Saturday, 15 July 2017

Mixed reading

Lately, I have been reluctant to write reviews of the books I have read. Sometimes I make notes during my reading, sometimes not. I always think I will remember what I was thinking at a certain point, but, alas, this is just wishful thinking. I have been slow with reading and for once did not have the energy or will to open a book. It comes and goes, but this time it has lasted longer than ever. I hope I am over it now, so looking forward to more reading during the summer. For now, I will share my thoughts on three books.

The Temporary Gentleman by Sebastian Barry

Sebastian Barry is a favourite author and I loved his The Secret Scripture and A Long, Long Way. Here we meet Jack McNulty in Ghana in 1957. He is a former UN observer whose mission is over. He is dreading going back to Ireland and the life he used to lead. He reflects on his life and failed marriage and his failings as a father. His present life acts as an opposite to his past life. While he has had problems engaging in his own family, he does engage himself in his servant's life and is trying to save his troublesome marriage.

As usual Barry gives us so many layers of what life is about. How do we act towards ourself, our family and friends, and people around us. McNulty starts to write a diary and this is when he really starts reflecting on his life and how to act in the future. Excellent writing, as usual, from Barry.

Blood & Guts - A Short History of Medicine by Roy Porter

I purchased this book while visiting Stratford-upon-Avon. It is an account on how humankind has fought disease over the ages, and the often gruesome ways in which doctors and surgeons learned how the inside of the body looked and worked.
"With an extraordinary cast of barber surgeons, quacks, apothecaries, witch-doctors and anatomists, this is an eye-opening, humorous and often terrifying look at our ongoing quest for immortality." 
Often while reading, I am really happy to live in the 21st century. Entertaining reading though and it gives you an overview of medical history. It is humorously written and understandable even for non-medical persons.

Self Power by Deepak Chopra

I think we all have our part of ups and downs in our lives. We all seek different ways to handle them. One of them is spiritualism. I am not a very spiritual person myself, but do embrace some of the wisdom. This book by Deepak Chopra is very good read. It gives good advice without being to overwhelmingly spiritual, and keeping it on realistic grounds. In the first part of the book he gives advice for how to act as life imposes itself on you. In the second part he answers questions from readers. Both parts are very useful and insightful.
"How you deal with the unknown determines how well you make choices. Bad decisions are the result of applying the past to the present, trying to repeat something that once worked. The worst decisions are made by applying the past so rigidly that you are blind to anything else. We can break down bad decisions into specifics. What we see is that each factor is rooted in contracted awareness. By its very nature, contracted awareness is rigid, defensive, limited in scope, and dependent on the past. The past is known, and when people aren't able to cope with the unknown, they have little choice but to remember the past, using old decisions and habits as their guide - a very fallible guide, as it turns out."
I really felt that his advise on how to approach things in life is practical and easy to adapt into you own life. Which decisions do you make, how can you change your life when you are unhappy. How can you open up to new ways and directions in your life. Useful reading for anyone.

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