Tag Archives: Manhattan

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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‘.

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!

 

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.

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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!

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.

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.”

#JustFinished: Dalton Trumbo’s “johnny got his gun”

Sipping my Americano at the corner of Rivington and Clinton at the Lower East Side’s Marm Cafe, I finished one of my current reads; Dalton Trumbo’s “johnny got his gun”. It is my belief that by being exposed to the darkness every now and then we learn to appreciate the light that encapsulates us, the light we to often neglect and overlook. This book provides a healthy dose of the dark. Enjoy…

Is it possible for anything to resist change, even a mere commodity that can be bought, buried, banned, damned, praised or ignored. Johnny held a different meaning for three different wars. Its present meaning is what each reader conceives it to be, and each reader is gloriously different from each other reader, and each is also changing.

I’ve let it remain as it was to see what it is.

Dalton Trumbo

Los Angeles

March 25,1959

But exactly how many hundreds or thousands of the dead-while-living does that give us? We don’t ask. We turn away from them; we avert our eyes, ears, nose, mouth, face.”Why should I look, it wasn’t my fault, was it?” It was, of course, but no matter. Time presses. Death waits even for us. We have a dream to pursue, the whitest white hope of them all, and we must follow and find it before the light fails.

So long, losers. God bless. Take care. We’ll be seeing you.

Dalton Trumbo

Los Angeles

January 3, 1970

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.”

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.