April was a solid month of reading. It was no different from other months in that I was all over the map as far as topic and author are concerned, but that’s my style. I typically don’t like digging hard into one topic or author for an extended period of time, because it’s easy for me to get burnt out.
There’s a decent smattering of fiction, personal development, and even a little health/fitness. So, I give you the April Reading Romp.
King, Warrior, Magician, Lover
I’ve really enjoyed reading about manhood and personal development in a classical sense lately. I don’t think I’m alone when I say that I find most modern personal development books to be more or less the same, which is part of the reason why I love reading older books on development. Especially from a manhood perspective. They tend to have a more classical and global view of development, and the old soul in me just enjoys reading things from the past.
All of that to say that this might be my favorite book of the year thus far.
Archetypes are a fascinating topic to learn and think about, and this book was one of my first foray’s into the world of archetypes and how they specifically relate to men. We all have certain ideals that we strive to become and achieve, and whether or not we’re aware of it, these can typically be summarized by looking into ancient archetypes.
The evolved archetypes of king, warrior, magician, and lover are things that all men strive to become. Unfortunately most of us spend our lives in the immature and unevolved versions of said archetypes, and that limits our ability to cultivate meaningful relationships, and get all that we want to out of this life.
I really enjoyed this book and how it made me reflect on past and present decisions, and also how it helped me reframe many of the struggles that I go through on a daily basis. It’s not an overstatement to say that I think this book should be required reading for all men who are interested in becoming better versions of themselves.
You absolutely need to grab it off Amazon, which you can do here.
Green Hills Of Africa
In my growing love affair with all things Hemingway I decided to read one of his first ventures into the nonfiction world, Green Hills Of Africa. Hemingway is often known as an original bro who loved drinking and big game hunting, and this book was more or less an ode to some of his time in Africa hunting big game.
Hemingway’s ability to paint beautiful imagery with his pen is on full display, and he makes you want to drop everything and get to Africa to start tracking big game. What I found to be a pleasant surprise is that the book was also a bit of an ode to the craft of writing. This is an aspect of the book that’s never talked about, but Hemingway spends page after page talking about what makes a great writer, what kills a great writer, and name dropping some of the writers that he enjoys to read.
That was easily the biggest surprise from the book, and in a great way. It was totally unexpected, and without warning you find yourself getting unparalleled insight on the craft from one of the worlds greatest.
There are some truly outstanding quotes in this book as well. Some of my favorites include:
- “What are the things that harm a writer? Politics, women, drink, money, and ambition. And the lack of politics, women, drink, money, and ambition.”
- “What do you want? To write as well as I can and learn as I go along.”
- “Every damned thing is your own fault if you’re any good.”
- “Writers are forged in injustice as a sword is forged”
- “Where a man feels at home, outside of where he’s born, is where he’s meant to go.”
If you’re at all into Hemingway, big game hunting, and especially writing I’d highly suggest reading this book. You can get it off Amazon here.
The Good News About What’s Bad For You
I picked this book up in the bookstore a month or two ago solely because of the cover. So I guess you could say I totally judged this one by it’s cover, and that wound up being a good move. It’s actually got a flip side to it with the title The bad News About What’s Good For You.
Jeff Wilser does a fantastic job at breaking down some of the most commonly held beliefs in fitness, nutrition, and general health. Everything from fat, lifting weights, meditation, and anything else you can think of is briefly put under a microscope.
If you make a living in health and fitness like I do, then you’ll probably find that you already know most of the fitness and nutrition myths, but there are other things that I had no clue about. Like how some studies show that meditation can actually be harmful.
Additionally, I felt like I was connecting with a fellow bro throughout the entire book. Wilser is witty, has a liberal use of words like fuck, and made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion. It’s a solid book, a very easy read, and one that I think most of the general population would truly enjoy and learn from.
There’s also this quote, which more or less summarizes my response to clients when they start trying to become too strict, or people become too much of an elitist asshole about their diet:
- There’s living healthy and there’s living.
You can grab it off of Amazon here.
Thompson is one of my favorite writers of all time. His vocabulary, story telling prowess, and don’t-give-a-fuck attitude are crystal clear in every sentence that Thompson pens. If you’ve never read a book of his, you’re fucking up.
Hell’s Angels was Thompson’s first book. An account of how he spent a year with the infamous band of heathens, The Hells Angels. The entire book takes place in the 1960’s, just after the Angels had made national news for a rape charge that was ultimately dropped. But as you learn in the book, the damage was done, and that news coverage is what ultimately catapulted the Angels to stardom.
Thompson chronicles their rise to infamy, the famous runs they went on, and the countless bar room brawls they found themselves in.
He does a fantastic job at both highlighting just how sinister the group of hoodlums can be, while also highlighting how relatable they are. At their very core they seemed to be nothing more than a group of misfits who had finally found a brotherhood they could bond within.
Obviously a ton has changed for The Hells Angels over the past 50 years or so, but it’s still a fascinating read. Especially if you enjoy great writing, sex, drugs, and general tom foolery. You can grab it off of Amazon here.
In Our Time
In Our Time is a collection of short stories from Hemingway. Some of them blend together to create an overarching story, others are just standalone stories. It’s a solid work of story telling, complete with the classic Hemingway themes of heartbreak and loneliness.
The entire book itself is an incredibly easy read, topping out at somewhere around 100 pages. And because most of the stories are no more than a few pages long it feels like the book is over in a heartbeat.
I wouldn’t call it one of my favorite works from Hemingway, because I’ve always loved how he manages to tell a beautifully layered story over the course of a few hundred pages. He really shines with dialogue and long term character development, and a book of short stories just doesn’t allow that.
The collection is still a great read, and for someone just looking to get started with Hemingway it may be a really easy way to adjust to his writing style. You can grab it off of Amazon here.