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January 2018: The Voyager’s Book Inventory and Book Recommendations

Books are one of the best inventions to pass the time by. It is one of the ways we can travel without even actually traveling. It takes us to worlds of wonders, worlds we never want to live in, worlds we wish to live in, the world that we live in, and the world that we think is within the world we live in and so on.

For some people, it is a way to escape reality because books are better and sometimes other people find a solitary friend with their books. Some people find books helpful and sometimes reading a book changes a person’s course of life.

Books are like that for me. And, so for 2018, I decided to create a book inventory challenge. It’s a challenge to take note of all the books I have read for each month and talk about it here for others to find as book recommendations.

Here are the books I have read so far for the month of January 2018:

Life of Pi, Yann Martel

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Life of Pi is a book published in 2001 and won a Man Booker Prize for fiction in 2002. It is also adapted into a movie last 2012. The movie adaptation won several awards such as Oscar and Golden Globe Awards.

Life of Pi is said to be a novel that will make you believe in God.

It is a story about a young boy named Piscine Patel (Pi for short) and his misadventure when his family decides to emigrate from India to Canada. During their voyage to Canada, a mysterious accident causes their ship to sink. Pi finds himself orphaned in the middle of the Pacific ocean in a lifeboat with peculiar animals with him. How ironic to find salvation in a lifeboat filled with dangerous animals such as a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a Bengal Tiger – Richard Parker!

The Voyager’s Experience on the Book

I first saw the movie before I read the book. Seventeen years from the book release and I just happen to read the book just this January 2018.

Reading Life of Pi is a good way to start the year. It’s a thought-provoking book about religion and faith. There are many conclusions and metaphors that we can draw from the story.

At the end of the book, two different version of Pi’s misadventure will present upon you – the human story and the animal story. Pi will end his story with a quote saying,
“Thank you. And, so it goes with God”. There are two different versions of his misadventure; the story which we can comprehend due to logic and the laws of reality and the one which makes us believe that it is a story of a man who made up his own version of reality to save his own sanity. And whether we conclude that Pi’s other version of the story is more believable than the other, isn’t it the same with how we see God?

Call Me By Your Name, André Aciman

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Call me By Your Name is a book published in 2007. The novel has been adapted into a movie this 2017 and bagged several nominations from Golden Globes and Oscars.

It is a coming of age love story between a 17-year-old boy named Elio and a 24-year-old American scholar named Oliver. The story is set in 1980’s Italy.

The story revolves around Elio’s attraction to Oliver, their doctoral student guest. The story is written in Elio’s point of view. In the story, he talks about the summer with Oliver and how he addresses his sexuality as Oliver and Elio’s relationship progresses from strangers to friends to a stronger bond beyond friendship.

The Voyager’s Experience on the Book

Call Me By Your Name is a beautifully well-written book. The movie adaptation is also beautiful. As you unravel the story of Elio and Oliver’s summer, you just can’t help relate to Elio’s attraction to Oliver. The book will also bring you the beauty of Italy.

The book deals with a teenager’s discovery of his own sexuality and coming to terms with it. The book emphasizes love and acceptance; acceptance of one’s self and acceptance to the reality of someone you dearly love.

As I read the book, I somehow have a deeper understanding of how it is to be a bisexual guy. It gives you an idea of other people’s story about finding out their own sexuality.

The story makes you realize that there are people that will just pass by but will change the entire course of your life. Most importantly, there is a kind of love that never fades away; a kind of love that is beyond friendship even if the time passes. I recommend reading the book first before watching the movie.

Playlist for the Dead, Michelle Falkoff

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Playlist for the Dead is a book that contains twenty-seven songs for you to listen to. Each song is like the background music of each chapter in the book. The story revolves around themes such as bullying, depression, and suicide.

Sam finds out Hayden, his best friend, is dead after a party and leaves a playlist as a suicide note. Sam plays the playlist to figure out why his best friend took his life. Soon he discovers Hayden’s secret and figures out why he did what he did with the help of Astrid. But, who is Astrid and how does she fit in the story?

The Voyager’s Experience on the Book

So far, Playlist for the Dead is the fastest book I have read for the month of January. I have finished it in one day because it is easy to follow. It isn’t as dark as 13 Reasons Why but if you like books like 13 Reasons Why then you’ll probably like Playlist for the Dead.

