There's nothing quite like discovering the book that will turn out to be your favorite.
It'd be very hard for me to pin down favorites per se, but I can tell you a bit about some of the books that greatly impacted me:
- Dracula, for its masterful storytelling;
- The War Zone, for its honest depiction of subject matter both thoughtful and harrowing;
- A Simple Plan, for being one of the most thrilling reads of my young life;
- The Day of the Locust, for delving into the horror of Hollywood like no other piece of literature before or since.
"I feel like I still read a lot..."
Contact by Carl Sagan, about a radio astronomer named Ellie Arroway who discovers extraterrestrial life. (There was a movie too which is also good, but different enough that I think the book is worth reading.)
I feel like I still read a lot, but I don't have obsessive favorite books like I did when I was younger that I read and reread a million times and underline favorite passages. But Contact came across at just the right stage of formative years for me, and showed me the kind of astronomer I wanted to be... and I'm now a radio astronomer who specializes in "transient" radio signals that turn on and off over time! No aliens yet though. :)
"I am a fan..."
Circe and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.
I am a fan of any Greek Myth interpretation or re-telling, but the way that Miller portrays and gets inside the heads of characters that have existed for thousands of years is incredibly unique and powerful. These books do not have to be read together as they just share a world, but would highly recommend both! Though just a side character in both, her Odysseus might be my favorite.
"The way he described the feasts..."
The Redwall series by Brian Jacques. I love the adventure and questing and figuring out riddles. The way he described the feasts...god I always wished I could experience a feast like that. The way he would write the different dialects for the different animals was so much fun. They are young adult books, but I'm nearing 4 decades and still love them. Been reading them since I was just a wee lad.
Eulalia! For Redwall!
"I love the movie..."
Jurassic Park is the only novel I've sat down with and consumed within twenty-four hours. I love the movie, but the book is so much more detailed, and the characters so much deeper, and in some cases totally different.
"I remember my dad reading it..."
The Hobbit. I remember my dad reading it to me when I was really little before they got divorced so when I read it on my own I remembered some parts from then. PLUS, it's a great story that I loved.
"It shows that we are connected to each other..."
The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes. Absolutely fabulous novel that is a greatly entertaining read. It's hilarious, relatable, and enthralling. It shows that we are connected to each other across centuries. Written in the early 1600s, but it still holds up!
The Martian. Hard (reality based) science fiction with a smartass protagonist in a desperate struggle for survival. Watney displays constant problem solving that shows real resilience of character, punctuated with moments of stupidity like anyone would have and humor that anyone would need to live through a disaster.
"If you're a sucker..."
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami. F**k, I don't even know how to explain it. This is some real stuff that'll make you hurt in places you never knew you could hurt. If you're a sucker for a sad/melancholic, but real and honest novel this is what you need.
"But for me..."
Thud! by Terry Pratchett. Really all of the Discworld books, particularly the City Watch series (and yesterday, the 25th of May, being a particularly important day for all the Night Watch fans).
But for me, Thud! - particularly the crescendo of the action in the last act of the book - it hit me in a way that's hard to describe. I was crying from laughter, frustration, nervousness, and release. It was a truly great book.
"It's big and intimidating..."
Stephen King's The Stand.
It's big and intimidating but the story is so good and written so well I found myself wanting to savour it. The story and world change throughout the book. I'm excited to leave it a few more years so I can read it again without knowing quite what is going to happen.
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June is a happy and exciting month for the LGBTQ+ community, being Pride Month.
Where people can proudly celebrate who they are and who they love.
And the crowds at these events seem to only grow bigger every year, as more and more LGBTQ+ allies also partake in the celebration.
Some of these allies might be late to the party, as it were, owing to the fact that they once held homophobic views, and only recently became more educated and changed their minds.
Redditor aestheticbear was curious what exactly it was that led former homophobes to change their previous views, leading them to ask:
"Former homophobic people of Reddit: what happened that made you stop being homophobic?"
It was what they were taught.
"Like many here, I grew up around people where homophobia was the norm."
"I come from a Latino, Mexican, background and I'm really ashamed of how much homophobia/hate in general there is in our culture."
"Since most Mexicans are Catholic, I grew up around the church a lot, especially since my father had once been a Catholic priest, long story."
"Growing up, and to this day, I was surrounded by lots of hate towards the LGTBQ+ community."
"My parents would often make remarks making queer people seem almost as if they were crazy."
"They would often say that they were crazy for wanting 'gay rights' and even saying 'yuck' if they saw a movie scene where 2 people of the same sex where kissing."
"As a kid, I was sort of brain washed into all of this."
"As I grew older, I learned more about the world around me especially learning from friends who had come out."
"I especially owe a lot to a teacher of mine who had opened my eyes up to many issues of our world."
"Now I'm a proud pansexual."- davvaz62
By simply getting to know them.
"I met some gay people."
"As it turns out they were just people"- moolord
By witnessing unjustified judgment.
"Not homophobic, but I woke up at about 10 when my mom said my uncle was banned from coming to our vacation condo by my father because he was gay."
