Books of 2016

bookcaseI feel slightly self-conscious listing the books I have read in 2016 here on my blog; however, I am feeling bold today so therefore I will continue.

This list will comprise of both unabridged and abridged books I have read for the page and also audiobooks I have listen to. I consider myself lucky that I can combine listening to audiobooks whilst I am working, although alas, sometimes even this is not possible as my work requires my full, undivided attention.

I am not going to differentiate between the two formats; for each method of study has its own unique merits and suitability to my daily life. Settling down in a comfortable chair with a good book is a luxury often shelved, to accommodate the necessities of daily reality.

I will not review the book or make recommendations here; instead I will write just one sentence on what the book meant to me.   You may also find references in my haiku to these books and their themes.

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Moby Dick.  the whale       by   Herman Melville

I have neglected my soul by waiting so long to read this book, I am a fast fish and too precious.

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Beyond Good and Evil   by   Friedrich Nietzsche.

Throughout the history of humanity we have created our transient concepts of Gods which we then strived to emulate, our quest for greater knowledge and the significance of the concept of life has led to their downfall, Nietzsche shows us that these questions are both timeless and intrinsic and that as a species we can never be satisfied with reaching a Deity defined nirvana, for accepting ‘we are all we can be’ is to deny our historic genetic traits for re-evaluating our existence and then endeavouring to reach our highest potential.

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Ulysses        by    James Joyce

We humans are creatures of instinctive desire, and our greatest desire is to be desired by others irrespective of the wider consequences, our perfections are our imperfections and imperfections our perfections, nothing is unique in life, our tragedies and joys are timeless and the stuff of legend.

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Endurance    by       Alfred Lansing

Ernest Shackleton and his crew reached the pinnacle of human endeavour, through their fortitude of spirit and physical stamina they reveal humanities resilience to overcome and endure, and I myself have yet to be tested.

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The Canterbury Tales     by Geoffrey Chaucer

As I age I find I am drawn more and more to such literature, the language, the poetry, the morality and spiritual messages in all the tales are personally inspiring.

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Romeo and Juliet       by William Shakespeare

I am hopeful.

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The Grapes of Wrath      by John Steinbeck

Brutally honest depiction of the divisiveness of wealth and privilege and how those of us who accumulate processions and a perceived social status fear their loss, which explores the callous rationalisations we can express to discredit and dehumanise those less fortunate than ourselves by our passive compliance with the cruel face of extreme capitalism, so as to ensure our survival, for it is better they suffer than us; The Grapes of Wrath is also a story for our time, a story of social an ethical justice.

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The Immoralist      by   Andre’ Gide

To take pleasure and purpose in isolation, to value the present moment without context to the past, to believe ‘I’ am all things and everything and everyone else is inconsequential to the life we live, to believe we along shape or futures is to see only the ugly, destructive face of life.   To know nothing of truth for we have seen just a transient impression,

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Metamorphosis     by Franz Kafka

What are our limits of acceptance, are some difference easier for us to accept than others even when those differences are in those we love; we both capable of either celebration and condemnation of physical, intellectual, emotional diversity subject to circumstance, can our prejudices further alienate those we assume have a greater difference than really exist, do we increase difference through a process of dehumanisation, are we capable of accepting and even accelerating the destruction of others so that we ourselves might be perceived by those we live amongst as normal.

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Crime and Punishment   by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Morality is an erratic master and it is only when we acknowledge that all the crimes we commit are also crimes against ourselves, until we perceive our hitherto unrecognised wrongdoing, until we reach that point, all the condemnation and retributions that our societies place upon us, no matter how server, is without proper significance, making true repentance both premature and without value or meaning.

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The Brothers Karamazov  by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

We are all Karamazov, if we are if we allow ourselves to be, for to live on the extreme brink of our desires is to live a dangerous turbulent life, full of passion, free from social restraint whilst accepting the severe consequences of good and bad on body and soul.

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Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World  by Jack Weatherford

Revisionist history at it epic best, a fascinating story of the formation of early trade, communication, religious freedoms, feudal dismantlement, the destruction of aristocratic privilege by a uneducated Mongolian tribes man, arguably the first great revolutionary,  father of commercialization, a true internationalist and a greatly misrepresented historic figure.

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