7 things to read right now

Cox Bay at sunset, near Tofino, British Columbia, home of Wolf in the Fog © Barb Sligl
7 inspirational, thought-provoking and just-plain-fun reads, from a golden egg to The Rock…and a Roman emperor

Amidst the craziness of another week of WTFs (politically speaking, south of the border), it’s nice to just read things for the joy of reading. And I don’t mean frivolous, although escapism can be oh-so-good. Post-travel (I’m just back from overseas and playing catch-up with a mind that’s a tad hazy and jet-lagged), I’ve indulged in some laziness (never a bad thing) and spent some time reading or just exploring, flipping through pages or images, absorbing tidbits… Here’s 7 things that caught my attention this past week:

  1. I came across this older article on Twitter (a force for good as well as evil!) from a new follower (a Brazilian-based translator…such are the connections Twitter can forge!). The Guardian piece, “Is any word untranslatable?,” addresses how each language is utterly unique and even a word as simple as “dog” can connote different meanings. I also learned a new word (far more erudite than my other new word this week, frosé): tsundoku. “The Japanese word for ‘the act of leaving a book unread after buying it, typically piling it up together with other such unread books.’” How charming! I apparently have practised tsundoku for a long time with my many piles of unread or unfinished books. Some induce a twinge of anxiety (I really should read that Dickens tome, Bleak House, shouldn’t I?), but more so they’re a source of pleasure. I love looking at, opening, pondering, remembering why, when, where, how, from whom these books came to me.
  2. Richard P. Feynman. I’m embarrassed to admit that I hadn’t heard of this physicist (he won the Nobel Prize!) and profound thinker before. So, thanks Maria Popova of Brain Pickings for the introduction. And as happens when you discover something, that discovery then seems to turn up again and again soon afterwards…Feynman’s name came up a few more times this week in various podcasts I listened to (thanks Tim Ferriss and Naval Ravikant), so I promptly downloaded his book, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman, onto my iPad. Another book to add to my proverbial pile (physical and digital).
  3. Okay, here’s my bit of escapism. Although, really, this cover story on Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in GQ magazine’s current issue reveals that this perma-grinning, muscle-flexing man is more than meets the eye. Plus, writer Caity Weaver knows how to deliver a great profile. Yasssss.
  4. Solar egg. Only Scandinavians could create something so lovely and practical. A faceted, gilded, egg-shaped sauna. I’ve deliberated on my love for all things Norwegian before (waffles, Kvikk Lunsj, galoshes, skating in Oslo and Oslo itself…), but the Swedes are pretty damn cool too. This super-stylish sauna—part installation art project and part community centre of sorts—sits in Sweden’s Lapland. As saunas are a gathering place for Scandinavians, this egg (created by artists Mats Bigert and Lars Bergström of Bigert & Bergström) is meant to bring locals together in an Arctic community (around a wood-fired stove that’s heart shaped!). I just stare at this thing and marvel at the entire concept.
    Solar egg in Sweden’s Lapland © Jean-Baptiste Béranger
  5. Closer to home is Wolf in the Fog, where it’s all about poetry on a plate. Named Canada’s best new restaurant in 2014 by enRoute magazine, I was happily reminded of Wolf in the Fog after reading this feature in Bon Appetit’s latest issue. Really, Tofino itself is enough reason to make the trek to the far side of Vancouver Island (forest bathing and coastal bliss to the Nth degree, as per my Cox Bay photo…sigh), but then there’s also Wolf in the Fog’s Cedar Sour…
  6. This article in a recent issue of Outside magazine had me from its title: “Our Lady of Strays.” And then this intro: “The world’s greatest dog sanctuary is on a small farm in Costa Rica, where hundreds of canines run wild over the land…” OMG. This is my dream. If I won the lottery, had no other commitments and decided to devote my time to furry, four-legged creatures, I’d start my own dog sanctuary. Because, as I reiterate again and again, I love dogs. Although I’m not half the altruist Lya Battle is…
  7. Marcus Aurelius. Another shout-out to Tim Ferriss and his podcast for a reminder of how important—and RELEVANT—this Roman emperor’s Meditations are today, still, after some 1,800+ years. It’s now on my iPad, and I’m trying to read a bit everyday. So why now? Read this take from Ryan Holiday (marketing guru of American Apparel fame and author of another book, Ego is the Enemy, that I’m currently reading, i.e. not relegated to my tsundoku): “100 things I learned in 10 years and 100 reads of Marcus Aurelieus’s Meditations.”

Following up on that last note, I’ll end with this quote from Marcus Aurelius that pretty much sums everything up: “The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.” And what you read. Φ

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