Reading recap 2016

Having weaned myself off social media, chiefly Facebook, I have found myself spending more time reading. Here are some of the books that I have really enjoyed and would recommend.

On Writing by Stephen King

If you are an aspiring writer, this is one of the books you definitely should pick up.

The main takeaway for me is a new habit of writing behind closed doors, pouring my thoughts and ideas into my first draft with no worry about presentation. I was always too concerned about how imperfect the first draft is but Stephen King has opened my eyes through this book.

I’m admittedly not into Stephen King’s works, mainly because he doesn’t write in a genre I read. Having read this book, I’m curious to explore some of his famous books. If you have a favourite in mind to recommend, please let me know.

How to Walk by Thich Nhat Hanh

I picked up this book after [Erick Kim] recommended it on his blog. We are so caught up with moving from one place to another, especially when we live in a fast-paced city. The book is a good reminder to slow down and feel, nay, live each step we take.

How has it benefitted me? I slow down when I take my photography walks, even the long walks without a camera. I’m more aware of the present, of my being. And through that awareness, I am more in touch with my surroundings and become more observant. This has certainly helped in my street photography.

How to Sit is another book by Thich Nhat Hanh that is on my reading list. Like How to Walk, it is also a very short book and I look forward to diving into it.

Dune by Frank Herbert

I was introduced to the world of science fiction by my classmate when I was fourteen, well, science fiction beyond the world of Star Wars. I grew up with Star Wars and refused to read any other science fiction back then. My classmate insisted that I gave Dune a try and I’m glad I did.

I played Dune, Dune II and Dune 2000 prior to reading the book. It was only when I started coming across familiar names that I realised the book was what inspired the games.

My interested in writing started after reading the Belgariad series by David Eddings. So I read the Dune series before I started looking at books from a writer’s perspective. Reading Dune again this time around, I was more aware of the nuances of Frank Herbert’s literary flair.

Brandon Sanderson mentioned in one of his lectures about Frank Herbert’s use of the omniscience narrator, something that I was studying in particular when reading the novel this time.

1Q84 by Murakami Haruki

I really enjoyed the ride through the book. I found myself so quickly rooting for Aomame despite the slow pace at the start of the novel. Once the story started to pick up speed, I couldn’t put the book down.

My only disappointment is that I could only read the translated English version. I won’t be able to read Japanese any time soon, so I hope that the translators were able to retain the nuances of the original text. I engage in [translation work] and it is very hard to convey the same meaning, especially when [translating for different cultures] as well.

Current read: The Courage to Create by Rollo May

I’ve just started this book, but it seems to be one that all creatives would resonate with. If you are a creative with the constant fear of not being good enough or worry that your works are not perfect, join me in reading this book.

Follow up

Depending on the speed I continue crunching through books, I might be posting such brief reviews more regularly. I’ve come to realise that when I reflect upon my readings, I actually discover more about what I subconsciously learnt while reading the book.