Category Archives: CityReads NYC

Change, As It Is

“It’s funny how people just won’t accept change.

As if nature itself — they’d prefer — rearranged…


If you have followed my writing for any stretch of time now, you will have noticed that most of my words dance with some form of change occurring in our lives (love, place, ideas, thoughts, wants, people, ourselves, etc.); reflection on how that change comes to be, observation on how it proceeds, and how it can hurt and or teach us something in its stay and its passing.

With this piece however, I want to try something else. I want to acknowledge from the beginning line that change is already set to happen, not to be shocked by this, and with this steadfastness, I want to try to be understanding, aware, welcoming and OK with that. To emulate the Stoics way of naming such practices, lets call this one: premeditatio mutatio, or premeditation of change.


I’m sitting here at my little brown desk in Beijing, China, typing away at an article that I hope to post soon, in a room that’s not mine and where I won’t be forever. I just poured myself a cup of coffee that I had heated just moments ago, and am now waiting for it to cool just enough so to drink from it. Sitting here, thinking of the words to say, only to delete a few which sounded right and then which didn’t, only to try again to maybe like their sound better and to continue on, with this line of thought and work I am also thinking of change and how I will meet it again, or rather how it is here always working, not behind the stage curtain, but apart of the same play as I, as all of us, always and forever.

I notice this now as it consumes my mind that I have always viewed change in a past tense sort of perspective. Never really having ever greeted it when it had arrived, only looking back on it after having noticed its supposed departure. And with this thought I realize that this line is wrong, but I will keep it here anyway as to track this thoughts progression. It’s not that we ever have or are even given the chance to greet change, or to say goodbye to it for that matter, either. Again, as said just a few lines up, in the paragraph above, change is always around, as active as the breath which keeps us alive, autonomic by the same nature.

This is not to say that things are ALWAYS changing, or that what we know now will not be the same as what we know tomorrow, but that little by little things are in fact ALWAYS changing, never stagnant, no matter the efforts of our wrestling with them to be here always, never to budge, never to fade.


The coffee is cooled enough now to drink it. A connection comes to me. The cooling of the coffee in a way describes what it is I am trying to say. The coffee cooled, just sitting there, in the same cup I had poured it into, without my influence and without my tampering. It changed, though not drastically or even visually noticeable to the degree of my vision, right in front of me as I was sitting here thinking of how to proceed with this piece, only moments having passed. And, not only did it cool, but it decayed, spiraled within its confines, sent steam into the air which faded, heated a circular area of the little brown desk of which it sat upon, became sweeter or more bitter due to the origin of it contents and the influence of the environment it now occupies, and so much more, again only moments having passed.

And, as I scan around the room at all of the inanimate objects surrounding me, none of them are the exact same as they were only moments ago. It sounds crazy I know, but it is true. I may not notice the changes visually, I may not be able to touch the changes or taste them, or to hear their movement, their transitioning from what they were to what they are, onto what they will be, but not one thing in this room, if left untouched, if not tampered with or influenced, would remain the same forever, and that shows further what I am attempting to say. Everything, all of this surrounding us, down to its biological level, is constantly changing, from one form on into another.


There’s a little bug in front of me now just weaving and hovering through the air only a small height above my desk and all that is positioned on-top it. And now that same bug is gone, away from my visual field. He could be behind me for all I know, because he is not making enough noise for me to hear, doing the same thing; just hovering or weaving. Or maybe its tired now and taking a rest on my shoulder, on the TV behind me, on the clothes rack, on anything. I look back. I don’t see the bug. But, I do see the city outside through my window. The bug is back. And now gone again. I look outside the window again. The world is moving. The cars seem to be gliding silently atop the road given that I cannot hear their rumbling-along from here, through the single paneled glass window, from this distance. Through that same window still, I see the newly sprung Spring leaves of the trees waving with the swaying wind. The bug returns, still weaving and hovering. Leaves again. A cough that I’ve had for a few days now barks, then fades. The coffee even cooler now, I notice as I go to drink from it again. I hear the person in the room directly behind the wall in front of me click his lights; on or off I do not know. The little fridge behind me to my left creates a noise. The bug returns. Gone again.


I left my desk for a moment and just returned, the thought of all this still with me. I’m going to move on now from noticing and attempt to get back to thinking.


Again, things don’t change as drastically as we expect them to. Not all the time at least. Sometimes they do, and we notice those, the big ones. They hurt us. Maybe some excite us. But, either way, they force change because we notice them. We don’t notice the smaller ones. The every day subtle changing of things largely goes unseen, unnoticed, unfelt, unbelieved. And because of this, when the big ones happen, though they have always gradually glaciered towards being, they catch us by surprise, and again they tend to hurt us. Some excite us maybe. Either way, they are demanding change, which they themselves will abide, but which we tend to argue with, reject and resist, and claim victim to their “harassment”.

This has always been my relationship with change. Though I myself, and others in my life who know me well, believe me to be open, understanding and even courageous with the changing tides of life, and though I am, maybe more so then I am not, they have always bothered me, changes.

I am unashamed to admit this. Even the exciting ones. Not just the ones that hurt. I’m a human and I like to know my surroundings. I like, and strive, to have some sense of comfort and security, gathering “resources” and stock piling “abundance”, whatever form that may be for the time and place and purpose, because they promise loyalty and steadfast protection. Even living a life thus far which disproves this, which has both shown and thrown me into states of scarcity and limitation, deprive and unknowing (I’m grateful for this ) we believe having protects us from the transitioning of things. It doesn’t. It never will.

This is not to say that having more so than not having doesn’t provide any type of benefit or worthwhile promising of pursuit for, but rather that having or not having, either one, doesn’t protect us from the every day subtle changing of things, and on towards their subsequent perceived-to-be colossal transitions, from what we know now onto what we don’t. With or without, nothing protects us from this.

But, is there anything about this that we need to be protected from? I think this is a better question to be asked and to be examined.


Premeditatio Mutatio, or again, the premeditation of change. In other words, the practice of noticing the subtle everyday changing of things, and the attempt to understand that things will not always be the same. Anything. Nothing.

Nothing which we as a species have monumentally constructed (cities, walls, infrastructure, systems, etc.). Nothing the world itself with all of its controlled and relaxed might has provided (terrain, environment, weather, resource,etc.). Nothing which the mind has attempted to maintain and or progress (religion, science, understanding, reality, etc.). Nothing which the universe itself contains (space, matter, limitation, unknown, etc.). Nothing about the vehicle which is our body nor the conductor of this vehicle, which is our mind. Nothing about anything remains the same, besides the only truth which has yet to be disproven; the changing of things.

So I revisit again, is there anything about this that we need to protection from?

I’m going to go close my eyes for a little while and allow my mind to just be. I will return to this later on.


It’s the next day.

I’m sitting at a coffee shop I have come to frequent quite a bit lately. The sun is burning the back of my neck as my head casts a shadow across the screen and keyboard of my computer. I like it here and I like this feeling. I won’t go into line by line detail of what I am about to share, but sitting here aware of it now, it is amazing, truly, just how many things have crossed my mind, have come and gone and influenced, since the beginning of this piece just yesterday, just about 24 hours ago exactly now.

Another example of the movement of things. Nothing is stagnant, even when they seem to be. Our thoughts, our beliefs, our understandings, everything which makes up the integrity of our contemplative consciousness, even this is in constant movement. Thoughts repeat, beliefs aren’t easily budged, understandings fight for their footing, but none are able to withstand or to go against the evolution of every moment, of everything within the confines of what we know as life and its moment by moment evolving. And, time doesn’t just evolve, but it fleets and it also continues. It may fleet for us, and for other living creatures, due to our ultimate demise, but time itself fleets from nothing. The mere fact that we will die, and that time will continue on its usual course, again supports the reality of change. We die, time evolves, and this is all manipulated in a moment by moment evolution, onward from now on into something else.

To regain traction, to get back to my proposed question from yesterday, I do not belief there to be anything we need to be protected from in the changing of things.


I stopped typing this and am just now revisiting it two days later, now. I am no longer at the coffee shop, but back at my little brown desk in the room I currently live. I had nothing else to say that day, but I feel now that I do and I hope to finish this piece and to move on to another, or to other projects of mine I need to work on.

To continue…

I do not believe there to be anything we need to be protected from in the changing of things.

I started reading a new book which I purchased just a day ago, ‘Awareness’ by Anthony De Mello, and in its reading came across the following quote:

“The first reaction is one of fear. It’s not that we fear the unknown. You can’t fear something that you do not know. Nobody is afraid of the unknown. What you really fear is the loss of the known. That’s what you fear. “

It’s a powerful thought and its deeply true.

I am not, and I am sure the same for you reading this, afraid of what is to come. In the past I never was, and currently in the present I still am not. I was however, and again I would bet the same for you reading this, afraid of what I had lost, of the understanding which I had before the changing of things; of myself, of my environment, of others and of anything which made up my consciousness of which I was aware. The future doesn’t scare me and never has. Again, its always been the idea or the actual transitioning or realization that I had lost or had moved away, been pushed away, pulled away, fallen away, from a place of understanding, from one of knowing, to a place without either, and was scared to turn away and to proceed without them.

Another quote stuck with me from my reading:

“Because if you desire to change what is into what you think should be, you no longer understand.”

Yet again, powerful and deeply true.

By attempting to keep things the way they once were, our understanding of what is is unable to be. By yearning and focusing on what has been, we remove any possibility of understanding and of knowing what is. By hoping they still were, we are blinding ourselves from knowing that they are no longer, and of what is right now, this very moment, this existence.

But, what leads us to not wanting things to change? Why are we so against these transitions?


“All of our miseries are nothing but attachment.” — Osho

If there is nothing to fear in the changing of things due to our ignorance of what is to come, and if the past is an ever fleeting place of which we have nothing physically to grasp on to, attachment to once was is where our agony, our anxieties and our fears are born from.

Simply put, we hold on to things that once were but no longer are…

… and I do not know exactly why. I am sure there is someone out there who understands with greater depth the mechanism in our brain behind this, but I myself do not have the answer. What I do somewhat know, whether it be backed by proof or not, is that somewhere within our thinking brain, we are able to turn away from this and to cast our focus towards the ever present now. And, in my experience, this is done by noticing more of the moment to moment changing of things. By being more aware of the transitioning of life from one moment to its successor, and so on.

But, how?


Days have gone by now. I didn’t finish this piece by the first deadline I had set for myself. But, here I am, back at my little brown desk, sitting here drinking a perfectly tempered coffee in the morning hours of a clear-sky, Beijing day (I’m grateful for this). I have other places to be soon, but I want to be here now, working on this, so I am and, well, here we go.

