The Crow's Dream

Philosophy, geekery, and the meaning if life, and what I read this week…

Books that grab you by the ears

with one comment

Most of what I read is the result of searching for my next hit of literature, or from recommendations by other readers, but once in a while a book will grab me. There are some books that yell your name very loudly as you pass by them. they pop out of the background and demand that you read them. These book are self confident to the point of indolence. They know that they will become a part of your mind. They will settle in some corner of your brain and set shop conformably. They will get to decide what other books can enter your brain from that point on. They will be the standard by which you will judge everything that will come afterwards, be it a book, person, or experience. These books do not have to be good, but they lodge their way in to your brain forever.

If you want to know a little bit about who you are look for these books. They do not even have to be your favorites, but they did something to define you. Here is my list–feel free to share yours.

1) Swords of Lankhmar

I probably should not have read this book when I did. I was only thirteen when I bought it. The book was definitely not intended for young audiences, but that is why I loved it. I’ve judged every fantasy book I’ve read since by this standard. I am happy to say that not even Tolkien comes close. The only other book that matches the this one is “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel.” I reread it not long ago, and I enjoyed it even more.

2) Karmatron y los Transformables

This was actually a comic book from Mexico. It introduced me to meditation, zen, and what would eventually become a life long search for spiritual meaning. It also helped me to develop a taste for space operas, giant robots, and battleships.

3) Conversations with God

I was very interested in supernatural spirituality during a huge part of my life. I believed in UFOs, channeling, and the paranormal. This book introduced me to the idea of writing a dialog with myself. Although I no longer believe in the supernatural claims within the book, I still use the imaginary dialog tool from time to time when I feel like it.

4) Awakening the Writer Within

This book taught me to write. I got though college thanks to the authors.

5) Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

This book came to me when I was trying to figure out what the meaning of life could be without the supernatural to back it up. It helped me to embrace practical psychology as a tool to guide my destiny. It also introduced me to the idea of the “good life” so that my actions actually began to have a much more positive impact on the universe. When I read this my mind was shifting gears between the supernatural and the natural. I truly believe that the naturalistic explanation of the universe eventually superseded the alternative because I found that science worked better than my previously held superstitions. I continue to avidly devour scientific books thanks to this one read.

6) Hardcore Zen

After abandoning my spiritual search, this book reignited it by showing me that it is possible to be spiritual even when you do not believe in the supernatural. It also made me feel okay about my love for giant monsters.

7) Daily Coyote

This book grabbed me by the ears yesterday. It is actually based on a blog. I really don’t think I can do it justice, so look it up and read it. It is a book about love, and about how maybe we are not so alone in the universe after all.

There are many of other great books out there, some better than the ones I mentioned here, but this list includes only those accidental friends I made along the way.


Written by Hector

December 19, 2008 at 2:51 pm

One Response

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  1. If you enjoyed the Swords of Lankhmar you would likely enjoy George R.R. Martins work as well.

    Also you should add “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy to your list of books that grab you by the ears.



    December 19, 2008 at 4:17 pm

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