December 29, 2019-
I covered a decade, yesterday, but today I will take a brief look at the books which mattered most to me, this year. I have covered key books of years past, as I finished them.
10. Abby Wize: AWAY (Revision)– This Baha’i-themed book was revised to include more detail and to flesh out a previously one-dimensional character. It is the account of a young girl who has a vision of a spiritually-advanced society of the future, after suffering a head injury.
9. Spiritwalker– This tale, similar to Abby Wize, involves communication between a Hawaiian man and one of his descendants, in the far future. It is more dystopian than Abby Wize, so expect a description of a more seemingly primitive future environment.
8. Winter of the World– The second volume of Ken Follett’s series of novels on the Twentieth Century, this tale covers several families’ experiences in Britain, the United States, Germany and Russia, in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
7. Swimming for Sunlight– This novel follows a newly-divorced young woman, as she overcomes her guilt stemming from her father’s tragic death and her fear of life, that results from that guilt.
6. Testaments- (Reading in progress)- This novel is a sequel to Margaret Atwood’s “A Handmaid’s Tale”, offering details into the lives of individual women during the period of the fictional Republic of Gilead.
5. Twelve Rules for Life (Reading in progress)- This non-fiction book, by Jordan Peterson, discusses twelve ethical principles and their application to both modern life and traditional Western thought.
4. The Alchemist– Paolo Coelho’s classic tale of a young man, traveling from Spain to Egypt, across the Sahara Desert and back, and of the spiritual transformation this brings about, in his life and that of those around him.
3. Gulistan (Reading in progress)- This is a collection of poetry and stories, fdrawn from both the life and from the observations of a doctor who has keen insights into both Indian and American cultures and mores.
2. Reflections of A Wonderful Life– These are the memoirs of my brother, presented in the form of answers to questions posed by his three children. They mirror my own memories, in many ways. Both this book and Gulistan have influenced my own memoirs, in terms of the format in which they will be presented. No promises, but I look to getting them written, by this coming Fall.
1. The Brothers Karamazov– Feodor Dostoevsky’s seminal novel on the human condition, this novel is not so much concerned with Good vs. Evil, as it is with internal versus external loci of control. The atheist paints a nihilistic portrait of the bleak Tsarist environment, whilst his own fervently religious brother, alternately optimistic and despairing, sees only the Will of God behind all happenings, both positive and negative. The eldest brother is presented as a rake, who fiercely clashes with his simpleton father, over a woman. The resulting conflict has deadly results, giving rise to the novel’s debates among the brothers on matters of free will and morality.
These are the reads which influenced me the strongest, over the past twelve months.