Just above I stated that I didn’t have the answers as to why we hold on to things from the past, and I still don’t. I’m not necessarily looking for a version of this answer either at the moment, or even for the finishing of this piece. But, reading a post from a writer I like, which had within it a link directed to another post, a New Yorker article titled, ‘The Possibilian’, a piece by Burkhard Bilger focused on the near-death experience of David Eagleman, a neuroscientist and author, and what it taught him about the mysteries of time and the brain, I stumbled upon ideas which invigorated me to return to this thought.

“Time is this rubbery thing,” Eagleman said. “It stretches out when you really turn your brain resources on, and when you say, ‘Oh, I got this, everything is as expected,’ it shrinks up.” 

It’s an amazing article, one with great depth and a variety of insights, one which highlights topics ranging from near death experiences to a theme park ride coined SCAD (Suspended Catch Air Device) sending people free-falling from ungodly heights somewhere in the middle of Texas, from drummers and their superhero sense of time to the great Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan and how he gathered intel from throughout his empire. However, though it does not directly deal with what I am attempting to say within this piece, again, it did invigorate me and by doing so provided me with more knowledge to attempt to piece together and to say. What stuck out to me the most, with this work-in-progress held within my mind, was the concept of time and how we perceive it in certain moments.

Another quote:

“One of the seats of emotion and memory in the brain is the amygdala, he explained. When something threatens your life, this area seems to kick into overdrive, recording every last detail of the experience. The more detailed the memory, the longer the moment seems to last. “This explains why we think that time speeds up when we grow older,” Eagleman said—why childhood summers seem to go on forever, while old age slips by while we’re dozing. The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.”

Re-read that last line. Here it is again:

…The more familiar the world becomes, the less information your brain writes down, and the more quickly time seems to pass.”

Though the piece at large and the quote above are speaking of time in terms of life-threatening scenarios, I believe this same phenomena could serve in our favor towards the awareness needed to acknowledge the moment by moment changes we are constantly subjected to, but also usually blinded to, and by doing so, lead us in the direction of better handling and experiencing the thing we all seem to fear the most; change.

Another quote:

“The best example of this is the so-called oddball effect—an optical illusion that Eagleman had shown me in his lab. It consisted of a series of simple images flashing on a computer screen. Most of the time, the same picture was repeated again and again: a plain brown shoe. But every so often a flower would appear instead. To my mind, the change was a matter of timing as well as of content: the flower would stay onscreen much longer than the shoe. But Eagleman insisted that all the pictures appeared for the same length of time. The only difference was the degree of attention that I paid to them. The shoe, by its third or fourth appearance, barely made an impression. The flower, more rare, lingered and blossomed, like those childhood summers.

Re-read the bolded line above. Here it is again…

…The only difference was the degree of attention that I paid to them.”

Hell, read it one more time…

…The only difference was the degree of attention that I paid to them.”

I’m not going to attempt to speculate here, or to turn these words or these findings into something that they are not. I’m not looking for a far out connection here. Instead, I’m saying something that we may all already innately know, which the example above proves, but which we are too lazy or too tired, too distracted, too asleep or too dead to apply the energy or the will needed to experience life in a different more engaged, more aware, more understood and accepted way, to tap into our moment by moment existence as it is rather than what we believe or wish it to be.

Simply put, life requires our attention. The more unfamiliar we view our lives, the more information our brain writes down, and the more slowly time seems to pass.

But, how do we make our lives more unfamiliar?

Remind yourself constantly that you know nothing, then look around.

I just did this right now while writing and I already feel more emerged from my smug sense of knowing and engaged with the vast and unknown world around me.

Try it, now…

Did your perception change?

If you say no, you’re lying to yourself. Or, you’re just not aware. You’re not ready to be awake. You’re still asleep in the dream of knowing.

Keep trying.


But how does this apply to change? What is it exactly I am trying to say?

I started this piece unknowing of where exactly I was to take it or where it would, in the typing of its words, take me. All I knew from the beginning is I wanted to view change as inevitable, or rather as infinitesimal, as occurring moment by moment despite our awareness of its activity. Having gone back and re-read each line, from beginning to end, I notice that I have attempted to fulfill this action by bouncing back and forth between thought and observation, thinking and simply looking. And, after having reached this point, what I believe at this moment is:

Time and change are indistinguishable. Inseparable rather. They are identical twins. I might reach to even say they are conjoined twins. Or, two deeply harmonized lovers, maybe. Whatever the correct analogy may be, either way, two separate phenomena, however entangled with each other and dependent upon one another for survival, for harmony and for continuance. They move together, running along the trail of eternity. Running isn’t right. Dancing I believe is. Running implies their movement to always proceed linearly. This has been disproven, both in time and in change. Both are plastic. Malleable to the forces, emotions if you will, of life. Running doesn’t explain this properly. Dancing does. Twirling, spinning, stomping, jumping, leaping, pacing, strutting, waltzing, stepping, toeing, etc. Their coexistence is a dance, a dance however which wouldn’t exist without their conjoining. Without time, change impedes. Without change, there is no marker for time. Time is tracked, noted and observed by the changing of things. Change is seen only in the passage of time. Given their conjoined coexistence, they are subjected to the same laws of nature, most notably our ability as a species to attend to the world around us, to provide attention to the workings of a mechanism. The soul of the universe (time, unknown, infinity, space, understanding, etc.) is in constant flux, infinitesimal change, and so to its body (matter, nature, inanimate objects, living creatures, us).

How can we experience this awareness?

The more attention we pay to the moment by moment account of our lives, the more detail our brain notices, and the slower time seems to pass.

So by relation,

The more attention we pay to the moment to moment changing of things, the more detail our brain notices, and the greater our understanding of change becomes.

Change, as it is, not what we believe or wish it to be.


…So hard to move on when you’re down in a hole,

Where there’s so little a chance to experience soul.”

— George Harrison, The Light That Has Lighted The World


I’ll probably revisit and revise this piece again someday. But for now, this will do.

Brave New World

How did you come across the book?

I was sitting in this park actually, saw the bookshop over there and I thought, “Well, I’m sitting here. I want to read“, went in to the bookshop, and well, this book is actually a recommendation from a friend of mine, so I asked there at the counter if they had it, and they had it, so. I bought it today, yeah.

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

Well the book is about mass production and how, uh… eventually the world could completely turn around; where people are not born by their mother, or parent’s, but are produced in big factories. And, it’s actually, at the moment it’s sort of depressing. And, its sort of mind blowing. But, uh, I’m starting to like it, a lot. Yeah, it is quite dark. It is quite dark.

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

After page 50, yeah, for-sure. And to whom? To people buying mass production goods. Yeah.

Voyager

How did you come across the book?

It’s the basis of a TV show; Outlander. So, this is the third book in the series. So, I decided to read all the books.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Almost done. 875 out of… over 1000 pages! I think its interesting because I came back from Edinburgh recently, and its during the time of the Jacobite Uprising, so its interesting to see that historical perspective after coming back from the place where the uprising happened near. Yeah!

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

Umm… I guess to anyone who is interested in historical fiction or who likes the TV show.

Dreams, Suffering and Love

“Only three things can change our life: Dreams, Suffering and Love.” — Paulo Coelho

Think about it.

Think of all the changes you have experienced thus far, no matter your age nor any other differentiating factor between you and someone else. Only consider the common fates of us all, our common lot and our common existence as human beings, and think all of which you have already endured and have transitioned from and to.

Really, I beg you.

Think about it.

Have dreams not lead you towards the facing of the biggest changes of your life?

Have they not demanded from you your answering of the most important questions in their confront?

The ones where decisions were heavily considered, subsequently hard fought against, accepted, second-guessed, approved again, rethought the same, and then finally made, maybe?

Has suffering and love not lead you towards the same?

Have all three not coexisted within the same moment of life’s changes?

Think about it.

In reflection of this now, I know this to be true within my own life. Every change I’ve faced, let break me, endured, overcame, reflected upon, all have stemmed from one of the three, but also, have contained a presence of the trios teaming.

Dreams have taken me places; some having been in their meeting, others in their losing. Some of the ones I’ve met, I have also lost with my understanding of them. Others I still pursue due to their continued ominous position. Regretfully, I have followed dreams that weren’t mine, readjusted and found mine again, then lost them same; this process has happened many times, and again I’m sure it will.

Again, the same with suffering.

Suffering has taken me places; some in its meeting, others thereafter its time. Some of the ones I’ve met, I also have lost with my understanding of them. Others I still find myself a part of due to their continued ominous position. Regretfully, I have allowed suffering that wasn’t mine, readjusted and suffered through my own again, then lost the same; this process has happened many times, and again I’m convinced it will.

And, again, the same with love.

Love has taken me places; sometimes in its meeting, other times in its depart. Sometimes the love I have met, I have also lost with my understanding of it. Other times I still yearn for certain love due to its continued ominous position. Regretfully, I have pursued love that wasn’t mine, readjusted and found mine again, then lost the same; this process has happened many times, and again I believe it will.

And again, in this process, the three have coexisted. I do not believe they are able not to. One tends to take the lead in regard to intensity and situation, but the others are always there.

In this, this is where the mind and the body differentiate, but where they are also subject to the same process of change. The body does not consciously chose what it will face in order to change; rather it takes on the challenges this life provides and does its best to adapt accordingly for continued and bettered survival.

The mind however, us as human beings, the pair, chooses, though choice is not always advantageous. Maybe this is a lesson where the mind can truly learn from the ways of the body; take on the challenges life provides and do its best to adapt accordingly for continued and bettered survival. Remove thought. Just act.

Some changes demand of us to accept them thoroughly for what they are, others we are able to manipulate their meaning. Regardless, we must face them, and we must adapt to them. There will always be a demand to change when facing this life. This you have no choice over. The body knows this. The mind sometimes, it forgets this.

Life will provide the challenges, and though the majority of them will originate from either that of dreams, of suffering, or of love, whether we are of the mind to confront them or not, we will have to, no matter. This will be hard, as it always is, when the three come from a place of authenticity, and in their changing we are truly affected.

If your dreams are real to you, they will bring about change, desired or not.

If your suffering is real to you, it will bring about change, prepared or not.

If your love is real to you, it will bring about change, understood or not.

Begin to understand this. Acknowledge it. Accept it. And, again, if they are real to you, then embrace them. Neither one of true meaning can exist without change, nor can it progress, nor can it grow. So, in their inevitable confront, choose to take on the challenges they provide, and do your best to adapt to them accordingly for continued and bettered survival.

