📚 The Reading Journal #047
The Year of Less, Cyberpunk Books and Wisdom from a 109-Year-Old Man
Stephen King, celebrated author in the horror and supernatural genres, faced numerous rejections before his first novel, "Carrie," was finally accepted for publication. The idea for "Carrie" came from his experiences as a high school teacher in Maine and was initially discarded, only to be retrieved and encouraged by his wife, Tabitha. Despite repeated rejections, King persisted, and his 30th submission was accepted by Doubleday. The book was a significant success, selling over a million copies in its first year as a paperback, and led to various adaptations. King's perseverance in the face of rejection not only launched his prolific career but also stands as a powerful testament to the value of persistence for aspiring writers.
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📚️ Staff Pick of the Week
The Book of Charlie: Wisdom from the Remarkable American Life of a 109-Year-Old Man by David Von Drehle
In "The Book of Charlie," a veteran Washington journalist moves to Kansas and forms a profound friendship with his centenarian neighbor, Charlie White. Charlie's extraordinary life, spanning from a tragedy in his childhood to witnessing and participating in significant historical events, showcases his resilience and adaptability. As the journalist, David Von Drehle, delves into Charlie's experiences, he discovers valuable lessons on how to live a long and happy life amidst constant change. Von Drehle realizes that Charlie's ability to thrive in times of upheaval makes him a master of resilience, and he decides to share Charlie's secrets with his own children. The story of Charlie's journey through a century of change serves as an inspiring testament to the United States' enduring spirit of division, exploration, innovation, and the pursuit of a meaningful life.
🎥 Reading Talk's
📈 Rising Quickly - Week of May 22, 2023
The Year of Less: How I Stopped Shopping, Gave Away My Belongings, and Discovered Life Is Worth More Than Anything You Can Buy in a Store
In her late twenties, Cait Flanders decided to challenge herself to a year without shopping, a journey she documents in "The Year of Less." This came after realizing she was stuck in a consumerist cycle, which wasn't bringing her any fulfillment despite having paid off nearly $30,000 of consumer debt. During this year-long challenge, she only bought necessities and significantly reduced her consumption in other areas of life, from decluttering her belongings to minimizing waste and foregoing television. This minimalistic approach turned into a lifeline during unexpected life difficulties, prompting a transformation in her habits and revealing what truly mattered to her. Combining personal narrative with insightful lessons and practical advice, "The Year of Less" inspires readers to reconsider their own consumption patterns and potentially embark on their journey towards a minimalist lifestyle.
🪄Most Talked About Fiction - Week of May 22, 2023
The Covenant of Water by Abraham Verghese
"The Covenant of Water" by Abraham Verghese is an expansive family saga set in Kerala, South India from 1900 to 1977. It explores the story of a family, rooted in a Christian community with ancient roots, tragically marked by an unusual affliction, where each generation suffers at least one drowning. Amid Kerala's omnipresent water bodies, the family evolves under the matriarch, Big Ammachi, who experiences profound changes within her household and the larger society. The narrative is a celebration of Verghese’s storytelling mastery, blending scenes of ingenious medical practices, evocative humor, and deeply touching narratives, with characters that pulse with life. The novel reflects on a bygone era of India, the passage of time, advancements in medicine, human understanding, and the sacrifices of our ancestors. It stands as a powerful testament to Verghese's literary craftsmanship.
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📚️ Most Talked About Non-Fiction - Week of May 22, 2023
Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson
Elon Musk, having endured bullying in his childhood and emotional trauma from his father, grew into an individual with intense mood swings and a high tolerance for risk. Despite his childhood experiences marking him, Musk managed to emerge as a powerhouse, leading SpaceX to launch thirty-one rockets, and Tesla to sell a million cars in 2021, thus making him the richest man on earth. Yet, even in his success, Musk felt the need to exit his constant crisis mode, a mindset he's carried arguably all his life. Notably, Musk's coping mechanism for his past torment has included buying Twitter shares, a symbol of the playground where he once suffered. Isaacson spent two years examining Musk's life, including interviewing him and those close to him, to discern whether Musk's personal demons are what also fuel his drive for innovation and progress.
🆕 New and Noteworthy
Dead in the Water: A True Story of Hijacking, Murder, and a Global Maritime Conspiracy by Matthew Campbell
"Dead in the Water," by renowned journalists Matthew Campbell and Kit Chellel, is a thrilling true-crime exposé that delves into the mysterious maritime hijacking of the oil tanker Brillante Virtuoso in July 2011 by Somali pirates and the resulting devastating explosion. This incident raises more questions than answers, particularly concerning the ease with which the pirates boarded and their seemingly counterintuitive destruction of the vessel. The unexpected murder of David Mockett, a maritime surveyor probing into the incident, adds another layer of complexity. Utilizing firsthand accounts from various perspectives, including the ship's crew, witnesses, and investigators, the authors unravel the hidden truth behind one of history's most audacious financial frauds. The book reveals an intricate conspiracy within the often-lawless maritime industry, an old-world sector underpinning today's global economy, after over four years of dedicated reporting.
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