No, this is not a blog post about how to achieve your life goals. But for you to know me better, I will tell you mine. If you read the first post from a few weeks back, you will already know that my aim is not to have a fancy house and all the perks money can buy. Neither is my life goal to surf all day long and hang out with friends all the time. My aim is to evolve… it’s dead simple. I want to evolve as a person.

Living here in Indonesia and not working a nine to five job means that I have a lot of time on my hands. One might think that I spend most of my time surfing. But that isn’t the truth. The majority of my time actually goes towards reading. This is one way for me to evolve. Sometimes it is studying something I am interested in, or it might be reading about the history of Cambodia. I do love a good fiction novel as well. It is amazing to see how someone is so talented with organising words into sentences and making those words thrive.

I wanted to share some of my favourite books with you and adding a few words on why you should read them.

Fiction

Catch-22 – Joseph Heller

There is a big possibility that you have heard the phrase ‘catch 22’ before. But it was actually born in the book Joseph wrote in 1961. It is often cited as one of the most significant novels of the twentieth century. It is not the easiest book to follow, so read it with care and have a laugh while doing so.

The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

In the last years, I have tried to read every recent Pulitzer winning book, and this was one of them. It is brilliantly written and so far, everybody I know who has read it, has only good things to say. I loved it and it made me read all of Tartt’s other books just to see her brilliant way of word play.

Non-Fiction

Love in the driest season – Neely Tucker

The autobiographical story of Neely Tucker tells his story that started by going to a whites-only school to his marriage to an African-American to his struggle to adopt an African child. This book puts me into tears every time I read it. A truly beautiful story.

Emergency Sex and other desperate measures – Heidi Postlewait, Kenneth Cain and Andrew Thompson

It is a memoir of the three writers who join the United Nations in Cambodia and if a dream to make the world a better place. The story takes you on a journey from Cambodia to Somalia, Haiti, Rwanda, Bosnia and Liberia. It is the first account from UN workers on the front line and an honest memoir about the successes and failures of the UN.

Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS – Joby Warrick

This one is another Pulitzer winner. I read it quite recently and once I started I couldn’t really put it down. But it did take some time to read as there are so many names and timelines to follow. It goes to tell a thrilling narrative of how the strain of militant Islam behind ISIS arose from a Jordanian prison and spread with the unwitting aid of two American presidents.

Other books

The War of Art – Steven Pressfield

It is like the Sun-Tzu’s book the Art of War but for one’s soul. I recommend this book for anyone who is struggling with resistance in their life. It doesn’t matter if it is resistance in the field of arts or achieving tighter abdominals or finding it hard to get out of bed in the mornings.

The Art of Travel – Alain De Botton

We meet a lot of people who tell us where we should travel. But Alain De Bottom tells us why and how in an intelligent and charming way.

So, next time you are trying to find something to read or thinking about a Christmas present for a loved one, grab a book from the list and share the words of others.