Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Category: New Reads Page 2 of 16

The Big Sleep: A New Read

Started AND finished “The Big Sleep” and…

Big news, my friends! This morning, as I was watering the yard just as the sun rose up over the horizon, I felt cool. I know! It’s so exciting! Fall is coming! The wind blowing across the desert from the south felt cool and damp, bringing up a few goosebumps as I put some water on my poor lilacs. Look at these things!

They just don’t like the summer heat. In the early spring, they get beautifully green and full of leaves and then burst into gorgeous purple bloom, filling my yard with their perfume, but as the summer wears on, they burn up in the harsh sun. I have them on the east side of my house, along a wall so that by 1pm they are in the shade, but no matter how much water I put on them, they still burn up. It’s tragic.

This time of year, with a little bit of monsoon moisture in the air, they start to come back, but I’m thinking about giving up on them. They require so much water and some seasonal attention, bloom only once for about a week, and then they are gone. Maybe I should find them a new home.

That goes for this cherry tree too. It just can’t take the 115 temps and dry summer sun. It’s a waste of resources. The apple tree doesn’t mind the weather. Now if I can get more than one apple to grow on it! I’ve never been much of a gardener. That’s one of the reasons I love the desert. I can move rocks around, rake out the dead leaves, put some metal sculptures around (in my case, old car parts), and then sit back and enjoy the view. I only run into trouble when I try to grow things that don’t belong out here.

Another step toward a more minimalist lifestyle will include a change in what I deliberately grow in my yard. Things that require a lot of water and maintenance will need to go. I’m reserving water for my shade trees alone. I do love spending time playing out there, but that can be done with a rake and gloves, working around the things that naturally grow here. Besides, it leaves me more time to read!

Speaking of which…

the big sleep

I started and finished “The Big Sleep” by Raymond Chandler in five days! I found it in a disappointing used bookstore in Lake Elsinore a few months ago. It’s a classic! Philp Marlowe, the quintessential private eye. If you’re thinking Humphrey Bogart, you got it. I read the first paragraph to my son and he immediately added it to his own ever growing TBR pile.

Lines like, “…the general look of a man it would pay to get along with.” And “The old man dragged his voice up from the bottom of a well and said,” This book is amazing.

A couple of things though. First of all, it rains an awful lot in Los Angeles in this book. Makes me wonder. Did it rain more in the 1930’s or did Raymond Chandler not know LA that well?

And did he invent this genre? Every private detective movie I’ve ever seen is based on these characters, right down to “Who Killed Roger Rabbit?” If I could go back in time to the 1930’s, would I see snippets of these people in real life? Would a real private detective from that time think this author was completely off his rocker?

The Big Sleep was a simple story but it had wonderful twists. There was more than one moment when I yelled out loud, “I knew it! Dude! What were you thinking?” And yes, I have the movie cued up to watch ASAP.

Have you read “The Big Sleep” or others like it? Do you love those old movies as much as I do? Let me know in the comments!

The Protestant Ethic: A New Read

Why am I reading “The Protestant Ethic and the ‘Spirit’ of Capitalism” by Max Weber? I don’t know. But it sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Eventually, my TBR pile will catch up with my new system of documenting where I got the idea to put the book there in the first place, but not yet.

the protestant ethic
Photo by Author

So far, it’s a rough one. I keep reading, thinking, “wow…this is dry stuff…I have no idea what I’m reading…” and then come across some line or paragraph that makes me think. It’s like sifting through a 5000-piece puzzle.

Here’s what I know so far. Wax Weber originally wrote this in 1905 in response to the rise in popularity of Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto written in 1848. The Protestant Ethic was controversial then and now, but I’m still not sure why. I’m still reading it and, since I’m pretty much lost on every page, I’ll probably have to find some articles that explain the context.

Right now, I’m a bit floored reading about Calvinism and Puritanism. These two religions had major influence in the colonizing of America, and we still feel their effects on our culture. For one thing, I’ve always found it strange how much we attempt to hide sex and alcohol in our country, well…more so in the past, but still. Laws about where and when we can buy alcohol, where we can drink it and at what age, marriage laws, and laws still on the books about which sex acts are legal, modesty laws, etc., all stem from our nation’s Puritan roots.

Things are changing, have changed, dramatically, but not in any kind of healthy way, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to go back, but it seems to me that we are all acting a lot like kids who were never allowed to have any kind of sweets, running amok alone in a candy store, ever since the 60’s. We still haven’t figured out how to take the reins of our passions and use them to our advantage. How many generations will it take?

