Complete Works of Robert Burns (Delphi Classics) by Robert Burns
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Robert Burns is one of the most influential poets of Scotland. He is a national figure head. His poems inspired various Romanticism poets, and even modern-day poets.
That being said, I had to stop about one-third of the way of this book. It is not that I don't understand the Scots language, it simply did not appeal to me. I could hear the poetic rhyming when being read aloud and can attest to Burn's magnificent skills. I suppose the poems about one bonnie lass or another was difficult to relate to, or the struggles of being a farmer in rural Scotland. The lengthy biography of Robert Burns at the beginning of the book was by far the most interesting part for me.
So, I am taking a break from this book for now. I own the kindle version, which means I will most likely return to it in the near future. For now, I will take up another novel that will hold my interest for a wee bit longer than this one.
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Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hazlitt's book is extremely simplistic and accessible for all people beginning their journey in economics. This book should be a recommended read for first year students of Economics and Business, and I would also argue that it would be ideal for young people that want to better understand America's capitalism system.
The thing that I love the most about "Economics in One Lesson," is that it points out the flaws of America's democratic and capitalism system. It highlights the hypocrisy of it all, the failings of the people that rely on the government for everything and the trust and integrity they have for them, but in the end it is the people's taxes that are literally being gambled with it by a reckless hand.
Hazlitt also stresses the importance of looking at the economy as a whole. He explains that new learners that enter the world of economy tend to look at it in small fragments, but he wants them to look at the bigger picture. This is apparent in his final lines of the book, where he states: "To see the problem as a whole, and not in fragments: that is the goal of economic science." Henceforth, he breaks the novels into sections to highlight the underlying issues that will crop up decades later if bureaucrats, government officials, and even economists dismiss the traditional monetary ideas and fixate on specific parts of the system instead of seeing it as a whole.
The topic of inflation felt so relevant to me, especially in today's economy. The real reason I picked up this book is because I started to see the "writing on the wall" and noticed that there is seriously something wrong with the economy as America slowly trudges its way out of the post-pandemic era. I picked up this book because I wanted Hazlitt to educate me further about economy. Without a doubt, I do not regret picking this book up. It is easily readable and the reason for that is Hazlitt's effortless style of writing as he uses picturesque analogies to further his ideas. Hazlitt is a natural storyteller; the topic of economics quickly becomes engaging for the reader, whether they are a novice or an experienced financial investor.
I will leave a quote down below since it really resonated with me this afternoon. I highly recommend this book for people that can see the writing on the wall and know an economic collapse or something close to the 2008 crisis is looming in the near future.
"Before we consider what the consequences of inflation are in specific cases, we should consider what its consequences are in general. Even prior to that, it seems desirable to ask why inflation has been constantly resorted to, why it has had an immemorial popular appeal, and why its siren music has tempted one nation after another down the path to economic disaster." - Hazlitt
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A great power lies inside of you. Close your eyes. Be still. In time you will feel it, like a low frequency that connects you to this universe. There is a power in stillness, and for writers it can become their greatest weapon.
I never plan out my story-lines. Instead, I let the idea naturally come to me and then like a tea bag steeping in water, I let these thoughts naturally grow in strength over time. Once an idea is formed in my mind, I finally sit down to put pen on paper, but even then, these "ideas" are not concrete nor are they set in stone.
To be a good intuitive writer you must listen to your gut- always. This style of writing is similar to a spiritual person that utilizes their third-eye after long periods of mediation to effectively sharpen their intuition. In this same way, I use my "gut feelings" when crafting a story.
In short, intuitive writing is a style that only a few authors adopt, most of them are self-professed introverts with their heads constantly in the clouds. This style of writing is a scary process because there is no end game in sight, you never know how your story will end. I would say it is like gambling, but it does not replicate that high that is often associated with such a risky past-time. Rather, it is like walking around a darkened room while squinting your eyes into tiny slits and having your arms carefully spread out in case you happen to fall upon the cold, hard floor. It can be an exhilarating feeling, especially when you gain inspiration from your subconscious thoughts, natural surroundings, or random people that you happened to encounter when you are at the peak of your writing process. Suddenly, crazy plot-lines pop up inside of your head when you are engrossed in tedious, quotidian tasks, such as washing the dishes, driving to work, or taking a shower. A sudden epiphany strikes like lightening and then you rush over to your notebook to write it down. I often have this experience with potential character names or their physical appearances at random times of the day, it is as if the story is building by itself inside of my head with little effort on my part.
Now imagine you and your friends set up the game of dominoes. Picture it in your mind's eye. You can see the long line, the beginning and the end, don't you? It is universally acknowledged that when you knock down one piece then the rest of them will follow. Now, with most writers they set up their novel like a game of dominoes. Intuitive writers are significantly different, we set up the game while the dominoes pieces are still falling. Crazy, isn't it? Except we knock down the pieces in slow motion, while placing the next dominoes at the perfect time to have it knock down another one. It is like a rat race, a whirl-wind event, but that is the most exhilarating part about it!
If you want to learn more about intuitive writing and how to master it, I will share a few key tips in my next blog post. Make sure to subscribe to blog or follow me on Instagram @petergray_writer to learn more.
3 things I have learned in my first year of publishing
All my life I have been that person that walks outside the line. I've been called the black sheep, a lone wolf, an eccentric person. Why? Because I am that circular peg that refuses to be jammed into a square hole.
Being an odd anomaly gave me some trouble in high school, hell, even in University. But being different isn't necessarily a bad thing. There is a reason that Sela kindly said these following words to Teddy: "Conformity is the poison of life, or at least in society. Be who you are, Teddy, and you will find your true friends then." My subconscious mind was reassuring myself that it is okay to be different.
So, where am I going with all of this? I wanted to tell you, the reader, that a valuable lesson I learned this past year is that it is okay to be unpredictable. There is this strange idea out there in the publishing world that you must stick to one genre. I have been advised that if I want to jump into a different genre that I must create another pen name. Let me tell you that juggling one pen name is quite enough for me, so adding another one would give me a headache. It is my belief that if a reader loves your work, I mean genuinely loves it, they will not be thrown off guard if you jump into a new genre. When I published "Cursed" I thought I would always be writing in the paranormal romance, but later on I realized I wanted to try historical romances as well. They left me in a state of confusion, as I continued to ask myself "How do I go from one genre to another? Will I lose followers? Will people be unwilling to try it?"
I have learned that readers are wiling to venture into a new genre. They will open up a new book if it has good reviews and they are familiar with the author's work. It is not 100% guaranteed that they will like it, BUT they will attempt to read it because they love the author and want to support their work. In conclusion, it is okay for an indie writer to experiment with different genres. You can be unpredictable, and throw your fan base off guard. As long as the work is honest and from the heart, it won't make a difference which genre you are writing in.
My next book "At Peace" will fall into the historical romance genre, much like my widely successful novel "Awakening." In the year 2022, I hope to publish the second part of "Far from Home: Book Two." I am also working on a dark, Gothic horror novel that is taking place in the isolated moorland of England in the nineteenth century, but those details are kept under wraps for now (yes, I am keeping a secret from you). What genre will I dabble into in the coming years, well, you will just have to wait and see...