Books I read: January 2018

One of my new year's resolutions is read most of the books I have. I used to hoard books, a habit I've tried to get rid of (I'm successful so far). Now I buy more eBooks than physical books. I started a posts set on my Facebook "Books read 2018" to keep track of the books I read. I post the cover and my short reaction since I don't write full book reviews on this blog of every book I read. Here are the books I read this January 2018. The year was off to a great start in reading! This month I read six books and a comic (Alabaster: the Good, the Bad, and the Bird by Caitlin R. Kiernan but I didn't include it here).

One January read I wrote longer review for: Tongues on Fire by Conrado de Quiros

The first book I read this 2018 is When: the Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink (©2018). The book discusses the best times to take action and make decisions. When is the best time to work, exercise, nap, decide, think, go to the hospital, get married, etc? The book tries to answer all those questions with interesting research findings and anecdotes. Did you know that the worst time to work is in the afternoon?

The book deals with the right timing in your daily work, in the beginning/middle/end of a project, and timing with other people. This book is research-based but interesting to read and contains practical advice you can use right away, with great results.

Choices: Coping Creatively with Personal Change by Frederic M. Flach (©1977) is mostly about psychology and psychiatry, but the book's scope is broad and includes creativity in dealing with life's challenges. The book says that sometimes, depression and negative feelings are not things to avoid, but a necessary step we should let ourselves feel and learn from. They may be a stage we have to go through before we move on to a higher state of awareness.

"One of the very first steps to becoming more creative is the willingness to leave the main thoroughfare from time to time and explore some of the back roads and lanes, to be different, to be singular." This is not only creativity in artistic work but in living life.

"The cultivation of our creative energies can permit us to move in harmony with a universal force for life, with whatever it is that whispers to the seeds in the vacant city lot that it is time to start growing."

"One story begins in chance and ends in chaos. Another begins with the Word and ends in Life. Choose your story wisely."

Christ or Chaos by Dan Dewitt (©2016) is a book on Christianity versus atheism. It is short and readable, with frequent references to C.S. Lewis as the author is a professor who teaches about Lewis. He presents the common arguments of atheists against Christianity and how Christians can answer. I like that the book has many stories about skeptics who turned to the faith after they tried seeking answers on their own. I also like that it discusses science.

This is comparable to "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis and "A Case for Christ" by Lee Strobel but its shorter and enjoyable. Very relatable to atheists-turned-Christians and helpful for Christians who don't know how to answer atheists. By the way, isn't the cover so cool-looking?

Got this fun book at #BookCulturexBookLatte last December, a book swap event at Book Latte, Megaworld. Head Over Feels: more than 100 kilig and hugot quotes from your favorite Pop Fiction Books (©2015). It's full of quotes in nice lettering and design. Even if you don't feel these quotes or like these type of stories, each page is a cute work of art and can be an inspiration or reference for graphic designers or those interested in calligraphy/typography.

"I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain." -Bene Gesserit Litany against Fear and the most famous quote from this book

I just read Dune by Frank Herbert, a science-fiction classic and is known for being the most best-selling book in the genre. It won the both the Hugo and Nebula award in the 1960's. The plot is complicated and I can't explain it in a few paragraphs.

It's about Paul Atreides, the son of the Duke Leto Atreides and Lady Jessica. The universe is ruled by an emperor and they order the Duke to rule the desert planet Dune, the only source of melange, an expensive spice that can produce supernatural powers for its users. The planet Dune is populated by the fierce, blue-eyed Fremen. The lack of water on the planet and the deadly, giant sandworms make the planet a very dangerous place. When the Duke dies due to some imperial plot, Paul and his mother join the Fremen.

Paul is rumored to be the Kwisatz Haderach, the savior of Dune. But there's more to it than that: he's the product of a secret breeding program by the Bene Gesserit, an order of powerful women who have been working behind the scenes in the universe's politics to serve their own aims. Paul soon fights his way to be the ruler of Dune and aims for something higher - the seat of the Emperor.

The stories I can compare it to is Star Wars (Dune was an inspiration for Star Wars), Mad Max (religious fanaticism, lack of water), Carlos Castaneda's Don Juan stories (drugs and their link to supernatural powers), Game of Thrones (families fighting and manipulating for power), and mythology (Jason and the Golden Fleece was an inspiration). But it is its own unique story.

As I said it is complicated, but its a legend in the genre: it doesn't only explore science and space, but philosophy, religion, politics, ecology, biology, and its a masterpiece of world-building.

Another movie adaptation is being made, and I'll be watching out for that. (I got this book from last December's #BookCulturexBookLatte, a book swap event at Book Latte, Megaworld. I'm glad I got to read this book in my lifetime.)

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