top of page

One Year, One Hundred Books – how they are changing me and my perspective on life (The Beginning)

Today is March 3rd. At least 2 minutes into March 3rd.

I decided this evening that I should keep track of the books I am reading, especially as with each and every new one I feel a new perspective, a new surge on life.

Today was Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, a couple days ago Love Life and just before that Rich Dad Poor Dad.

Each a strong feeling and I feel if I do not record them I will lose forever their real impact, little things which together may add up to one monumental life change. Like a tsunami. I feel it.

So there will be a little back tracking while I get up to speed, but to start these are the books I have completed to date (this year):

1. The Secret Life of Bees

2. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

3. Not Without My Sister

4. The Freedom Writers Diary

5. In the Skin of a Jihadist

6. Everything I Never Told You

7. Boy A

8. The Tattooist of Auschwitz

9. A Year of No Sugar

10. An Education

11. By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

12. Rich Dad Poor Dad

13. Seriously I’m Kidding

14. Love Life

15. Call Me Elizabeth

16. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Books I am still reading:

1. An Object of Beauty

2. The Other Side of Silence

3. Ghost Wars

4. Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging

5. A Long Way Gone

6. For One More Day

7. The Cat’s Table

8. When Dimple Met Rishi

9. A Year Without Made in China

And these are the ones I am in the middle/beginning(lol) of reading and not sure if I will finish:

1. Serious Men

I will detail each of these books in turn, though for the ones to date cannot be sure they are in exact chronological order of reading, though approximately so.

This is Book 1:

The Secret Life of Bees

This was the first book I opened on my brand new Boox E-reader (also bought at the New Year ready to embark on this reading project). It was a light completely engaging story from beginning to end. I had no idea of the story when I opened it and I was pleased to discover it was set around the 1960s in the US and directly bringing in the racial issues of that time, but that the main protagonists were going against the current stereotypes for that period. I decide I want to read more in this genre.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

I loved this story. Also totally unexpected. Gave a completely unexpected perspective of The War and at the same time was deeply human and real. Completely loved the off-key writing style through letter form. Really loved it. A very unique angle of storytelling.

Not Without My Sister

Wow this one brought up some ghosts. Enough said. A topic which should have way more visibility.

The Freedom Writers Diary

Deeply inspiring. And deeply disturbing. Completely taken aback by the degree of racial issues and even racial segregation existing in the US. Actually shocked. Like there is a metaphoric nationwide ghetto unhindered by prosperity levels. Wow. But the story and how education could and should be – the solutions are not rocket science. We just need to look past the numbers and results and start to see the actual people. When will people actually start opening their eyes more?

In the Skin of a Jihadist

Crap this was a tough one. But oh is it an important one! Seriously, this is where journalism shines and every word is a drop of gold in information and real insights into the darker side no one wants to think or talk about.

The movie and book (watched and read them the same day) gave me absolute nightmares that night (quite literally) and that I was in the shoes of the journalist. May at some time want to read the original French version…

Everything I Never Told You

Loved the fact that this was a mixed culture family, particularly as parents AM/WF. But also disturbing how little communication goes on in people’s lives and the pain, desperation and tragedy this can create later down the line. Really disturbing. Haunted me for days. Also the contrast between the parents.

Boy A

This book was a real mind-fuck. Going into the mind/perspective of an adult and rehabilitated child murderer (reflective of notable cases in the UK), deeply thought-provoking to have that perspective but deeply disturbing when you find yourself siding with them and wondering if you should or shouldn’t be. Totally screws with your mind but I think it’s really important we are confronted with those questions/reflections instead of always being so arbitrary/judgemental/black-white about everything. Really important. Never took the time to consider those perspectives before.

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

Again similar reflection process to Boy A. Really where do we draw the line between good and evil? And how far do we go to survive? And at what point can it –if ever- be justified? Incredibly disturbing, but I think each of us needs a jolt like this, and in the context of a book, a journey, it gives you a significant period of engagement/reflection which potentially has a far deeper more long-term impact than just watching a 40 minute documentary which is soon forgotten in the swarm of other crap the internet soon fills/distracts our mind with. Yes reading, and reading books like this is where its at. Where it will take me I have yet to know. Which is why I’m writing all this to see if over the period of a year I come up with any noticeable observations. We’ll see.

A Year of No Sugar

Ok. Supposedly a best seller. Actually I saw it in the background of one of the Irish-Chinese comedians I was watching on YouTube. So I got a copy and read it on my e-reader. But was seriously underwhelmed. The writing was mediocre at best and the content next to empty. She did the whole experiment on a whim, insisted on using sweet replacements aka dextrose or glucose (ugh) and seemed to learn absolutely zero from the whole experiment. I admit I am writing this from the perspective of reading (currently getting through) a couple other books in this style and yes, seriously underwhelmed. I feel like they are overpampered girls who grew up in the US, a cushy lifestyle and haven’t got a clue how the other 95% of the planet live. I mean they don’t even go research any of the hard facts and consistently spew useless nonsensical ‘facts’. I guess it just confirms my already established bias (I admit I have one) that the majority a good number of these self-help/enlightenment books are just regurgitated spew. And for the record, even if it was an easy read, no I did not enjoy it. More of a total time waste and brain drain.

An Education

I had remembered enjoying the film for this years back, the one with a young Carey Mulligan I think, and kept coming across the book in the bookshop. When I finally saw it on the reduced shelf I picked it up and read it. Seriously surprised to find it a relatively recent book, the copy I had picked up looked at least if it dated from the 1960s, alas I guess that is such how books age in this crazy local humidity. Did I like it? Honestly, not that much – as in if I’m honest way less than I actually think I did. Maybe I just didn’t warm to the author and her perspective and approach to life. I’m noticing that in a bunch of books I’m reading, including Sugar above – I just do not warm to the author and as such do not enjoy spending that time in their company. Hmm… I wonder if that can be a clue I should follow when I actually write and publish books… How can I write so that people feel warm and welcome coming into my circle to hang out and ‘chat’? I guess as such I also found the story kind of shallow and without any significant depth. Still wonder how it became so popular…

Need to sleep. Will try to write more tomorrow.

01h08 signing off (1389 words)

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page