Greetings fellow barbarian! First, let me ask If anyone of you guys have a book that definitely shaped your life? Or a book that entertained you so much that you have read it more than once? Do you have any recommendations for friends and family? What genre do you love and who is your favorite author? You see, my friends, books have the incredible allure to us and the power of the written word has more grip upon us more than any other media out there. Books are informative, entertaining, and at the same time highly collectible given the nature of paper; but what about ebooks you asked? I, for one, was never fond of ebooks and will only turn to digital if I cannot get hold of the physical. Simply because paper is easy on the eyes and to be honest, no one would really care about your ebook collection.
So last time I was chatting up with a friend who recently went on a vacation from the US, and talked about hauling back books she gathered there back home (ahem Gina). I had a good chat with her that it sort of reminds me of my relationship with books. It reminded me of the lengths I go through just to procure books like sorting out bin in a book sale, traveling just to visit my favorite bookstore, or simply asking someone visiting the US for some books that are hard to find here in the Philippines.
Books have always a place in my home and in my time, I try to introduce books to my family, especially my child. I am always fond of a woman who likes to read, I always find women who read books as sexy. Book has always been influential, at least for me; from art books, graphic novels, training books, fiction; books always have the power to shape the way I see things. So today, I want to share to you my fellow barbarians the 10 books that influenced me over the years.
…And Justice For Art Vol.1 – Ramon Martos
There is no denying I love heavy metal, from the classics like Motorhead, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden to the more modern sonic sound of Behemoth, Gojira and At the Gates; personally, I’m leaning towards more on the extreme side of metal. Imagery is a huge part of the heavy metal culture, on how the fans and the bands present themselves, on how the live performances are produced, and more importantly the beautiful art that graced the covers of an album. And that is what “…And Justice For Art” is all about, the book is a beautifully compiled selection of metal album cover art over the years and its back stories. A definite must-have for extreme metal fans out there, Barbarian approved!!!
The Greyskull LP 3rd Edition – Johnny Pain
I love barbell training, I’m not going to talk about how much I could bench press because I totally suck at it but I do love the process and the science behind physical training: progressive overload, ritualized eating and the physics that involves the moving of heavy weights. I’ve tried plenty of novice training programs the internet has to offer, ranging from StrongLifts5x5 to the infamous Starting Strength by the legendary Mark Rippetoe, but nothing made more sense to me than Johnny Pain’s The Greyskull LP. Everything about the program makes sense to me, from the AMRAP (as many repetitions as possible) set to the exercise arrangement per workout; it made so much sense that I bought the 3rd edition of the book. It contains instructions on how to perform basic barbell lifts like squats, bench press, and deadlift as well as program suggestions and the philosophy of the program. Which is kind of profound for me as it is somehow relatable to a man’s life. You will never know what a man is truly made of until he is under a tremendous amount of weight (challenges), so suck it up buttercup and show them what you are made of.
Batman: The Killing Joke – Alan Moore & Brian Bolland
“All it takes is one bad day to reduce the sanest man alive to lunacy. That’s how far the world is from where I am. Just one bad day.”
I love a good Batman story, or in this case a Joker story. An Alan Moore classic that defines the Joker’s origin story and revolves around the idea that all it takes is just one “bad day” for one person to descend into lunacy as the same applies for The Caped Crusader (death of Martha and Thomas Wayne). The story serves as a cautionary tale of not letting your personal tragedies as an excuse for bitterness and hatred, as well as believing in something despite how difficult it gets. A definite must-have for any barbarian who loves Batman or comic books in general.
The Way of the Superior Man – David Deida
“The way a man penetrates the world should be the same way he penetrates his woman: not merely for personal gain or pleasure, but to magnify love, openness, and depth.”
Why are the men of today so sensitive and weak that mere words hurt them? Why are most just lost in the ocean of androgyny? Because, in my humble opinion, of a lack definition of manhood with no one to guide them. This book has outlined some eye-opening ideas on manhood, why a definition of a man is important in living a life of freedom and courage. The book is filled with good manly wisdom in regards to life, women, and sex that completely changed my life.
The Stand – Stephen King
“The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there…and still on your feet.”
A deadly virus wipes out a chunk of the human population in the planet, and the remaining survivors are separated into two factions. A classic tale of good versus evil, of absolution, struggle and mysterious forces at work; written by the critically acclaimed Stephen King.
Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami
“Despite your best efforts, people are going to be hurt when it’s time for them to be hurt.”
Emotional dependence does not equate love, that is the central theme behind this coming of age tale by Haruki Murakami. It revolves around a young Watanabe as he navigates his life as a young adult along with the emotionally fragile Naoko and his growing affection towards an outgoing and confident Midori. A certified drama for men that teaches us what romantic love is and what it is not.
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus – Mary Shelley
“If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.”
A 19th-century literary classic that was written by Mary Shelley that sparked the whole science fiction genre. The story revolves around the rather unmanly protagonist Victor Frankenstein and his creation, a life form created through his experiments. A gripping cautionary tale about the dangers of indifference, cowardice, irresponsibility, loneliness, and unchecked passion that will keep you at the edge of your seat.
World War Z – Max Brooks
“Most people don’t believe something can happen until it already has. That’s not stupidity or weakness, that’s just human nature.”
The world is overrun by the undead hordes and humanity has turned on each other in order to survive, in this excellent novel by Max Brooks. It recounts various events in humanity’s war against the undead from all over the globe since its inception to humanity’s breakthrough. It is a story of survival, preparedness, self-reliance, camaraderie, and resolve; and that the undead does not care if you are a millionaire pop-star, a CEO or a carpenter.
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
An F. Scott Fitzgerald classic that tells the story of the noble but sad life of Jay Gatsby through the eyes of his only friend Nick Carraway, as he tries to win the attention of the love of his life through extravagance and lavish parties. It teaches us that optimism might be noble but it is also futile, that you really cannot buy your way through love and friends and to face your problems like a man and look good doing it (in a fabulous pink suit).
The Alchemist – Paolo Coelho
“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
There are tragedies in our lives that made us lose our sense of self, a divorce, loss of a loved one, a toxic job or maybe some event that fucks us so bad that all we could do was just to live through the pain. And as the days go by we find it harder and harder to fall asleep and let alone get up from the bed, and just barely breathing our days with no more confidence to chase after our dreams. There is a reason why The Alchemist is my favorite book, as it flawlessly allows you to rediscover yourself through the eyes of a young Shepherd named Santiago; the book’s protagonist as he took a journey in search for an elusive treasure alongside the fabled alchemist. It teaches us that our mission and dreams always come first and that true love does not get in the way of it; that we must have the courage to follow it. And that suffering must be overcome in order to realize the validity of our dreams, that if we give in to suffering then the dream was never valid in the first place. I cannot express enough how much I recommend to each and every one of you, barbarian or not; to read The Alchemist at least once in your life. So my friends, my fellow barbarians; I urge you to follow your dreams.
So there you have it, the 10 influence books that in my opinion help me shaped the man I become and will be. Please feel free to comment about your influential books, I would love to hear your thoughts. And always remember to LIVE FREE!