For, without dreams, without suffering, and without love, life is meaningless, I do believe. And, without change, neither can truly exist. So, in accordance, without change life is meaningless. Our dreams, our suffering, and our love, they understand this. Sometimes, us… we forget.

Afrikan People and European Holidays: A Mental Genocide, Book Two

How did you come across the book?

Well, I was down south for the holidays. I was in Virginia. I left North Carolina on… my sister lives in North Carolina… I left there Christmas Day to go to Virginia. I left Virginia Thursday and I’ve been in New York since. So, my brother had it in his house, and I noticed it and I was like, “hmm, that’s kind of interesting!”

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well, uh… it just gives an introduction of, hmm… historical facts from another person’s point of view, which is not really the view of the textbooks that we receive in schools and stuff like that. It’s just another peoples’ perspective who claim that the descendants of Neanderthals, Europeans, have inflicted a lot of strife upon the world, especially when they received that very power that they held from the original people, which is Afrikans. So, that’s the kind of point of view that I’ve gathered so far. Yeah… I’m not done with it yet.

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

Hmm… I would recommend it to all peoples’. All peoples’. You know, because its not only people of color who are miseducated in America. It’s all peoples. So, I would definitely recommend it to… anyone who is interested in history or just doesn’t like the way the world is run right now. People who are interested in those things should definitely check out this book.

The Alchemist

How did you come across the book?

It was recommended to me by two of my closest friends, on tour, three years ago.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well, what’s cool is I just finished reading another book called, “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind” by Joseph Murphy… and finding nuggets he gave in that book reflected in here has been really interesting. Just reading them so closely together… that’s been really cool.

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

Yeah! I’d recommend it. I mean, I’m not… I’m only 36, 37 pages in… uh, but so far, it’s good. It seems like anybody can read it. It’s not too challenging. And, I’ve heard only great things about, like, once you finish the book, what it does for you, so… why not everyone, yeah?

The Grapes Of Wrath

How did you come across the book?

Uh… a friend lent it to me.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

It’s amazing! Well, maybe you know it… maybe you’ve read about it. It’s set in the 1930s, Great Depression, where a lot of people in the South of the US were forced to move to the West because of the… they were losing the land, the banks were taking it away from them, and… it’s just an amazing book. I really like it. It’s very humane. It has that… from the start, it’s perspective, it has the mix of the very nice prose of the author, and the descriptions… and with the dialogues of the characters, that are very… you know, uneducated, and very popular from the sense that they talk like people in the South… it gives you the sense of the time and helps you learn about the South through language, and how they spoke and interacted during this period. So, its a very nice book to read from that point of view, and also, it helps you understand how the American society came about, to what it is today.

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

I think everyone should read this book. Especially if they live in America. Or, even if they don’t, because the US is such an influential country… politics and economics, quotes… for everyone.

A Game Of Thrones

How did you come across the book?

I was at my girlfriend’s house, um… and, I saw the book on the shelf, and I was like, “Hey, I watched the series, so might as well read the book!” And, yeah… that’s how I found myself reading it. I asked if I could borrow it and… yeah.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

I don’t know. I use to… I’ve always read books for different reasons. I was into fantasy a lot. And, this is also fantasy. But, they’re written differently… and like, especially when you’re younger, you look at different things and you get lost in different things. Your whole mind wanders. I end up not reading usually. Half the time I usually just look at the page, kind of just dreaming and thinking about it… and that’s why I like fantasy. So, to answer the question… yeah, I don’t know!

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

Yeah. I mean I’d honestly recommend it to all ages, but like that’s always a weird thing, cause I feel like kids understand violence… there’s a lot of violence, a lot of blood, vivid descriptions of different things, you know. But yeah, honestly, I feel like kids my age… 19… I mean 16-19 also, violence is on like every TV show… and it’s on Netflix, so… anyone can watch that. So, yeah… honestly, all ages. Why not?

Willing Slaves of Capital

How did you come across the book?

It was recommended by a friend.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well, uh… I’ve got a very new perspective towards capitalism. Yeah… it is… I’ve learned to admit the fact that we are all, slaves in a way… willingly though. Because, the system is designed in such a way that we need to willingly go into servitude to get what it is we desire, on a daily basis. Or, otherwise… or else… you can’t live in this system. You have to live somewhere else.

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

Oh yeah. I would totally recommend it. Especially to the young people… to the youth. Because, uh… they seem so caught up in the… in everything that’s going on. Everything seems to be coming at them so fast that people don’t have time to take an objective look at anything. And, this book takes an objective look to capitalism, if you want to… if you may put it like that. I think it would really be a good read for… for the youth, anywhere… not just in the overtly capitalistic systems, but than those that are covertly capitalistic, or whatever they may want to call it, as well. Yeah… I think its a good read.

The Devil In The White City

How did you come across the book?

A friend of mine was telling me about it… I don’t remember what we were talking about, but… he was like, ‘oh, have you heard about the Chicago’s World Fair… and, you know, the main guy that actually started the fair was this psycho serial killer?’ And, I was like,’ No!… I never knew that happened!’ So, yeah… I was very intrigued and, until I got the book, he was like, ‘yeah… you’ve got to read it.’ I mean, I never heard of it until he brought it up to me. Yeah, cause’ I mean… I thought the fair… well, I actually started reading this book and I haven’t read it in the past few months, so now I’m just picking it up again, but, the guy that ran the fair, yeah… he’s known to have killed like… I can’t even remember the number… just insane… and this is in like 1890s…’MURDER, MAGIC, AND MADNESS AT THE FAIR‘… murder should probably be in bold!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Umm… I guess… I’m trying to get back into it since I took a break from it, but… it’s just interesting to learn about history that you never knew about. Yeah.

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

Yes. I would recommend it. To? Anyone that just wants to learn more about what’s happened in America that you don’t really know about. Like, I commonly wouldn’t have known this ever happened… and, friends that I’ve told this about, they’ve also been like, ‘oh, I never knew that even happened!’ So, yeah… guess its good to learn and to read at the same time.

Fendre l’armure

How did you come across the book?

I bought it in France before I left to come here. And, I don’t know… bought it because I know the author, I’ve read a lot of her books and I really like them. It’s easy to read and, this one, it’s just like a bunch of novels that I really like. It’s about people that are becoming vulnerable and opening themselves. So, yeah… this is something that I find really interesting.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Hmm… I’ve learned that probably opening to people isn’t a bad thing, and making yourself vulnerable isn’t bad at all. It’s not a weakness. It’s uh… you feel less lonely when you open to people and this is pretty much what this book told me.

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

Yeah, I would definitely recommend it, and I would recommend it to pretty much everyone because it is super simple to read. There are so many different histories that identify to most of the characters, so… and… it’s a great book.

A Western World

How did you come across the book?

Uhh… I like DeForge’s work… its by Michael DeForge. So, I liked his work anyway, and I kind of found it spontaneously when I was shopping. The colors of one of the covers of his books just like called me out, so then I bought this book and then I realized it was unlike any other kind of sequential art book that I’ve read. And so, then from there I’ve just been getting my hands on as much of his work as possible.

So far, what perspective have you gained from the book?

Well, its really cool because this came out I think… I think it came out like last month… its really new. And so, its his kind of zany, like almost absurdist art-take on real world issues that are happening right now. For instance, there’s a part of the book that kind of dabbles polyamory and like how society perceives it, and how people still feel like they have to kind of keep it a secret if they’re into those types of things… so, it just does that but in a more visual way, because its all drawn out, like a comic book but its focusing on real things, not just like superhero’s and stuff.

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

Yes, I would recommend this book, to anyone who actually doesn’t like to read but is interested in trying to get into reading, because, I really wasn’t a reader until this year and then I had a sort of strike of reading and I feel it was brought on because I originally found interest in these books. I’m an extremely visual person, but that comes with actual shapes and images and photos, and so words kind of just don’t hold my attention, but ever since I started reading his work, and me being able to relate it to real world stuff, even though it is a comic book style and its drawn, its gotten me to read more and more things because now I’m just into the idea of that narrative. So, it was almost like an introductory… it got me as an adult back into reading when I haven’t for years.

The Bible

How did you come across the book?

Someone handed it to me in charity. They gave me it.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

The first book I read in The Bible is Jobe. It’s the trials he goes through. I see it as sort of my trials in my life for myself. It’s just where I am right now. I’m homeless and I’m just going with God trying to figure it out.

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

I’d only recommend it if you had a Bible to give somebody. It’s better than money. That’s it.

The Situation and the Story

How did you come across the book?

… I have no idea! I don’t remember. Probably… graduate school? I may of come across it… oh, you know what… OK… I remember, sorry! This was recommended to me by Rob Spillman who’s one of the editors at Tin House News, also a sometimes professor at Columbia University in the writing program.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Ooh! Um… I feel like I have to pull my notes out! One of the biggest takeaways for me, because this is a book about essay and memoir, its about personal narrative, and one of the biggest takeaways for me is that an essay is exploring a topic through the lens of the narrator’s persona, whereas a memoir is exploring the narrator’s persona through different topics outside the narrator. And so, that really gave me a lot of perspective on my own writing and in ways that I could kind of come at the self obliquely through other topics.

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

I would recommend it to somebody who is probably a later writing student, or an experienced writer. The first time I read it, it went over my head a little bit, and so, I’m not sure that it would be helpful for many people, but, there is a great reading list kind of worked into it because she goes through all of these different examples of essays and memoir and personal narrative in the book. But, I’d probably save it for somebody who’s stuck on their current writing project.

Medium Raw

How did you come across the book?

Uh, I read his first novel… ‘Kitchen Confidential‘… and so, found there was a next one, and decided to read the rest.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

I guess the shift that the author went through from, you know… well, the first book, ‘Kitchen Confidential‘, is way more about the restaurant industry itself, and then this shows his shift into becoming a celebrity chef and, yeah…. it shows his perspective that he gained out of it; the retrospect and everything. I like it because it’s still… it’s not just about that… it’s still about food and the industry and what not, so yeah. I’m a cook right now, and I’m inspiring to be a chef, so any bit of information I can get, you know, is good.

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

I definitely would recommend it. I mean, because I personally enjoy it, a lot. I think though that it could be interesting for anyone, just because he’s…. I’m mean, I only have around a year or so experience cooking and all that, but from what I’ve seen so far, he stays true to what everyday life is in a kitchen. And, on top of that, you know, he’s uh… he’s a pretty entertaining writer; he’s funny and all. So, yeah… if you want to have a good laugh and you happen to be interested in food, yeah, I definitely recommend it.

A Confederacy of Dunces

How did you come across the book?

