Personal Development

7 Books

#learningIsAGift 🍀
#rituals of #theBeautifulJourney 🦋

February 2021 I’ve set myself a secret challenge of writing an article every month. About anything. Up to 2 pages long. This is the first of those articles. #2021monthlyArticle

7 Books

I’ve been wanting to have a book club with friends for quite a while. When I eventually proceeded with the idea, I was lucky to have people interested in it. The design for it was …

  • taking turns, we choose a book
  • taking turns, we host the meeting at our own house
  • after the book discussion we also play a board game
  • we meet every 2 to 3 months

So the book club was actually a Book & Board Games Club.

The first edition for it took place exactly as designed, I invited people over, we discussed the book, we played Carcassone and Forbidden Island, had nice food and then we looked forward to the next meeting. What we got instead was the coronavirus lockdown an online book club meetings ever since!

In this article, I’ll tell you what our first 7 books were. I’m not promising any book reviews, nor some special meaning behind them or common topic, it is all random, whatever people wanted to read. 🙂

More books have followed, including by a Romanian author as well. (Mircea Eliade)

(1) The Collector – by John Fowles

I’ve kicked off our club with this book and wrote about it more, here. It is a captivating book that you might want to finish in one sitting. Although apparently a very famous book among serial killers, one could see it as a book about art. I haven’t yet finished exploring all the art references in it! (Movie)


(2) Narcissus and Goldmund – by Herman Hesse

I remember enjoying this book when I first read it during high school. Still nice now, although not a light read. It is a book about friendship, about choices and consequences, the pursuit of meaning, serving your greatest skills and potential, the angst on the journey and how different our paths can look while doing that. It is a book of ideas, of archetypes, it also covers the plague epidemic and might not be everyone’s cup of tea. (Movie)

(3) Out of The Silent Planet – by C.S. Lewis

This picture (not mine, don’t know the source) just makes me think of the Malacandra planet. It is quite nice trying to imagine that world. I was curious if there is any art based on this book as it could be quite lovely (e.g.). Note that this is the 1st book in The Space Trilogy. The book incorporates themes of moral theology and myth.

(4) The Age of Reason – by Jean-Paul Sartre

We’ve discovered that the previous book is part of a trilogy and said we should avoid picking that kind of book, although we all vowed to read the follow-ups outside of the book club. Did we succeed on any of those fronts? No. The current book is also part of a trilogy! … as we later discovered – The Roads to Freedom trilogy. And we haven’t yet read any continuation of any of these two trilogies.

I’ve been meaning to read Sartre for a long time, given he was such an insightful man e.g. “Hell is other people”. But this also reminded me of Teal Swan’s view on “Hell on earth is a world where there are over 7 billion people and most of them feel completely alone.” Oh, the conundrums of life!

By the time we were reading this book I was already into my Sunday painting habit, so when one of the characters was described as a Sunday painter, it made me chuckle and I’ve adopted the term as a proper #SundayPainter.

You’ll find art references in this book as well and philosophical explorations on the concept of personal freedom.

(5) Utopia – by Thomas More

My turn to choose a book has come again! When I’ve got this book in London at Somerset House, they also had a version of it written using the Utopian alphabet designed by Peter Giles (and Thomas More). I did not read that version! What can I say? Some things in this book sound good, until they don’t anymore. You’ll see.

(6) Girl, Woman, Other – by Bernardine Evaristo

I have indeed enjoyed this book! The stories of 12 women in Britain. It is a book about diversity and inclusion, or how one tries to get through exclusion. About the play of ideologies on personal ident­ity. About trauma and struggle. About ambition and success.

(7) The Quiet American – by Graham Greene

Written in 1955 and set in Vietnam, the book offers a glimpse into the Vietnam war and USA’s early involvement in it, as seen through the eyes of a British journalist. You also get a love triangle, a bit of conspiracy and whether one can truly remain impartial during a war, as they would claim under their profession, and what might make them take sides.
(Movies 1958, 2002)

I’m open to book recommendations. If anyone has any, let me know. I’ll keep them in the list for the book club or read them on my own!

Note: A colleague of mine, Ryan, recommended me the following books as a result of the above invitation; I’m saving the first one for the book club: 

  • A burning – by Megha Majumdar
  • Shuggie Bain – by Douglas Stuart

Until next time… I hope you are reading some nice books!

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