I cannot write and I cannot even read. What a cursed state to be in.
And I am sinking, sinking. Like a forgotten anchor without a boat, in a sea without meaning.
So I have achieved my goal of reading 50 books in a year. Here is the list:
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
Michael Harrington, The Twilight of Capitalism
Jackie Pullinger, Chasing the Dragon
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being
Jonathan Welton, Eyes of Honour
James Joyce, Dubliners
Virginia Woolf, The Waves
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Göran Therbon, From Marxism to Post-Marxism?
Jim Cymbala, Spirit Rising: Tapping into the Power of the Holy Spirit
William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Othello, The Moor of Venice
Eric & Leslie Ludy, When God Writes Your Love Story
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Neil Gaiman, American Gods
Arthur Katz & Paul Volk, The Spirit of Truth
Terry Eagleton, Reason, Faith and Revolution
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion
Ravi Zacharias, Sense and Sensuality: Jesus Talks to Oscar Wilde on the Pursuit of Pleasure (Great Conversations)
Michael Harrington, Socialism: Past and Future
C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil
Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
Ravi Zacharias, I, Isaac, Take Thee Rebekah
Edmund Chan, Growing Deep in God
Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto
Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day
R. H. Tawney, The Radical Tradition
Max Brooks, World War Z
Zoë Heller, Notes on a Scandal
Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons
Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night
Tim O’ Brien, The Things They Carried
Lai Meng Wan, Israel: A Light Unto the Nations
William Shakespeare, The Excellent and Lamentable Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet
Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
William Shakespeare, The Tempest
Euginia Tan, Playing Pretty
Alasdair MacIntyre, After Virtue
Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being
Natsume Soseki, Kokoro
F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Neil Gaiman, Stardust
Morton Rhue, The Wave
Thio Li-Ann, Prophecy, Pansexuality and Pandemonium
Søren Kierkegaard, Fear & Trembling
Salman Rushdie, Haroun and the Sea of Stories
Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting
Elisabeth Elliot, Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ’s Control
Some are worthy of mention.
Most Enjoyable Read: The Picture of Dorian Gray. This book really engrossed me, even though it did not really presume to propose any moral or distinct message. I thought the auto-biographical nature of it highly interesting, as if I was reading not just about Dorian’s struggles, conflicts, and suffering, but Wilde’s as well.
Best Writing: Tender is the Night. Without a doubt. I think I raved about it enough on my blog, but this book really introduced the lyricism of Fitzgerald to me and I have been enamoured ever since. Not that lyricism alone is the only merit of the writing – everything was really well crafted and beautiful. It made my heart wrench, there’s no other way to say it.
Most Interesting Read: The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Arguably also my favourite piece of fiction of the year, Kundera’s philosophical musings were just so captivating and resonating that I actually read it twice this year. (Yeah so technicallyyyy, that is 51 books. But oh well.)
Best Christian Literature: Passion and Purity. A true anomaly when it comes to Christian literature, Passion and Purity really tugged at my heartstrings. It was not just rhetoric, although there was that (which I agreed with), but it was incredibly real. And that realness really made it that much more striking and bold. A really needful read for anyone past the age of 14.
Best Non-fiction: A tough choice between Reason, Faith and Revolution; A Christian Manifesto; and After Virtue, but on account of the sheer amount of content that they each have to offer, I would have to go with After Virtue. I admittedly did not understand everything, but even from what I gleaned, I learned an incredible amount. It was well-written, logical, and extensive in its approach, yet eases the unlearned reader into the pickle that is ethics.
Best Drama: Romeo and Juliet. Because I am a romantic like that. Sue me.
Again I find my sensitivity to words a huge curse.
A label? Can it simply be that? Could it have been this whole time? My memory blurs at the thought – a single word threatens to unravel everything. I see the beauty slipping away into dullness, feel my assurance crumbling into doubt. Could two minds be so close and yet, so very far? My heart writhes at its own foolish idealism, tearing my head from the clouds.
But of course you remain unmoved, once again oblivious to the work of your hands. Your casual affirmation, your careless daggers, they prove too weightless for me. Yes this is all that this is – another frustrating sign of your flippancy. What is there to keep you from floating away into the vast ocean of weightlessness, where I cannot go? Oh, how I long to hold fast to you, like a bollard does to a boat. Yet what good will that do? A heart forced to stay loses its charm. The waves continue to pull at it, making it rock with the desire to flee. It will never let you forget that it longs to be somewhere else – forever it will tug at the ropes, straining them, fraying them. It will forever be simply a boat unhappily kept at bay. And so I hide my urges, and instead seek to charm your heart to choose to stay. I tie my loose shy knots on you. But alas, loose knots are no knots at all, and again and again you unravel my efforts. Again and again you slip from my hesitant fingers.
Yawns wider than the long miles
Between me and you.
I got accepted into Yale-NUS! I am really glad.
It really is strange though, that I truly always get things when I least want them. I speculated briefly on this pattern after my interview, and now it is almost like it has been proven true. It is like God makes me go through this humbling process of surrendering and relying on Him and finally realising that whatever it is, it is not everything.