December has been a month of simultaneously reading and listening to surprisingly good books. These past few weeks, I’ve been catching up on my non-fiction reading. Here are the three books I’m currently in the middles of.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan
This illuminating book deconstructs and solves the questions behind what we eat, where our food comes from and therefore, what to eat—the crux of the dilemma we humans face everyday as omnivores.
His argument? That if we spend so much time and energy researching the origins and sources of the many other necessities in our lives, such as our electricity provider and clothes manufacturers, shouldn’t we devote an equal amount of energy figuring out where the food we literally put into our bodies come from? Through this book, readers can also have good look at the food we choose to eat—where they come from, how clean and ethical they are and whether we are making the choices we really want to make. Naturally, his enthusiasm for more natural means of farming speaks itself, but he does not explicitly and forcefully push readers towards making any particular choice. Rather, he lays all the details out, so that readers can make an informed choice for themselves.
He does so by tracing the journey food takes in the different kinds of food chains: Industrial, Big Organic, Pastoral and Hunter Gatherer. He visits different farms and documents the processes behind the food they produce.
Waking Up, Sam Harris
Waking Up, subtitled ‘A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion’, seeks to present the reader theories behind and methods to accessing the spiritual ‘gold nuggets’ (eg. peace with oneself and others) and enlightenings multiple different religions offer in straightforward ways, without the baggage and excess of formal religious practices.
Being the author and creator of one of the best meditation applications I have personally used, it is of course expected that a lot of Harris’ teachings center around meditation,
He offers compelling theories and evidence behind his claims, both scientific and philosophical. He also breaks down various different teachings on the topic so that readers can have a wide scope of the field within one book. A key tenet in Waking Up is the concept that there is no ‘separate self’ in the mind, the one to whom we constantly address our thoughts, and it is from this illusion of duality that the bulk of human suffering stems.
A Geek in Japan, Hector Garcia
This December, I visited Japan for the second time and have decided that Japanese culture is truly fascinating and deeply compelling.
Garcia’s book is considered the magnum opus on guides to Japanese culture, and for good reason. The book takes its time, slowly meandering through the different aspects of Japanese culture and what makes it the way it is today, going through its historical, cultural, psychological, economic facets. It is a really fun examination of and love letter to Japan, that can be read before or after a trip, or purely out of interest.
A Geek in Japan began as a blog, which you can read here.
Happy reading and may 2020 be a year of only reading really good books!