ve seen
it
and felt
it’s
power
it’s
rage
til it’s
end
and I don’t like
new
to
begin
when I can’t
see
can’t see
back
over
where I’ve
over where
I’ve
been
who does?
who can?
who
than?

But I’ll turn
either
way
so it goes
now
to the wind
burning
as it does
so it goes
Once again.

Don’t you know,
now,
by
now
you’re
my
friend, and
always you
always you have
been
and
I’ll be there
without,
without
all this,
we’ll see,
seen,
seeing,
pretend
and I’ll know
you
from back
when?
but we won’t feel
like that,
no
not like that, no
not
like that
then
again.

So I’ll turn now
to the
wind
burning with
and
within,
against
until
faced
with
as it will
we’ve seen
Once again.

I won’t stop
turning
and the wind
it
wont stop
we learned
burning
and I
won’t stop
trying
no,
I can’t stop
it’s
trying
So I’ll keep
turning
And I’ll keep
trying
and
I’ll

Turn now
again
till the
and its
end
to the
still burning
and trying
wind
once again
friend.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni

How did you come across the book?

So… I…. I’m the director of a nonprofit. Its a national nonprofit I started 37 years ago here in New York City. I now lead the Dallas office, so… I’m from New York originally, but I’m back here for a trip to see family, kids and retreat from the job, so… I go back after Labor Day, but… the book…. long story… long answer… is because I lead a team and I’m new at management. One of my board chairs… actually not one of my board stairs… he says this is a good book for you to read because my team seems dysfunctional at times. So I was like cool. Must be a great book to read. So, here I am. It’s a nice day.

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

So, well, one… that I’m not a babbling idiot! Seems like… I mean the book is… it says a leadership fable, but its set around an executive team, the whole C-Suite team… and after they tell the story I’m like my team deals with this too. So, it kind of… you know… and to hear it from other people it takes the onus off me that I have to figure this out alone and that I’m doing something wrong. You know. People have natural tendencies of how they hear things, how they be, what they’re afraid of, conflict and how they build their team so… I’m feeling very confident that I can build some new strategies within team. Its a fun thing.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

Yeah! Actually, so yeah… one, I’m gonna recommend it to my whole team, cause they need to know what I’m reading and kind of thinking about. Two… I think this is… I mean, it’s just… I’ll say this… I don’t read very well… I read slow… so big books take me a long time. This is like one of the easiest reads I’ve ever had. Say its more than 200 pages. I’ve been reading it a day and I’m half way through. It’s engaging! Once you pick it up its like one of those, “Ok, I’ve gotta finish this story right away!” It’s like a good Netflix series… I’m just gonna binge watch this book! Three… you know, I think anybody in any type of leadership capacity, running any type of… any type of team, you know what I’m saying… I mean this could be a family book. Anybody who has to manage any bunch of… a group of people, so… yeah… its pretty good!

The Books We Read

By Justin Cude

I’ve read tons of books lately. Hold on. Bear with me. I don’t say that with any type of pretentious. Its just a way to start this piece. But, seriously, lately I have read tons of books. From Self-help horrors to border-line erotica novels. From the lone pessimists attempt of optimistic existentialism to the bonding painted along a band-of-hippies psychedelic rove. Books which reign the top 100 to ones spawn from the endless graves of underground novella. I’ve read deeper into the works of authors I truly love, and have flirted with the lines of authors I’ve only just met with a glance. I sat down yesterday and read a whole damn book. I’ve only done that once in my life, years ago, and it felt wonderful to experience this again. But, this piece isn’t about the number of books I’ve read through in the last few weeks, but rather about what I have noticed, as I have before, by doing so.

The books we read influence us. Greatly or subtly, it doesn’t matter. They teach us. They touch us. They lead us and they push us. Some can hold you back. Many will move you, either which way. The ones we love, we do so for many reasons. There’s not just one reason we read and continue to. We read for many. And, we keep reading because those reasons are always further affirmed the more words we finish, the more pages we turn, the more books we try. We know why we read, individually, and our knowing of that is enough to continue forth. Every book I have ever read has provided me with at least one line of life; life learned, understood, challenged, gained, lost, made aware of, or changed. Even if only a line. I read for that one line. That one line that provides the life I needed to experience as to allow my own life the right, or the acceptance of, to just be, and for me to just be along with it. For life to be what it is, at any given moment, during any given experience of its provide. And, for me to be who I must and who I choose to be in response to and in demand of that greater providing.

