Category Archives: People From The Blog

A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

How did you come across the book?

I was back home in the Philippines when I first saw a copy of the book and it seemed interesting to me at the time but, I wasn’t… I just wasn’t at the point where I wanted to purchase it because I was reading a few other books at the time so I wanted to finish those first. And then, when I got to New York a few days ago, I was at The Strand Bookstore over on Broadway and 13th, I saw this book again and decided to buy it then.

So far, what have you gained from it?

Well, I actually had no idea that this book was written in the 1950s or 60s, but I think the reason that its coming back to the shelves and coming back to popularity is because the message and the core of the book is very relevant to us now. Like… basically the premise of ‘A Brave New World’ is society has become a place of homogeneity and a lack of individuality, because everyone is genetically engineered and conditioned from birth to have these certain traits and there’s this caste system thats involved where every caste and every person has a specific role to do, and… to me… I… I consider myself an individualist. I like to do my own thing. I don’t really like corporations and institutions and things like that, so… the perspective that I think is worth looking into is… how trends and things that are popular nowadays… look into how they come to be and why people subscribe to them, and if at anyway that takes way from their sense of identity… even though I think its important to have things in common, but… the extent to which we subscribe to these ideas and institutions is reflective of who we are as a society and I think while its important to have these things which we have in common, I think we should all strive to maintain our own passions and individuality.

Its a heavy read. It plays a lot on the concept of human sexuality. And now, more than ever, women are being objectified and taken advantage of. Women and men, for that matter. But, this book kind of… well… it’s obviously through a male gaze. Aldous Huxley is a guy, he’s writing from a male perspective, and… the women in the book, they are treated as sort of objects. First of all, there’s no emotion involved in personal relationships in this book… its all just like people getting together and having sex and absolutely no emotional attachment… literally hit it and quit it, and nobody has any emotion. But, yeah… the character that I most like from the book is named Bernard Marx, and he seems to be the only person who can think for himself. And, what’s interesting is he’s different from everybody else in the sense that… like for his level, he’s an alpha so he should be like tall, strong and buff, but he has a physical defect and he’s small, he’s frail, he’s thin, but aside from that, aside from himself being estranged from society because of his physical defect, its also… intellectually he’s different. You can tell because of the way he thinks. He has passions. He’s an individual and he can think for himself, which I find to be interesting and I kind of relate with him on that level.

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

Absolutely. I don’t think this book is meant for any particular demographic. Its hard to just humanize people in general, so, like I said early, it’s very relevant to our society today and the things we have going on in that society. And, like… old, young, whatever, there are themes which definitely reflect the world we’re living in today, so absolutely anyone should read this book. I definitely recommend it. Like, I’d make my kid read this, for sure! Yeah. I think its timeless.

The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth

How did you come across the book?

My friend who is also a very avid reader was purging her quite enormous book collection… she ran out of space… and she decided to announce anyone feel free to take through so, I purged her shelves and just saw what was interesting and I grabbed it actually from her… and she never ended up even reading it, so… I’m reading it instead of her!

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

Initially I thought it was going to be going in a certain direction, and now that I’ve gotten a good way through its not what I expected. Um… but its… very interesting. Its really about the relationship between writers and reality…. which is what appealed to me.

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

Uh, I think so far my first gut reaction would be yes, I would recommend it. Um… and… I would definitely recommend it to other avid readers. Other people that really enjoy reading. Only because that… that’s what this is really initially about. Um… its… really good for those who appreciate that, you know… discussion, the intellectual… the questions that come from reading books, um… so, that’s why.

Salvation on Sand Mountain by Dennis Covington

How did you come across the book?

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

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

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

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

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

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

How did you come across the book?

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

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

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

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

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

Difficult Loves by Italo Calvino

How did you come across the book?

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

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

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

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

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

Ice by Anna Kavan

How did you come across the book?

Umm… I saw the cover of the original. I think I saw it in a used bookstore… its a much better cover than this version. This one looks kinda like Twilight or something. Yeah. The original, it was published in the 60s, and its a really nice black and white cover… and, I read the back, put it down, and I’ve never been able to find that same copy anywhere, but like… I went back to another bookstore and saw that Penguin put it out, and I really wanted to read it, but I didn’t want to read this version of it. I went back like two or three times and finally just gave in and read this one. So I just stumbled upon it. Yeah, also… I don’t like reading a book, when its, like… when the cover is… like it just feels weird holding a book you don’t like the cover of! It contextualizes it, and whatever.

So far, what perspective have you gained from it?

The book is by a woman, but its about a male protagonist… he kinda like satirizes the short of film-noir detective type like, you know, cosmopolitan international guy, and he’s desperately trying to rescue this woman that he… she never speaks, he speaks on her behalf, he fantasizes about her, he believes she needs his saving but she doesn’t… like she never asks for his help, and its like… I just find that really kinda prescient and kind of depressing. I don’t know… its kind of disorienting me in my own life and making me question my own motives and intentions.

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

Yeah, I would recommend it. Uh… its easy to read. It’s an extremely disorienting read though. It’s really strange. She’s constantly describing things that aren’t true and things that contradict one another… um. I would recommend it to people who are… who have dealt with drug or alcohol abuse in their life, or who have been in abusive relationships.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

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.