Ohh, that’s a good question! Uh… I was looking up comedy related books… and than this is like… this was just suggested on a Google search… on like Amazon and stuff, so… and I’ve heard about it, so I was like, “Ah OK, maybe it time.” So, yeah.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Ohh… perspective in my own life? Yeah… ahh… perspective? I don’t know. So far its pretty cool. It’s about… ahh, its kind of a cool… well, I’m doing research on the book… I took a break from reading it to read the Wikipedia page. The book is hailed for its accuracy of said New Orleans… hailed for its accuracy of its description of New Orleans, and of its description of its language. Being from the south its kind of cool given that I like the way people talk… I can hear the voices in my head as I read which is kind of cool… that New Orleans southern draw.

Would you recommended, and if so, to who and why?

Oh… yes! For… right now I’m only a chapter in… the foreword and the chapter, but so far its fantastic; its great; its definitely… well, I was looking for a comedy book, because I do stand up, so I was looking for something like this. But this is a great novel so far, again, I’m only in chapter one, but I absolutely recommend it, and… why? Probably because its… I mean, so far its living up to every review that I’ve read about it, so… so, yeah… yeah man.

Over the Edge of the World

How did you come across the book?

Well, I’ve read it before. One of my friends in Hawaii gave it to me actually.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Uh, I’ve gained a lot of interesting knowledge actually. It’s kind of like a text book, but it’s still like storybook, so it’s still really, really easy to follow and interesting… a lot of information in here. I was surprised!

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

Yes! I’ve been trying to get my dad to read it for the past year… just because he’s into the whole history thing… and I mean, if you like history, its definitely entertaining enough.

Playing The Piano For Pleasure

How did you come across the book?

Um… I’m a musician, so I just pick up as much literature as I can on music and try to extract from it what I can to serve what I do play. My mother does estate sells back in Long Island… she cleans out houses and a lot of contents end up back at home, and this book made its way from one of the houses… and she thought it belonged to me and uh… so, I took that as a sign to take it home to go through it. I’ve already read it before, but I’m going back for a second time to see what else I can get out of it.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well… as a musician it’s all about this, uh… I believe he wrote for the New Yorker back in like the 20s or 30s, this guy Charles Cooke… he was big on the amateur musician and how, as an amateur musician, you don’t have to compete with professional musicians… you can sort of enjoy it for your own pleasure and develop at your own pace… and get a lot out of it without the stress of having to compete with top-tier musicians, and… I think there’s a lot to be learned from that approach, as I feel there’s so many people in the city trying to quote-on-quote “make it” in a creative sense, and if your serious about it, that will drive you to compete on those top-tiers, but… if you can sort of take a step back and enjoy it on the many tiers below that, and figure out your own level, there’s a lot more pleasure to be had that way.

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

I would recommend it to any other musician or artist for what I laid out in the previous question, just… I don’t know… I’d recommend it to anybody!

In the Still of the Night

How did you come across the book?

The first book I read by him was called, um… ‘The Supernaturals’… and this is part two if it. He has a lot of other books out that I just haven’t gotten around to yet, but ‘The Supernaturals‘ was the first.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

It’s about a group of people who met… in the first book they were only about… eight people, and only two or three really knew each other. This book takes place about seven years later, so these people have gotten closer, but they still have a lot of issues. It is about… well, supernaturals… so it is sort of a horror book… but its also about human nature. It’s about politics too, which is very timely… I mean, I didn’t realize that until I started reading… but its very timely now… and its about a president who is disturbingly like what we’ve got in the White House. So, um… yeah, so… I have no idea how its going to end, but it’s just very, very interesting, and um… some parts are disturbing, because… oh my goodness… human nature… people who’ll do anything for power. But, then again, there’s a lot of friendship in this too, because again, these people have gotten to know each other, and each of these people have like real, serious, um… somewhat tragic backgrounds, so… its good to see them come together. But yeah, lots of disturbing stuff in here too, which is… uh, I mean… to be expected.

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

Oh, absolutely! I would recommend it to anybody who… who… just enjoys a good book that you can just sit down with and just, you know… go with it! Yeah, just go with it. Don’t have any preconceived notions about what its about… just go with it. Normally people would say, “Well ok, if you like horror, then go…”. No… just, just read it… just read it! You know… cause’ I mean… I read everything… you know, I read everything. I don’t care, you know… you cant tell me, because I’m reading a horror book, only recommend horror books to me… no! Read everything! If its an interesting book… recommend it to me, and I will read it! So… same thing here… read it!

Theodora: Actress, Empress, Whore

How did you come across the book?

Truthfully? I work in the same building as Penguin Publishing, and there’s always free books in the mailroom. Yeah! That’s how I came across it.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well… its mainly about a woman who is just trying to find herself… and she’s going through these major changes, so I feel like, in regard to perspective… I mean the character, she’s very daring and true to herself, so I feel if anything, that’s the perspective… to just stay bold!

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

Yes, I would recommend it. Probably to one of my best friends who is an English teacher, just because I feel like she would appreciate literature taking place in the 6th century. So… that’s who I would recommend it too.

The Constant Princess

How did you come across the book?

Funny you should ask! I’m actually in a book club, and I am about to meet them… um, pretty soon. This was a book that someone else chose. It’s only like five of us, but one of them picked this book for the month… and I’m just about to finish it up. Otherwise, I would never think to pick this out. It’s really good actually… I like it. That’s the part of… the good thing about book club… you read books that you wouldn’t normally pick yourself.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well… this is like… kind of a historical account of the Queen of England, in around the early 1500s… and, uh… so I guess it just kind of opened my eyes to thinking… or the logic of that time. I guess that’s pretty much it.

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

Absolutely! This is… it has a really strong female, hero character… and, so… it shows that women can overcome… we all can overcome.

The Tin Drum

How did you comes across the book?

Oh! I go off into Strand, and I simply like to read… I just… I guess lately I like to read European authors… and he’s German; I’ve never heard of him actually, and realized that he actually received a Nobel Prize for literature. This was his first book… written 50 years ago. Yeah, he was born in the 20s, in Germany, so, even though it’s a translation, it’s absolutely interesting to read. But, yeah… well, I’m on page 13… interesting enough!

So far, what perspective have you gained from the book?

Actually… with this book, its difficult to say… considering that I’m only on page 13, but… I mean, I think that he writes in a very poetic way. However, it is from the perspective of someone who is in a mental health institution, so… it’s not as focused as you would expect. Yeah, I think that it is very interesting! I read reviews of the book, and they said it was quite revolutionary at the time, right, when it was published. Sorry, I can’t tell you more about the perspective!

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

Again… very hard to say… very hard to say at this point. I mean, I was born in Romania, right, so I feel very close, like geographically to the area… so I think of everyone who is coming from there, trying to understand that period, would probably gain from reading it. So, I would definitely recommend it to my daughters, because I think that the style is very different to what you read these days… not that it’s better, but it’s quite different; like the sentences are a lot longer, and the paragraphs have a lot more ideas… that sometimes makes it hard to follow actually! But, a lot of thought… you sometimes have to read paragraphs again, in order to really get it!

Visibility Marketing

How did you come across the book?

I came across the book a few weeks ago at… Strand Bookstore. I’m a business person… an entrepreneur… and marketing is everything… and so, I looked in the column… the row that marketing books were, and I came across this one. And one thing… one of the reasons that I picked this book, as opposed to some of the others… it’s from 2016, and so I wanted something that was fairly current, in light of social media and those types of things. So, yeah…. so I chose this one.

So far, what perspective have you gained form this book?

I think one of the main points is being authentic. In other words, if you say that… in terms of a business… if you present yourself as, or position yourself as being… you know, a person concerned with customer service, providing good customer service… than you need to do it. If you say you provide products on this day, or services on another day, or whatever… than you need to do it. You know… so that’s one of the things about being authentic… if you say you’re going to do something, than do it.

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

Umm… I would recommend it. I will say… to be honest… some of the stuff I knew, so it’s more so reinforcement for me, because I read this type of stuff… and I have read it for the last 20+ years. But, I would recommend it, and I would recommend it mostly to someone who’s starting out I would say… in business… because marketing is crucial and most people think it’s just about having a product or service, and that’s it… and then everybody will just flock to them because it’s such a great idea, great product or service… but it really is about how people engage or interact with your product or service, or you as a company… and it is about being true, to the brand, true to what you say the company stands for. So, I would recommend it to… uhh… mostly newbies… but anybody can learn!


P.S. This individual is also a writer himself, author of the book Think Outside the Cell: An Entrepreneur’s Guide for the Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated.

The Name of the Wind

How did you come across the book?

Umm… I was… how did I come across this book? I think I was reading a review of another book… it was a fantasy book… and it mentioned this one, which is the first in a trilogy, and it described as… like, “Harry Potter for adults”… so I was like, “Yes, I need to read that!”

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Oh man! What perspective? Umm… well the thing about the book that is interesting… that makes it different from normal fantasy genre… is the hero of the story is telling his own story, looking back on it. So, it kind of plays with perspective in an interesting way… I wonder if it’s gonna kind of like, mess with that at all, and have him be an unreliable narrator, or anything like that. But, umm… I don’t know… as far as perspective in my own life? Not really!

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

Yes! I would recommend it to anyone who’s remotely interested in fantasy… likes Game of Thrones… any of that stuff; it’s really well written. A lot of times I get scared to start a book, so I’m like, “Oh, what if I don’t like it?” But, this sucked me in immediately! I’ve already read 200 pages in about a week… so… yeah! It’s addictive! I definitely recommend it for fantasy fans.

Treasure Island

How did you come across the book?

This is a book my father read to me as a child… a lot of sweet memories… some of the best memories of childhood is my dad reading to me as a kid, so I thought I’d re-read this one.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

It’s an adventure story… a coming of age story, and the cool thing about it is… it follows this young boy who’s serving as the shipmate on a boat, and it’s really… he’s realizing a lot the realities of a pretty harsh and broken world. But, it’s told in a really just fun, kind of, you know, child’s story; I think there’s something beautiful about it, because I read it as a child and it just seemed like an “adventure story” and a fun time, but you look back as you grow up and you realize that you’re learning things about our broken world and how we embrace them… and how we deal with them.

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

Yeah… I think it’s a great story; I’d recommend people to read it to their kids… yeah, I don’t know if people still do that, but it definitely is a special thing… at least in my memory. But, I think there’s something to reading simple fiction as an adult, you… if you’ve like … like, I’m finishing up studies at university… you read a lot of kind of erudite, and thick books… and there’s something about reading something simple and easy, it just gets you back to the joy of reading… you get to 110 pages in two hours, you know… it’s just nice.

