Why I read the same two books every year

Les Livres

Les Livres–open photo.net

This is my confession, circa Usher 2004 (Just when I thought I said all I could say…you know that jam, right?):

Every December, I read the same two books. Kind of weird? Perhaps. Meaningful? I’d like to think so. The reason? I haven’t found two other books more poetic, inspiring, whimsical, or beautiful. I take a week or two in December, right around Christmas, to read through these beauties. I’ve been doing it for a few years now and it continues to be great fun.

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Haight Ashbury

Hendrix's House

Hendrix’s House

 

There’s this neighborhood in San Fran where history and progression collide. It’s like that part at the end of the Great Gatsby, where Nick talks about the green light of the future simultaneously existing with the waves dragging the boats back into the past. It’s history, but also innovation. This section of town is called Haight Ashbury, named after two streets that intersect in the center of the neighborhood. In the Haight, you’ll find culture and life, love and acceptance. Jimmy Hendrix lived here. So did Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane. Because, you know, they built that city on Rock and Roll.

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You don’t have to be Bob Dylan

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I was having coffee with a dear friend of mine the other day and we got to talking about art and music and our shared desire to pursue these avenues. My friend told me that often the problem is, we begin any meaningful pursuit in the arts with an end goal in mind. We believe we are supposed to be like him or her, and we measure our success against theirs. Deep down, we know this is completely unfair since we often judge the end of someone’s career with our beginning, but at the same time, it’s unfair because we are not  a carbon copy of that person. As my friend said, “You don’t have to be Bob Dylan.”

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On The Road

on the roadI recently finished Jack Kerouac’s novel On the Road. It’s one of those books I’ve heard people talk about quite a bit, usually with this cult-classic fascination that says, “If you don’t read this book, you are missing out on life itself.” People  get like that with certain books and sometimes it’s unfounded, but the truth is, I did enjoy this one. Interestingly, though, my enjoyment wasn’t so much for the story itself or even the characters, but for Kerouac’s writing style. I guess you can like a book for a number of different reasons and that was mine.

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