Reading Books n’ Stuff

Update: I did go on a jog, though I can’t remember if it was on that day. Likewise, with the help of the “Balance” app, I have done a couple of meditation sessions, mostly focusing on breath control. Haven’t felt instant results, but I’m pretty sure the point of meditation is based upon consistency rather than the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.

Now that I have more or less settled into the new house, I have am back to my regularly scheduled program of relentlessly checking social media with the thought of doing something productive constantly on the back of my mind. It’s been a struggle, but not without its small, important victories.

I finally finished A Storm of Swords, the third book of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I don’t exactly remember when I started reading it, but I do know that it took me less time to complete than it did A Clash of Kings and slightly more time to finish A Game of Thrones. Both are considerably shorter reads, so to complete such a dense book in that team is a personal achievement I never even thought of a year ago.

I absolutely adored this book. Relative to Game of Thrones, it’s basically seasons 3 and 4, considered by many to be the show’s peak in quality, myself included. Not only was it Thrones at the height of its powers, offering the very best of its crowded ensemble, it’s also George R.R. Martin having a firm grasp of Westeros and its inhabitants. Having the story be told through the perspective of characters offers a subjective quality and emotion that is missing through the television medium. Don’t get me wrong, I love the show (past a certain season), but to get into the psyches of these beloved characters offered an experience that was familiar yet unpredictable. Just as the previous books and seasons, there are enough similarities and differences to make both iterations absolutely worthwhile. I intend on starting A Feast for Crows soon, but not before I cross a few off my non-Westeros list first…

The day after completing ASOS, I started re-reading Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (uncensored as the author intends). I first read it back in 2017 still in community college and loved it then, though I felt there I had lived enough years to revisit the book with a more mature, sober, and even weary view of the world. This most recent read has been incredibly rewarding and fulfilling, with its cold hard truths coming off as less a mean spirited declaration and instead a more meditative, commanding approach to life. It is an absolute must read in a time where the overabundance of literally everything hampers our ways to prioritize what we can and should “give a fuck” about it in life.

Currently, I am doing another reread: Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance. I read this around the same period of time as Subtle Art and had the same reasons to justify a revisit. Having just past the first chapter, I instantly remember just how Aziz’s style of comedy is perfectly shown here. His writing voice effortlessly captures his high energy, practically being able to hear his voice while reading. Master of None is my all time favorite Netflix exclusive, so having Aziz explore love and relationships across history is an obvious match made in heaven (no romantic pun intended).

If anyone is interested, here is a list of books I mean to read before coming back to Westeros:

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Powers of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker, PhD

Foe by Iain Reid

Cosmos by Carl Sagan

I have finally started watching films on a more consistent basis, crossing a few titles off my evergrowing list. I may or may not write about them since many of them have been ones that have been talked about, analyzed, discussed to death.

I am super pumped for the new Charlie Kaufman film I’m Thinking of Ending Things, based on the book of the same name by Iain Reid. Yes, the same Iain Reid you see on my reading list. I LOVED that book as it provided one of the longest, most intense, and engaging reading sessions I’ve ever had. Not only do I look forward to reading more of Reid’s work, I’m intrigued to see how Kaufman adapts the novel. Thinking about, its themes and subjects are tailor made for his style, one that is existentially self-aware and comedic, often veering into a horrifically depressing truth. Perhaps I’ll write about how the film and book compare since adaptations will never be a perfectly faithful play by play of the written word. Certain things work for films and those same things can be hindrances when reading a book. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Speaking of book/film adaptations, The Disaster Artist is an interesting case to study. I loved the film when it first released, but after having read the book, I feel… different. Alas, that is a different conversation for a different time.

-Kevin Andres Diaz

featured image by JoeyJazz

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