Positive Discipline

How did you come across the book?

Because I needed to read it for work, so it’s a good tool to learn how to work with kids.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

It shows that there are many ways to be kind, and to be strict with kids, and you have to know how to use both.

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

Ok… would I recommend it? Yes, because for parents that do not know how to teach kids… this book is perfect.

George, Nicholas and Wilhelm

How did you come across the book?

It was probably an internet search… my mom is housebound so I buy a lot of books for her and she’s interested in history, so… and I’m interested in history, so… I think I just came across it and it looked interesting… and it is, very!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

I just think it’s fascinating to… you know, it really helps us to understand where we are if we know where we came from… and, I think it’s just fascinating! What fascinates me about that time period is that, you know, all of the monarch’s that were involved, in World War I… they were cousins, all related to Queen Victoria… and that sort of… not really incest, it’s not the right way of putting it, but… yeah, they were… they’re still all related… the royals. But, I just find it very fascinating… and I think that we have to understand history in order to understand the present.

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

I’d recommend it to people who… you know, what I like about the book is that it’s… it’s history, but it’s very readable… I think people are sometimes afraid of reading biography, autobiography history because they expect it to be dry, but this is really a beautifully written book… Miranda Carter is the author, and… yeah, I’d recommend it to anybody who’s interested in… I mean, it’s European history, it’s not American history… I read a lot of American history as well… but, I think we’re living in a time right now which is going to be written about, a lot! We’re actually… we’re living in the middle of history… I mean we always are, but… right now it’s just really fascinating, and… you know, it’s fascinating to see what our relationship with Germany is becoming because everything that happened in this book… you know, the end of War World I was only a hundred years ago… a tremendous amount has changed in a very short period of time, and I just find that fascinating… the acceleration of things… and now with the internet and these devices that we all carry, things are accelerating at a really fast pace, and… I don’t know… I think looking at the past gives us perspective on the present.

Station Eleven

How did you come across the book?

Actually, I bought it in… is it World Aid? First Aid?… Goodwill! The american version! I’m actually on holiday and I just needed something to read… and, as I like a bit of Sci-fi, the description caught my eye… about a flu pandemic so, you know… very american, based I think… well, anyways… at the moment I can’t remember where its based… but, it’s american! And, yeah, it’s so far been brilliant!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Perspective? Hmm… I guess… people are people, everywhere! Umm… I’ve literally only read a few pages… hang on… Toronto! It actually takes places in Toronto! Well, so far, not a lot has happened… a guy actually died on stage and the main witness that you see this from actually wants to be a paramedic, so it’s all kind of tying in and it proved that his calling was true, as he ran up on stage and tried to help and save him. And, his girlfriend went home and left him there… so. He was thinking that she would feel that he was a hero, but all she said was, “could you bring milk? I’ve gone home!” We haven’t even hit the flu part yet! So yeah, I guess that’s what I mean by people are people!

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

I think it’s a touch too early to tell… but so far I would, to people who like books that are a bit different… maybe. And, a bit weird! Yeah… so that’s it!

Infinite Jest

How did you come across the book?

I actually heard of the writer himself first from a friend of mine. He recommended to me a commencement speech from the same author called ‘This is Water’, and after reading that I decided to look at a couple of his fictional works because I prefer fiction over nonfiction. So, I read his first novel, which was ‘The Broom of the System‘, and umm… because I kind of liked his style I decided to go on to this one because it’s known as his magnum opus, and so… a lot of people sing high praises for it, but a lot of people also kind of criticize it for being so lengthy and just kind of like rambling, but I think that it will be an interesting read.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

I mean the thing is… more than a perspective from the book… like from the information from within the book, I think it’s teaching me something about being a reader, and I think it’s… it’s making me realize just how, I guess… how much more I have to read, or how much more I have to experience through reading itself, because… it’s like I’m reading the book, and I’m like going right to the dictionary because I’m like, “Oh, I don’t know what this means, I don’t know what this means!”, I think that just… it’s also kind of… it’s kind of really an awe-inspiring feeling knowing that there are so many writers that are just so talented. I’m actually majoring in English so I… I’m like… perhaps looking forward to publishing something in the future, but just knowing that there are geniuses out there who can use diction so freely… and such complex symbols or analogies with… ease… it just… it really humbles the reader. So, it’s teaching me a lot about just how much work I have left to do.

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

Umm… I think… so, I did say that I read a previous book of his, ‘The Broom of the System‘, but I also read a series of his essays… just really recently; it’s called ‘A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again‘. What I’ve heard from people is that… because this is quite a lengthy book, unless you’re really invested, or unless you’re really curious about the author or the book itself, I think that you’ll find it really difficult to continue reading it, because I find myself sometimes struggling through a page but I’m just like, “OK, I know what to expect from the writer”, because of his previous writings, so I’m kind of looking forward to it no matter how lengthy it is. So, I think if someone were to get into this writer, I would recommend his essays first… and then I would recommend maybe reading ‘Infinite Jest‘.

The Martian Tales Trilogy

How did come across the book?

Well, I’m familiar with the series from a child… like, I read most of them in school and haven’t touched them… I’m up there so… since like, junior high. So, you know, 20 years later! I was in Barnes & Noble and I was just like, “You know what? I love the series I just haven’t gone there in a while… I haven’t read them in so long”. It’s my first summer read; I read a lot of books in the summer!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well, I really found it interesting… the author wrote it during a time period where there were so many different… I guess in terms of turn of the century here in America… he wrote in the perspective of a Virginian that grew up at the end of the Civil War, so then the conflicts that were going on were addressed… you know, people were still referred to as slaves at that time… like everyone… they were itemized into specific categories based on wealth and color and race and religion. But the character eventually travels to, which I’m familiar with, to Mars or the red planet, or whatever they’re calling it in the book, and the order of hierarchy of people is actually reversed; like the red skin person is, they’re the top because they are the top tier people… the darker skinned people are like the oldest living, or the black race is the oldest living race of people… and the white race is kind of referred to as like a monkey or like a third-level… like kind of in reverse order as it was set up at that time in our country. Yeah, it’s a very interesting perspective which I remembered from reading it before, and it’s like I wanted to re-read it and see where I’m at now and how I see it with, you know, a lot of the progress we have made and then watching a lot of the regression in the past election we’ve had, and I’m like, [bctt tweet=”Some of these things I need to revisit” username=”cityreadsnyc”], and really just get in touch with my… I grew up in the south, so get in touch with my southern roots a little bit, so. I’ve found it interesting so far.

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

I would definitely recommend it for… well, first of all, it’s a classic so… but it’s a classic that reads in a fast paced modern perspective, or a relate-able perspective… so, if you’re someone that  went to go see ‘Lord of the Rings’, or went to go see ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, and enjoy reading… you would actually enjoy reading this because it still is relate-able and adaptable currently. It’s not just something that’s only for a specific time period; it’s very general and you can relate to most of the characters in it.

Aristotle’s ‘Nicomachean Ethics’

How did you come across the book?

It was a book that has been on my list because I’m really interested in Stoic Philosophy; I really like reading Plato and Aristotle and all that… and so I hadn’t read this one… and so I put it on the list!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Oh… that’s a tough one! A lot of… you know… practical ideas about the human condition are spoken about in this book and it’s really… well, one of the interesting perspectives is how universal it is, after thousands and thousands of years! You can pick up this book and realize, [bctt tweet=”Wow! Things haven’t really changed in the human psyche all that much! ” username=”cityreadsnyc”]So, that’s been my main take away and kind of using some of these lessons and concepts to inform my own life.

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

Oh… that’s a tough question… another one! These are good! Umm… I would recommend it if you’re looking into thinking deep and thinking about society… thinking about people… thinking about yourself… and examining it in a different lens, and kind of questioning the world around you. So, that’s who’d I recommend it to… anyone who’s looking for answers… or looking to ask more questions!

 

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

How did you come across the book?

This was on one of my reading lists when I was in high school. I had like a hundred contemporary classics that I wanted to read through, and a hundred like “Classic Classics” that I wanted to get through… I don’t remember what my lists were titled… but this was on there! I had seen it in book stores, never bought it and then I went to my Godmothers place in Boston and she had a copy… long story short, she gave it to me with a nice little note in the back!  It says… [bctt tweet=”Eyes changed after they looked at new things.” username=”cityreadsnyc”]

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well… to be honest with you, its kind of… well, the girls perspective is that she’s just really eager to learn and to gain education anyway she possibly can… which I guess is kind of nice for me to be reading while I’m in business school because I don’t really want to be in school. I like to learn things, but I like to learn them on my own and not forcibly in a classroom… but here’s a girl who can’t do that… and so she’s learning on her own, because she just doesn’t have the luxury to learn in a classroom. So… I think that’s kind of the perspective that I’ve gotten so far… and maybe it’s been a little motivating!

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

Yes, I’d recommend it. Umm… it is a little slower as I kind of mentioned… and I think it’s… I’ve been reading it for over a year… I mean I’ve read other books in between but, I’ve been reading it for about a year and I think I’d recommend it to people who are still in school or who are thinking about going to school. For me it’s kind of also… I miss New York… and it references a lot of old New York that I wasn’t even a part of but… it just kind of makes me nostalgic. So, anyone who wants to read about growing up in Brooklyn in the 19… I don’t know, I think it starts in 1910 or 1920 something… so, that would be… yeah… I also think it’s like a contemporary classic… Betty Smith I think published this around the 50s or so and it’s on those classic lists so… yeah, I think it’s more of a young adult into… like, I would say maybe early teens to late 20s would be a good group to read it… I’m not sure, honestly. It’s kind of a baseline book… like it’s not… there’s not much going on in it… but there’s also a lot going on in it… internally and externally. It’s just kind of more like seeing the perspective of living in poverty in Brooklyn during that era… and what you would have to do to sort of survive and get by. I don’t know what else to say about it… it’s just a great book.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

How did you come across the book?

