Category Archives: Fiction

Life’s Golden Ticket by Brendon Burchard

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Brendon Burchard’s Life’s Golden Ticket took me on an unexpected journey. I found myself sitting and looking at the book after I finished reading it. Here’s my favourite bits and pieces from the book:

Though you cannot recall it ever happening, a spell has been cast upon you, and it has mesmerized you into believing that you are not good enough and that there is something wrong with you. This spell is Society’s Spell, and it has made you secretly feel inadequate, ugly, weak, slow, small, useless, and helpless for far too long.

Sometimes we forget that everyone has important moments in their life—happenings that forever affect them.

Too often we forget the most important and meaningful chapters in our life’s story.

Themes present in what you were taught in life, and themes present in how you have lived your life.

‘Well, if that’ a prescription for a tough life, I gotta tell you something—you swallowed it whole. You let the themes in your life become your beliefs, and you let those beliefs guide your behaviors. You swallowed what the world taught you, hook, line, and sinker, without ever questioning it.’

If you are unaware of the world within you—your internal thoughts and feelings—and you are unaware of the world around you—how people perceive you and your behaviour—then you don’t have the ability to answer the question ‘Who am I being right now?’ Because you judge who you are at any point in time by your thoughts and feelings as well as what other people are thinking and feeling about you.

You need to break free from the fear and suffering and anger that you have chained to the past. Because those emotions are holding you back from living freely. They’re holding you back from venturing into new territories. They’re holding you back from being who you were meant to be. It’s time to use your smarts and your strength.

“You’re not small and weak anymore. You can’t keep using me as an excuse to live shield up and sword out. Your life is what it is because of you, not me.”

We’re scared to death to be alone or unattended, so we follow the herd—either doing what we’re told or what everyone else is doing.

In life, the path of least resistance is always silence. If you don’t express your feelings and thoughts to others, you don’t have to deal with their reactions to it. You don’t have to feel vulnerable. You don’t risk rejection. But I’ll tell you what: the path of least resistance leads exactly where that ride leads to. Nowhere.

No goals, no growth. No clarity, no change.

Life’s like being in a lion cage, mate. Show fear, back down, or turn away from what’s in front of you, and you’re dead.

…but he presented an incongruous image—he looked like an ox sitting on a toothpick.

…performers, who, by showing us their talent and potential, always remind us of our own.

You can’t wonder where miracles go or where they come from—you just have to be thankful for them when they arrive, and thankful for them after they departed.

My final lesson to you, then, is about contribution, and it says simply this: if you want your life experience to be bright, choose to contribute.

The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

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the metamorphosis

I absolutely loved this book: the title, characters, transformation they all go through as a family after Gregor’s illness which transforms him from a useful bread winner to a burden to the family.

I can easily picture the whole flat where this story takes place (I just need to reorganise the furniture a wee bit, that’s all), Mr Samsa’s polished gold buttons, even the swishing sound Mrs Samsa’s skirt makes. Not many authors can paint a vivid picture like this.

Here’s some of my favourite lines from the book:
As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.

I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.

Was he an animal, that music could move him so? He felt as if the way to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light.

He was a tool of the boss, without brains or backbone.

What a fate: to be condemned to work for a firm where the slightest negligence at once gave rise to the gravest suspicion! Were all the employees nothing but a bunch of scoundrels, was there not among them one single loyal devoted man who, had he wasted only an hour or so of the firm’s time in the morning, was so tormented by conscience as to be driven out of his mind and actually incapable of leaving his bed?

But Gregor understood easily that it was not only consideration for him which prevented their moving, for he could easily have been transported in a suitable crate with a few air holes; what mainly prevented the family from moving was their complete hopelessness and the thought that they had been struck by a misfortune as none of their relatives and acquaintances had ever been hit.

The door could not be heard slamming; they had probably left it open, as is the custom in homes where a great misfortune has occurred.

I only fear danger where I want to fear it.

If I didn’t have my parents to think about I’d have given in my notice a long time ago, I’d have gone up to the boss and told him just what I think, tell him everything I would, let him know just what I feel. He’d fall right off his desk! And it’s a funny sort of business to be sitting up there at your desk, talking down at your subordinates from up there, especially when you have to go right up close because the boss is hard of hearing.

His biggest misgiving came from his concern about the loud crash that was bound to occur and would probably create, if not terror, at least anxiety behind all the doors. But that would have to be risked.

However, Gregor had become much calmer. All right, people did not understand his words any more, although they seemed clear enough to him, clearer than previously, perhaps because had gotten used to them”

Then his head sank to the floor of its own accord and from his nostrils came the last faint flicker of his breath.

Gregor’s serious wound, from which he suffered for over a month – the apple remained imbedded in his flesh as a visible souvenir since no one dared to remove it – seemed to have reminded even his father that Gregor was a member of the family, in spite of his present pathetic and repulsive shape, who could not be treated as an enemy; that, on the contrary, it was the commandment of the family duty to swallow their disgust and endure him, endure him and nothing more.

A man might find for a moment that he was unable to work, but that’s exactly the right time to remember his past accomplishments and to consider that later on, when the obstacles has been removed, he’s bound to work all the harder and more efficiently.