"Before then I kind of let the arguments and both sides bit wash over me, but that was a crystallization point where I started noticing it as pure bigotry."
"I'm sorry the nicest dude in the family full of domestic violence and white collar drug abusers cant come to Christmas because he's gay?"
"You're both cheating on each other, sanctity of what marriage now?"- Robin_games
My mother knocked some sense into me
"My mom slapped me and told me everyone has a right to be happy."
"That was in 9th grade 13 years ago."- Bloodllust
"Homophobia was the norm when I was growing up."
"Then I got older and the political landscape changed which made me question my belief and I came to the conclusion it just didn't make any sense to be homophobic."- LuciferIsFallen
"Realized that, fundamentally, being gay is just 'what' you are. It’s not 'who' you are."
"I came out as gay."- pethal
"Stopped listening to my homophobic family and left their religion."
"Oh and also realized I myself was pretty gay."- Raidden
Just one moment of clarity
"I wasn't super homophobic, just a 'love the sinner, hate the sin' kind of guy."
"On my last day in high school, someone said 'Why do I care? They're not hurting me'."
"Cured me in three seconds."
"I still remember how magical that moment was for me."- Dirgonite
"There are 20 years between myself and my youngest brother."
"I, and my SO, was raised in an explicitly homophobic/biphobic/transphobic fundamentalist religion, that I left with my SO in my early 20s.
"So I had a lot of internalized, conditioned, toxic beliefs about the LGBTQ that needed to be deconstructed."
"My little brother was obviously either gay or bi and it was obvious from the time he was six imho."
"He came out to my sisters, SO, and I as bi when he was 11 and we were like 'tell us something we don't know lol'."
"I think watching him just grow up, it was obvious that he hadn't chosen to be that way, it was just how he was."
"This false narrative that LGBTQ are somehow defective or sinners became more disgusting to me over time."
"I can't remember exactly when it happened but my SO and I were like 'if our future child happened to be LGBTQ, could we teach that child the things we were taught about the LGBTQ?'"
"'We were like 'no, that would be evil'."
"Now, we have an 18yo niece that recently came out as lesbian and we feel honored to be the only family that she trusts enough to introduce to her first GF."
"Spending time with her just reaffirms the fact that there is nothing wrong with the LGBTQ, it was our upbringing that was defective."- Jormungandr91
It's amazing how so many ignorant people don't realize that all one needs to do to see a little more clearly is to open your eyes.
Here's hoping that they help others who remain as ignorant as they once were to open their eyes as well.
Everyone has unusual phobias.
Things which they simply can't bear the sight of, and are forced to turn away when they find themselves in the presence of it.
More often than not, these things are usually habits or behaviors which one normally wouldn't do in polite society.
But, have you ever been repulsed by something that the majority of people might consider "normal"?
Something that's just an everyday occurrence in life?
Redditor Allthelights011 was curious to learn what "normal" things fellow Reddit users were disgusted by, leading them to ask:
"What’s a completely normal thing you find disgusting?"
Fun to do, not to watch.
"Watching people eat."- elladeighthecat·
Just not my style
"Gauged ears, or is it gaged ears?"
"I don't know."
"Big gross holes in people's ears gross me the f*ck out."- alienanimal
Blood? No problem. Saliva on the other hand...
"I was a nurse for 6 months before I found a better paying job and I could deal with blood, feces and urine no problem but if someone is drooling or spitting it grossed me out."- sayziellwatching arrested development GIFGiphy
Just because it's nature doesn't mean it isn't gross.
"When animals are 'doin' it'."- Colonelfudgenustard
"I know it's completely normal but just the initial cramps and mood swings honestly suck."
Mmm, that's good.
"Licking fingers while eating."- scapstickoscar isaac eating GIFGiphy
Not pleasant to watch or do.
"The feeling after you puke is terrific."
"It's all the sh*t you feel beforehand and the act of throwing up itself that weirds me out."- geico_fire
No one needs them or needs to see them.
"I know people can’t help them and they’re painful to remove but they make me physically ill."- Stealthnt13
Wash your freakin' hands!
"Dirt in your nails"- dejavuthrills
If I didn't actually have to, I wouldn't...
"Pooping!"- stormwaltzToilet Pooping GIF by Alberto PozoGiphy
Perhaps what's most difficult about these particular aversions, is that ignoring or avoiding them, or simply looking the other way might not be possible.
Leaving one no other choice than to grin and bear it.
And maybe occasionally withhold the vomit you feel coming...
Chances are, you've been told to try new things ever since you were a little kid. I know I was.
Sometimes, certain activities or experiences seem crazy, and you don't even want to give them a chance.
This could be true of some things. For example, there is no reason to ingest tide pods.
Sometimes an activity or experience that seems crazy only seems that way because you haven't tried it yet.
I thought nothing good could come of mixing buttery popcorn with Swedish Fish, but now it's my favorite snack!
Redditor TheUnthinkableVids wanted to know about other things that seem crazy, but should be given a chance.