So… I’m an avid movie watcher and a good friend of mine, Amy, put me into the movies years ago. At first I was like, “No, I’m not watching this cause I don’t want to be a part of the system! And everybody’s obsessed with these things!” And then I sat down and I watched them… and I was obsessed! The movies captivated me but I’m not a big fiction reader… I read history, but I’m not a big fiction reader… but um… my wife has been bugging me, “Babe, come on… like every year I’m like babe it’s time for us to do our Harry Potter binge!”… and we watch all the movies again… and she’s like, “You’ve gotta read the books!” So… at first I was like, “You know babe? You know me… I struggle when I read fiction books… like, I’m good.” So she said, “Fine, I’ll buy you the audio book.” And so she gave me the audio book of the first one, and I listened to it… and it was incredible. I couldn’t stop listening to it! So then I was like, “Babe… I think I want to read the second set of books.” So she bought the collection… and I read book two in about a week and a half… and I’ve just been storming through book three! This one’s my favorite movie… and now it’s my favorite book! This is…. this is incredible! The symbolism in it… you know, the story in general has captivated me on a whole different level… that’s why I said you picked the wrong person to interview ’cause I have this like deep Harry Potter theology about my life and… Prisoner of Azkaban really embodies, you know, that selflessness and that… living for others… the thing that I’ve always loved about the series in general!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Oooh! So… I was just telling him… there is, you know… the interesting thing about Harry Potter… and if you know about the story of Harry Potter… you know, he’s this kid and he’s born in one world but his parents were killed, so he had to be raised in another world… and later on he goes back to this other world and… some reject him, some accept him, some glorify him, some… you know… hate him… and it’s this… this thing where he has the weight of the world on his shoulders and he is literally just existing as a kid… growing up and learning. I realized, for me… it doesn’t matter what your destiny is, it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter what your background is, what your future holds… you know[bctt tweet=”… grow, and just live! Take the shackles off yourself and be free!” username=”cityreadsnyc”] For me, it hits a little closer to home because as a Christian I look at… I’m like man, Jesus came to this earth and he died to give his life to us for our sins, and I’m like… here’s this kid who came to a world… they didn’t receive him in it… ultimately in the end there’s this correlation to that, and I don’t want to give any spoiler alerts, but… if you haven’t seen it, check it out… but if you know it, you know he ends up giving up a lot of himself for this world and it becomes this beautiful story of love and no matter what… in this story particularly, he has so much anger towards this one character, then in the end, ends up forgiving him and showing grace to him… and it’s so amazing because… he’s just a kid. You know, I’m like, if this kid can embody this kind of love and this kind of passion for life, then… so can I. That means everyday, live it to the fullest… everyday be free… everyday take the shackles off myself, the shackles that people have put on me… my parents have put on me, my friends have put on me, teachers put on you, educators put on you… and, whatever people put on you, it is to your best interest if you just… take them off, and just be you. Be Harry Potter, be free in your little world, learn what you got to learn… and if people say you’re not good enough, whatever… you know, just live free man… be free for who you are. There’s too much beauty in this world to live it beneath shackles and chains. So… that’s what I got from this.

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

Umm… oddly enough… I’d recommend this book to everybody and anybody! You know, for kids, it is an imagination roller-coaster! Like, this woman… and even when you know her story of how she wrote it, you start to realize that the woman who wrote this, J.K. Rowling… she’s a conqueror; she fought against so much just to get to a place where she could produce these magical books. And then, so much more as a Christian… you know, I know people who are like, “Ah, no! It’s witchcraft… you shouldn’t read it.” And then I realized one of the greatest authors in my opinion… C.S. Lewis… penned one of the greatest fiction stories… The Chronicles of Narnia… and if you ever get a chance to read those book’s, which I did go back and read… they are an incredible adaptation of what it means to really just… believe! The problem with the day we live in now is, we stop believing. Everything has to be tangible before we believe, and I’m sorry man, like… I want to go back and believe in the mysticism, and believe in the magic, believe in the force of love… the beauty of what magic does and how it makes us feel… I want to believe and I don’t ever want to lose that, and I don’t ever want to lose my imagination, because… what I’m noticing is that the reason why the world looks the way it does is because people stopped having imagination…. people stopped believing for more. Books like this man, they open kids up to the world; to see and to be like… [bctt tweet=”Man, the flick of a wand could create this! And I’m like, Yes! Go out and imagine.” username=”cityreadsnyc”] You don’t have a wand, but you have a computer… and you might not have a wand, but you can build something… and go and stretch your imagination… and I don’t care if somebody tells you that you can’t fly; jeez louise… you can fly! Somebody tells you, “You can’t walk on water.” Give it a chance… you might walk on water! People will tell you so much… and I look at it and I’m like… somebody told me one day, “Naj, you will never teleport.” And I was like, “That’s my lifelong dream, to one day teleport.” They kept saying you will never teleport, and I’m like, “Cool… because somebody told somebody they’d never fly… and now look at us… we’re flying!” The minute I stop believing that I’ll teleport… that’s when that dream is dead, and that’s when I will never teleport. And trust me, it sounds silly… look, I’m 36 years old… I’m not actually sitting out here saying, “Yeah, jump off a building and fly!” I’m not talking about being irrational or irresponsible; I’m talking about… just dream! Dream big man! Dream that this world will stop living based on the colors of our souls, thinking that it’s just black or white… no man… dream one day! Look at Martin Luther King… he had a dream, and that dream turned into a reality! We’re still fighting for it, but… that was a dream, and somebody told him lunacy, somebody told him it was magic, that it was imagination… and I just… it’s when we give up on those dreams, when we give up on changing the world, that’s when the world stops changing…and that’s it. I recommend it to everybody and anybody. [bctt tweet=”The thing is… just have your eyes open! ” username=”cityreadsnyc”]Like me… I wrote this book off when it was a movie because I was like, “Witchcraft, Witchcraft, Witchcraft!”… until a friend of mine was like, “Nah, it’s chill. Check it out!” Stop living with your eyes closed, you know… you never know… you’re rejecting stuff for rejecting stuff sake… accept stuff and then sift through it and realize if you don’t want to spit it to somebody else, or if you don’t think you should even eat it… spit it out, you know… put it to the side. But yeah… there’s so much more about it man!

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

How did you come across the book?

This is my roommates book actually, and he’s traveling in Europe so I borrowed it while he’s gone… and I’m in love with it… it’s great!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well… David Foster Wallace’s writing is amazing… his style, if you’re not familiar… it’s like he uses these end notes that are used to put jokes in the middle of… well not always jokes, sometimes their informatory… but uh, in the middle of the text, which is great. But the very first… as far as insight goes… it’s really his vocabulary… it’s amazing so it’s… I mean I’m a song writer so it helps me jot words through my mind. [bctt tweet=”He’s also very funny and smart which I love; it’s great when someone can mix the two.” username=”cityreadsnyc”] It’s sad… unfortunately, he ended up committing suicide… but yes, he was very smart. The specific essay I’m on right now is about him covering the 2000 primaries when John McCain was going against Bush… so, he’s just talking about the times current politics in 2000 so it’s very interesting to read that from his perspective.

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

I would recommend this for sure! To who? I mean, literally everyone! I think… it’s just…. all of it is amazing… but yeah, anybody who is interested in writing… his grammar is impeccable and his vocabulary is just amazing. So, like I said, as far as songwriting goes, it’s really helping me out a lot just purely through his vocabulary… it’s amazing!

Infinite Jest

How did you come across the book?

Well it’s really famous… I mean, it’s considered one of the great american novels… so I knew about it. It’s one of my very good friend’s favorite book… and everyone kind of shits on it for being like a really liberal, douche-bag kind of book and I was just like, “OK, I should definitely read it before I judge it.”

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Umm… it has a lot of really complex characters who are very… endearing; I like that. It also goes across time, so it’s a little bit confusing… but in a nice way.

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

Oh! That is a hard question! Umm… I would recommend it to people who don’t really pay attention to a book’s reputation before they read it… because if they do pay attention to the book’s reputation then what I recommend doesn’t matter because this book has a really notorious reputation. But, for someone who likes being disoriented and appreciates a… a genius… I mean, he really was a master at what he did… then yeah, I would recommend that they try it.

Under Milk Wood

How did you come across the book?

Well, it was written as sort of a poetic radio play by Dylan Thomas. Strangely enough it was first performed here in New York City in 1953. He was Welch but, uh… he occasionally came here and he lived here… in fact, he was a terrible alcoholic and he drank himself to death here. There’s a famous pub up in, uh… near the Meat Packing District where he would frequent. Well, anyways, I’ve known about it for many years and I think I probably heard it on the radio when I was a small… young, boy. And I haven’t really read it for a long, long time. So, as I was in the pub the other week I thought, “hmm… I’ll get a copy of ‘Under Milk Wood‘ and read it.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

It’s really about the kind of individuality and eccentricity of people… and how that should be just love and admired, regardless of any kind of moral judgement. So it’s… it’s pretty amazing; it’s a great read.

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

Well, funny… I would recommend it to anyone, but… my daughter lives here in New York and she’s not a great reader, so first thing I’m going to say to her when she gets home is, apart from reading Raymond Calvel, which I’ve also given her… she must read this. She’s 32 and she’s not been a great reader of fiction… which is her loss so far.

Howl’s Moving Castle

How did you come across the book?

You know what? I’m a big Miyazaki fan… I don’t know if you’re familiar with him or not. He is an animator and makes movies… and he turned this one into a movie a while back. But… I’ve seen the movie a couple times, and you know what?… It just… it was literally face up on a table in a bookstore labeled “Your Next Favorite Book“… and I had just finished reading something else, so I was like, “yeah, alright, I’ll give that a shot… why not?” I’ve always dug the movie so I guess I’ll give the book a try.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Oh man! Perspective I have gained from the book? Umm… I mean… perspective. Well, ok… so listen this book is about magic and how magic works… and, I think more than perspective what this one has done is actually really confirm a lot of things that are going on in my life. [bctt tweet=”You know… every once in awhile you pick up a book that you just needed to pick up…” username=”cityreadsnyc”] …and it sort of starts talking to you, and through the book you start having a conversation with yourself about what you’re up to… and so this book is about magic. It’s about how most magic is rooted in belief, cause I mean like… duh! Most magic is… if you want to think of prayer as magic, then you know, that’s how it works… faith. And also, the main character in this is sort of trying to reconcile where he’s from, where he’s going, what he’s doing… all from the same place. So… I guess it’s just got me really thinking about who I am and where I am and where I’m heading and what I’m doing…. if that makes sense.

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

Oh, so far so good… yeah! If you’re a fan of fantasy… it’s definitely YA fantasy… and then it’s like there’s some coming of age elements in it. One of the main characters is someone who is sort of figuring out how powerful she is… and in her particular society, they have always told her that… so she’s the oldest of three sisters and the caveat in their society is the oldest of three sisters will never amount to anything. And so, one day she sort of accidentally goes off to seek her fortune and continues to find out more and more how powerful she actually is… and how much she can get done. [bctt tweet=”So, I think I would recommend it to anyone who’s a little lost…” username=”cityreadsnyc”] anyone who knows that they belief in some things but isn’t quite sure why… and really anybody who wants just to take a trip… I mean… it is a trip! It is just a really, really great world. It’s so hard, I mean… this book is fairly old but it’s so difficult now that fantasy has become so mainstream to happen upon  a world that feels different than Hogwarts or Middle Earth… and it’s really nice and refreshing to be sort of bamfing in and out of… and also one of the fantasy worlds is rooted in our own reality which I always really enjoyed how Hogwarts does as well… I guess Middle Earth does as well…you’ve gotta die and sail across the seas to us… but uh, yeah… so I guess really, anybody who wants to sort of expand their horizons… pick it up and give it a read. I do not read quickly and I am crushing this!

