Recommended Reading (1)

Today, I’m going to introduce 3 written pieces by 3 good friends, a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, which I especially enjoyed and wholeheartedly recommend. Without further ado:

1. ‘No, I Can’t Speak Chinese‘ by Bradley Grant (21 November 2010 / non-fiction)

Oh boy, talk about being able to relate. Brad found a poem called Sure You Can Ask Me A Personal Question written by Diane Burns and decided to write his own based on ridiculous questions he’s faced as an American who grew up in Japan. He says himself that he ‘overloaded it’ but such ludicrous conversations occur more often than not. I’ve experienced them as well and if you want to take a glimpse into the mind of a TCK or an international student or a globalised citizen or whatever you want to call us, then read this. It’s short and it’s funny. Hilarious, actually. (Unless you were the one asking such questions. In which case….)

Hello. Yeah- I mean, nice to meet you too.

My mommy told me it’s much more polite to say that.

Er, I’m from Japan.

Yeah. No, I’m serious. I decided not to lie this time, for whatever reason.

Consider yourself lucky.

I know, right?

0e02648c75ff332f04b2083ebda32b66About the author: I first introduced Brad on my previous ‘Blog Hop‘ post. We went to the same international school in Tokyo, then both found ourselves in universities in the UK. We’ve travelled extensively together around Europe and have had many good conversations regarding our TCK identities. This post was from his previous blog ‘Inspiration’s Waiting Room‘ and he now blogs at ‘BradfromBradford‘ which documents his recent return to Japan and his hunt for a job. He’s also a popular YouTube vlogger and boasts an impressive 686,000 views on his ‘Call Me Maybe in Japanese‘ video.

2. ‘Readers Digest‘ by Harri Endersby (10 April 2014 / fiction)

Beautiful, captivating and brilliantly-paced. Published by The Bubble, an online magazine based at Durham University, Harri’s short story is a magical piece that seems entirely plausible. To be honest, I wished I had thought of this fantastic premise myself (I have to admit, this partly inspired my own short story ‘Clarissa‘). I won’t give the story away, though I can reveal that she includes the Gideon’s bible, Marx, Dickens, Confucius, Penguin editions – undeniable features of a literature student. To give you an idea of what it’s about, here’s the first sentence (and just how witty and appropriate is the title?):

I knew a man who ate books.

1538807_10152559110291043_9050655580644442763_nAbout the author: Harri is undoubtedly one of the most talented people I know. She’s a fellow English Literature student at Durham University. She’s also a magnificent musician with a spellbinding voice that has made me tear up on several occasions, and who writes original songs deserving of more recognition. Keep an eye out for an upcoming release of her EP of original songs (they’re brilliant; I would know since I was involved in the recording process). Check out her YouTube channel here: Harri Endersby (I especially recommend the songs ‘1963‘ and ‘Tobacco Tin‘.)

3. ‘Posting for a Vera, Or: Sounding Out Noetic Idols‘ by Chikara Saito (29 April 2014 / non-fiction)

I remember reading ‘Posting for a Vera’ when Chikara first posted it in April and being struck by firstly, how beautifully written it was, and secondly, how deeply it resonated with me. It’s difficult to summarise concisely what it’s about (he mentions Vladimir Nabokov and his wife, the world of academics, the quality of singleness, rap lyrics of André 3000, philosophy and theology and Greek mythology, etc.), but it’s very personal and vulnerable. Here’s an excerpt which I particularly liked:

‘Obedience, then, requires self-annihilation of sorts, but not to halt the thirst of desire (tanha) by ending the endless flow of delusion (samsara) that grates across existence as suffering (dukkha). By self-annihilation, I mean to suggest an eros that is nailed to that splintering tree, bleeding with Christ by remaining in His pierced side that I may receive desire back in such a way that it is ordered to God in His resurrection.’

AEnv1aGpAbout the author: I also introduced Chikara and his Medium blog on my ‘Blog Hop‘ post. He was a classmate for many years and is one of the most intellectual people I know. In his own words, he ‘dabbles a bit in everything — Christian dogmatics, Reformed-Catholic dialogue, moral theology, philosophical theology, political theology, metaethics, metaphysics, modal logic, philosophy of language, Medieval philosophy, and — most prominently — the work of Søren Kierkegaard.‘

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