January 2019 Reading list

Here’s a little update on the books I’ve been reading for January 2019!

Complete books:

Looking for Alaska by John Greene

  • Read it straight and fast. Hah.

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (last updated: February 9th, 2019)

  • I can see why people recommend this after reading “The Republic” by Plato. The book shares a great deal about practical philosophy (i.e., how to live), specifically about living the “good life”, about “enlightening” others and not falling victim to the “darkness” within. I can see why people recommend this book following a read of Plato’s the allegory of the cave.
  • There isn’t much structure in this book, so it’s hard, speaking from a beginner in philosophy, to really make much connections. The book seems to be a composite of words of wisdom; a knitting of other different cloths. Still, what little sense I did make of the first read were great. I’m looking forward to revisiting this book again in a year or so.
  • I’ll be updating this book in particular because I find myself reflecting on it and wanting to write more about it. I can’t wait to write a well-written analysis on the book, but napkin notes will do for now.
  • Content: Marcus is a stoic so the book talks a great deal about a basic, ascetic life. The whole cave thing I talked about earlier is interesting and all, but what really resonated with me was the life’s purpose part. Essentially, stoics believe that people have purposes and to follow them is the goal. The ways they go about this route holds well with them, as third-wave books are saying the same thing. For example, some of the wisdom shared is about misperception similar to dharmas in Buddhism, movement in life independent of others told in every motivational book, and the concept of cognitive diffusion applied to emotions in Steven Hayes’s work with ACT.
  • Style: At first, I wasn’t a big fan of the organization of the book. Knowledge is scattered and themes jump from polar ends. But I’m coming to learn to love the abrasive hits of different insights. In fact, it’s not just the general style but the rhetoric involved where he switched from monologues to dialogues to scripture-like maxims to poetic metaphors. True the themes are scattered, but all are apart of stoicism at it’s roots. With the rise of positivity and gratitude journals, it would be interesting if a book came out on how to write “your way” effectively, and I think this book is a starting point.

Curently reading:

  • The Fault in our Stars by John Greene
  • Perks of Being a Wall flower by Stephen Chompsky
  • The Heart of the Buddha’s teachings by Thich Nhat Hhan
  • Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle
  • Harry Potter A L’Ecole des Sorciers (Book #1 in french) by J. K. Rowling
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