Korea, Women, Graphic Designers 11

Korean Text: 한국, 여성, 그래픽 디자이너 11

How did you come across the book?

Umm… well… I’m on Twitter now and then and I follow designers… female designers… and it was something that was being mentioned often, so I kind of wanted to check it out. Here I never get to find Korean books, so whenever I visit home I try to get as many books as I can… and this was one of them.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well… I’ve just found it really interesting that, although I expected a really aggressive feminism in the design field in Korea, it was actually… like some people were not feeling or experiencing the discrimination… and that some female designers thought themselves lucky enough to have male supporters… like within their family or colleagues. Oh… I also have found it interesting to have female designers, of different age groups, or of different positions in their field… talking to each other in interview format… which was easier for me to read and to understand their perspectives, instead of just long, long writings from one persons perspective… I thought that interview conversation format to be way better for me to absorb. Also… this book looks into the mystery of… [bctt tweet=”Where did all the female art students go?” username=”cityreadsnyc”] …illustrating why some had to stop… and how the survivors survived… since the stats show that the majority of the design students are female yet the notable and established designers are highly consisted of men. It really shows how there are different shapes of feminism… that the individuals experience… and how they deal with it.

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

Yes, definitely… I would probably recommend it to guys… like, male designers… or non-designers as well. But… I think… you know how guys… I mean I’m not trying to be offensive about this, but… guys would have less experiences of what we experience… and they would probably take it for granted… of what they get in the field. So, if not, that’s great… but in my experience I would not say that, so… yeah… yeah… I think I would recommend it to my designer friends… my male designer friends. Also, I would recommend it to both male and female designers of director positions… thinking and hoping they would gain a better idea of how to enhance the growing female designers to balance their work and life as women better… without having to give one up.

FullSizeRender (84)

Boundaries of the Soul

How did you come across the book?

First of all… I am studying psychology… and second, I love parapsychology. So, this book is about that… so, that is why I read it. One chapter focuses on reincarnation and I am just now looking at that chapter.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

To tell you the truth… I opened the book… I just bought it… and I opened it on the chapter about reincarnation and I just started to read it. [bctt tweet=”I read books I like that… look to the chapter I am interested to… and I read it.” username=”cityreadsnyc”]

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

If you like psychology just like me… I would recommend it to you. But, you don’t like psychology… I don’t know. Or… maybe this book might just help you to become interested in psychology.

Not Exactly Ghosts

How did you come across the book?

Umm… I was researching Victorian ghost stories… you know, like Christmas… like those scary ghost stories in that Christmas song. So I started just reading different Victorian ghost stories around Christmas and it’s just been… kind of uh… sending me down a worm hole of all these different authors… and so, the author was just somebody that cropped up when trying to find other ghost stories.

So far, what perspective have gained from this book?

Umm… unlike a lot of other Victorian ghost stories… not exactly ghost stories is… just that; they’re not exactly ghost stories. I mean, the tradition, you know… tends to be about haunted love stories… they tend to be romantic as well as scary. This stuff is all… well, one of these stories was about this little kid who had heard one of the neighbor kids had fallen down a well and they heard another kid screaming for help, and so it scared the kid… and he didn’t find out until years later that it wasn’t a ghost… that it was somebody he in theory could have helped but he didn’t realize because he thought it was a ghost. You know… so it’s… it’s an interesting riff on the Victorian ghost stories in that they tend not to be about ghosts.

… when asked, “do most ghosts stories tend to happen in that way?”

No… that’s just the one that I finished most recently. Yeah… they tend to be… like for instance, one of the ghost stories was actually just about… [bctt tweet=”A haunted writing desk that compelled people to write grave stone epitaphs…” username=”cityreadsnyc”]… you know… and, it turned out that it was once owned by this guy that had gotten in trouble for slander and so… because he was writing these horrible little poems about people and… so his spirit had made people write these non-sense, little grave stone things… you know … but again, it wasn’t really a ghost… it was just this idea that this man’s ill temper had gotten into the desk and compelled other people to be… grumpy, I guess.

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

I honestly don’t know if I would recommend it yet… umm… yeah, I suppose that I would but… I would say that if you were… you know… a person who is reading a bunch of Victorian ghost stories… it’s a nice change of pace because it’s clearly written by somebody who had spent a lot of time reading them and just decided what he wanted to do different with the form. I just don’t know who that person would be.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

How did you come across the book?

In a thrift shop, I saw it and I thought… well my boyfriend likes this writer so I thought, “OK, this looks like a present for him.” But now, I started it myself!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well… I’ve found interesting this writer; he’s really detailed, you know, with all of the personalities. I don’t know… I think… [bctt tweet=”Maybe there just are so many different people… you know… we all have a life.” username=”cityreadsnyc”]

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

Yeah… I would! I’ve read things before from this writer and… it’s fiction most of the time but still it’s so close to reality… and I think it’s like… I don’t know, it’s… I would recommend it to… hmm… people who are interested in things of the world!

The Way We Live Now

How did you come across the book?

So, I was actually reading a review for Tolstoy’s ‘War and Peace’ on GoodReads and one of the comments recommend Anthony Trollope’s ‘The Way We Live Now’. If you want to jump into a classic, without going for after ‘War and Peace’ this one is a nice step. It’s a book for adults, but it’s not… you know… as intense as ‘War and Peace’ but it’s sort of a nice book to read before.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Perceptive?… I think what has really stood out to me so far… I mean I’m only a hundred pages in, but I guess… across eras, and centuries and varied societies, how wealth can distort relationships between family members; its fascinating! Even now… now we believe it to be a modern phenomenon, but… I mean… over a hundred years ago, you have family tension over wealth… or resulting around that. [bctt tweet=”So, its interesting to see something just never leave…” username=”cityreadsnyc”] …even though they are decades old… centuries old. That’s it exactly… the same themes remain throughout history.

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

I would highly, highly recommend it… particularly to the readers who would like to expand their vocabulary. Of course, as you know… given that it was written over a hundred years ago, the language is different, but there are a lot of nice, old English words, you know, that people use in their day-to-day vocabulary… ones that I am trying to incorporate into my day-to-day vocabulary. So, for the avid reader who likes to expand their vocabulary… who likes time pieces… and who may be interested in wealth as well… I would highly recommend it to that reader.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

How did you come across the book?

Well, today I was… I’m going to Italy on Friday, and I was looking for some books to read on the plane, but… I’m already almost half way through this! Anyways… so I saw The Reluctant Fundamentalist and it looked very interesting so I picked it up.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Umm… well…. do you know anything about the book? (Where as I answered, “I have no idea”) Ok, so… it’s a great book. So it takes place in New York, I think right after 9/11… well, it kind of flip-flops back and forth between him, the main character, and Lahore, speaking to an American and then kind of flashbacks between him coming to university in the United States and then getting a big job at this firm. So right now he’s talking about “it just was 9/11” and he was flying back from Manila when he got stopped and learning about whats going on. So… it’s pretty intense!

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

I would definitely recommend it! [bctt tweet=”I think I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t traveled that much..” username=”cityreadsnyc”]. …because I think… well New Yorkers may be a little different… but, I think Americans in general don’t travel very much, so they don’t get a chance to develop a sense of other peoples perspectives and… I mean, I’m only on page 76, but so far you’re gaining a really good perspective on why someone may view the United States, or Americans, in a certain light.

The Life of Elizabeth I

How did you come across the book?

Well, a long time ago I read another book by Alison Weir called ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII‘… and that was a great book… sort of my first introduction to that period of English history… so I knew she was a good writer, and so when I saw this in a used bookstore I picked it up. It kind of continues within the same period… well, there’s one other book in the middle between these two called ‘The Children of Henry VIII‘, but… I mean… if you know the basics of what happened then it’s not that hard to follow along; I’m planning on reading all three!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Hmm… perspective? Well, its mostly about Elizabeth and I’m in the very beginning. [bctt tweet=”So, I guess… how early experiences affect one’s outlook…” username=”cityreadsnyc”] her childhood was, to put it mildly, not particularly secure and not particularly pleasant. She was delegitimized and then legitimized again…. she was the prisoner in the tower and then became the Queen of England. So I guess what I’ve learned so far… well actually, it seems to have given her, you know, she kept her own council for the rest of her life and was wary of revealing emotion… that was actually good for her, but I think it also gave her some other things that made her a great Queen… [bctt tweet=”But I wonder if it also didn’t make her somewhat unhappy… later on.” username=”cityreadsnyc”]

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

I would recommend this to anyone who likes English history… I’d recommend this book… actually, I’d recommend the ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII‘ because this is one of those subjects that a lot of people have heard about and… there was this show, The Tudors, which was on a while ago… and obviously, you know, it kind of follows the history… but this pretty much tells you what happened in chronological order and makes you… if you read ‘The Six Wives of Henry VIII‘… I mean it’s really a popular history book… it’s not a scholarly work, but it’s accurate enough and it’s just a really good book. Anyone interested in history should read that book. Generally, I recommend anyone to educate themselves in English history, because to a degree this country is an extension of Great Britain… a successor to some of its traits and so fourth. So, yeah, I definitely recommend this book, the author, and the author’s other books.

Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

How did you come across the book?

My husband has read it before… so he told me it was good. It’s a four part series book.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

It’s about two Italian girlfriends who go through life… from when they first meet, when they are in middle to high school and I assume to the end of their lives. It’s very much character work, you go deeply into their lives and you become attached. You can relate to them, their psychology, struggles, self doubt, drive… The historical setting goes back to the communist and fascist movements in the 50s-60s… you get involved in the political context of those years.

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

I’ll definitely recommend it to the C-Train riders after a long day at work… because we always need to wait for the train and to disconnect from our world. You are not going to expand your knowledge in a particular topic but you will live each page, you will be in the moment, immersing yourself; [bctt tweet=”It’s an emotional reading. A journey you will embark on.” username=”cityreadsnyc”]

Giovanni’s Room

How did you come across the book?

