I’m excited to share that I will be getting three new books soon. An early birthday gift filled with lots of inspiration. It took me a while to complete this list because sometimes, even when a published work becomes a bestseller, I still need to choose carefully. Time and focus must not be wasted. And money. We don’t want to waste money. And while I read for pleasure as much as the average reader, I also read for good old-fashioned wisdom and subjective meaning. To quote Anais Nin:
The artist is the only one who knows that the world is a subjective creation, that there is a choice to be made, a selection of elements.
So here’s my list of nonfiction books to read and a few thoughts about the selection:
1. A LIFE IN PARTS by Bryan Cranston
Actors who write is not a new phenomenon in Hollywood. Rob Lowe has done it (Stories I only tell my friends) as well as Lauren Graham of Gilmore Girls (Someday, Someday, Maybe). But this book is special because Bryan Cranston is a great storyteller. Just watch his interviews and you’ll see that this man can tell a story for a living because he’s lived a colorful life. Kirkus reviews calls his experience Kerouac-ian, in reference to writer, Jack Kerouac, who once said that road is life and all of life is one foreign country. So I expect that this book is about journeys into the emotional life of this great actor. Published only in October of 2016 so the paperback copy is yet to be released, and exactly one year after (October 19, 2017, Book Depository).
2. WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR by Paul Kalanithi
Died at 37. Terminal cancer. Peak of his medical career. Do I need more reason? So this is one of those books that you know instantly that you have to read, not because dying young is a pity and you feel pitiful for the author, Paul Kalanithi, and his bereaved family. No. I am getting this book because imminent death or to be exact, with only 22 months to live, life for the successful neurosurgeon becomes a classroom where he needs to learn how to die. How does one do that? How does one like Paul die gracefully? Because I’m thinking, if that happened to me, will I be able to remain calm and dignified, knowing the bittersweet end? I would probably be kicking furniture and cursing inanimate objects as I go along because that’s just the passionate person that I am. *wink* But seriously, it takes a lot of courage and wisdom to view and experience death as a process of learning and that is why Paul’s first and last book is in this list.
3. THE BOYS IN THE BOAT by Daniel James Brown
Thanks to Netflix, this one was easier to discover. After I watched the documentary An American Experience: The Boys of ’36, I was already dreaming of Berlin. Take note, this is not a travelogue, but a story of how a rowing team composed of blue collar young men, each of whom struggling to put food on the table during the Great Depression, came to represent their country in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. And not just Berlin, but Hitler’s Berlin. The story begins with Joe Rantz, who, in the words of his daughter, was a throwaway kid. Abandoned by his family at 14, he felt abandoned yet again when their coach took him out of the varsity rowing team. It is a story of how a survivor or group of survivors rowed for each other to upset a nation of Nazi supporters. Expect adventure and inspiration.
I will post my reviews of these books this month and the next so be sure to visit my blog or better yet, read with me.