As I said in the introduction to this project, FBS is kind of a way to trick myself into reflecting on my life by using books as a proxy for introspection. In some way or the other, each of the last 3 books I’ve read (namely, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi, 11/22/63 by Stephen King and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig) have provided me an opportunity and distinct vantage point from which to consider how the last few years have gone, and how I’d like the next few ones to go.
Whenever we examine especially turbulent periods of history, we’re warned that history is written by the victors. This is unfortunate for many reasons, one of which is that the most interesting stories we can tell are those of our defeats. That’s not to say that the stories we do hear aren’t compelling, but rather that in learning about the past, we often lose some of the color from the narrative. As I read Mao’s Last Dancer by Li Cunxin, I found myself continuously reflecting on this dynamic.
As a welcome change from college, I’m actually ahead of schedule right now: nine days into the summer, I’ve already finished six books. In keeping with this productive streak, my first post on FBS (every web-based project needs a fun initialism) will thus be significantly longer than I imagine they’ll usually be. The books in question are: