Thoughts on: Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse

This was the right book at the wrong time for me. I can see myself loving it 10 years ago, when I was had a more gloomy and cynical outlook on life, I can hear myself saying, “This book really gets it”. (It don’t miss those days. 😂)

While I can still see the qualities; the complexity, the prose etc.., I just don’t connnect fully with the existential crisis of the middle aged misanthrope, Haller, around which the story revolves.

Part of me wanted to go up to him and shake some life into the man. “Wake up, go dance! Have a laugh for Christ sake!” And well.. thats just what the characters around him tried to do, whether it was Mozart and Goete (we are dealing with a mix of fictive and historical character in true Hesse fashion..) or Hellers object of desire, a girl named Hermine (his anima?!).

📝 “You are willing to die, you coward, but not to live”.

📝 “For what I always hated and detested and cursed above all things was this contentment, this healthiness and comfort, this carefully preserved optimism of the middle classes, this fat and prosperous brood of mediocrity.” This reminds me of McCandless notion from ‘Into The Wild.

⚖️ VERDICT:

I love me some Hesse— Siddhartha and Damien being two of my favorite novels of all time—but I didn’t fully resonate with Steppenwolf. It’s a solid classic nevertheless!

⭐️ TAKEAWAY:

We need to laugh more! Have you ever gauged how many times you laugh out loud each day?

Which is your favorite Hermann Hesse novels?

3/5

(ps… looking for my next classic. I’m looking for recommendations!)

Check out my Reading Lists for more great books!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “Demian” – Hermann Hesse

A short and moody novel that revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding oneself. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

This is most memorable fictional book I’ve read this year. A coming of age story with strong connections to Jungian psychology and symbolism. It came to me at a perfect time; Since I, much like Hesse did when writing the book, just “began to explore the writings of Freud and Jung on dreams and archetypes”. Something that really influenced Hesses writings.

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Favorite Books of the Year 2018: “12 Rules for Life” – Jordan Peterson

Life is suffering. How do we deal with that?! We face it, we bare it. Hell is a bottomless pit and in spite of how fucked up and unfair things are, we still can make it even worse. Let’s not do that! What if we instead get our act together and prepare ourselves to face suffering when it comes knocking? That’s the better path. And we all know where we fall short.

Peterson puts the responibility of all the world and all of it’s suffering on the individual. “If we all lived properly, we will collectively flurish.” If we put ourselves in order, maybe we will do the same to the world?

📝 “Aim up, pay attention, fix what you can and don’t be arrogant in your knowledge , strive for humility, be aware of your weaknesses. Consider the murderousness of your own being before condemn and judge others. Maybe you missed the mark? And most importantly, don’t lie! Lying is the path to hell.”

The book is fantastic, but maybe more importantly – it led me to examine the world of Jungian psychology – and what a wonderful rabbit hole it is to dive into!Leading me books like these:

📖 Man and his symbols

📖 King, Warrior, Magician, Lover

📖 Demian (kinda related..)

📖 Women Who Run With with the Wolves

Read the full list of favorites or check out previous lists right here!

Thoughts on: “The Journey to the East” by Hermann Hesse

This short and sweet books became the next stop for my Hermann Hesse obsession.

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The story has magical, almost mystical feel to it. Almost impossible to understand at times, but we are being warned, that the story about to be told about the journey to the East, is an untellable story. It’s not just a journey in space, but also in time. It’s is also both biographical and fictional.

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The main character, H.H, loses touch with himself, his Being and his previously natural creativity. In an attempt to re-live past days of glory he sets out to write an account of his greatest adventure; his journey to the East with The League.

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The League is a secret society that he ones where part of, with roots going back thousands of years. Famous members including both real and fictional hotshots like Plato, Mozart, Pythagoras, Don Quixote, Puss in Boots, and the ferryman Vasudeva (from Siddhartha) just to name a few.

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”But no account of David (note: King David that is.) can prove to me that life is not just a game. That is just what life is when it’s beautiful and happy —- a game! Naturally, one can also do all kinds of other things with it, make a duty of it, or a battleground, or a prison, but that does not make it any prettier? Goodbye, pleased to have met you!”

– Leo to H.H in Journey to the East.

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It’s an honest and personal story about the cycle faith gained, lost and regained. The unending search for enlightenment.

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It didn’t grab me right away but when I got into it I couldn’t put it down before I reached the last page. Beautiful book!

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What should be my next Hesse book? 🤔Btw. Just ordered The Stranger by Camus. So expect more classic fiction going forward! 😊

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4/5

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Check out my reading lists for more great books!

 

Thoughts on: “Demian” by Hermann Hesse

The story revolves around young Sinclair and the difficult task of finding ones self. Growing up in a protected and pious middle class home he eventually has to face the real world. Sinclair gets a new mysterious classmates, Demian, who guides him to detach and revolt from the superficial world of form and awaken to his true self.

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📝 Abraxas: A deity combining the godlike and the devilish.

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📝 “All I really wanted was to try and live the life that was spontaneously welling up within me. Why was that so very difficult?”

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📝 “When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us.”

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⭐️ Takeaway:

About the previous quote: If that’s the case – and by observing this phenomenon for a while I believe there is some truth to it – then even when someone irritates us, we can use that as an opportunity to learn more I out ourselves. I kinda like that quote for that reason.

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📊 My Amateur Jungian Analysis: Sinclair is the “Ego”, Kromer his “Shadow” and Demian the “Self”. Lady Eve is the “Anima” (the unconscious feminine side of a man). One of Jungs anima levels is even named “Eve”. By opening up to Lady Eve, Sinclair becomes complete. He and Damien become one.

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⚖️ Verdict:

This a mysterious and short (100 pages!) coming of age story for philosophically minded reader. Pauses for contemplation are needed between each chapters. The best 3$ spent this year!

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For those who read already: What do you think Demian did to get Kromer of Sinclair’s back?

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What short book blew your mind recently?

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4/5

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Check out my reading lists for more great books!

Demian, Synchronicity & Carl Jung

I picked up Hermann Hesse’s “Demian” and believed it could act as a pallet cleanser after my binge-reading of books revolving around jungian psychology.

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Haha, bad call! Already in the introduction I read that before writing the book in 1920 “Hesse began to explore the writings of Freud and Jung on dreams and archetypes”. Something that apparently influenced his writing to a large extent! 😂

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Was this synchronicity (or a meaningful coincidence) at play, to use a concept introduced by Carl Jung? 🤔

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I failed in my mission to move away from Jung, but the book started off so strong that I couldn’t put it aside. Now it is finished and a review is on it’s way! 👌🏻

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“When we hate a person, what we hate in his image is something inside ourselves. Whatever isn’t inside us can’t excite us.”

Hermann Hesse – Demian

What’s brewing? New book Arrivals!

I’m very excited about the books I received today! Have you read any of them? 😀🤔

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In the stack:

📖 “Trust me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator”

📖 “Demian” by Hermann Hesse

📖 “Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just show up”

📖 “The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us”

📖 “The Hero With A Thousand Faces” by Joseph Campbell

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On the headphones:

🎧 “Long Walk to Freedom” by Nelson Mandela

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Thanks to everyone for showering me with book recommendations in the comments! I write them all down. You are the reason I’ve discovered so many fascinating books that I might otherwise have been unaware of. Thanks! 🙏

Best Books of the Year: #3

#3 “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

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Hesse influential book about a wealthy Brahmin son that casts off a life of privilege to find spiritual fulfillment. A short read and profound read!

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

“This book is scripture posing as literature and is best read after getting what you thought you wanted.” – Gary (Goodreads). I think this sentence really captures why this book is important.

————— IMPACT —————

It ended up in my possession by coincidence. It was not on my radar at all. I met the mysterious man behind @booksonthetub in the subway one autumn morning at 5am. He had brought a stack of books for me that he thought might be of interest and “Siddhartha” was one of them. I’m happy I read it! It’s not every day you find a book that you know you will go back to over and over again throughout life. This book also spawned my first fiction review on my page. There will be more of that going forward!

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

What book was surprising for you last year?

——————MORE——————

This book got me so inspired that I made a fool of myself and wrote the review of it in verse.

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017

Thoughts on: “Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

I’ll do this one in “verse”:

🖌 Siddharthas father was a learned man//

for religious rites was all he cared//

Siddhartha followed his fathers footsteps, but was not content//

He wanted more than dogma and finally off he went//

Into the forest and joined the ascetics //

who liked to fast and thought possessions where pathetic//

One day he met the Buddha and came to understand//

Some things can’t be taught but have to be experienced first hand//

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🖌 He went from the woods to a town and met a lady of the night//

Who introduced him to the pleasures of the flesh and its delights//

A merchant wanted to partner with Siddhartha to earn some gold//

Capitalism is the only proper way through life, at least that’s what I’ve been told!//

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🖌 Siddhartha had a good ol time with money, hoes and drink//

But creating these attachments only made him think.//

This is all so shallow, so transitory, and only from within//

Can lasting happiness be found and off he goes again//

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🖌 Back to the forest from which he came. This time he met a ferry man//

He told Siddhartha to listen to the river the best he can//

To what it had to say – with its waves, currents and foam//

The river taught them both a lot with its ringing sound of “Om”//

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Hehe, loved the book! It’s up there with my all time favorites! Such good writing, everything is so clear and concisely put. And the classic story of self-discovery that we all can relate to has never been told so elegantly.

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I end this post with a quote from GARYs Goodreads review of this book which I thought was spot on:

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⭐️ “This book is scripture posing as literature and is best read after getting what you thought you wanted.”

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5/5

“Siddhartha” by Hermann Hesse

Check out my reading lists for more great books!