Summer Reading Nr. 1

June 15, 2016

 

  

Before I went on the road I bought myself some companions to start my journey. Some classics, some poetry and a guide through the literary journey I’d like to take. I always like to read two or three books at the same time: one fiction book, one non-fiction book, and some kind of poetry. This week I’ve lived with the following three books, and I hope these introductions can make you intrigued enough to pick something up yourself. If you do, please let me know, let me know what you thought, what you learned, your favourite passages, and what you will read hereafter.

 

 

 

 

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
Ever since I heard the song ”Great Expectations" by The Gaslight Anthem I’ve been wanting to read this classic. It’s a beautiful song and the songwriter talks in interviews about how the novel has influenced his artistry. I love finding out what other songwriters and authors read and are inspired by because obviously these writings inspired something great. There was something about the title that made me put it on the shelf for so long though. Great Expectations. It sounds so heavy and I wasn’t sure I was ready. It’s a classic after all and I wish to understand why these books have survived for so many years. I finally got myself a copy and just as expected (haaa see what I did there??) it’s the most wonderful story written in such a smooth and hypnotic language. I’m still only half way through, but it’s already a part of my list of books for everyone to read at least once in their lives.

 

Amazon UK  //  Amazon US

 

 

 

 

The Journal of Solitude - May Sarton
I love reading personal observations, diaries or letters from writers I truly admire. It’s like being welcomed beneath the surface of those other literary works they created. The edited fiction novels or or finely crafted poems. Journal of Solitude is May Sarton’s diary of sort, to, as she says herself “take up my ‘real’ life again at last. That is what is strange—that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life, unless there is time alone in which to explore what is happening or what has happened.” She needs to write in order to fully understand the world around her, and even though it’s written in a beautiful prosaic language it’s still very raw. Beautiful observations of a world that is pushed a little to the side. If you like books like Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, or Virginia Woolf’s diaries, you’re going to love this book.

”… I must not forget that, for me, being with people or even with one beloved person for any length of time without solitude is even worse. I lose my center. I feel dispersed, scattered, in pieces. I must have time alone in which to mull over my encounter, and to extract its juice, its essence, to understand what has really happened to me as a consequence of it.” This is kind of exactly what we get to follow in her journal, her solitary ways of mulling over her encounters.

 

Amazon UK  //  Amazon US

 

 

 

The Bhagavad Gita
Before you skip over this book, let me tell you that even if you’re not at all interested in Hindu or Buddhist philosophy, yoga or spiritualism, you will find beautiful lessons and thoughts in this book that will live with you through your day to day life. It will teach you how to deal with universal things like anger, jealousy, sadness and grief. How to take on your work, pursue your dream, and stay calm and happy while doing so.

I started reading philosophy a few years ago when I found myself desperately searching for salvation. I was young and scared, heart broken and alone. I needed something, anything, and after a lot of failed attempts I slowly find myself diving into philosophy, buddhism and yoga philosophy. It started with The Joseph Campbell Companion which led me onto Nietzsche, the concept of Amor Fati (lover of fate) and hindu teachings. I picked up some introductions to eastern philosophies, got into Seneca, Markus Aurelius and slowly built myself a home in these teachings.

Reading both eastern and western philosophy has taught me how to feel okay about the world and my place in it, and it’s teaching me how to simply handle the task of living. How to get through my first heavy heart break, how to embrace life and uncertainty, and how to be a kind and loveable person to those around me.

The Bhagavad Gita is one of the old classic hindu scriptures, and it’s a part of the yoga certification training I’ll be doing later this year. It’s not as heavy or spiritual as it might sound. It’s beautiful straight-to-action advice on how to meet the world, how to embark on your own journeys and how to simply find a way to feel comfort and joy in uncertainty.

I recommend this book to everyone, even if you have no interest in philosophy or yoga, you will find so many universal teachings and thoughts in this book. Read it little by little, chapter by chapter, don’t rush, carry it with you.

 

Amazon UK  //  Amazon US

 

 

 

 

I hope these little introductions sparked your interest to read one of these books yourself! If you do, please let me know and tell me what you thought about. Please also comment and tell me what you’re currently reading, learning or thinking about! 

Love always,
Charlotte

  

 

 

 

 

 

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5am
again,
drunk on someone else’s love,
or couch,
and I’ve never felt more at home.

I fled myself,
from the life I’ve built
because I’ve been inhabiting routines I don’t want to stand for.

Inhabiting skin I’d rather shed
but still took on
like a soldier serving his country,
for that’s what they told me to do.
But I was not
strong
or wise,
but young and foolish,
for what is this thing? Trading passions for a tiny bit of acceptance,

and I am not a Sunday morning inside four walls
with clean blood
and organised drawers.
I am the hurricane setting fire to the forests
at night when no one else is alive,
or awake,
however you choose to see it,
and I live in my own flames.
Sometimes burning too bright and too wild
to make things last 
or handle
myself or anyone else
and so I run.
Run run run,
far and wide
until my bones ache and lungs split
and it feels good.
Hear that, people? It feels good,
because I am the slave and ruler of my own body
and I wish to do with it exactly as I please,
and living in this skin is hard and painful, most of the times,

because I never volunteered to take this on.

The daily sacrifice of heart over mind,
the forever on going task of explaining this and that,
and why I don’t want to look like this and
be like that
but still here I am and if this is the body I’ve been given I’m sure as hell gonna make it work.
If this is the place I’ve been given, I’m sure as hell gonna make this work.

So I fled the me that was never really me and I’m on my way. To newer lands and uncleaned streets
for I’ve had enough of childish safety in comfort.
Enough of all telling me to look and do, like this and that,

and I never meant to please anyone but myself
and you can call me selfish,
throw words like knives in the dark but I will not listen,
for not listening to sharp words brought me to where I am today
and I believe in the path I’ve been given. If my only task in this life is to walk it,
I surely will walk it
prouder than anyone else.

If this is the path I’ve been given, I will walk it
prouder than anyone else,
for no one else can.

// from my book You’re Doing Just Fine ☾

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