Just five books I enjoyed reading last month 🙂
Underneath the Lemon Tree, A Memoir of Depression and Recovery – Mark Rice-Oxley
In this book Mark Rice-Oxley, a journalist, recounts his journey into, through and out of depression. A man who seems to have it all suddenly loses everything reflecting the reality that misfortune, depression being one of them, can confront us at any time. His account is harrowing, painfully honest but, at its core, uplifting. I found the paragraph below to be especially striking.
…. Kevin never said, “Why me?” of his hideous illness. He would always say instead, ‘Why not me?’. That’s a crisp example of why the world is poorer without him. The human tendency is to blame, to find fault, to bewail the circumstances beyond our control. In fact, what Kevin articulated was a polar opposite of this: we shouldn’t moan about how unfortunate we are; we should celebrate how well we are.
We should marvel constantly, each day, each moment at the bizarre and precarious nature of our existence; at the improbable geometry of the earth’s place in the solar system; at the delicate zoological balance that allows seven billion of us to survive each day; at the serendipity that has allowed all those reading this book to be born in this time and not a thousand or even a hundred years ago; at the continuing run of good luck that spares most of us from deadly illness or murderous villainy or the vicissitudes of nature.
Our lives are a miracle. Our continuing happiness is not a given, but a stroke of outrageous fortune.
We should ask ‘Why me?’ not when we suffer same wretched set back, but every day we wake up and the world is still there, and our lives stretch ahead of us, marvellously improbable.
Three Wishes: Palestinian and Israeli Children Speak – Deborah Ellis
This book holds the combined stories of children in war-torn Israel and Palestine. It is undoubtedly a heart-wrenching given the great pain so many of these young children have lived through. It was also very interesting to hear how the children see each other.
If you think something is wrong, it is important to stand up and speak out, or else everyone will think you agree with what is going, the only way things will get better is if people speak out.
We will make our own peace. Just as we have made our own war.
Protest does work. It helps to influence the way people think. It is good to let others know what you believe. They might believe the same way, and they might get the courage to say so If they see you doing it.
But war, like almost everything else humans do, is a choice. Creating weapons is a choice. Allowing a child to go hungry or to drink poisoned water is a choice. Sitting on the side-lines and doing nothing to stop somethings that’s wrong is a choice.
The Five Times I Met Myself – Tim Marshall
An intriguing novel which delves into the world of lucid dreaming – the art of being conscious while you sleep, thus being able to control your dreams. Sounds like fun, right? Maybe but for the protagonist of this story it proves to be very dangerous game. When Brick finds that he can not only control where his dreams take him but also change his past, it seems like the perfect solution to all his problems. Things don’t go exactly to plan – Brock manages to change his past but wakes up to a frightening new reality.
A Time for New Dreams – Ben Okri
A truly beautiful book filled with thought-provoking and inspiring words.
… its indirect insistence on the magic of listening
The world is a dream
Difficult times, in retrospect, are more romantic than good times, if they are overcome. Myths and fables are made of them.
Hospitality is not tolerance or charity, nor is it weakness. Hospitality can only come from the true strength of knowing what one is, and the tranquillity of allowing other people the strength of what they are.
Hospitality is not a habit. It is a genius of self that recognises the genius of other selves.
We are all guests on this planet, we are all guests in this life.
Open your hearts and minds to the beauties and possibilities of being human
We don’t know who or what any human being really is. Believe me, we are each one a great mystery.
F**ck It: the ultimate spiritual way – John C. Parkin
I really, really, really did not want to return this one to the library. John C. Parkin offers a refreshing, relatable and laugh-out-loud funny look at modern life. It made me think about what I prioritise and why. In short. I think everyone should say f**k it and read this book!
One Day of Life – Manlio Arguelta
One Day of Life is an English translation of a novel by Salvadoran author Manlio Arguetta. The novel is set in Chalatenango, El Salvador, just prior to the Salvadoran Civil War and tracks the daily life of Guadalupe ‘Lupe’ Guardado and the women of her family. Theirs is a tough and gruelling life, surviving with very little and living under the harsh rule of the ‘authorities’, the government’s paramilitary intelligence organisation (La Organización Democrática Nacionalista).
Almost all of us are poor, but we don’t consider it a disgrace. Nor something to be proud of.
…something had happened that we had never imagined. It was a nightmare. We realised that the saints could descend from heaven. After that, nothing shocked us; all that remained was for it to rain fire and for cats to chase dogs.
From that moment on, any sin was going to seem petty.
Til Next Time,