I read for that one line. And, I read for this one life. Because, the books we read provide the life of others, while we’re out learning and living towards the writing and the sharing of our own. There’s wisdom there. There’s trial and error. There’s love and the exploration of its layered and endless complexities, along with it’s simplicity. There’s death and our questions. There’s wild stories from all walks of life, and there’s devout peering into the uncertainties we face. And, there’s us, reflected in the words so humanly placed. The books we read are shared closely with the lives we live. The lives we live are steeped in the richness of books we read.

So, I encourage you to read on.

Difficult Loves by Italo Calvino

How did you come across the book?

I was, uh… bookstore hopping, in the city. I just moved here. So, I was trying to find a favorite, and it was super esthetic, and um, so I decided to take a chance on it, and bought it. That’s it. I can’t tell you what bookstore it was! I don’t remember where it was.

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

Um… so, its actually a collection of short stories, so there are a lot of like varying perspectives that I’m getting from it. They’re all about like… intimacy, between people, with themselves and with other people, so. I’ve read two short stories already and its just… it kind of makes me reexamine my relationships with people and how I navigate those, and the degrees of intimacy that exists within like… within everybody, especially moving to the city… like the intimacy you have with a stranger sitting on a bench with you… that’s kind of examined in this book and that’s kind of what its making me think about.

Would you recommend it, and if so, to who and why?

Yeah! I definitely would. I feel like, for most of my age group, it might be a little bit, um, pretentious. I’m a first year college student, so, maybe like somebody who’s beginning to navigate serious relationships. Kind of up there with The Course of Love… I feel like it really kind of helps you understand your place in relation to other human beings, so… if you like to have existential crises, I think this book is really good! I absolute would recommend it, but I think that there’s a lot of internal reflection that it spurs, so, definitely be cognizant of that. If thats not your thing, its not your thing. It also has some kind of antiquated writing. Its very like flowery prose, so um… and its not necessary modern in a convenient sense.

What More?

By Justin Cude

What more is there to say?

What words are left to write?

You’re born from the sun,

you live with the day,

and you die into the night.

I know there are tricks in between,

but all we can do is live,

try to figure them out,

and love while we try.

The Way Things Happen

By Justin Cude

“It’s not suppose to go a certain way, it’s just suppose to go.” — Unknown

We all carry with us expectations, for every facet of this life, it’s path and the way we envision things to go.  This is dangerous, and we know this, though the temptation of it truly does invite one in with a certain seductive appeal, one that ignites our desire, puts flame to the fuse of our strive. There is nothing wrong with these feelings of passion, pursuit, of tenacity; they are the spice of life, the feelings we all long for, work for, dream of, crave. What is wrong here however, within our blinded view of their true existence, is our naively hopeful presumption of encounter with the byproduct we believe their pursuit-of, or withholding-for, promises to provide. We hold our expectations, feel down to the bone their premature existence, surer than death of their inevitable arrival, left ignorantly vulnerable by a belief system we have curated in our own mind, made real by a psyche ran wild, by faith chanced on a baseless mirage, delusion. Expectation blindfolds our deeper need of actualization; the makings of reality, not an ideal, more convenient alternative. From actualization, further actualization is made available through our efforts; I hope you find where to direct yours. From expectation, further illusion ensues, understanding impedes, knowledge narrows due to ones dwindling view. Expectation impetuously promises everything and delivers nothing. Actualization provides the world, in acknowledgment of the way things happen no matter our feelings towards this. The way we want things to go strangles us with lies. The way things happen provides freedom in their unbiased telling, their steadfast here-ness, and in our…

“Objective judgement, now at this very moment. Unselfish action, now at this very moment. Willing acceptance — now, at this very moment — of all external events.”

— Marcus Aurelius