Hmm… number one… James Baldwin is one of my favorite authors and poets…and… I read this book first about 18 years ago, recommended from a friend of mine. I grew up in France, so… this book takes place… it’s by an African American author who has lived in France for a long time… who is also, somewhat of a philosopher. It’s about his life’s journey and self identity… [bctt tweet=”Both as a man of color but also his sexuality, and being accepted of course in Europe…” username=”cityreadsnyc”] …and his trials and tribulations in the states, also, in comparison to that in Europe. And then his experiences… following his other books… coming back to the states and being apart of the civil rights struggle.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

Well, I just got it again today! But… the reason I am reading it again is because… as I’ve grown as a person and have read many other books, and his books also… and now that his documentary, which we just talked about, came out… I kind of wanted to revisit it… and noticed that this was one of my favorite books. And so, I just kind of wanted to go back to it and see what my perspective would be after… many grays, you know… since 18 years ago.

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

I highly, highly recommend it to everyone… in all demographic, in all race. It is a book of understanding compassion, especially in the current political climate that we are in.

Memoirs of Hadrian

How did you come across the book?

Well… one of my teachers from school had told me about this book… he actually gave this one to me. So yeah, here we go… this is the book I am reading for now. He had told me that it was interesting… and so far it is.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

This book contains a lot of experience. A lot of it deals with things in life we have all been through; the book connects with you.  [bctt tweet=”It teaches you how to appreciate life more; how you can live your life better then before… ” username=”cityreadsnyc”]…whatever that means to you. It tells you to always stay on the positive side… if your mind is positive then you will always be in the positive. That is why I like this book; it’s amazing.

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

I recommend this to people who love to read books; they must be opened minded. For the ones who look to experience new things in life, which… whether the story is true or not true, reading this its still going to teach you a lot of lessons.

Stamped from the Beginning

How did you come across the book?

“That’s a good question… umm… I think it came up on my GoodReads. I’m on GoodReads and I think one of my friends marked it as a book he wanted to read so I checked it out and added it to my list.”

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

“Man… I was actually just talking about this earlier! So, essentially the way the book goes… he breaks it down into three different ideas… and then looks at racist ideas through those three different lenses; its the segregationists, or the racists, the anti-racists, and the assimilationists. So, you have segregationists people who are just flat out racist… your anti-racist people who are firmly against racism and all its forms… and then your assimilationists… and those are the ones who say that if black people were to be more like white people, or if black people could aspire to whiteness, then everything would be better… and, I think the biggest thing that I’ve taken from this book is that I would have firmly put myself within the anti-racist category… but I found that so many of my thoughts and views, which were shaped by the racist society that we live in …put me in the assimilationist category… where I would say things like, “Oh, if we black people could just do this… then, you know, we’d be viewed differently.” But… uplift suasion… which is something he talks about… which is the idea that if we  would act a certain way then white people would respect us… and media suasion… which is if white people would just see more good black people then they would think differently about us; historically both have proven to not work. It’s just been… eye opening… kind of like… if you’ve seen the documentary 13th. And so… you know how that entire documentary, your just going wow… WOW? You read this book and you’re just going…WOW! [bctt tweet=”So yeah… its incredible! I’d recommend it to anybody.” username=”cityreadsnyc”]

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

” I would recommend this book… literally… to everybody. I would recommend it to racists, so that they can see where there ideas came from… I would recommend it to anti-racists, so that they can see the history of the struggle… and I would recommend it to assimilationists, because most assimilationists don’t realize that that is the category they fall into… and reading this book would really open their eyes and give them a new perspective.”

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

How did you come across the book?

I watched the movies and fell in love with them. I read The Hobbit in middle school and hated it honestly. But, I am the sort to read the book if I dig the movie… and I really dig the movies!

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

I’ve gained the perspective that darkness is apart of light; that we have challenges we don’t want to face, but… that we have to face as the person we decide to be. I’ve gained that becoming your enemy only perpetuates the cycle of darkness (Bilbo not killing Gollum when he had the chance) and that villans even have something to teach us and are a necessary part of life. I’ve learned that evil happens whether we are paying attention or not and that good happens whether we are looking for it or not, too. Life comes down to choice; who do you want to be.

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

I would recommend this book to anybody, but… letting go of the fact that not everybody loves fantasy and sci-fi, I would recommend it to fans of the latter genre. I would do this because these ethics represent life. While I admit the racist undertones, as should be acknowledged, the Lord of the Rings series as whole represents exsistence in general in our universe and more relevantly serves as a great metaphor for America during the Trump administration.

The Rings of Saturn

How did you come across the book?

“I was actually in Richmond… where I’m from… and I saw it in a used book store that I use to frequent in college… but, I heard about it through another book I was reading; Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole.

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

“I guess in terms of… travel… like what travel writing can be. The author does a great job of situating himself in a certain location, whether it’s Belgium or otherwise, with a deep understanding of the history of the place he is in; he weaves through those two things.”

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

I would recommend it… (a train whistles by causing momentary hestiation)… Yeah, I mean, I would recommend it to maybe someone who is traveling soon… maybe to someone who is into history. And why? I guess for escape, but also for understanding.

Notes From Underground & Other Stories

How did you come across the book?

“Well, I just decided that I wanted to start with something, you know… when I was about to start reading something in the English language… I wanted to start with a classic, so I decided to start from the East; from the Russian literature. He is, as they say, one of the greatest writers from over there, Dostoevsky… so why not?

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

“Let’s say, so far, I’ve gained good insight into how a different culture…Eastern culture compared to the Western culture thinks. I can then compare my character with the characters in the book…you know, to see where I am compared to all of these guys in life.”

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

“Well, I would definitely recommend it to actors, because it has a huge spectrum of characters with a lot of different roles. And, I would recommend it also to, let’s say the… the writer or someone who is just starting to write professionally… although this type of writer probably already has it in his collection. Also, definitely I would recommend it to high school students or kids… it’s definitely better than staring at your phone and just social networking, liking, sharing.”

The Blind Owl

How did you come across the book?

“There is this book store cafe in Ridgewood called Topos…I was wandering the aisles and I stumbled upon it there and I bought it; that’s it.”

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

“The whole thing behind the book is that the author…the narrator…is kind of losing his mind in a sense, so he has this very repetitive nature to his narration. As a reader you catch on to the repetitiveness and you realize that he is also forgetting things, which explains the repeating. You end up going through the process with him, as if you’re observing a loved one losing their mind. The book has a very Edgar Allan Poe feel to it, with a hint of Toni Morrison, which I think is amazing; it’s been really cool so far!

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

“Oh wow!…I would definitely recommend it, and…actually…I have a person in mind already. I would recommend it to my poetry teacher who I am getting for my new semester; I think he would be really into it. I just had another course with him and it was an amazing course. Just given the style that this is written in, I think it would really intrigue him…and also the fact that it’s by a POC author…along with it being set it the Middle East. These things interest him so I think it would be great!

American Psycho

How did you come across the book?

“I came across American Psycho… well I had seen the movie when I was a bit younger, and I don’t think grasped everything that the movie was about. And now, I was in the Strand bookstore, right off of 14th street, Union Square, and I saw it and said to myself I need to read this book. Obviously everybody always says the book is better than the movie and I needed to find out… I thought it was the right time.”

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

“I think I’ve been able to, sort of, gain a really vivid picture of some of the things that can go through an individuals mind… one that is obsessed with appearance and material wealth; basically an elitist. It’s putting things into a perspective that, I don’t know, maybe all of this, having the top of the line clothes, make-up, workout routine, everything; maybe it’s not as important as we are all made to think.”

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

“I would definitely recommend this book; to anybody. I mean, obviously someone who could handle the language and the graphic imagery that’s being painted. Yeah… I guess it would be… those who would gain the most from reading American Psycho would be those who, you know… maybe find themselves going down the wrong path in life. Maybe someone that is second guessing everything we are being told; everything that the TV tells you, that advertisements tell you. And if they do read this book I think that they will gain a perspective of who they are in this world, rather than subscribing to some ad.”

Whistling Vivaldi

How did you come across the book?

“I’m a teacher and my school gave it to me to read.”

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

“Well, this guy is not… Oh, what to say! He’s not a great storyteller. It’s not necessarily what you would call a “good read”. But, it’s super interesting if you are at all interested behind the sociology behind stereotypes, and how being… well I guess it’s written for teachers but it’s also just showing how any adult within any situation dealing with youth could help shape their performance based on how they set the situation up. But, if you think about it, age really doesn’t have anything to do with it. Anybody in a position of power, who sets up a situation for anybody else… so bosses, anybody in management, anybody… responsible, should be responsible for other people’s whole selves.”

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

“Yes, I’d recommend it. I would definitely recommend it for all teachers, but I feel like everyone should read this book, especially given the… yeah, given our political climate right now.”

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”

How did you come across the book?

“So, I told one of my friends about Richard Feynman, and I kind of droned on about physics for a good 15 to 20 minutes. She’s a very good friend of mine so she said “OK, I’m going to do something nice for him”… so she bought me the Feynman books.”

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

“Right off the bat, Richard Feynman talks about the importance of curiosity and his drive to solve puzzles. That’s what kind of made him this… this genius that he was. He always had this… almost an obsession to solve puzzles and that’s what drove him to be as great as he was. And maybe if I can emulate some of that in my life… maybe I can get there.”

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

“I would recommend this book particularly to children, because this is not necessarily a complicated read. It’s very simple… the language is fairly simple so kids can understand and learn the importance of curiosity.

Tools of Titans

How did you come across the book?

“I’ve been a fan of Tim’s for a long time now and when the opportunity to see him live came up it was a no brainier. Back in December, as apart of his Tools of Titans book release, he hosted and recorded a live podcast in front of an audience at the 92nd Street Y with a great line up of guests. Simply put, it was awesome. Everyone who was there got two copies of the book, signed, with the price of the ticket. Even if I didn’t go I would have bought the book, but again, this was an easy opportunity to invest in.”

So far, what perspective have you gained from this book?

“Well, that’s a very broad question… for any book… but especially this book. If you ever read it, which I recommend everybody do, you’ll see exactly what I mean. This book shares so much that it’s hard to single out one perspective. That being said, this book has reinforced for me the belief that, at any given moment, there is so much that we as individuals do not know; never stop learning, never stop asking questions. We all are bound to benefit.”

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

“Of course I would. To anybody who considers themselves their own human guinea-pig… their own evolving experiment. If not that, than anybody who just wants to learn some really cool stuff, gain some amazing insight and who wants to hear some extremely entertaining stories. This book truly has it all. I’d recommend it for the same reason Tony Robbins as a kid invested $35 to attend a Jim Rohn seminar. Tim is a modern day Jim, and Tools of Titans is his seminar. Invest in yourself; get the book.”