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What Books do I Recommend?

by Derek Cullen
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It’s not something for which I made much (any) time in the past but I now try to read as much as possible. 

Here’s a list of some of my favourite books:

Anam Cara by John O’Donohue

Anam Cara refers to the Celtic concept of the “soul friend” in religion and spirituality. This book consists of ancient teachings, stories, and blessings from Celtic wisdom and gives profound insights on the themes of friendship, solitude, love, and death.

“May you recognize in your life the presence, power, and light of your soul. May you realize that you are never alone, that your soul in its brightness and belonging connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe. May you have respect for your own individuality and difference. ”

John O’Donohue

The Sheltering Desert by Henno Martin

The story of two German geologist and their dog who escape into the Namib Desert in Africa to avoid internment during World War 2. This book details their everyday struggle in blistering heat to find food, water and shelter and how they went about surviving in this incredible landscape by experimenting and improvising. It is the greatest adventure book that I have ever read!

For me the most important gain of our life in the Namibia was the experience that the human mind can rise above even the most savage conditions.”

Henno Martin

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild is the true story of a young Christopher McCandless who trekked into Alaska’s Denali National Park, where he wanted to ‘live off the land’. After 4 months of foraging and hunting game, McCandless starved to death in an abandoned bus. Krakauer tells the story and in the second half of the book, he delves into the question of whether McCandless was ‘right or wrong’ and what motivates people to do these kind things in the first place.

He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life. He was alone and young and wilful and wildhearted, alone amid a waste of wild air and brackish waters and the seaharvest of shells and tangle and veiled grey sunlight.

Jon Krakauer

Mans Search for Meaning by Victor Frankyl

An incredible read about a prisoner in concentration camps during World War II. Frankyl chronicles this harsh experience and talks about his psychotherapeutic method which involves identifying a purpose in life to feel positive about, and the power of imagining that outcome.

“Man is not fully conditioned and determined but rather determines himself whether he gives in to conditions or stands up to them. In other words, man is ultimately self-determining. Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment. By the same token, every human being has the freedom to change at any instant.”

Victor Frankyl

The Way Home by Mark Boyle

Mark Boyle chronicles his efforts to create a remarkable life without modern technology in a quiet pocket of the countryside in Ireland. The author explores the ‘won joys’ of building a home with his bare hands, and learning to do the simple things in life such as making fire, foraging and fishing. I loved his insights and they truly inspire me toward wanting to live a similar way.

Sitting by the rocket stove in the fire-hut, tending to a brew, I put the finishing touches to a soup spoon. It’s not perfect, yet every imperfection tells a story of my afternoon, which makes it perfect to me, and me only. When I eat soup from this day forth, that small dent in the bottom will be my Buddha, but I’m content with it. There’s no point being otherwise.

Mark Boyle

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

In the wake of her mother’s untimely death, Cheryl Strayed at the age of 45 decides to embark on a journey of self discovery by hiking 1,000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in America. Strayed is incredibly talented at writing and tells an emotional tale, while taking time to create moments of joy and laughter along the way. This book inspired me to hike the same trail.

The universe, I’d learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back. I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free. Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.

Cheryl Strayed

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