Book Review- A Treatise On Shelling Beans by Wieslaw Mysliwski

So this book took me way too long to read. I read before bed to shut my brain off, but I was so exhausted all summer that I was asleep as soon as I got into bed. It has been a long time, but I finally finished it! I took a good handful of quotes that sparked my thinking, so brace yourself! And if you’re interested in the tradition summer, you can find it here.

1.       When people can be divided by something they always will be (9).

Just think-the only thing that really divides us as people are differences. If we see someone who is a fraction of a fraction different than us, our minds consider it division. Why is that? Why must we let things get in the way of relationships?


2.       All the more because if you ask me, these days the soul is a commodity like anything else. You can buy it and sell it, and the prices aren’t high (28)

A popular book genre of the modern era is “self-help.” Lumped with that topic is soul-searching and finding yourself. However, we live in a society where your soul is no longer important. No one pays attention to their soul anymore. No one nurtures it. And then it gets lost in the technology and fast-paced world and we all end up as empty shells because hey, we sold our souls to keep up with society.


3.       But can you ever tell what a person’s staring at? You think they’re staring at one thing or another, but they might be staring inside themselves. People have things to look at inside themselves, that’s for sure (30).

This is such an interesting idea. When people appear to zone out, what if they are just doing some inner searching? I don’t think enough people spend enough time watching their own insides. We tend to get stuck on figuring other people out, but we don’t stop and look inside to figure out who we are yet. What would you find if you looked inside yourself?


4.       After all, there are words like that that don’t have any fixed meaning. Words that can adapt to any of our desires, our dreams, our desires, our longings, our thoughts (63).

There are so many words in every language. So how is it that we can attribute words to our every move? Words are so powerful. They can mean so many things to one person, and the complete opposite to the person sitting beside you. And this is why I love studying English.


5.       In my view it’s not just music but life itself that’s governed by rhythm. When someone loses their rhythm, they lose hope. What are tears, what is despair, if not an absence of rhythm? What is memory if not rhythm (96).

This is such a poetic way to think about the way we live. We all live in a relatively steady pattern of life. When we face a loss or a death or a struggle, then our lives are disrupted, and we simply cannot continue on the same rhythm. We may need a complete key change in order to get our lives back in order.


6.       Because I was thinking that if we found some people we knew in common, maybe we’d find ourselves too, the two of us, at some time or other, some place or other (147).

This quote is not quite about what I took from it, but the same thing still applies. Some relationships fall apart at one point or another. Sometimes, it is irreparable. Sometimes, the pair needs to find themselves again. They need to be reminded of why they are in the relationship, whether it be romantic or a friendship, and how they came together in the first place. I find that once people have a strong hold on their roots, they are able to grow stronger than before.

7.       You can fit an awful lot into one sentence. Maybe everything. Maybe a whole lifetime. A sentence is the measure of the world, a philosopher once said (149).

Once again, this is all about the power of words. I, personally, have had a few moments in my life where one sentence made me stop and think because it affected me so deeply. Can you remember the last time it happened to you?


8.        If you sat down and thought about it, how many unspoken words like that must have disappeared forever? And they may have been more important than all the ones that were spoken (230).

I swear this book isn’t all about words! Think about the things you didn’t say. The things like “I love you” or “I appreciate you” or “I’m sorry” or “Thank you” are all so important, but what about the time you saw that person with the great smile on the bus? What if you could have changed someone’s life by saying “I like your smile?” It is the small words that could mean the most to people.


9.       It’s true that our whole life we have to pretend in order to live. There isn’t a moment when we’re not pretending. We even pretend to ourselves. In the end, though, there comes a moment when we don’t feel like pretending anymore. We grow tired of ourselves. Not of the world, not of other people, but of ourselves (335).

I choose not to live in a world where I have fabricated a completely different version of myself to show off, but I can still relate to this. Sometimes, I push my feelings to the side. I don’t allow myself to be sad, or grieve, or relax. I keep on pretending that I am okay, and eventually, all my feelings catch up to me. We all need to take a second, look at ourselves, and get to the real stuff underneath the masks.


10.   Of course-silence is a voice. And it’s words. Though words have lost faith in themselves, you might say (339).

Silence can be so powerful. I remember watching a TV show where a man said the secret to a good marriage is silence. Most people find silence awkward and fill it with gibberish (which usually makes it even more awkward). I think more of us should take pleasure in silence. Between certain people, words CAN say a lot.

 \Don’t think that the book was bad because it took me so long to read it. It is full of philosophical ideas, and the plot is full of interesting twists and turns. The best part is the narration. I have come to realize that the books that end up on my top reads list are books with interesting narration. This book is first-person narration, but it is posed as a conversation. The reader is a man, stranger to the story teller, and the book is a collection of stories and memories from the story-teller. The stranger never speaks, but the story-teller addresses him. I give this book 5/5 stars. It’s my first one, I know! I really, truly loved this book.

I’m going a different direction with my next choice, but I am excited to start it! Have you ever read a book with interesting narration? Why did it draw you in?


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