[Book Review] 'The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere' by Pico Iyer

the art of stillness pico iyer

This is perfect for anyone who’s invested in inner work, especially now that many of us are still in isolation because of the pandemic.

It is also for those who have been seeking quiet for a long time, probably because they have been tired of the chaos they usually experience in their lives. As the book suggests, we need more and more quiet time as our means to connect grows.
In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.
In this book, Pico Iyer talks about the beauty of motionless journeys, in which one can go deeper into their thoughts. He also shares his encounter with individuals who have been constantly seeking stillness. It also tells the story of some famous personalities who thrived in solitude.

Despite its shortness and simplicity, this book has left a mark on me. I’m a writer and an introvert, after all. Plus, I am the kind of person who usually gets lost in the woods of their own thoughts. In fact, it is due to this habit of mine that I am able to process past experiences thoroughly and find gems in them that I can write about.
Writers, of course, are obliged by our professions to spend much of our time going nowhere. Our creations come not when we’re out in the world, gathering impressions, but when we’re sitting still, turning those impressions into sentences. Our job, you could say, is to turn, through stillness, a life of movement into art. Sitting still is our workplace, sometimes our battlefield.
Also, this book reminds me to always take as much as I can. Although I value having quiet time on a regular basis, there are also days when I simply let myself drown in the noise of the modern world. Due to the nature of my full-time job, I sometimes feel obligated to stay connected all day during workdays, which can be really exhausting. Besides draining my energy, this phase also keeps me from being creative.

But of course, having the time to simply do nothing but be alone with one’s thoughts remains a privilege. In reality, a lot of people don’t have the luxury of time to sit down and remain still for hours as they take on a motionless journey.

I think one of the biggest challenges we have right now is how to fight for a better society in which people won’t simply be enslaved in the trade they are part of, so that they can also afford to cherish the art of stillness.

(Image from Simon & Shuster)
Mina Deocareza

[Book Review] 'I See You' by Clare Mackintosh

i see you clare mackintosh

This is another creepy yet exciting book.

The story begins when Zoe, a middle-aged woman, sees her photo in the ad section of a local newspaper. It seems like an ad for a dating site, except the website URL and phone number indicated do not seem to work.

Zoe tells her family and close friends about it, but they seem unmoved by it. It may just be someone who looks like her, they convince her. But of course, she remains bothered.

Eventually, she is able to confirm that it’s really her photograph--cropped out of an old picture of hers. How did it end up there? Was it some kind of mistake or coincidence? She keeps on wondering.

Later on, she finds out that a different woman appears on the same spot in the same paper each day. What’s weirder is the fact that some of these women have already been victims of a wide array of crimes, ranging from theft to murder.

What follows is Zoe’s attempt to trace the person behind the ads. It is a Black Mirror-ish tale that gives a glimpse of how fucked up the world has become, especially with all the means to exploit data and use them to harm people.

(Image from Amazon)

Mina Deocareza