The Book Solution
To keep my mind creatively engaged, I decided to read like crazy. I used to read a lot but I slowed down a bit the past couple years. First there was a road trip phase just after I got my driving license, when my friends and I went on road trips almost every weekend. After that wore off, I spent most of my time hanging out with friends, watching movies almost every night, playing racquet ball every single day, snow boarding on the weekends & kayaking on balmy days. These were good things except that my reading took a beating.
My friends got married, relocated, busy, overworked or simply lazy. With more time in my hands, I went back to reading, like a child going back to sucking its thumb when too many things change at once. I even considered getting a dog - I love dogs - but my rootlessness made me think that that might be a bad idea at this point in time.
Tim Ferriss had a point when he said that reading fiction is the best way to take your mind off of the day’s events. Reading a short story every night felt so good. I have a paperback edition of ‘Selected Stories of O.Henry’ - I read a story a night. I have not done this in weeks as it gets late for me to get into bed. I should resume this as I felt so relaxed. I especially liked ‘While the Auto Waits’ and ‘The Higher Pragmatism’.
Not only did I want to start reading a lot again but I wanted to get back into the habit with vengeance. So I dusted (shelf) / borrowed (kcls) / bought (amazon) these:
- “Man’s Search for Meaning” -Viktor E.Frankl
- “Issac Newton” -James Gleick
- “Making Comics” -Scott McCloud
- “A Pattern Language (Towns, Buildings, Construction)” -C.Alexander et al
- “Prank the Monkey” -Sir John Hargrave
- “Test-Driven Development” -Kent Beck
- “Simplify Your Life” -Elaine St.Jame
- “The God Delusion” -Richard Dawkins
- “Stumbling on happiness” -Daniel Gilbert
- “Ender’s Game” -Orson Scott Card
I chose each of these books carefully - mostly based on recommendations from people I respect in that area: primarily Phillip Greenspun, Aaron Swartz, Manikantan SSA, Raganwald and Ben Casnocha.
Right now I am reading “Man’s Search…” and “Making Comics”. Both are extremely interesting in diametrically opposite ways.
I have started working out every day - which is a good thing too. I feel much more energetic than, say, a month ago.
You can add "Shantaram" to your list of fictions if you haven't read it still.