Hapa Reads: Issue 001
THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION
BY BRENE BROWN
I tend towards non-fiction and lately have been reading different authors to facilitate all levels of healing, in this case, my perfectionism! Brene Brown delivers incredible, openhearted-yet-scientific quick reads on the topic of authenticity and perfectionism. This book my mind on a daily basis and was one of the books that changed my life.
BY EMMETT GROGAN
It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything longer than a menu, but one of my all-time favorites which I still pick up from time to time is Ringolevio: A Life Played For Keeps, the largely-true autobiography of activist Emmett Grogan. It charts his remarkable journey from Brooklyn street tough to teenage heroin addict to Improvisational actor to founder of the Diggers, a radical action group based in San Francisco. They essentially held the same general ideals as the summer of love hippies, but without the whole non-violence part. If the flower children were Martin Luther King, Grogan was Huey Newton (co-founder of the Black Panthers).
His “any means necessary” approach to philanthropy involved such acts as hijacking grocery trucks and distributing the food to the needy. He was deeply critical of the naive optimism of the hippies and a vocal opponent of media whore false prophets like Timothy Leary and Abbie Hoffman. Bob Dylan dedicated his 1978 album “Street Legal” to Grogan after he was found dead on the F train earlier in the year.
This is as interesting a life and fascinating a read as you’ll ever find, simultaneously as a history of an important movement, an account of his incredible 35-year life and a nostalgic portrait of New York in the 1940s and 50s.
OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE
BY NEIL GAIMAN
Earlier this year, I needed a book to travel with. Something fun, light, not too sappy but not too heavy. The choice was obvious: Neil Gaiman’s Ocean At The End Of The Lane.
I love Neil Gaiman, and his books are always a go-to. Ocean At The End Of The Lane is a little bit a departure for him. It’s got autobiographical moments and it was originally written just for his wife Amanda Palmer who “doesn’t really like fantasy.”
So it’s less heavy on the fantastical elements that his works like Good Omens or American Godsare known for. But the human elements of the work make it all the more emotionally gripping. It’s also an easy read that can be finished in a week. Imagine sitting on a porch or a park with a cool drink on a lazy afternoon. That’s the way to enjoy this book.
THE BONE PEOPLE
BY KERI HULME
NAOMI TAKATA SHEPHERD
This novel pulled me in like the briny New Zealand tides described in its prose and then spit me out a little chewed up and not quite aware of who or where I was in the wee hours of morning. Hulme’s characters are constantly at odds with themselves and one another; whatever small harmonies they share are short lived. Each one of them is sharp, loving, vicious, kind, selfish, and giving. Their triumphs, their faults, and the secrets they hold to themselves and the ones they reveal, some willingly and others not, makes The Bone People a story I won’t soon forget.
READY PLAYER ONE
BY ERNEST CLINE
I just finished reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I quite literally could not put this book down (much to the dismay of my fiancé)... it was so good. If you're like me and you love Fantasy/SciFi/Dystopian worlds, you will LOVE this book. Set in a dystopian world where the earth is a mess and the year is 2044, humanity spends most of its time in a virtual reality knows as OASIS.
This book follows Wade Watts on his hunt for the ultimate Easter Egg in OASIS. If he finds this egg he will inherit a fortune. This book will leave you wanting for more. Luckily there is a movie adaptation coming out in March of 2018. Here’s hoping they don’t fuck it up!
THE GIFTS OF IMPERFECTION
BY BRENE BROWN
REBECCA LEE LERMAN
My best friend and ex-lover recommended this book. So, naturally, I read it. If I could quote the entire book, I would. How do we start loving ourselves more? How do we embrace our perfect imperfections? As humans, we always think we need to do more to feel accepted, but this book will affirm that who you are is enough. Right now, in this moment.
Her voice is simple, clear and approachable.
“Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It's about the choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.” -Brene Brown
BY GEORGE ORWELL
It was Jan 26th 2017 and I was furiously packing final items for our long belated honeymoon to South Africa/Mozambique. Trump had just been sworn in and I was ready to get the fuck out of the country and pretend I wasn’t American. I scanned our overstuffed bookshelf for a good travel read, my eyes strained through all the forgotten titles I’d sworn to read (all before podcasts took over my commute) and stopped abruptly at George Orwell’s 1984.
I’d somehow managed to weasel out of its required reading in school but it stood out now since, just the day before, 1984 made headlines by jumping to the Number One spot on Amazon’s bestseller list. Bleak dystopian novels were suddenly on a sharp rise in popularity and 1984 was at the top.
It couldn’t be left behind, so into the bag in went. Alas, when we arrived in Africa I quickly realized an “Ignorance is Strength” kind of totalitarian reality was the last kind of companion that was going to tuck me in on my honeymoon. However, after our glorious escape came to an end and we boarded the plane back to JFK, I whipped out the book and started reading.
Maybe I wanted to stay hip in the resurgence of dystopian references. Maybe I longed to be comforted in knowing 1984’s horrific reality couldn’t possibly become mine. Whatever the reason, I began Orwell’s 70-year-old classic... and to this day haven’t finished.
Slow and steady, I’m making my way through the utterly terrifying tale of Big Brother, hoping that by the time I finish I won’t need to keep ordering #ITMFA merch for my friends and fam.
THE ARTIST'S WAY
BY JULIA CAMERON
The Artist’s Way is a creative aid to help guide you when creativity seems to elude you or not flow freely. This book is not just for “artists” and gives many people an awareness of why we sometimes become blocked by external and internal influences and how to navigate ourselves through these blocks. Among many other things, it teaches how to own your power and to combat the shame or negative voice in your head. It's not an easy process but every journey worth taking seldom is. It takes time, after all it's about the journey and not the destination.
STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST
BY AUSTIN LEON
ALISON LEA BENDER
This book gave me so much inspiration as an artist to go out there and be confident in myself. It’s not only an essential read for artists of all kinds, but it gives a new mindset to anyone who wants to get down to business in their lives! It shares tips and ideas to help unlock your own individual creativity.
It has reinforced me to believe in myself and stop always second guessing my thoughts and choices. It helps you follow and navigate your goals with simple steps and stories from other people. In our digital age, I find this to be such an important read if you want to attain success and feel like you’re not getting in your own way.