I like the songs featured in the book. I actually listened to the playlist on Spotify. Suicide is a social issue that should be addressed properly because like most novels I’ve read, it affects a lot of people.

I like the book because it deals with issues like the toxicity in the household. Honestly, our family can be toxic sometimes and it pushes people to do things that are irreparable.

Blink: The Power of Thinking without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell

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Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking is a non-fiction book with psychology as its subject. It is published in 2005 by Malcolm Gladwell. He is the same author who wrote The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make A Big Difference and Outliers: The Story of Success.

The book deals with the study on our brain’s ability to form judgments with only a little information. It delves deeper into the advantages and disadvantages of our brain’s ability to draw conclusions with limited information.

Psychologically speaking, this ability is called adaptive unconscious.

The Voyager’s Experience on the Book

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell is the first non-fiction book I have read for the year. It is an informative book about our subconscious mind with different examples from different fields such as art, medicine, war, love and so much more.

It talks about an ability of our mind called adaptive unconscious. Our mind has the ability to make judgments despite the limited information we have. This ability can be honed through time knowledge and experience. However, sometimes we have to dig deeper on our judgments because our minds sometimes play tricks on us.

As written in the book, our mind can “thin-slice” information and use it as needed. Meaning, sometimes, we only require less information to create a good judgment. We don’t have to think it through. It is a great book to discover what lies beyond our mind.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Mark Manson

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The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck is written by blogger named Mark Manson. It is written on 2016 and became a #1 New York Times Best seller.

For some, it is an ordinary self-help book but the book is really useful especially for the struggling millennials and younger generations.

The book is not a book about not giving a fuck on things, it’s about giving a fuck less on trivial things and giving a fuck more on the important things in life. The book isn’t about how to be successful. It’s a book about how to deal with loss, failure, and struggles in life. One of the most important questions Mark Manson imparts in the book is the question of our willingness to struggle to achieve success.

We all want to be successful but how much are we willing to struggle to become successful?

The Voyager’s Experience on the Book

I would highly suggest the book to my friends or anyone who is looking for a self-help book. It resonates with my own experience as a professional and as a struggling 20-ish who is looking for direction in life.

The book opens your mind to change your metrics and values in life in order to be happy. Sometimes, our happiness relies on our values. We have to change our metrics of success. Success isn’t about money, popularity or power.

There are five major values that the book imparts: responsibility, uncertainty, failure, rejection, and contemplation of one’s mortality.

  1. We may not be responsible for what is happening to us but we are still responsible for how we react and interpret the things around us. Responsibility is a choice. We are responsible for choosing our reaction despite the shitty things happening around us.
  2. Certainty is the enemy of progress. We have to be open with uncertainty. The uncertainty of our abilities, of our knowledge, of our experiences, of ourselves, help us improve to become better.
  3. Success is a summary of all failures. Pain is important. Emotional pain makes us stronger. When we exercise our body aches but the more we endure physical pain, the more our muscles and bones become stronger. This is the same with failures. It makes us better, wiser and stronger people.
  4. Rejection is important. To reject something is important and to hear rejection is as equally important. A healthy relationship requires rejection because it provides honesty and boundaries. You have to honestly say no to people and be honest about how you feel.
  5. The eventuality of death makes us realize that we need to live life to the fullest. Always ask yourself how many lives did you have an effect on when you die. How influential were you? Imploring death in your daily life makes you appreciate the good things in life and humbles you in the face of adversities.

My favorite book for the month of January is Mark Manson’s book and Call Me By Your Name. Mark Manson speaks about the generation’s depression and how to overcome it. It’s a great book. Some may find it ordinary but for me, it’s a relatable book. Call me by Your Name is also a great love story. Although the ending is sad, it’s really realistic. It reminds me of the movie Blue is the Warmest Color.

I’m really excited for February. I also started a book swap tradition in our office so my first book for February is a book my workmate recommended for me.

Hope you find yourself looking for the books I featured this January the next time you hit the bookshop.

If you want to recommend a book, drop a comment. I love suggestions. Hope you like my book choices for the month of January. Stay tuned for February!

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