Novel Reactions: Flow

Mihaly Csikszentihalyi’s Flow is all about having optimal experience, leading to a state of “flow.” When you’re in a state of flow, you’re more productive, more creative, and more content. If this is the case, it sounds like flow would lead one to (or, might be the expression of) self-actualization (see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs), given that we’re talking about optimal experience here.

So… the concept is interesting. However, the truth of the matter is that I did not enjoy reading the book. Yes, the book is rated highly on Goodreads, and I actually read Flow based on a colleague’s recommendation, but I only finished the book as a personal challenge. If I were more well-versed with this topic, I would probably recommend that people skip this and read another book instead.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case, so thank you for introducing me to the concepts of flow and optimal experience, and if anyone else is interested in the topic, go ahead and read Flow. (May your reading experience be more optimal than mine.) I’ll let you know if I find a better alternative.

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Until Next Time, Books without Borders

My sister and I have this thing I like to call Books without Borders, in which I share books with her whenever I visit her. I’m taking a rather awkward stopover in Toronto for a few weeks before I fly back to Manila—let’s call 2019 a year of travel, a sabbatical—and I’ve rounded up another batch of books to share with her.

I usually limit the number of books I take with me because, well, they’re heavy. As I was packing and shipping all my other belongings away, I decided to hold on to five books that I’ll be reading and sharing this summer. (This is also going to be our last Books without Borders for a while, at least until I find my bearings.)

Books without Borders, Spring 2019

The first two books are nonfiction policy books that have been on my bookshelf for quite a while. Since I’ll have a lot of time (and brainpower, really) on my hands, I thought I’d get through them during this trip. I’m also bringing a Murakami book I’d been meaning to read for the past year. I love reading Haruki Murakami; my favorite book of his is Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, but I heard a lot of great things about The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle as well, so I am excited to finally have time to read this! (I normally do not read Murakami if I’m in a “busy season” at work.)

Dryer’s English is a book I picked up recently (using my used book trade from Green Apple Books). As the little perfectionist that I am, I’m excited to read this book to refresh my knowledge. I’ve always loved writing, and I take pride in my writing. I had an amazing English teacher during my freshman year of high school who made me fall in love with the technical aspects of writing (diagrams!!!), so my little nerdy self is quite happy about having found this book.

The last book, Suggestible You, was one I almost packed and shipped away in a box. As I posted about the books I was packing, one of my friends expressed interest in reading Suggestible You, so I lent it to her (I love sharing books and recommendations) as long as she returned it before I flew out. Unfortunately, she didn’t have time to read the book, so she returned it to me last week—after I sent out my box, so it’s coming with me on my trip!

I also placed holds on several library Kindle books, so I’ve lots to read!

Trip: Psychedelics, Alienation, and Change

There are just some books that you want to love. For me, this is one of them. I tried really hard to enjoy reading Tao Lin’s Trip, but the writing style didn’t suit my taste. That’s not to say that this was terrible; the concept is fascinating, but it was very hard to get through the book, even the chapter on his psilocybin trip.

At the end of the day, as someone dabbling in different genres, I have #noragrets reading this book. It’s jam-packed with information, and it was good exposure to a different writing style. However, if you do decide to read this book, beware: the epilogue is more than 50 pages long.

It can’t have been too bad, though, because I did go into a rabbit hole researching some of the substances mentioned in the book. In fact, that might have been the most interesting part about my experience with Trip. As I clicked through related articles, I eventually ended up reading on anxiety, which kind of hit close to home.

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So I guess I gained more perspective and a broader worldview. I think that if a book challenges your ideals and you are able to respond by not dismissing it immediately and instead by trying to learn more about it, reading that book was not a total waste of time.