A Pale View of Hills – Kazuo Ishiguro

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A rare ghost story, buoyant in nature, A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro is most remedying. The book draws its courage and simplicity from its narration. How deeply it strings together the forceful stream of memory upon a person’s solemn and intriguing life. The book, in many ways, teaches you how to live and do nothing else. And in that lies the means to live wholly.

Inspiring patience in monotomy and resonance in upbringing. And the roots of a family that plant one another at unforeseen moments, unremembered but never erased. This book is beautiful but sad. It maps the distance between such self-aware relationships. The fragility of them, how they once grew toward each other, and now they seem to grow apart. Isn’t that how most things in life transpire?

We all wish to re-live a few past memories while also welcoming the forgetfulness of them. Could that be more than dwelling on the past? Like navigating the gradual weaving of time. The phenomenon we know to be inevitable and yet feels as surreal as dreaming. The book dwells on the past and present in a way that it enriches the vivid presence of Etsuko. Possessing a quaint, vibrant, and soulful quality.


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In Praise of Shadows – Junichiro Tanizaki

We approach darkness with a melancholic and uneasy caution. What is inferred by such an encounter is (and always will be) synonymous with ambivalence and mystery. The more you understand the depth of your’s or a whole universe’s shadow, the stronger it gets to make you feel something.

In Praise of Shadows is an ephemeral essay written with infinite affection about the manifestation of shadows in the ordinariness of living. What, if I were to ask you, are the ordinary elements of living? Those elements that express their form, awareness, and sensation intimately. And yet, they’re merely unremembered by us in the next second. How, then, does shadow define these elements better than we ever can?

In Praise of Shadows reads like a conversation consisting of profound inconsistencies. It’s eager to touch upon some of the distinct nuances between Western and Eastern mannerisms. Proving that even to meditate upon a foundation as seemingly dull and blank as a white wall can have expression.

If you were to look up from the book around you, look at the empty mug in front of you, the stack of books on the floor, or the sun peels through a crack in the window – you’d grasp the strangeness of everything. And how we carefully perceive these elements as they fill up empty spaces and wander, forever drenched in the brush strokes of light and shadows.


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Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In praise of humanity’s ability to corrupt its own morality. To reify the archaic battle between social and hedonistic conditioning. The bloodshed of which flows eternally forming pools of sorrow, isolation, and abandonment. Consider Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment as the account of a trembling psychological and cerebral memory.

The effect the book has is simply profound; the sentences disquietingly vicious. An account, rather, of a man’s inner morbid, unsympathetic, and dogged monologue. Which leaves behind deeper and darker footsteps on a coarse and soggy surface. Imagine this to be the restitution of time’s most and only horrific quality: memory.

I’ve never come across a book this drenched in spilling man’s everlasting and condemnable obsession to reason. The protagonist’s own conscience sheds light on his realization of a flawed, starved, and forgotten rearing. And the readiness to retaliate to insane civic and inherited customs. The crime committed in the book has not only an external reach which points its finger at law and correction. But it also points a finger at one’s internal, contemplative, and torturous world.

The book confesses to a crime committed not by an axe but by one’s pride and crippling psyche. Reading Crime and Punishment is like wandering the streets of destitution, alone, in trembling anguish, dwelling on the meaning of life, death, the emptiness of temptation; the creature that casts its spell and crawls back in its cave, leaving behind everlasting darkness. The kind that feasts on the meek and strips away strength like ripping a bandage on a wounded victim.


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The Importance of Being Earnest – Oscar Wilde

A short story that endeavors or rather pokes at the genius of the impassivity of humanity. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde is a wild but fleeting ride. It is an introspective dive into the supposed lives of its protagonists, Algernon and John.

Both characters are handcuffed and drawn into the center of their society. It’s a fable of how unconsciously you could be pinned down by the things you surround yourself with. The understanding of false identities is grounded in as much as relevant even now. The more we’re drawn to fantasies in nature, the worse we tend to feel when they’re taken away from us.

If you ever looked into the truths that belong to you because they’re desirable. And the truths that exist undeterred by you. You’d grasp the elusive quality of life. Its illusions, ephemeral distractions, and the infallible mirror of reality. To read this book is to encourage your fascination for comedy put forth in an unfailing and intelligent light.


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If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller – Italo Calvino

We live in a world in which our perceptibility of reality, its acute awareness, and tireless influence are embraced as if canvassed across the night sky in a spectacle of lights. Marking your own bearings on such a sky takes a lifetime.

Every star, every imprint has a gleaming light of its own; a deep and intense light. This intensity keeps changing for those who are still on earth because they look at it differently. Some look at the stars in hope, some in anguish, some in euphoria. But do we wonder if anybody is looking back at us from above? The effulgence of light manifesting a ‘telluric’ quality of sorts.

And do we then derive our passions, loves, and fervor from the energy of lights? Standing under them, one after another, embracing all its ethereal traits. The multiple voices of a thousand and more lives. The language that resonates most with our inner voice. We hear it in whispers, taste it in nondescript flavors, and see it through the eyes of our soul.

Consider Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller as a trove of those voices. It remedies the ragged edges of reality. It reclaims the unattainable in dreams, the impossibilities in feeling, and the unimaginable in expression.

