A blogger on WordPress had a great idea for a splendid blog post and I want to indulge it–WordPress blogger The Little Mermaid is having her second-ever “tea party.”
The Little Mermaid, on one hand, is a Disney film character, who you have probably seen in the animated feature if you have an interest in Disney. My own family has the videotape of the film because I have a younger sister. In Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Ariel, seeks her escape from the sea, but, furthermore, The Little Mermaid is the name of a blogger who has had a delightful idea, that being to host WordPress “tea parties.”
The Little Mermaid writes that her first tea party, last month, was open-ended in terms of what content she wanted to read, but for August, The Little Mermaid has invited participants to post about books they enjoy, about which I thought I could circuitously add something to the conversation.
I am late in any case, but I’ve joined in by enjoying some of the tea party guests’ blog responses and by weblogging the August invite to the tea party and tweeting it.
As to what books I might read, most often I enjoy nonfiction, on such a subject as the business behind Google, for example, or of the blockchain. Another kind of book I enjoy is the type that references techniques and strategies for personal change and success. I like both physical volumes and books on my Kindle.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the accessibility of books in 2018 is completely staggering. If you are a full-ahead author on the Internet I think you know that Twitter has seen a gold rush of self-published titles.
- DIGITAL GOLD
The last book I got to read is not of this kind, however, not an eBook. It is, in fact, a book that is near-academic, but interesting all the same. The title is DIGITAL GOLD, written by Nathaniel Popper. It is the story of the development of Blockchain and Bitcoin.
The blockchain is, I understand, a mega-trend. I wanted to come to an understanding of what blockchain is about. The blockchain is the process of cryptocurrency mining that could dramatically affect the long-term value of data currencies like bitcoin.
All about bitcoin’s origins and its eventual emergence and success, Popper’s book interested me quite a bit. I found it very satisfactory.
- The Stranger
Reflecting in a different light, my favorite book isn’t nonfiction; it’s instead a famous novel. Its appeal is legendary. I have read it a couple of times, the perennial favorite The Stranger by the late Albert Camus.
This novel of Camus’ is an existential novel, in terms of its thematic elements, with the plot about a man who grieves his late mother in a markedly strange way, which you might characterize as embittered and perhaps confused, too.
Existentialist fiction usually tackles questions of the meaning of life, such as in The Stranger, looking at why the main character’s grief is necessary and how it is that it’s enacted in the character’s specific manner after his mother’s death.
- Casino Royale
Reflecting again more on what makes a good novel, I think I’d argue that the most overrated book I ever read is Casino Royale, by the late Brit Ian Fleming. Casino Royale, Fleming’s first novel about MI6 agent James Bond, 007, is the spy appearing in the film adaptation of the Fleming novel starring Daniel Craig as 007. While Casino Royale is certainly an agreeable read, to think that with its publication one of the most successful film franchises ever would result, including film roles by several actors playing the character James Bond, leads me to characterize Casino Royale as perhaps indeed overrated.
Casino Royale is about the spy 007 targeting an enemy’s gambling habits in order to complicate the enemy’s financial resources at the casino tables, thus rendering him less effective an enemy. That Ian Fleming wrote the enemy as a Russian, I believe, is prescient of today’s turbulent world scene.
Fleming was drawing inspiration from the historical Cold War, and that is why the sign is there, that Le Chiffre, the name of the villain who 007 challenges at the card tables in Casino Royale, is Russian. Even the other day, August 21, the Trump administration’s Paul Manafort was demolished for his thieving and his conspiring with Russian political agents.
What You Feel, You Can Heal
To go on, The Little Mermaid tactfully asks in her August tea party blog post the question of which book most distinctly impacted your life. It is of a personal nature, to name a book that positively impacted you, but I think of What You Feel, You Can Heal, John Gray’s first book, published in the nineteen-nineties. When I was a twenty-something I sat in at a conference to hear a speaker give his thoughts on wellbeing. The gentleman gave advice on dealing with personal difficulties–he recommended John Gray.
Gray’s best-known book (and there are a series of them) is Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, a book about relationships. You know the speaker at the conference referred to social relationships suggesting something like that. It isn’t Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus that interested me, although I subsequently read that one a couple of times. Gray’s first book, What You Feel, You Can Heal, is about goalsetting through one’s lifetime and other matters of positive productivity, impacting me much more substantially than Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
John Gray, though young when he wrote What You Feel, You Can Heal, is recounting what he learned before emerging as an author. He fleshes out his view of several stages of life that Gray observes in many other people, all at once in What You Feel, You Can Heal, bringing these ideas together to form this book.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
One last note: although it may seem juvenile, while not expressly for young adults, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by the late Douglas Adams, and the four novels Adams wrote to follow his success, are the books I would most earnestly recommend to someone new. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is funny and strange, a blend of science fiction and humor.
Both in the novel and in the film adaptation, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is the story of hapless Brit Arthur Dent, who hitchhikes to the stars the day that the Vogons, who are dimwitted, horrible monsters, demolish the Earth. From there it is up to Arthur to get by in travels through the skies.
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a resource Arthur has to comprehend his troubles: the Guide is an encyclopedia describing everything in the universe. It is as if Douglas Adams, though writing for comic purposes, foresaw the development of the world wide web.
I have enjoyed The Little Mermaid’s tea party and I wish her well, as I do everybody else who thought to join in. I appreciate every opportunity I have to contribute, and when there is some response to something I have written, I am always flattered. You are welcome to “like,” follow, and/or comment as you see fit. See you in September!