The United States is different from the rest of the world. We have a very strange mix of cultures, races, and religions, that makes things that seem easy in some countries very complicated in ours. I’m hoping this book might begin to shed some light on why that is.

Searched back and found this old post, Mourning Political Change: A Passing Feeling. Still feeling it and more so these days.

My Name is Asher Lev: A New Read

Picked up “My Name is Asher Lev” from the donate pile because I saw it was written by Chaim Potok. I read The Chosen years ago at a Leadership Education mini-conference and was left with a beautiful impression. What was it about? All I remember is Hasidic Jews in New York, a father/son relationship, and learning that some Jews thought (and still believe) a State of Israel was a bad idea. Maybe I’ll read it again.

My Name is Asher Lev

I wasn’t sure what to pick up off my WAY over-grown TBR shelf next, but I knew I wanted a novel and something meatier than Stephen King this time. I’m glad my hand was drawn to this one.

From the first page of chapter one:

“So strong words are being written and spoken about me, myths are being generated: I am a traitor, an apostate, a self-hater, an inflicter of shame upon my family, my friends, my people; also, I am a mocker of ideas sacred to Christians, a blasphemous manipulator of modes and forms revered by Gentiles for two thousand years.

Well, I am none of those things. And yet, in all honesty, I confess that my accusers are not altogether wrong: I am indeed, in some way, all of those things.

The fact is that gossip, rumors, mythmaking, and news stories are not appropriate vehicles for the communication of nuances of truth, those subtle tonalities that are often the truly crucial elements in a casual chain.”

It grabbed me. “Gossip, rumors, mythmaking, and news stories” seem to be all we have these days. And we are all basing our decisions on them. Decisions about what to do with our bodies, our money, who our enemies are, who should be cast out or kept close. This is the thing that makes me the saddest right now. It’s been a downward spiral for several years, starting long BCB (before covid bullshit, still hoping that catches on).

This is why I’ve shunned social media and online news. This is why I read books, the deep ones, the ones that want to show me something, not just entertain me for a few hours. And this one looks like it’s going to be a winner.

Written in 1972. Hasidic Jews, New York, 1950’s, communists, Stalin, Russians…one hundred pages in and I’ve already teared up, gasped in surprise, and had my heart broken. I can’t wait to hear what happens to him as he gets older. Where does his art take him? Is it a gift from the Master of the Universe or the other one?

Have you read My Name is Asher Lev or The Chosen? Want to read it with me? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments here. Or if you’re shy, email me!

PS It’s still blazing hot out here. We’ve seen far too many 115 degree days this summer. But I when I went to bed last night, it was almost dark. That’s a good sign. The seasons do still change. Fall is coming. I just need to wait it out!

If you’d like to read my final thoughts on this book, pop over to Art: A Personal Expression of Passion

Love People Use Things: A New Read

Podcast marketing convinced me to not only buy “Love People, Use Things” by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, but to pre-order it! I’ve been listening to The Minimalists podcast for a long time and when I heard them start to talk about their new book, I knew I had to have it. I didn’t think it would have anything other than the things they talk about, but I knew it would bring me some joy to read it in print. Besides, how else can I re-pay them for all the greatness I listen to every week? I pre-ordered it so early, that when it came, I didn’t know what the package from Amazon was!

Love People, Use Things
In my defense, this room is in transition.

If you’re interested in them, check out their “Start Here” page. The organization of that page is one of the reasons why I love these guys and I so happy that I stumbled across them completely by accident.

Those who know me would probably laugh hysterically when they heard me say I listen to a podcast about minimalism on a regular basis. If you saw my house, you’d know I’m not what you might define as a minimalist, but I am! Everything is relative, right? Compared to some I’m a hoarder and to others not so much. But the comparison that matters most is mine. I’m more conscious of what I gather into my home, into my body, and into my mind. That’s the mental space these guys have helped me get to.

One of the things I’m minimalizing so that I have more space for other things is social media. Staying connected to people from my past like that is like holding on to childhood toys or that old shirt. You’re not going to use them anymore, that shirt doesn’t fit. There’s no reason to keep them. They take up space and deplete your energy. Send them on their way to bring joy to someone else.

