My life: a tumult. My interior rooms and all the objects they contained: turned against me. The past few months have been a battle between my mind and my heart and the reality is that the heart has won, has pummeled me into submission, has taught me lessons I needed to learn.
In the midst of all that, some things I’ve read which have helped me soothe the wounds and mind the warnings a bit better. A sampling:
Paul Auster, I Thought My Father Was God
Alain de Botton, The Consolations of Philosophy
Alain de Botton, How to Think More About Sex
Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking
Aleksander Hemon, The Book of My Lives
Sheldon Kopp, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road, Kill Him
Thomas Lewis, A General Theory of Love
Zachary Mason, The Lost Books of the Odyssey
Daniel Menaker, My Mistake
Cheryl Strayed, tiny beautiful things
Kay Yerkovich; Milan Yerkovich, How We Love
They seem unrelated, fiction, grief, philosophy, love, science, self-help and yet, together, they help you think seriously about how to tackle the difficult questions, the ugly things like:
- How does love work, really? Definitions and meanings and considerations.
- The cyclical nature of the real world and real living.
- Selfishness isn’t always a bad thing, and,
- We all have a shadow – deal with it.
- Black and white and all the shades of gray
- Breathing, not just an autonomous function.
- How does one live a good life? Can you?
- How does, how can, one let go? And should you?
I’ve always wondered, and worried, about people who don’t read. I don’t mean to denigrate television, movies, or the various forms of self-curated social media. But, the act of reading, the art of it, I find it an incomparable medium for reflection and revelation–the nature of it imposes a cognitive and creative imperative unmatched by anything else I know.
So these books, in a period when I felt very stuck, and still, in this existence but not very much part of it all, they anchored me to the world and kept me in it.
What does that for you?