What is Castles in the Sky?

Castles in the Sky is a blog about overcoming intellectual loneliness, combating existential boredom, and becoming yourself. I usually write about family, books, business, and psychological richness.

What is psychological richness?

Psychological richness is the pursuit of a life filled with diverse, interesting, and perspective-changing experiences. It means looking beyond the traditional concept of “the good life” measured by happiness and meaning, and embracing novelty, complexity, and profound cognitive shifts.

What can readers expect?

I write short memoirs about my life, essays exploring ideas, book reviews, profiles of other creators, and short stories (which are also sometimes chapters of novels I’m working on). I send out emails regularly on Tuesday and Friday. Occasionally if there is something extra, special, or a meta post about the blog, I will publish it on a Sunday.

Where should I start?

If you’re new here or just read one thing, and are wondering what I’m all about, the truth is I write over a lot of topics. To get you started, these are some of the things that have elicited the strongest reaction from readers:

  1. A Pilgrimage for Book People, about a road trip my family used to take every year to a used book sale.

  2. Do the weirdest thing that feels right, about how to make better decisions in the face of fear and uncertainty.

  3. Requiem for Sean in D Minor, about a troubled friend I used to be close to.

  4. The Bookseller’s Register series, about my experience working with my family’s bookstore to build the used bookstore of tomorrow.

  5. A Dirge for Eastern Redwoods, about the once great American Chestnut Tree as a metaphor for our relationship to people who impact us long after their death.

  6. For Richer or Poorer, about all the great reasons to have the wedding of your dreams.

  7. The Moral Case for Small Business, about why I believe supporting small businesses is a moral imperative.

  8. Beautiful and Ordinary, about a great, normal Saturday.

  9. Castles in the Sky, about my reasons for writing.

  10. Small Oven Syndrome, about becoming a better critical thinker.

  11. Why Write Memoirs or Making, Not Finding, Your Way for examples of book reviews.

  12. Corporate Bloodsuckers or The Masculine Urge to Visit a Psychic Giraffe in Khartoum for examples of short stories (the former urban vampire fantasy, the latter magical realism).

Who is Charlie Becker?

I’m a bookseller by birth, professor by trade, and writer by vocation. I teach small business strategy and consulting at the University of Houston Center for Economic Inclusion (however it’s important to note that this is a personal blog unaffiliated with my employer and separate from my teaching work). I sell books in my family’s secondhand bookstore in Houston, Texas and on our website. And I write here, with a few books in the works based on ideas that I’m fleshing out each week.

Do I need to pay to read it?

No, everything is free and will be for the foreseeable future. I would be honored if you were to just subscribe.

That being said, buying a subscription is an enormous show of support for what I’m doing here. If you like what I’m writing, then I’m sure you would love to have a book, right? The point of this blog is to publicly think through the ideas I care about to turn the best of them into books. The more paying subscribers I have, the faster I can write and publish those books.

Castles in the Sky is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

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A weekly dose of truth, beauty, and humor to combat intellectual loneliness and existential boredom.


Charlie Becker

Writing Essays and Fiction at Castles in the Sky