I have long been curious about the artist Emily Carr and recently stumbled across this little gem at the library recounting her 18 month stay in a san...moreI have long been curious about the artist Emily Carr and recently stumbled across this little gem at the library recounting her 18 month stay in a sanatorium while at art school in England. It is filled with anecdotes and simple but charming sketches showing all of the wonderfully quirky staff, patients and wildlife that wandered in and out of the rooms. I spent a pleasurable morning savouring this book. (less)
I love the first sentence of chapter one, “The purpose of this book is to transform your thinking about life and work.”
I’m ready for a change, I’ve be...moreI love the first sentence of chapter one, “The purpose of this book is to transform your thinking about life and work.”
I’m ready for a change, I’ve been busting at the seams for months with an excess of energy and looking for a way to direct it effectively. This is the kind of book that will immediately appeal to you or not. If you’re completely happy with your life and not ripe for change, you’ll probably find all sorts of objections to the author’s message and many things to criticize about the book itself. I am going to focus on the positive and what spoke to me.
The next passage that struck me was this one. “My motivation is to help people challenge authority and live unconventional, remarkable lives. The mission is to support a full-scale revolution with a simple underlying message: You don’t have to live your life the way other people expect you to.”
Oh boy, give me more! For the first forty odd years of my life I lived in fear. Fear was so much a part of every decision; I was completely unaware of the amount of power I’d given it. Fear of standing out, not being liked, not being normal, not being good enough? What a load of crap. I actually have had moments of fearlessness and adventure but sadly, many more moments of conformity. Looking back, I see my spirit aching to break out and succeeding for short periods, only to be sucked back into the morass of a conventional life.
In the latter parts of the book, the author asks you to think about what kind of legacy you want to leave and to start living immediately with that vision in mind. I used to be the kind of person who wished for some divine inspiration to strike me about the purpose of my life. I used to wonder why I didn’t know what to do with myself. And what was wrong with me that I couldn’t figure it out?
Recently, I asked myself a series of questions that led to the crafting of my own vision and purpose. I’ve stopped waiting for some mysterious inner or outside inspiration. Since that moment, my vision has been driving every purposeful and conscious action. I am more at peace and less anxious than I’ve ever been. I say, if you don’t know what to do, make it up and make it powerful! You will inspire yourself!
There is a chapter about setting goals in order to create a flexible but purposeful environment for yourself. He provides a series of simple but useful questions to ask, which will help define what you might like to do. At the end of each chapter, there is a short, point-form summary of the main points. The writing is clear and formatted in bite sized chunks. This is very easy reading.
It’s been many years since I travelled. Other experiences have been explored and become more dominant in my life but I cannot deny that travel altered my world view in a way that nothing else has. While being an armchair traveler is fun, the desire to fully experience the pleasure and discomfort of being outside my familiar world has been re-awakened and I’ll be adding a few destinations to my bucket list.
Inspiring quotes are peppered throughout the book and one in the “Contrarian Adventures” chapter struck me particularly. “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer” – Anonymous. If anything I’ve written strikes a chord with you than you might want to pick up a copy of The Art of Non-Conformity. It’s not that scary. (less)
I started reading this on the recommendation of several animal loving friends. I must admit to feeling some trepidation after reading a blurb about th...moreI started reading this on the recommendation of several animal loving friends. I must admit to feeling some trepidation after reading a blurb about the thousands of mice the author had to kill in order to feed Wesley over an almost 20 year period. However, I was definitely interested in knowing more about these beautiful and mysterious, nocturnal creatures.
The author writes with an engaging and very readable style. Her anecdotes of daily life with a newly adopted 4 day old, orphaned and nerve damaged owlet are fascinating. I especially loved the stories where she relates the many verbal and non-verbal communications that developed between the two over time. Reading about Wesley’s deep bond with Stacey, his playful antics and intelligence was highly entertaining. The book contains several beautiful photos of Wesley including one of him completely submersed in a bath which is very unusual behaviour for an owl.
If you are interested in owls or even just reading an unusual story of human-non-human relationships then I highly recommend Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl. While I didn’t always agree with some of the author’s attitudes, her special relationship with Wesley the owl and the commitment she made in caring for him was truly moving.(less)
I definitely enjoyed this book. The subject matter is fascinating. This is partly the story of the Tarahumara people who live in a remote and extremel...moreI definitely enjoyed this book. The subject matter is fascinating. This is partly the story of the Tarahumara people who live in a remote and extremely inaccessible canyon in Mexico with very little outside influence. Apparently they can run for days, without breaking a sweat, in a completely relaxed manner with smiles on their faces.
I am not a runner and never have been except for running a few sprints in the mandatory track competitions of my school days. Oh, and I once participated in a cross country race when I was about eleven (without any training) because my school gym teacher was a sadist and a bully. Reading Born to Run actually made me actually want to get out and run. It made me sigh with relief to learn that I didn't need expensive shoes or fancy orthotics to correct my flat feet. It made me curious if I could run without pain in my middle-aged knees that sound like a thousand ball bearings rolling around in a tin can when I bend them.
The narrative jumps around a bit crazily and at times left me feeling a little disjointed. I wasn’t a huge fan of the author’s voice. But, despite these minor irritations, I was left feeling inspired and interested in learning more about the assertion that we as human beings evolved as running beings. That we all have the innate ability to run long distances. This may be the book that motivates me to test the hypothesis. And even if I never make it half way around the block, my interest in knowing more about long distance running and the enigmatic Tarahumara has definitely been piqued. (less)
I felt an obligation to read this book because it was a gift from a family member. I put it off for as long as I could and then just bit the bullet. I...moreI felt an obligation to read this book because it was a gift from a family member. I put it off for as long as I could and then just bit the bullet. I'm so glad I did.
This is a part of the world I know very little about and reading about the people, culture, politics and stunning landscapes was truly enlightening. With the media generally creating fear of this region as the birthplace of terrorism and religious fanatacism, it was amazing to read about isolated mountain villages, some only accessed by foot or across rope bridges filled with a fiercely loyal and hospitable people who value education for their children.
My rating for this books reflects my level of inspiration for the work Mortenson and the CAI is doing in a war torn and impoverished part of the world. I hope his foundation has continued support and success because it is obviously having great impact on the quality of people's lives. (less)