Fit Lit: Global Reads

By Christian Adrian Brown

Body, Mind and Quill


Quadragenarian fitness model, lifestyle coach and bestselling author of the critically acclaimed Feast of Fates, Christian A. Brown received a Kirkus star in 2014 for the first novel in his genrechanging Four Feasts till Darkness series. He has appeared on Newstalk 1010, AM640, Daytime Rogers, and Get Bold Today with LeGrande Green. He actively writes and speaks about his mother’s journey with cancer and on gender issues in the media.

One of the best stories I’d ever known before it became a global video game and Netflix sensation, was The Witcher, by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. I’d say that it’s one of the defining dark fantasy tales of our era, up there with Moorcock’s Elric of Melnibone saga—although different in scope and themes. Likewise, Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist entranced me with its surreal, psychedelic and mystical allure. The common thread between these stories? They’re all from international authors. 

People talk a lot these days about diversity, and yet we—the colloquial we, not you or I, necessarily—seem to spend our days affixed to social media, watching people parade their eccentricity or failures on TikTok. Although for such a “global” stage, our online realities are remarkably curated, pared down by Zuckerbergian algorithms to reveal an insular and exceedingly domestic world. For all our globalization, we have somehow become further entrenched in national pastimes and identity. I worry about the generation of children weaned on that one-flavoured gruel.

I can’t imagine a world where I wasn’t exposed to Rainer Maria Rilke’s thoughtful poetry, Haruki Murakami’s philanthropic insights, or the beautiful, political rage of Mariama Bâ. I have become richer from this knowledge, from partaking in each of these author’s thoughts and experiences. I cannot imagine a classroom where these works aren’t shared, or a generation growing up without knowing these differing perspectives. 

Much like psychological resilience, I believe we develop mental fortitude by exposure to ideas and cultures. The goal is not to eliminate our original identity, or to adapt ourselves entirely to these new ideas. The goal with multicultural integration has been—in my approximation as a biracial gay man with family in all corners of the globe—to take what pieces work, what insights make sense to us in our lives, and to build ourselves better from that wisdom. 

There is nothing to fear from this process of exploration and growth. And in literature, especially, you can explore these ideas free of judgement—lest you take your observations to Twitter and God help you with the mob there. But in private contemplation, you can and should explore the words, languages and stories of others. After all, that is what the human experience is about: connecting, learning and sharing our pains and joys. 


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Article originally Published in the October / November 2021 Issue “Read Global”

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