Books that kept me alive during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

I am quarantined with my family since the beginning of March due to the coronavirus pandemic. The best thing that happened to me during this time was that I got back to my habit of reading books again. Since every day is a Groundhog day now, I turned to different genres of books to entertain myself ( and also because I ran out of comedy shows on Netflix ).

I was an avid reader all my childhood. 2019 was a pretty rough year for me ( yes, rougher than 2020 ). I was totally disconnected from myself and there was a break in my habit of reading. This year gave me a huge amount of time to reflect on different areas of my life, get in alignment, and get back to old hobbies. I read a lot, both books and blogs. I finally started this blog on a serious note.

List of Books I read:

The Artist’s Way | Julia Cameron

Julia Cameron, in this book, introduces the idea of a creative God and provides exercises such as the morning pages and artist dates to help one get in touch with one’s creative self as well as nurture the wounded inner child. This book is framed as a 12 step creative recovery program similar to the AA program. It was first published in 1992 and it remains important and useful even today.

Claim Your Power | Mastin Kipp

Mastin focuses not just on rapid behavioral change but uses a systems approach to efficiently identify and dissolve the root cause that is impeding optimal human progress and success. A trauma-informed author and life-coach, Mastin, in this book, introduces the idea that one can find his/her purpose by tapping into their most desired emotion, and then doing the things that bring forth those emotions, and at the same time benefits humanity.

Keep Going | Austin Kleon

Contrary to the popular belief of a life’s roadmap, the creative life is far from a linear journey to a finish line. Rather, it’s a loop—so find yourself a daily routine, because today is the only day that matters. Austin Kleon, in this book, advises to disconnect from the world and set an intention to connect with yourself—sometimes you just have to switch into airplane mode. 

Keep Going celebrates getting outdoors and taking a walk (as director Ingmar Bergman told his daughter, ”The demons hate fresh air”). Pay attention, and especially pay attention to what you pay attention to. Worry less about getting things done, and more about the worth of what you’re doing. Instead of focusing on making your mark, work to leave things better than you found them.

The Photographer’s Playbook | Jason Fulford, Gregory Holpern

There is no better way to learn than by doing. This book features 307+ assignments, stories, ideas, and anecdotes from many of the world’s most talented photographers and photography professionals.

Inside you will find advice for better shooting and editing, creative ways to start new projects, games, and activities, and insight into the practices of those responsible for our most iconic photographs–John Baldessari, Tina Barney, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Jim Goldberg, Miranda July, Susan Meiselas, Stephen Shore, Alec Soth, Tim Walker and many more.

The book also features a Polaroid alphabet by Mike Slack, which divides each chapter, and a handy subject guide.

Crush It | Gary Vaynerchuk

If you have a hobby that you can indulge in all day long, or an obsession that ignites you from within, then this book will help you to cash in on that and make it a profession. Gary Vee writes how to leverage the power of the Internet to turn your hobbies into real businesses.

Gary spent years transforming his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. Then one day he turned on a video camera, and by using the tools discussed here, transformed his entire life and earning potential by building his personal brand.

Ikigai | Hector Garcia, Francesc Miralles

Japanese people believe that everyone has an Ikigai – a reason to get out of bed excited each morning. According to the residents of the small Japanese island, named Okinawa – the world’s longest-living people on this planet – finding one’s Ikigai is the only key to a longer and more fulfilled life. Inspiring and comforting, this book will show you how to leave urgency behind, find your purpose, nurture friendships, and throw yourself into your passions.

The ONE Thing | Gary Keller, Jay Papasan

The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan aims to show you how to cut through the clutter of all the different areas of life and focus on only those things that ACTUALLY matter. The idea behind this book is to find your “one thing”, in any given situation, and that will automatically allow you to produce extraordinary results. Take any area of your life and find the one action you can take, or focus you can shift, that makes everything else easier or unnecessary. The book also focuses on the idea: Dream Big, Start Small.

The Brain | David Eagleman

From the book dustjacket
Locked in the silence and darkness of your skull, your brain fashions the rich narratives of your reality and your identity. Join renowned neuroscientist David Eagleman for a journey into the questions at the mysterious heart of our existence. What is reality? Who are “you”? How do you make decisions? Why does your brain need other people? How is technology poised to change what it means to be human? In the course of his investigations, Eagleman guides us through the world of extreme sports, criminal justice, facial expressions, genocide, brain surgery, gut feelings, robotics, and the search for immortality. 

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas | John Boyne

By focusing on Bruno’s innocent and puzzled view of his father’s job, John Boyne offers a previously unseen perspective of the lives of the everyday German who took part in the ultimate solution by the Nazis. The book focuses on complex human emotional issues around the Holocaust and raises a whole range of questions about the nature of man.

The Four Agreements | don Miguel Ruiz

The book offers the readers a code of conduct based on ancient Toltec wisdom that advocates freedom from self-limiting beliefs that may cause suffering and limitation in a person’s life. The four agreements are: “Be Impeccable with your word“, “Don’t take anything personally“, “Don’t make assumptions” and “Always do your best“.

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind | Joseph Murphy

Though it may seem like this book glorifies the concept of God, the actual message is that praying is a form of faith. When we pray we prepare our subconscious mind to take the actions needed to fulfill the prayer and arm ourselves to receive the results. To the unaware it looks like their prayers are answered by a supernatural entity.

I Hope You Die Soon | Richard Sylvester

In liberation it is seen that all phenomena simply arise in awareness with no person mediating them. Purpose, religion and paths of spiritual development all lose their meaning when it is seen that there is no one who exercises choice. “Richard’s description of what has been seen in liberation is both eloquent and down to earth.

Everybody Always | Bob Goff

From the author, the goal of this book is to reaffirm the power of extravagant love and excessive grace in your life and in the world. The book is filled with inspiring stories and anecdotes from the author’s life. Goff’s basic challenge is as simple as it is seemingly impossible—love everybody, always. He suggests that we start by loving creepy people.

Start Where You Are | Pema Chodron

This book guides you to live and be at peace with everything, notwithstanding whether there is a good or bad situation, and no matter where you are in life. Pema Chodron explains that you can start exactly now; you can exactly start where you are. You can work with what comes along, rather than resist it or fight against it.

Happy Money | Ken Honda

The author uncovers what led him to drive the correlation between money and emotions, as well as how he retired at 29. This book helps the readers to recognize their gifts and encourages them to do the work that they love in life. The book guides to identify the “wounds” around money that we grew up with and shows how to thrive despite them. This book shows the huge difference between how Western culture and Japanese culture perceive money.

Real Artists Don’t Starve | Jeff Goins

The myth of a “starving artist” had prevailed in our society for centuries. This book reveals a story about Michelangelo and his riches, that was not known by the general public before. Jeff Goins has set out to replace these false narratives and replace them with timeless strategies for thriving as a creative and debunking the myth of the starving artist. From graphic designers and writers to artists and business professionals, creatives already know that no one is born an artist. Instead, those who have entered a creative field have already utilized the imagination in fundamental ways in order to accomplish what they have thus far.