The one thing I miss about it though is having a place to share the articles and books I read, or the interesting podcast and website I found. I don’t want to write a post about, I just want to share that I read it and think it’s awesome…you know, social stuff. I’m not sure what to do about it. It may just be one of those things I have to let go.

I’m looking forward to reading this book over the coming week. I’m about thirty pages in right now, and the introduction makes me love them more. The relate minimalism to everything, not just physical objects, but our relationships with other people. And they aren’t ones to say “THESE are the rules. Follow them and you will be happy like us!” They are more like guidelines, things that have worked for them and may make sense to you.

Are you a minimalist? Have you heard this podcast? If you decide to read Love People Use Things by Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

The following are links to posts I wrote related to this book.
Letting Go & Making Space
Shortcuts And Compliance = Lazy
Minimalism in Things AND Relationship: Final Thoughts

The Stand by Stephen King: New Read

Seems appropriate, doesn’t it? “The Stand” by Stephen King is a re-read, but I don’t remember any of it other than “virus kills the world” and the feeling of “Wow! That was epic!” I read it back in high school (31 years ago), so don’t hold it against me that I can’t remember the book. Statute of limitations, man!

The Stand

Why didn’t I go get the book when our pandemic started 18 months ago, when someone mentioned that the whole thing seemed like the plot of a Stephen King novel? I guess I had other things to worry about and a long list of other books to read. Besides, I don’t think I really needed the imagination boost at the time.

So why pick it up now? Because the universe has brought it to me in the strangest of ways. A few weeks ago, we were looking for a new show to watch in the evenings and a friend recommended “Yellowstone.” For some reason, we thought it was on Paramount + and started the subscription, found that it wasn’t, but other interesting shows were, so we kept it. Then there was The Stand. I said, “Oh shit! I loved that book in high school. Don’t remember what it was about much other that virus kills the world.” We binged watched it and loved it.

I told my brother about it over the phone, and he said the 90’s one was WAY better, that he hated Whoopi Goldberg, but watched some of it anyway and it sucked. I thought, “If this one sucked and I liked it, I’m going to LOVE the old one!” Crazy thing but, I didn’t. I thought it was terrible. Maybe it’s a case of “the first one version you see of something is the one you love”?

Watching the old version, I thought, “I should read the book and see what’s different.” I ordered “The Stand – The Complete and Uncut Edition” used on Thriftbooks and I dove in as soon as it arrived. I don’t know what it is about Stephen King books, but I completely lose track of time when I’m reading them. The trouble is that I don’t read very fast, more like the pace of reading aloud in my head, and this 1164 page will take me well over 38 hours to read (there goes my book count on Goodreads). I’m a few chapters in and the difference is fascinating.

The first thing I noticed about the ’94 version of the movie, other than the old “made for tv” miniseries feeling, was that everyone in that movie was white. No surprise really because everyone in the book was white (so far). I’ve only gotten into the book as far as I got into the ’94 miniseries, Larry Underwood goes to his mom in New York and Nick Andros is at the jail with the guys that beat him up.

We started talking about this immediately, given the social climate of our own time. The new movie has a “multicultural” cast and not in a bad way. What’s a bad way? When you notice it. You know the difference. There’s a feel you get when the cast is just a little TOO diverse, you know. I can’t put my finger on that just yet.

The talk we had was over why the cast would be so different. I think it has less to do with racism and a lot more to do with marketing. The ’94 version was on live TV at certain time of day. It was made for the widest market at that timeslot, middle class white people watching tv for an hour or so after dinner and before bed. You want to identify with what you’re watching on tv. You want the characters and situations to reflect your version of the world. The producers want you to watch because they get paid by advertisers for your eyeballs. Makes sense.

Today things are different. Anyone of any social class can be watching at any time, so now they want to make shows that reflect a more diverse population so that more of us will watch it. It’s not nefarious, it’s marketing. I found the pronounced difference fascinating.

I don’t know yet which movie version follows the book more closely. So far, they both seem fairly accurate. The Stand was written in 1978 and set in the early 90’s, so the ’94 version may have been more accurate because of that. The 2020 version would have to be made more modern to make it feel like our time and not some past event.

Here’s something crazy I learned while doing a little research about the new movie. The had just finished the major filming in March 2020. Geez! Can you imagine? I just finished making a movie about a manmade virus that escapes and kills the world…switches on the news…oh shit…

Read more at Book vs Movie: Final Thoughts on The Stand

The Righteous Mind: New Read

The Righteous Mind book cover on a desert background.

