CategoryLeisure and Creativity

Books Everyone Should Read In Their Lives

          It seems as though young people are reading less and less nowadays. I think it would be wrong to blame this phenomenon on the internet and the development of technology in general. If anything progress has made reading much more accessible to the younger generation. From devices such as Kindle or iPhones to e-books there are hundreds of ways to make reading very accessible. So why do young people read less? Well one of the reasons is probably the hectic life style we are used to living in our times. We work all day and then it seems that it would be much less effort to turn on the TV and fall asleep watching something than to start reading a book. Of course in the long run I think you would feel much better about yourself if you managed to read even 10 pages in one night rather than watching the same old garbage you see on TV every day. But of course, any sort of generalization is wrong. There are still many young people who love to read, and there are many young writers out there managing to make a name for themselves. For the purposes of this article I will write about the books everyone should read in their lives:

1.    Ayn Rand – Atlas Shrugged. Probably not so well known in Europe, Ayn Rand is quite famous in the U.S. This is where she made a name for herself as a writer after emigrating from Russia in 1926, at 21 years old. This is her last novel, and also the longest, and it was published in 1957. I think this is her best work, and it best exemplifies her philosophical beliefs which led to Objectivism. This is the name she came up for her philosophy. As a direct result of the direction she saw Russia heading in after the Bolshevik Revolution, her philosophy is basically the purest form of liberalism and individuality, which are the foundations of capitalism as we know it today.

2.    Gabriel Garcia Marquez – One Hundred Years Of Solitude. From the list of the books everyone should read in their lives, I couldn't have shipped over a representative of South America. Many great writers have come from that part of the world in the last decades and my favorite is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. His style of writing is called magic realism and it is a concept very hard to understand until you actually read the book. I whole heartedly recommend reading this book. It is extremely seductive and captivating and the end will leave you breathless.   

3.    Cormack McCarthy – The road. This is one of my favorite American writers. He has produced many best sellers, including Blood Meridian or No Country For Old Men which was later turned in a Oscar winning movie. This particular book was also made into a movie, quite well actually, but there is no possibility of capturing on to the camera the desolation, disillusion, or desperation that are so viscerally presented in the book. For me this is definitely one of the books everyone should read in their lives because it is so tough and it will almost surely leave you in a puddle of tears.  

4.    Chuck Palahniuk – Fight Club. With Fight Club we have another case of a great book turned into a great movie. The fast pace of the movie is a mirror of the very alert style of writing Chuck Palahniuk revels in. It's a book that is all over the place but which manages to pull itself together at the very end.

5.    Dostoyevsky – The Brothers Karamazov. There is no way you could skip one of the great classic Russian writers form a list of the books everyone should read in their lives. For me, my favorite in this category is Dostoyevsky. The way he manages to creep up under your skin so you feel every twitch of the characters is uncanny.

6.    Yann Martel – Life of Pi. And for a more recent adaptation of a great book, we find over selves in the presence of Life Of Pi. The Oscar winning film for best director among other things is based on a beautiful story that, as it suggests, will make you believe in God once you are done with it.

7.    Franz Kafka. – The Trial.  And to finish off the list of the books everyone should read in their lives I have chosen The trial. This is a great book by Franz Kafka, a great Czech writer who unfortunately was not appreciated at all during his lifetime.

          Well, I think that is enough for me on the subject of the books everyone should read in their lives. I'm sure you have hundreds of other ideas for such a list so I am very excited to hear your proposals.

Camp Fire Games

         I love going camping. It is one of my favorite activities. I think it is great to go into the wilderness and fend for yourself. I try to organize these sorts of outings as often as possible with my friends but it seems that it’s more and more rare that are able to synchronize our schedules. For me, there are many aspects to camping which I enjoy. There is of course the aspect of getting closer to nature, but there are other factors as well. I love to play the guitar and I can think of no better setting than with my friends around the campfire. The other thing I love to do is play camp fire games. I’m sure you have done so yourself at least in your youth. There are loads of games to choose from but I have some clear favorites. And I’ve decided to write an article about them. If it manages to bring you back some fine memories than my goal here will be reached. I’m sure you may have other suggestions so please feel free to write them down in the comment section below. I will try to get back to you as soon as possible.

1.    Mafia. One of the most complex camp fire games I have taken part in is called mafia. It is very hard to get to grips with it in the beginning but let’s give it a shot. In a group of 9 people, one is the storyteller, two are killers, one is a doctor, 1 is a cop, and the rest are citizens. The goal of the citizens is to vote out the killers, and the goal of the killers is to kill everyone else. The game starts with the story teller telling everyone to close their eyes. Then he asks the killers to open their eyes and point to the person they want to kill. Once they decide the storyteller asks everyone to close their eyes again. Next the doctor wakes up and decides who he wants to save. If he points to the person the killers killed, than that person won’t die. Then he goes back to sleep and the cop wakes up and he can ask the storyteller by pointing at one person if he is the killer. After that everyone wakes up except for the person which got killed. Now everyone debates over who is or isn’t a killer based on absolutely anything they can think of, from a weird look, or a motive to kill the first person. Then the storyteller asks everyone to vote who they think is a killer. The person with the most votes will leave the city and then the cycle starts over again until all the killers have been eliminated or all the citizens have died.

2.    Truth or dare. This is probably one of the most famous camp fire games. The rules are pretty simple when it is your turn you can either choose to respond truthfully to any question you may be asked or instead do a dare.

3.    Magic hat. The magic hat is a fun camp fire game in which everyone has to write down on a piece of paper a concept, like for example cow, and beneath it three words that are connected to it in some way like milk, farm or horns. After everyone has written three concepts the pieces of paper folded and placed in the hat. Teams of two people are formed. Than during one minute one member of the team has to extract and describe the concept written down without using any of the words beneath it. The other one has to guess it. You have to do as many concepts as you can during that minute. If it’s a concept you didn’t guess it goes back in the hat. The game goes on until all the concepts are guessed.

4.    Scary stories. This is not so much a camp fire game as a fun activity to do. Even now I get the chills when I remember some of the stories I’ve heard in my childhood.

5.    Telephone. Another very simple camp fire game is called the telephone. Here one person has to whisper a word in the ear of the person sitting to the left of him. Than that person whispers what he heard to the next, until the circle completes and gets to the last person who has to say what he thinks is the initial word.

6.    Two truths and a lie. This is a great game to get to know one another. You have to say two truths and a lie about yourself and the other people will have to guess the lie.

7.    Twenty questions. A very popular game in which you have to guess what one person was thinking f by asking twenty questions with a yes or no answer..

          Well, thus concludes my list of camp fire games. I hope you enjoyed it and that it sparked in you the idea to go out hiking again.

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