The path this luminous book takes is idiosyncratic in that it has many truths and many identities. It stations you into a world no one yet knows is. Invading your mind, soul, and whole concrete being. Calvino perfectly describes the uncertainty, the murkiness, the anticipation which compels a reader to read a new book. And how each time you read, you experience the self that is you, the reader.


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Memories of My Melancholy Whores – Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The truth is that every book, and in it every story, holds in its imagination a dream. The dream demands truthfulness from its reality. Separating, by a thin veil, the person hanging on to reality for clarity and the person relying on the lucidity of dreams for intense, unforeseen love.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores is the exploration of the lacunae between both worlds. It’s moving, crisp, and soul-rendering. The words ignite and wander in the land of nostalgia, love, and mortality. Reclaiming you as its solitudinous voyager, its narrator, and impersonator.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s words aren’t a measure at all. They burst forth into the recesses of a melancholic and lonely life. The book chronicles the fullness and emptiness of such a life. And soaring from its pages is the transparency of what returns to life over and over again. Tightening the threads of time strung together by mortality. The ending is the fulfillment of an unfulfilled life. The beginning of the resurrection of one.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores is about the incomplete and restless relationship of love and time. The depth of the right love met at the wrong time. And the fragility of a love that never returned when it should have. Perhaps love never does fit one like a glove. Love is time’s revenge upon death. And its own extinction.


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Man And His Symbols – Carl G. Jung

The waking of life isn’t a conventional phenomenon. It’s a thin veil that often presses up against our dreaming state. And sometimes, for us, to see through is to entertain the possibility (and yet uncertainty) that we could be viewing life from either side of it. That is, telescoping a vision of (and for life) while being conscious or otherwise.

And the tool to help you realize this process, this state of being, is this book. Books belonging to this genre may seem overwhelming to follow; especially when it’s such an intense and introspective line of thinking.

But the Man and his Symbols by Carl G. Jung is the first that doesn’t. In it, you will read about symbolism, unconscious thinking, conscious breathing, and the realization of archetypes.

After reading Four Archetypes by Carl G. Jung, Man and his Symbols appears to me as reality-reclaiming and the surest hope for transcending inward. That the ‘resistance’ one often feels before steering the mind away from external reality and toward the inner realm which is the opposite of chaotic and distracting is meaningful. So that ‘resistance’ is as powerful as the realization of one’s ego and its exertions into our unconscious and conscious manifestations.

When I say unconscious and conscious manifestations, I don’t mean the ones that awaken instantaneously. The ones that we feel compelled to respond to. The layered reality of both positive and negative emotions. Some manifestations are more symbolic and emotionally-charged than we think. And these are the ones that harness a person’s soul and influence his/her decisions.

The book – rich and deeply intelligent – is an enjoyable and gratifying read. You understand the secrets of life, the soul, its shadow, and the interconnectedness of it all. To read it is to realize that we draw more from our inner being to insist on a more comfortable outer reality. But denying the realization to this subliminal space is a way to breathe only half completely.


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…That Is Why I Write (Poem #12)

I’ve forgotten how to look at the sky
to separate the clouds
and greet birds as they pass by.

I’ve lost my essence
in a stack of hay
its edges shaper than a needle’s
forgotten and thrown away.

I’ve given up on dreaming
and on the restful sleep that it allows
for if they still persist
I don’t think I’d want to come back around.

I’m a kite without a string
or a string without its kite
the whole of me still incomplete
maybe that is why I write.

On the Nature of the Psyche – Carl G. Jung

A quick read that sketches a primordial quality of the human psyche. How can we know if we exist? Does imagination weave together this body, this mind, this projection of an inner self which stretches outside and takes control of reality?

The relevancy of this book… the fabric it’s made of… is banal. A book I’d recommend to everyone to read at least once. Complement its standpoint, its philosophy, with the help of other books of a similar nature.

While the history of the world exists. The chronological aspect of the mind is held intricately together by such works. It’s brutal, immersive, electrifying. Its effect is of one standing in front of a mirror, as if for the very first time, unable to recognize the patterns that emerge. The gradations, the mystery, the creases. It’s real but it isn’t. Your psyche breeds your existence. So when it’s lost, do you drown and recede into oblivion?


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Madame Bovary – Gustav Flaubert

Love, like the innocence of childhood, evolves as one does in a society held tightly by the strings of convention and patriarchy. Though these ties are faint and may often feel inconsequential, which is more in keeping with that of Madame Bovary’s atmosphere. Gustave Flaubert’s classic feels intricately profound and courageous.

The details are felt rather than read. The characters surrounding Emma feed her ambitions to life. Her psyche which is emotionally loaded compromises the scope of empathy. And it grows as the story progresses. It’s a fable tale about the capacity of love and its depletion by a bad conscience.

The story knows what it’s bound by. And as its roots deepen in that soil, the life of Emma, of Charles, of “Bovary” becomes multi-faceted and sentient. It’s not tragic that one should love where it’s never granted and that that love remains unfulfilled. What is tragic is the memory of love. The re-living of its familiarity, intimacy, and the inevitable maturity of that sentiment. A love that completes itself by its incompleteness.

Madame Bovary has structure, cadence, and grit. It has elements of sanity as clear as day. And of insanity as mysterious as a riddle wrapped in an enigma.


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