I will continue to take a hiatus from this blog and crowdCONNX as I focus more fully on writing my second book, The Walls Have Painted Eyes: The Story of the Mural Artworks of Michelle Loughery Building Connections within Communities and People.
In the mean time I hope you all find meaning and purpose in your life, read good books often and takes steps to secure your finances. I know I will be.
With that in mind I recommend Tony Robbin’s Money Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom. I am half way through it, have received a wake up call and loads of inspiration and advice from the masters themselves. You can also take my advice and invest in real estate as I have, plus support me on my journey but purchasing a copy of my first book The Bartender is Your Landlord: Why the Wealthy Elite Invest in Real Estate and How Anyone can Join Their Ranks.
Take care of yourselves,
Some books are very subtle when it comes to theme; sly hints from the shadows at the message they carry, whereas some books take a more direct approach, that of a military commander screaming insults mere inches from your face; which is the case for Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay.
The message is loud and it is very real.
Kay delivers this within the world he created (pulling much from history) for his previous novels Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors, though placed some 25 years later.
Few authors can capture intrigues and cultural prejudices better than Kay, and he is doing it from ancient history! Kingdoms, religions, warriors, politicians and merchants are all caught within a web that Kay, acting as fate, weaves. I am half way through this book and it has already delivered tragedy, love, intrigue, battle and more. A thrilling read!
With Children of Earth and Sky Guy Gavriel Kay proves why he remains one of my favourite authors.
Some books are a gift; some of which are simply re-gifted or lay forgotten on a shelf. Some such as Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are to be treasured, brought down several times a year to be marvelled at yet again. Gift this book. Give it to that girl you have always wanted to impress. Gift it to your arrogant friend who only shuts his opinionated mouth when captured by a good book. Send it to your Grandma to read while she bakes the next batch of cookies to send back to you. Present it to your friend who has ‘always wanted to read’. Gift it to yourself.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie manages to do what very few writers can, she changes how you view the world. With Half the Yellow Sun she not only opens your eyes, she challenges you to leave them that way.
In Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda gives voice to a violent world filled with seemingly undying hope captured within the love and conflict of her very real characters and their very poignant lives, made all the more real as this fiction was set within actual world events.
I hated war before this book; I hate it more now. Yet I am left with a deep satisfying love for the characters who allowed me to witness them as they struggled through this war. Nigeria was once just a name on a map for me, now I realize some of their struggle and can do my little part to ensure such evils are limited today, at least within myself.
Like I said, some books change the way you view the world.
Sometimes someone knows you so well that they can mysteriously pick a book better suited to your taste than even you can manage. Which is the case with the person who gifted me Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I cannot thank you enough!
Chimamanda transports the reader to Africa during the late 1960’s. He captures the voice and spirit of that time with prose that is unmatched and almost spellbinding. His characters and their voices are complete with the tiny nuances that make all of us uniquely human and alive. Only just over 100 pages in yet each time I pick up the book I feel like I am sitting across the table from new friends that somehow have the familiarity of old; whose company I not only cherish but whose very presence makes me a better and more whole person. Pure magic.
Thank you Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie! I cannot wait to finish this novel and check out your other work.
Other Novels by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie:
We Should All Be Feminists
The Thing Around Your Neck
Ian C. Esslemont has been one of my favourite authors since his debut novel Night of Knives and remains so with Dancer’s Lament. I could not put it down. In fact I dedicated an entire Monday (which I never do as I should have been writing and blogging) to the reading of this book. I do not regret it.
Two pages in and I was laughing. Ian C. Esslemont perfectly captures the characters we first met in the works of Steven Erikson. Dancer’s Lament is a thrill ride packed with humour and hard won lessons. It is everything fans of the Malazan Empire have come to love. I recommend it to both long time readers of the series as well as to new ones, as it stands alone as the first book in a trilogy.
Once you get started with this series you wish it never stops.
Next up Steven Erikson’s Fall of Light: Book Two of the Kharkanas Trilogy
Also by Ian C. Esslemont:
Night of Knives
Return of the Crimson Guard
Orb Sceptre Throne
Blood and Bone
I picked up Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy by Mallika Chopra after watching her give a speech on living with intent on a Ted Talks. Needless to say her words intrigued me.
Living with Intent follows Mallika as she journals her journey towards a life filled with purpose. It is both entertaining and educational. Mallika quotes many outstanding resources such as Eckhart Tolle and her father Deepak Chopra. She certainly has researched intent!
One of the more entertaining and I found real aspects of her book is her very real struggle to follow her intents. I enjoyed this as here was a person struggling with the day to day life, much as we all do, yet finding a way to do so with grace and purpose. She gives hope for all of us on the same or similar path.