“The Righteous Mind – Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion” by Jonathan Haidt

Sigh…I have to find a better way to keep track of why I put a book on my wishlist. Seriously. If you have any ideas, please leave me a comment. I’m think maybe I’ll start adding a section of my idea card file called “Books” and actually write it down: the title, where I heard it or the author, what I know or what brought me to want to read it, and the date. It seems that physically writing things down, not kept in an app or on a website, works best for me.

I’m fairly certain that I heard Jonathan Haidt interviewed on a podcast recently and that’s why I added The Righteous Mind to my Thriftbooks wishlist. The subtitle alone would make you want to read it, right? Why are good people so divided?

The past few years I’ve felt more and more pushed away by my friends and family over politics. Religion? Well, it sure looks like our whole nation has created a new religion centered on politics, so maybe they’re one and the same these days. Maybe The Righteous Mind will help me sort that out.

The great divide came to my notice when Donald Trump was elected, but I know it was growing long before that. People were getting heated and upset, arguments were getting nastier and more personal, debate and discussion, even among close friends, was ending, but the day after the election is what really started to scare me.

Years ago, a friend started a group order from an online organic food company that brought the whole order by truck to our area once a month. We’d all meet there and sort through it, getting our bulk quinoa and whole grains. It was a cheap way to get all the things we couldn’t find in our rural desert town and, when it was small, it was a great monthly meetup for all of us, too.

As the order grew, the management of it was passed to someone else and it started to be less fun and more of a chore, but still worth the time because I got things I couldn’t get at the store. Since my sons were nearly grown and not so much interested in going to homeschool events and park days, it was a chance to see and catch up with other moms I didn’t get to see that often anymore.

The day after the 2016 election was the last day that I picked up an order at that truck. I knew it was going to be a strange time by the tone people were already using on social media. But I believed that in person, things would be different.

When I arrived, the truck was already there and unloading. People were gathered in small groups at their cars, talking and waiting for their name to be called, as usual. I saw a few people I knew, stopped to talk to one friend and then heard my name. As I walked over to get my few things, I overheard conversations that made my blood run cold. I know, I’m dramatic, but it did scare me. And the past eighteen months has built on that feeling in tremendous ways.

I heard tears and actual wailing. I heard comments like, “If I know anyone that voted for him, I’m going to kill them.” “We should find them all out and do something.” “I can’t imagine what kind of a horrible person would vote for someone like that.” There were actual threats over national politics, by people I thought were peace lovers. I said nothing to anyone. I loaded my truck and drove away. Since that day, I’ve spoken to only one person that was there. These are my neighbors, and some were friends.

I could go on about this, but I don’t think I need to. The point is not that one politician, or party, is better or worse than another. The point is that good people, people I had no problem talking with before an election, now were standing there threatening people for disagreeing with them. Standing there among them I heard tones of a mob, Nazi brownshirts, and the Spanish Inquisition. Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition at a food truck pickup!

And it seems things have only gotten worse over the last five years. And it has nothing to do with the politicians themselves. It’s us. We’re doing this to each other voluntarily. When I heard Jonathan Haidt interviewed, I had to run out and get this book. Maybe it will help me learn why this is happening. Why are we treating each other like enemies? Why are we separating into sides instead of working together? And how can people I have always believed were open-minded and reasonable adults become so violently opposed to the “other side?”

From the introduction, “I’m not saying we should live our lives like Sen-ts’an. In fact, I believe a world without moralism, gossip, and judgement would quickly decay into chaos. But if we want to understand ourselves, our divisions, our limits, and our potentials, we need to step back, drop the moralism, apply some moral psychology, and analyze the game we’re all playing.”

That’s exactly what I crave when I check social media, read articles and books, watch videos, and talk with friends and family, “to understand ourselves.” None of us is outside the battle of division. The best way to calm things down, in my opinion, is to try and understand the other side of every argument. Hopefully, The Righteous Mind will be enlightening.

Want to read my final thoughts on this book? Click over to Moral Foundations Theory: A Book Review. Heads up: There’s a giveaway there!

Songmaster by Orson Scott Card: New Read

Songmaster by Orson Scott Card

“Songmaster” by Orson Scott Card will be the third book I’ve read by Card, the first being, of course, Ender’s Game. I read that long before the movie. The whole family read it and we loved it. It scared the crap out of us, and we all cried and yelled about it as we read. When we heard that a movie was going to come out, and Harrison Ford was going to be in it, there was much rejoicing.

