Recent Reads

I’ve been doing my best to read more recently. I’ve had plenty of titles on my want-to-read list and have started getting through some of them. I prefer books that I can read spurts at a time rather than one that will require an investment of my attention. I’m not able to devote a routine to sitting down and reading, so it has to be something that I can pick up every couple days or weeks without missing a beat. Nonfiction and self-help books have warranted themselves more available with these constraints but I can always enjoy a good fictional story if one is presented.

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

A classic that you can find recommended all over the place, I finally sat down to read through this one. It’s a well-written tale of following one’s heart and recognizing opportunities. It was easy to read and inspirational with its go with the flow attitude. “…life is the moment we’re living right now.”

Tales of a Female Nomad – Rita Golden Gelman
Tales of a Female Nomad by Rita Golden Gelman

Rita Golden Gelman takes you across the world following an anticipated divorce that saw her leave the ritzy lifestyle of a L.A. socialite and fly her deeper and deeper into the untouched towns and tribes of Mexico, Indonesia, and other far away places. This is a richly rewarding journey into how learning and sharing can impact the human experience. I really enjoyed reading this one and highly recommend it.

Ishmael and My Ishmael – Daniel Quinn
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
My Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

I am very receptive to the idea that humanity’s growth has outpaced its ability to care for itself or the planet on which it inhabits. Daniel Quinn explores this idea, along with the transition of humans from Leavers to Takers. We take more than can be replenished and move on to the next resource once the first is depleted. This story is told via a conversation between a student and an incredibly stoic gorilla in the first book. The second book features a much younger character, so I had assumed it was a way for the author to repeat the same message in a dumbed down more accessible way, but it was a real expansion on the original idea. If anything, this book can open your mind to new questions.

The Art of Non-Conformity – Chris Guillebeau
The Art of Non-Conformity by Chris Guillebeau

I had a few options to put at this spot. Chris Guillebeau’s take on breaking out of the traditional lifestyle set before most people beat out similar takes by Tim Ferriss’ The 4 Hour Work Week and Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad Poor Dad. The latter two were a bit too out of touch for me, essentially telling you to find someone else to do the work for you and you pay out less than you take in. I fully understand the value and that it is the strategy that builds wealth, but it felt like there had to be winners and losers in these situations. The Art of Non-Conformity was a bit different, opting instead to challenge you to grow each day, find what makes you happy, and take value out of situations that you can then apply to others down the road. I’m very interested in reading some of his other works in the near future.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan
The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan

I have wanted to read a book by Michael Pollan for a while. I listened to a number of his interviews over the past few years and was super interested in just how knowledgeable he is about our relationship with the things we put in our bodies. I found The Omnivore’s Dilemma at a local 2nd & Charles for just a couple bucks so it was an immediate snag for me. The book opens up like a text book. It is full of scientific names and a lot of information. The book starts with a simple concept – what do I want to eat for dinner – and backtracks to try and find the origin of each ingredient. The outcome is fascinating, surprisng, and kind of disgusting. He often repeats his ideas in several ways so it is skimmable to help get through the several hundred pages, but each section has something new to learn that may change the way you approach food.

Pedro Paramo – Juan Rulfo
Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo

Vastly inspired by an upcoming trip to Mexico, it took me a while to get into the book. I skipped the foreward at the beginning in an attempt to avoid spoilers, but going back and reading it really helped me enjoy the rest of the book. Juan Rulfo takes you through a city – now and then – with beautiful imagery and passionate emotions. This journey into magical realism may have just turned me into a reader of fiction.

A few that didn’t make the cut:

  • The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
  • Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
  • Less by Andrew Sean Greer
  • Crypto Revolution by Bryce Paul and Aaron Malone

Have you read any of these or are you interested? Let me know in the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Recent Reads

  1. My Ishmael made me look at life quite a bit differently–as in questioning what I have simply taken for granted most of my life. I try to look deeper into habitual beliefs and see them from a different point of view.

    The Omnivore’s Dilemma is why I am strongly considering cutting out beef and chicken from my diet.

    Thank you for recommending these books.


    1. Michael Pollan’s interviews are usually pretty interesting and why I wanted to check out one of his books. I was more turned off by how much corn we consume. Side note: I thought his exploration of a symbiotic farm was super fascinating (alternating pastures between cow then hummus then growth, rinse, repeat.)


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