A couple of my very dear friends have asked me to share my favourite 10 books. This is an impossible task for me. It's not unlike being asked to choose my favourite flower, or my favourite colour. But here goes, in order that I don't appear uncaring. Here, a RANDOM 10, with a quote from each:
1. As a boy, I remember and cherish my first reading eyes opening on The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and the famous drawing on the second or third page. This book, through it’s simple complex charm has accompanied my soul ever since and is like a home for my soul.
“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
2. Later, I stumbled upon this black hole of a book, a transporter room to a great mind expansion: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter. This book took the little I thought that I knew about the world and threw it through a blender. I haven’t put it back together since. But then again, did I actually read this book?
“Meaning lies as much
in the mind of the reader
as in the Haiku.”
3. Many great books find me. I believe that the most profoundly moving books that have crossed my path were the ones I stumbled upon, reached for on a shelf without knowing why, only to be royally rewarded: These include:
Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse
“How foolish it is to wear oneself out in vain longing for warmth! Solitude is independence.”
4. Siddartha by Hermann Hess
“So she thoroughly taught him that one cannot take pleasure without giving pleasure, and that every gesture, every caress, every touch, every glance, every last bit of the body has its secret, which brings happiness to the person who knows how to wake it. She taught him that after a celebration of love the lovers should not part without admiring each other, without being conquered or having conquered, so that neither is bleak or glutted or has the bad feeling of being used or misused.”
5. And then Henry Miller came into my life with a slap and a bang and this sentence. All his books are on my list. But I’ll choose my first.
Sexus (The Rosy Crucifixion #1)
“To move forward clinging to the past is like dragging a ball and chain. The prisoner is not the one who has committed a crime, but the one who clings to his crime and lives it over and over. We are all guilty of crime, the great crime of not living life to the full. But we are all potentially free. We can stop thinking of what we have failed to do and do whatever lies within our power. What these powers that are in us may be no one has truly dared to imagine. That they are infinite we will realize the day we admit to ourselves that imagination is everything. Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything God-like about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything.”
6. Did Hitchens play with your being yet? Anything Hitchens.
7. 100 Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. Is this book about the Arabs? Is this book about the Arabs? I repeat.
“Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”
8. Love and Sex with Robots: The Evolution of Human-Robot Relationships by David Levy.
Because let's face it. It will happen.
9. The Magus by John Fowles
“You wish to be liked. I wish simply to be. One day you will know what that means, perhaps. And you will smile. Not against me. But with me.”
10. The Gift - Poems by Hafiz the Great Sufi Master
By Daniel Ladinsky
The Stairway of Existence
In pursuit of formalities
Or fake religious
For through the stairway of existence
We have come to God’s
People who need to love, because
Love is the soul’s life,
Love is simply creation’s greatest joy.
The stairway of existence,
O, through the stairway of existence, Hafiz
You now come,
Have we all now come to