"What’s a “don’t knock it till you try it” experience that you would weirdly recommend?"
Having Fun Doing You
"It has a bad reputation of power tripping nerds deluding themselves in public with seemingly no self awareness, but give it a go."
"I found it was more like sparring with a stunt troupe. It was harder than it looked, and everyone was having fun doing their thing while ignoring the haters, which was pretty cool I must admit."
The Perfect Sauce
"Balsamic glaze on pizza."
"Have it on Vanilla ice cream. Amazing."
"Basalmic on watermelon is refreshing!"
"Climbing onto your roof"
"I like how most of the responses in this thread are "try psychedelics" or "go skydiving" or "see a therapist" but you're like, "have you ever been on your roof?""
"Gotta admit though, I've been on my roof and it's strangely satisfying. You get a vantage point to see something that you see everyday, just a little higher up."
"A lot of computer noobs think that they would never use more than one monitor, and they don't see the purpose behind it. Bruh. It's magical, trust me."
"I could use a third tbh"
"I was one of those computer noobs for the longest time. A second monitor changed my life. Then I eventually got a third.... And I can't lie if every now and then I didn't tell myself "a fourth monitor would be quite convenient in this situation....."
Cheese And Everything
"Fresh Mozzarella and honey"
"Or really any cheese and honey. I love eating sharp aged cheddar with hot honey."
"Cheese and jam on toast"
"Cream cheese and grape jelly sandwiches! (On toast)"
Pampering Is Always Good
"Pedicure for men."
"My mom made me get one with her when I was a teenager. It rocked. Adult me gets a pedi at least once a month now. $25 to sit in a massage chair while someone cuts my toenails and massages my feet/legs? Yes please!"
The Magic of Salt
"Black pepper and salt on watermelon"
"Salt on pineapple!"
"A little sprinkle of salt in your coffee"
"Salt in Fanta"
"Draw a bath, turn the shower on, turn the lights off, prop up an umbrella, have a headlamp, a beverage and a good book."
"You look crazy, but try it, you’ll like it."
Be Your Own Best Friend
"Go to a restaurant on your own. Cinema on your own."
Jumping Out Of A Plane...Safely
"Skydiving. I did a tandem for my 60th I wish I had of done it when I was younger and learnt to do it solo."
"Tandem skydiving instructor here - I wish everyone would try it at least once, it isn't as bad as most people expect, and is much safer than the general public is willing to admit! Glad you had fun :)"
You don't even have to try something if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, but sometimes pushing boundaries and stepping out of your comfort zone can be the best thing for you.
Give seemingly crazy things a chance, and who knows what could happen? You could end up finding a great new hobby... or at least something delicious to eat!
Wise people tend to glorify the past for good reason. Simpler times seemed to indicate just that. Less life drama.
While many technical advances have also made our current life easier, it certainly has come with its share of complications that never existed prior to another time.
Curious to hear from strangers online, one Redditor asked:
"What was actually better in the past?"
People found traveling, particularly flying, was less dramatic back in the day.
"This is true. We used to go to the airport to go to the cafe within the airport, watch the planes take off, people watch."
Comfort In The Skies
"Flying in general."
"More seat space, meals included (and a choice of meals), actual metal utensils, luggage included, no need to get to the airport 2 hours before your flight..."
A Proper Send-Off
"And you could say goodbye to your friends at the gate. Get there early before the flight and grab a leisurely meal with them. Man, airports used to be fun."
"In the 90s airport security took half as long."
Many Redditors believe living in the present is a huge economical inconvenience.
"Prices vs earnings."
"Psh. Try childcare. Our childcare cost for two children is more than our mortgage. When I was the same age, it cost my parents about $50/week. Today that would be roughly $135/week per kid. We’re paying $500/wk and still don’t have full time care for both kids. Sh*t’s crazy."
Criminals seemed to have a field day once upon a time.
"Being a criminal. If there was a security camera, it was too low resolution to make your face very identifiable."
"also DNA analysis and fingerprinting wasn't as good, no Internet to track you."
Leaving The Country Undetected
"It used to be that it was possible for someone to commit a serious crime, move across the country, and never be caught. As communications technology has improved, that’s no longer feasible."
How people occupied their time in the past seemed to be more favorable.
The Life-Line Device
"Smart phones too, Reddit is the only social media I use and still I stare at this f'king thing 5 hours a day. I know I’m addicted to it and I’d love to punt it but unfortunately it’s also my phone, my map, my camera, my tape measure, my dictaphone, my Walkman etc. etc."
The sentiment that the past was better stems largely from nostalgia.
Aside from accessing our Gameboys and Tamagochis, my friends and I would ride our bikes or skateboard out in the cul-de-sac.
We would scrape our knees from falling, get knocked to the ground playing freeze tag, and come home with dried mud on our clothes from a day of roughhousing.
It was some of the best times of my childhood, and I feel for today's youth who still have the option of playing outside but choose to live on their iPads and iPhones instead.
They don't know what they're missing, TBH. Maybe it's just me.