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On Life and its Costs


“However mean your life is, meet it and live it;
do not shun it and call it hard names.
It is not so bad as you are.
It looks poorest when you are richest.
The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise.

Love your life, poor as it is.
You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse.
The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man's abode;
the snow melts before its door as early in the spring.
I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.”

― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

and

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I will call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”

― Henry David Thoreau, Walden


Books I’ve Read, July Edition

Lots of fantasy, a lovely book of poetry, a beautifully written nonfiction book.
All this, on July’s list of books :)

July

  • Love Looks Pretty on You, Lang Leav
    (must read. in my imagination, leav is a talented younger sister, who has been through a lot more and writes her advice just for me, in her poems)

  • Working, Robert Caro
    (if you haven’t read the Power Broker, you should
    if you haven’t read the Lyndon volumes, you should
    this book is Caro’s account of the work, that went into those works.
    the ceaseless toil, the thankless years, the people and their stories
    Caro is Caro, master of the craft.
    There are only a few explicit lessons here.
    but plenty if you care enough to read between the lines
    plenty if you make this an annual read, like i will)

  • The Broken Earth Trilogy, N. K. Jemisin
    (if you love fantasy, this is an absolute read.
    world building at its finest.
    The journey she takes me on! The magic she creates! The world she imagines!
    It’s such a harsh world, but gosh darn it, I want to live there.
    Jemisin’s awesome.)

    • The Fifth Season
    • The Obelisk Gate
    • The Stone Sky
  • The Inheritance Trilogy, N. K. Jemisin
    (This was Jemisin’s older trilogy and it shows.
    The language is rougher and the characters drag on a bit
    Minor quibbles though. It was a really good read)

    • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
    • The Broken Kingdoms
    • The Kingdom of Gods

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Books I’ve Read, June Edition

’Twas a good month for reading :)

June

  • The Song of the Bird, Anthony de Mello
    (absolutely read. buy and give people copies.
    this book for me, goes beyond a quake book.
    it has shaped my life, and thoughts, since boyhood, subconsciously then and with intent now.)

  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles (Poirot #1), Agatha Christie
    (re-reading my way through the Poirot canon.
    these books take me to the age I think I belong to, the late 1800s, early 1900s absolutely delightful)

  • Epigrams on Men, Women and Love, Honoré de Balzac
    (beautiful set of quotes)

  • Mother American Night, John Perry Barlow
    (a man who lived life. founder of the EFF and the FSF.
    and more importantly (to me), lyricist for the Grateful Dead)

  • Word by Word, Anne Lamott
    (must listen (it’s an old audiobook.)
    excellent companion to Bird by Bird.
    imagine Anne teaching you how to write using BbB as a text book.
    she’s awesome.
    the book’s awesome.)

  • Indian Love Poems, Peter Pauper Press
    (absolutely loved it)

  • Love Poems and Love Letters for All the Year, Peter Pauper Press

  • Flower Thoughts, Peter Pauper Press

  • Thoughts for a Good Life, Peter Pauper Press

  • Epigrams by Oscar Wilde, Peter Pauper Press

  • Murder on the Links (Poirot #2), Agatha Christie
    (need i say, you ought to read it :))

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What Makes the Desert Beautiful …

Click the pic for a bigger photo

“The stars are beautiful, because of a flower that cannot be seen.”

I replied, “Yes, that is so.’
And, without saying anything more, I looked across the ridges of sand that were stretched out before us in the moonlight.

“The desert is beautiful,” the little prince added.

“What makes the desert beautiful,” said the little prince, “is that somewhere it hides a well …”

— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

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Books I’ve Read, May Edition

If you are looking for something to read, you might find something interesting here.

May

  • The Great Mental Models, Shane Parrish
    (the first of a soon to be multivolume work.
    must read times a hundred.
    this book teaches you how to think.
    and how to do it well.
    have i said it’s a must read? you must read it.)

  • Coraline, Neil Gaiman
    (must read. scarily charming.)

April

  • Keep Going, Austin Kleon
    (must read. new annual read. timely. beautiful quotes. hugely inspirational)

  • Chocolate Wars, Deborah Cadbury
    (must read. as a child growing up in the shadow of the large Cadbury factory, near home, Cadbury has always fascinated me. i still remember their school tours where we could go see how the chocolate was made and come home with a couple of bars of Dairy Milk. the factory is now shutdown, and the tempting aroma of chocolate no longer fills the air. this book delves into nearly 200 years of Cadbury’s (as well as its contemporaries) history. a lovely nostalgic throwback to a more innocent, more generous age.)

March

  • Titan’s Wrath, Rhett C Bruno

  • Never Grow Up, Jackie Chan
    (charmingly mistitled, because it is all about Jackie growing up, albeit a little too late. beautiful notes of apology and gratitude to the people in his life and of course, being Jackie, loads of hilarious stories)

  • Company of One, Paul Jarvis

  • Titan’s Son, Rhett C Bruno
    (something to get my mind off studies. the series is still fun)

  • Digital Minimalism, Cal Newport
    (must read. short. an in-depth practical treatise on getting out of the clicky, clicky, swipe, swipe circle of digital death i was in. found it really helpful)

  • Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi & Tal Raz
    (good read. if you’re an introvert like me, this is a good stepping stone to help you get out there.)

  • Thinking in Bets, Annie Duke
    (must read. short treatise on how you need to think probabilistically and divorce your efforts and your work, Arjun-like, from their results)

  • Titanborn, Rhett C Bruno
    (short fun read. in the vein of Asimov’s detective stories)

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