The second one was the second book in that series. I never finished it. It was just too … weird? I’m not sure I have a word for it. This book is, so far, similar in weirdness.

I’ll be honest, I’m not huge fan of sci-fi. I know…geez! But I have enjoyed the classics in the past.

I saw this book by Card in the pile of freebies, so I picked it up and put it on my TBR shelf. I started reading it yesterday and I’m not sure I like it. I just don’t care about the characters. I haven’t found any that I can relate to or sympathize with, no connection.

My problem with sci-fi, and a lot of fantasy, is the settings and situations can get so far outside of what I know of my own world, that I can’t picture the scene. And then, when the characters follow suit, I just can connect with what they are feeling. It’s like watching a thriller tv show where you just don’t care which character dies next.

I’ll keep reading Songmaster, though. I want to know why this boy was kidnapped and how he will sing the world to destruction. That’s just weird, see? Maybe I’m not in the right frame of mind?

And what’s up with Card and his obsession with very young children put into impossible (usually horrible, violent, and abusive) circumstances to save the world? This boy was kidnapped at two or three years old and raised into a very strict cult (to my thinking) that schools children into singers that serve mankind. I’m not sure how or why. They seem to be raised to be entertainment slaves.

The boy in Songmaster is about six or seven years old when he is sent to serve his new master and will retire around fourteen, to spend the rest of his life inside the cult supporting and teaching other very young children.

It’s all so strange. Let me know if you’ve read this one. I’d love to hear someone else’s opinion. Maybe I’m missing something deeper to the story.

…sigh…

I just did a quick search to see if I had written about Ender’s Game in the past but found something terrible. Another confirmation that I only remember a tiny fraction of what I read. I have read a third book by Card in the past and loved it, “Enchantment.” THAT was a beautiful book!

To read my final thoughts on “Songmaster,” read “Can Tyranny Bring Peace in the Long Run? A Book Review”

The Rational Optimist: New Read

The Rational Optimist book cover on the rocks.
That’s the sun coming up on my book!

“The Rational Optimist – How Prosperity Evolves” by Matt Ridley is a re-read for me. Do you re-read books? Many of my re-reads are simply because I forgot that I read them. Yep…sometimes I still wonder if there is any point to me reading anything. It’s rather frustrating.

The best kind of re-read is because the book was so good, so packed full of awesome, that I want to read it all again and savor it. If it’s been a while since I’ve read the book, I wonder if it will feel different this time around. Will it still be relevant? Will I still feel the same way about the text? Have I changed, has the world changed, so much that I’ll get something completely different from this read? THAT happens to me most with fiction. Books that I read when I was a kid, or even ten years ago, have a different effect on me. I’ve grown, but the book remains the same.

What brought me back to The Rational Optimist? A couple things. First was that I was cleaning and reorganizing my bookshelves and rediscovered it.

“Oh, yes! This book was great!”

And I was listening to an interview with Matt Ridley on the Jordan Peterson podcast recently. When I heard Matt Ridley mention “when ideas have sex,” the book came to mind, and I made a mental note to put it back on my TBR shelf. And we all know where mental notes end up.

Photo by Steve Johnson on Unsplash

The final straw was the last book I started reading, “Mao – The Unknown Story.” It was so depressing, that I dropped it and went to look for an antidote. There was The Rational Optimist staring at me from the shelf calling quietly, “Pick me!” So, I did.

And here we are. I’m one hundred pages in so far and enjoying it immensely.

From the introduction chapter, “When Ideas Have Sex”

“What is it about human beings that enables them to keep changing their lives in this tumultuous way? It is not as if human nature changes. Just as the hand that held the hand axe was the same shape as the hand that holds the mouse, so people always have and always will seek food, desire sex, care for offspring, compete for status and avoid pain just like any other animal.”

“It was not something that happened within the brain. It was something that happened between brains. It was a collective phenomenon.”

“At some point, human intelligence became collective and cumulative in a way that happened to no other animal.”

And my favorite, “This book dares the human race to embrace change, to be rationally optimistic and thereby to strive for the betterment of humankind and the world it inhabits.”

I’m excited. Are you? I believe the world in general is getting better but lately, like the past ten years, we’ve been letting fear resonate instead of hope, and letting the internet scare us into thinking it’s worse and someone should do something about it.