The main thing holding the family back from a change in living quarters was far more their complete hopelessness and the idea that they had been struck by a misfortune like no one else in their entire circle of relatives and acquaintances.

The next train left at seven o’clock, and in order to catch it he would have to rush around like mad, and the sample collection was still unpacked and he was not feeling particularly fresh and energetic. And even if he caught the train, a bawling out from the boss was inescapable, because the office messenger had arrived by the five o’clock train and reported his absence long ago; he was the boss’s creature, mindless and spineless.

Sometimes he mulled over the idea that the next time the door opened he would take control of the family affairs as he had done in the past; these musings led him once more after such a long interval to conjure up the figures of the boss, the head clerk, the salesmen, the apprentices, the dullard of an office manager, two or three friends from other firms, a sweet and fleeting memory of a chambermaid in one of the rural hotels, a cashier in a milliner’s shop whom he had wooed earnestly but too slowly- they all appeared mixed up with strangers or nearly forgotten people, but instead of helping him and his family they were each and every one unapproachable, and he was relieved when they evaporated.

“I hope it is nothing serious. On the other hand, I must also say that we business people, luckily or unluckily, however one looks at it, very often simply have to overcome a slight indisposition for business reasons.”

Calm consideration was much better than rushing to desperate conclusions.

And for a little while he lay still, breathing lightly as if he expected total repose would restore everything to its normal and unquestionable state.

The door could not be heard closing; they must have left it open as is usual in houses visited by great misfortune.

For now he must lie low and try, through patience and the greatest consideration, to help his family bear the inconvenience he was bound to cause them in his present condition.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

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the bluest eye

Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another–physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion.

“Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love of a free man is never safe. There is no gift for the beloved. The lover alone possesses his gift of love. The loved one is shorn, neutralized, frozen in the glare of the lover’s inward eye.”

“All of our waste which we dumped on her and which she absorbed. And all of our beauty, which was hers first and which she gave to us. All of us–all who knew her–felt so wholesome after we cleaned ourselves on her. We were so beautiful when we stood astride her ugliness. her simplicity decorated us, her guilt sanctified us, her pain made us glow with health, her awkwardness made us think we has a sense of humor. Her inarticulateness made us believe we were eloquent. Her poverty kept us generous. Even her waking dreams we used–to silence our own nightmares. And she let us, and thereby deserved our contempt. We honed our egos on her, padded our characters with her frailty, and yawned in the fantasy of our strength.

And fantasy it was, for we were not strong, only aggressive; we were not free, merely licensed; we were not compassionate, we were polite; not good, but well behaved. We courted death in order to call ourselves brave, and hid like thieves from life. We substituted good grammar for intellect; we switched habits to simulate maturity; we rearranged lies and called it truth, seeing in the new pattern of an old idea the Revelation and the Word.”

“Lonely was much better than alone.”

“Anger is better. There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. An awareness of worth. It is a lovely surging.”

“She left me the way people leave a hotel room. A hotel room is a place to be when you are doing something else. Of itself it is of no consequence to one’s major scheme. A hotel room is convenient. But its convenience is limited to the time you need it while you are in that particular town on that particular business; you hope it is comfortable, but prefer, rather, that it be anoymous. It is not, after all, where you live.”

“Beauty was not simply something to behold; it was something one could do.”

“You looked at them and wondered why they were so ugly; you looked closely and could not find the source. Then you realized that it came from conviction, their conviction. It was as though some mysterious all-knowing master had given each one a cloak of ugliness to wear, and they had each accepted it without question.”

“But to find out the truth about how dreams die, one should never take the word of the dreamer.”

“And fantasy it was, for we were not strong, only aggressive; we were not free, merely licensed; we were not compassionate, we were polite; not good, but well behaved. We courted death in order to call ourselves brave, and hid like thieves from life. We substituted good grammar for intellect; we switched habits to simulate maturity; we rearranged lies and called it truth, seeing in the new pattern of an old idea the Revelation and the Word.”

“Sunk in the grass of an empty lot on a spring Saturday, I split the stems of milkweed and thought about ants and peach pits and death and where the world went when I closed my eyes.”

“guileless and without vanity,we were still in love with ourselves then. We felt comfortable in our own skins, enjoyed the news that our senses released to us, admired our dirt, cultivated our scars, and could not comprehend this unworthiness.”

“We mistook violence for passion, indolence for leisure, and thought recklessness was freedom.”

“I had only one desire: to dismember it. To see of what it was made, to discover the dearness, to find the beauty, the desirability that had escaped me, but apparently only me.”

“Jealousy we understood and thought natural… But envy was a strange, new feeling for us. And all the time we knew that Maureen Peal was not the Enemy and not worthy of such intense hatred. The Thing to fear was the Thing that made her beautiful, and not us.”

“Certain seeds it will not nurture, certain fruit it will not bear and when the land kills of its own volition, we acquiesce and say the victim had no right to live”

“Love is never any better than the lover. Wicked people love wickedly, violent people love violently, weak people love weakly, stupid people love stupidly, but the love a free man is never safe.

The Gourmet by Muriel Barbery

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The Dalai Lama’s Cat an The Art of Purring by David Michie

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