The shadow library

“The shadow is the self’s emotional blind spot”. You could say that your shadow is reflected unconsciously in certain things you do: your responses, your aversions, addictions, and even the books you read.

Last year I read a lot of books, including quite a bit more fiction than usual. I was looking for shorter length books, most are under 200 pages, but otherwise my criteria was very open. Anything that stood out, or looked interesting got some attention.

Individually, many of the books that I read last year are objectively good. Well written, interesting, won awards, and I finished them all – which is saying something. But combined together, they paint quite a scary, obvious picture of my shadow. I will note that although the themes of these books are depressing and dark, I rarely felt sad reading them. I didn’t even select them thinking “I’d like to read a really fucked up book today”. I suppose that’s how the shadow rolls.

In the future I think I will treat books a lot like films or any other art form. With more respect to their emotional component. In a similar way you treat a shot of high grade Tequila or a small pistol, there’s a lot of power packed into a short novel or film, and should be enjoyed responsibly.

2022 reading list, proceed with caution

South of the Border, West of Sun – Haruki MurakamiNightclub owner rips his life apart over an old flame, who might represent the void.
The Factory – Hiroko OyamadaMeaningless, Kafka-esque lifetime of work in a factory.
What we talk about when we talk about love – Raymond CarverBroken marriages and tense relationships, manslaughter
Raised by Wolves – Jess HoHospitality worker didn’t like her time in hospitality
Night Train – Martin AmisSuicide, Crime, Policing
Kitchen – Banana YoshimotoGrief, loss, longing, nostalgia
No one is talking about this – Patricia LockwoodImpact of the internet on our generation, grief
Snow country – Yasunari KawabataFlawed, depressed businessman falls in love with a Mountain Geisha
Winter in Sokcho – Elisa Shua DusapinEating disorders, Innkeeper in snowed in hotel, fleeting relationship with traveller
Love in Big City – Sang Young Park
Authenticity in age of Tinder hook ups, Homosexuality
No longer human – Osamu DazaiLonely man wears mask to get by in society, doesn’t like himself
Fuccboi – Sean Thor ConroeMasculinity, relationships for millennials
Whatever – Michel Houellebecq“A depressed and isolated man”

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