The Rational Optimist was written in 2010, just as social media was getting busier. I last read the book in 2015. It’s 2021 now. Have things changed for the worse? I don’t think so.

Have you read this book? Do you want to? Leave a message in the comments!

Want to read more posts about this book? Check these out!
Social status, trade, and trust, oh my!
Optimism is What Will Save Us: A Book Review

Mao – The Unknown Story: New Read

Mao – The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday. Six hundred and sixteen pages. I’m going to be here a while!

Mao book cover on a desert background.

I found two very different reviews of this book, at The Socialist and at The Guardian.

I’ve wanted to know more about Mao for a couple years now, mostly because I’m so fascinated by the communist revolutions in both Russia and China. It’s interesting to me that now we can read books by and about these leaders like Trotsky, Stalin, and Mao when for so many years so much was hidden away. I wrote a few posts about The People’s Tragedy last year.

But I wonder how much of it is true, how much is glossed over by one group (like The Socialist in the link above) or demonized (like The Guardian’s review). Reading some of Trotsky’s work and Stalin’s, as well as Marx himself, makes it even harder to believe anyone can think these men’s tactics were a good idea. “Cringe-worthy” is the newfangled term I’d give much of it.

I’m only thirty pages in this morning and I can tell this is going to be the version that vilifies Mao as and evil straight from the bowels of hell from birth. I’m reading it thinking, “This makes it seem that you could known he’d be a mass-murderer right from his early school days.” I’m sure that wasn’t the case.

It’s always curious to me that leaders like this, the ones that say they are here to protect and support the “workers,” that they never seem to BE workers themselves. They always seem to be university professors and young students.

And what about the people that follow and support them? Do they have any responsibility? I mean, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, didn’t come out of nowhere. They were set upon this earth with power over humanity that none other possessed, a supernatural gift so to speak. How do these things get rolling and keep rolling?

Which makes me think of the show I’m watching on Netflix right now. Have you seen Colony? I’m only at the end of season two, so don’t ruin it, but like The Walking Dead, it’s an interesting take on society and how we get into these messes.

Like I said, I’ll be reading this book for a while. I’m not fast reader, but at least it reads nicely. If you’ve read it, let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Read my final thoughts on this book at “DNF: “Did Not Finish” does Not Equal Failure”

Joseph Conrad is my next read: Lord Jim

I read by Joseph Conrad was “Heart of Darkness” in my early 20’s because I heard the movie “Apocalypse Now” was based on it and I’ve always wanted to read the books my favorite movies are based on.

I bought it and I read it but was lost. I didn’t see any similarities. I was too young? Ignorant? Not in the right frame of mind, maybe? Now I know I need to re-read it and watch that movie again. It’s a classic.

My next Joseph Conrad book.

When I saw another Joseph Conrad book in the giveaway pile, I snatched it up. I may not have seen the significance in “Heart of Darkness,” but I was sufficiently enamored by his style to want to read another of his books, even twenty-five years later. A paperback version of “Lord Jim,” with an old “$1.00” sticker on the front cover, is what I hold in my hands.

A side note to people selling used books anywhere: please, please, please, stop putting stickers on the front cover or over the old bar code. You’re ruining the artwork of the cover and making it hard for collectors to scan their books into their library apps.

Do you read the introductions to books? I typically don’t, but I fell into this one completely and I think it helped me get the context and historical importance of the book and author. Joseph Conrad wrote his books in his third language, English. Wow.

I started reading it over the weekend, and I’m about one hundred pages in right now. It took me awhile to focus and understand the language, but I’m loving it. It’s stressful, listening to Jim explain why he left a ship full of immigrants that he believed was going to sink. There you are, sure you are all going to die in a horrible way. Would you remain?

This is why we read fiction, to experience someone else’s reality. It helps us empathize and bond with our fellow humans.

And why is the integrity of a ships captain and crew so important, a sacred duty? Because no one would get on board, put their lives in their hands for several months voyage, if they couldn’t trust them. Since we don’t use ships in this way much these days, it never occurred to me. I suppose a pilot would need the same trust, but I never even thought about that either.

Have you read “Lord Jim” or any other Joseph Conrad book? Was it voluntary or was it assigned at school? Did you love it or hate it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Want to read more of my thoughts about the book, Lord Jim?
Does Our Conscience or Comrades Guide Our Actions?
Peace in The Motion of the Waves
Lord Jim & This ‘Cancel’ Idea

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