Birds and Books (What I’ve Been Reading)

One of my favorite things to do is to sit down with a large cup of Rooibos tea and read a book. Now that it is summer, I have had a lot more free time, and I’ve been filling that time with good books. I have finished three amazing novels, and I felt the need, without going into too much detail, to share a bit about them and recommend them to any fellow bookworms who may come across this.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

This is a classic that has been on my reading list for a long time, but I just kept pushing it off. I am both glad and sad that I have waited this long to delve into it. Glad because it is a selection packed with symbolism, and if I had read it when I was younger, I think much of it would have gone over my head. Sad because it was such a good read and I pushed it off for so long. But now I have read it and thoroughly enjoyed it. In this shorter work, Orwell writes of a farm run by Mr. Jones. The animals that live here are advised by one of the older boars to take the farm for themselves and to no longer serve the humans. The animals rebel and successfully take the farm, looking forward to easier and happier days in a community lacking any sort of hierarchy. But, the equality and peace does not last long, and the animals soon find themselves in a similar situation as when they were controlled by the humans. A book highlighting the dangers of power and naivety, this work demonstrates the vicious nature of greed while also exploring class structures.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

I am guilty of shying away from more contemporary and popular pieces of literature. I have a bit of a bias towards mainstream novels. I guess I just can’t get it through my head that sometimes a book is popular because it’s good and not just full of violence and vulgarity. This book definitely helped me to get that message into my mind. Set in the 1980s, this book examines the difficulties that come with growing up and the challenges with self discovery and with family secrets. Aristotle, a high schooler growing up in Texas, quickly befriends Dante, another student of the same age also living in El Paso. The author elaborates on the pressure felt to conform, whether concerning ethnicity or sexual orientation. This is a really beautifully written book, and while aimed more towards young adults, I think everyone could learn a great deal about family, love and being true to oneself from this novel.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Wow, this is an amazing work. This is a book that I had to read in one sitting, it was so incredible that I just could not put it down. Out of all of these novels, I think this is the one I would recommend the most. This is a novel which can really change one’s outlook on life. It will leave you awestruck and inspired. Coelho writes of a shepherd boy living in Andalusia who has the same recurring dream of finding treasure at the Pyramids. Following the suggestion of a gypsy woman and a wise stranger, the boy decides to travel to Africa and to the Pyramids to seek out what his dream foretells. Along the way, the boy meets others who help him to learn of the universal language of the world, about his heart, and about the Soul of the World. He faces danger and self doubt throughout a long and harrowing journey where he is constantly led to question if he should turn back and leave his dreams behind. A bit of a spiritual text emphasizing the importance of following one’s heart and the signs of the universe, this novel will cause you to take a similar inner journey as you follow that of the boy. Truly a motivating and wonderful text.

Those are the three books I have enjoyed, and I strongly recommend them. They aren’t too long, but they are entertaining and true and beautifully spell out life’s difficulties that we are all able to relate too. Definitely consider picking one of these next time you’re itching for a well written, impactful read.

So one of my other favorite things to do is to sit down at my kitchen table with a large cup of Rooibos tea and just look out into the garden and watch the blooming roses. While doing that recently, I happened to see two birds crawling into some boxes left on the back porch, both with straw and leaves in their beaks. Upon further investigation, I found that the two had started building a nest in one of the bigger boxes. Unfortunately, I had to break down the boxes to prepare for the recycling collection. When the birds returned to continue working on the very early stages of their nest, they hopped around the area looking for the boxes. The birds twitched their heads and followed one another searching through every nook and cranny, and ultimately, they flew away. I was sad to see them go, and I felt bad for taking away the space they had picked for their nest, but I figured that I needed to get rid of the box before they began seriously nesting and laying their eggs. Another cup of tea and another seat taken at the kitchen table, and then I noticed that the birds had returned, this time with their little eyes set on the grill.

Maybe it’s time I get a bird house.

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