All around I found this to be a warm book that gave me some tools (one meditation tool which I utilize almost daily) to help me with my intents. It is a great place for anyone who wished to make some real changes in their life to begin. I recommend this quick read.
Also by Mallika Chopra:
100 Promises to My Baby
100 Questions from my Child
Making an intentional change in your life is not that easy of a thing to accomplish. I know this as I have made a few and continue to struggle to make a few more. Below is a list of books that have helped me along the way. I hope they help you.
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! by Robert Kiyosaki is the book that taught me how to think about money. Without this book I never would have invested, bought real estate or wrote my first book The Bartender is Your Landlord: Why The Wealthy Elite Invest in Real Estate and How Anyone Can Join Their Ranks. Hence this book is at the top of the list as it inspired the most changes in my life.
Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Alejandro Junger will change how you think about food, leaving you with a healthy body, more energy and less ailments. Add a little exercise and meditation to the eating guidelines in this book and you will be on your way to an amazing life!
Ancient Wisdom: Modern World by Dalai Lama has the potential to change how you view the people around you and how you treat them, perhaps leaving you happier and more content in your own life. Wonderful read.
Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace and Joy by Mallika Chopra is a quick read allowing the reader a glimpse into the life of someone quite similar to ourselves on her journey to finding her purpose. Fun and educational.
Taking the Leap: Freeing Ourselves from Old Habits and Fears by Pema Chödrön not only teaches the art of mindfulness but shows us how to use it to stop making the same mistakes If you are looking for change this book can help bring it about. Certainly helped me with my temper.
Buddha: A Story of Enlightenment by Deepak Chopra was a gift both in actuality and for the lessons it left me with.
This is an interesting work of historical fiction as it follows the life of a saint which many o us know little about. Though to be honest after reading the book I am not sure I know much more, though I got a taste of what his life must have been like. This novel has certainly intrigued me enough that I want to learn more, which I gather from the epilogue was the author’s intention.
For me the best part of this novel was when we followed the monk Gautama. The lessons he learned as he searched for enlightenment will stay with me, particularly the harsh lesson regarding saintly behaviour in Chapter 12.
All in all this was a good read which gives a brief and fictional glimpse into the life of one of the most peaceful men who ever lived and the beginnings of a religion based around lifestyle instead of worship. Thus I recommend it.
My list of my Top 5 Fantasy Books choice was easy to compile. I have walked around with a only slightly changing list of my top novelists so I merely had to recall that. Please note that is list does not go in any particular order rather each selection is meant to stand alone as one my favourites.
Steven Erikson’s Deadhouse Gates A Tale of the Malazan Book of the Fallen Though this is book 2 of the series it like all of the books housed in this series can be read alone, as the size and depth of this world is beyond imagination. This is my favourite by far thus a full review is coming.
Guy Gavriel Kay’s A Song for Arbonne My Favourite by my favourite author. So good that I cried at parts. Heroism at its best. I’m going to reread this soon!
George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire Game of Thrones Book 1 I hesitated to put this here as the HBO series makes it an obvious choice, yet the truth remains, this is an outstanding read and I cannot wait for him to release a new book; which may be forever and a day from now. Any fan of his written work knows that statement to be true.
Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel’s Chosen Sexy and heroic! Need I say more? Jacqueline Carey mixes court intrigue with religion, sensualness and battle. I could not put this book down. It is the second in the series but remains my favourite. A full review can be expected at a later date.
Ian C. Esslemont’s Return of the Crimson Guard A Novel of the Malazan Empire the second writer of the Malazan empire has been just as impressive as his counterpart. This is the book that really crowned his achievement. At times the two voices of this series seems as one. Which I guess makes sense since they created this world together.
I am a big believer of researching anything that I am interested in doing; learn from the people that came before me. I did it for wrestling and body building, wine and wine service, personal finances and investing (the list goes on and one) and writing.
One such book that I found to be both an excellent read and informative was On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Steven King. I read this more years ago than I can remember but it has always stayed with me as I continue to write. I won’t attempt to paraphrase the many lessons that the modern day master shares, but I will share attempt it with the one thing that struck me and thus always whispers from the dark corners of my mind as I write.
Kill your babies.
Not sure if that is the correct wording after all these years but that is what I now hear. Rest assured it does not mean to actually kill your actual babies. Rather it refers to your writing babies and the need for rewriting. Mr. King states the case to ruthlessly slay those parts of you writing that you love the best because those are the parts that have the least authentic voice of your characters etc. Instead they are nothing more than your writer ego. So those parts should always be cut from your final product. Be unforgiving with yourself. Cut, cut, trim and cut.
Perhaps this has always stayed with me because I so do not enjoy doing it. I love my little word babies, but Steven King is the master and I am not so I do my best to listen.
For all writers and would be writers out there this is a book for you.