Four? Only four books?! However will I squeeze a Chuck Palahniuk or Tolkien into this post? They are guilty pleasures. These below are my more sensible reads, essential in shaping a lot of who I am now.
1. Love Poems – Brian Patten / Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk
I still managed a Palahniuk in here. Ha! With the insane capacity to weave their words, each page a perfect set of elements on a canvas of syllables these two have managed to cradle my heart from one knot to the next. One paragraph lifts you to paradise while the next page is a dive into brimstone.
Where Patten taught me rhythm, Palahniuk supplemented graphic imagery. I can smell his words.
“You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet…” ― Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club
Words like those helped me ease out of the corporate ladder a few years back. I learned so much from those years, though I also knew I wasn’t built for it. It was empty, for me.
2. The Art of War – Sun Tzu
Studying their trains of thought, Chinese military strategists have tweaked at my interest. It’s fascinating how their words, hidden in history, still apply to current existence. In my mind, it’s a glimpse at essential truths governing humanity. Unfortunately, I can only write about Sun Tzu but, Zhuge Liang deserves a link.
“Move swift as the Wind and closely-formed as the Wood. Attack like the Fire and be still as the Mountain.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
3. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
“I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how anyone could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.” ― Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights
Reading this, as a child, I understood less than half of the thought and reviewed paragraphs with a dictionary so I could grasp the gist. Brontë, for me, was more taxing than Tolkien and I enjoyed rereading her. She taught me to love words.
4. How Should We Then Live – Francis Schaeffer
“People have presuppositions… By ‘presuppositions’ we mean the basic way that an individual looks at life- his worldview. The grid through which he sees the world. Presuppositions rest upon that which a person considers to be the truth of what exists. A person’s presuppositions provide the basis for their values- and therefore the basis for their decisions.” ― Francis A. Schaeffer
Schaeffer bridged that essential gap between art and presuppositions, that I’d often fallen into. A question that’d been nagging at me for most of my teen years, this book found me at 17 and has been my favorite ever since.