The New Yorker on Robin Williams

For all of the coverage of the sad, sad way this world lost the beautiful joy and laughter brought to life by Robin Williams, this article is the most impactful I have come across yet… and with one click, I remember why I love The New Yorker.

“The same qualities that drive a person to brilliance may drive that person to suicide. Highly successful people tend to be perfectionistic, constantly striving to meet impossible standards. And celebrities tend to be hungry for love, for the adoration of audiences. No perfectionist has ever met his own benchmarks, and no one so famished for admiration has ever received enough of it. That untrammelled dynamism that Williams brought to almost every role he played has a questing urgency, as though it were always in pursuit of some truth yet to be named. In public appearances, he never showed the callous narcissism of many actors; his work relied on the interplay between riotous extroversion and nuanced self-study. He played an alien so well because he was an alien in his own mind, permanently auditioning to be one of us. Suicide is a crime of loneliness, and adulated people can be frighteningly alone. Intelligence does not help in these circumstances; brilliance is almost always profoundly isolating.”

Full article, worth the long read here, “Suicide, A Crime of Loneliness

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50 Novels by Ladies Under 50 That We Should Read

Friends, I think I read a lot. A whole lot, actually. I was texting with my brother the other day and realized I read six books in the month of June… one of which was Bonfire of the Vanities, which is really long. Maybe it doesn’t seem like that many books – but it is a lot when you work full-time! And like TV! (Suits and Black Box for summer, anyone?)

However, I just stumbled across this list via Flavorwire: “50 Excellent Novels by Female Writers Under 50 That Everyone Should Read“, and I haven’t read that many! (What is Flavorwire you ask? I’m not entirely sure, but a lot of the content looks interesting!)

In fact, I have read two or 2.5, if you will-

Special Topics in Calamity Physics – which I wholeheartedly recommend!

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Also love her second book, Night Film. Although it actually gave me nightmares… very dark.

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The History of Love is a great one – although really unexpected. Very sweet to read and experience but probably not what you’re expecting after judging by the cover.

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And, The Flamethrowers is at least on my Kindle wish list.

So now I just have to finish All the Light We Cannot See (currently reading) and Creativity Inc. (leading work discussion)… but I wanted to share this because I think it’s a great one to check out / use for a fall book club lineup. More on that later…!

 

 

 

“Me Before You”

I just finished “Me Before You” by Jojo Moyes…. and wow. Just wow.

I loved it. It broke my heart, I knew it would, and yet, I still loved it.

It’s the kind of book that once you figure out what is going on, you have a pretty good idea of how things are going to end, but you keep reading anyway. Knowing full well that you’re only going to love the characters more with each page, only making the ending that much more difficult to handle, you plow ahead, trying to savor every sentence. (Come on, you didn’t pick up “The Fault in Our Stars” expecting miracles either, did you?)

The story centers on a young girl in a sleepy tourist town in the UK who ends up being a caregiver, for a quadriplegic who was previously a very successful (and ruthless) business man who lived a large (and indulgent) life.

What follows is a story that will make you question what it means to allow a person to make their own decisions, what it could look like to stand by someone, and love and care for them in sickness and in health. It will make you mad that so many stores, restaurants, events and entire cities are completely inaccessible to people in wheelchairs.

But you should read it anyway – read it and experience the melting of Will, a hardened person who has had everything taken away from him. Read it to feel your world expand, and you, like Clark, will feel the opportunities and privileges of being in control of your own two feet unfurl in front of you.

Read it and when you finish it, lace up your running shoes, or walking shoes, or put the leash on your dog because you can. And set off in the direction of your choosing, because you can. And know that each step you choose is a blessing.

School Supplies

It’s funny, how after a long summer, the one thing that could get me ready to to go back to school… was school supply shopping. There’s just something to be said for clean notebook, with fresh, crisp, white pages that inspiring you. Or it was inspiring to me.

To the same end, sometimes you need time away (read: time when you just don’t feel that inspired to blog) and you come back with fresh pencils and a clean notebook (see: new snazzy header font), and you want to start again.

It isn’t an overhaul or anything crazy, it’s just another clean notebook that you’ll hang on to, after the class is over, until you rediscover it years from now and wonder why you still have it. Except that you’ll remember, flipping through the pages, the little bit of life you shared with the notebook, and you’ll be glad that you kept it.

Reading YA Fiction

For all my love of classics and books I believe should be classics… a guilty pleasure is definitely young adult fiction. Although, a recent section in New York Mag is affirming me that this pleasure isn’t quite so guilty, but rather a love for a burgeoning new genre of literature that is perfectly acceptable to enjoy. How lucky.

I’m not sure what it is about these books – but on occasion, after reading a myriad of slightly heavier (or simply less gripping) subjects I find myself craving a good YA page turner.

Given that the characters are all probably 14-17, every love is the greatest, heartbreak the worst, fight the most monumental… for example, Tris and Four in the Divergent Trilogy… have practically Romeo and Juliet level of desperation to be together. Same goes for Hazel and sweet Augustus in “The Fault in Our Stars” although the complexities there are not a dystopian world, but cancer. Something very much of this world.

And the story of Auggie in “Wonder” will cause anyone, regardless of age or maturity to rethink how we approach and treasure those who might not look like us.

It’s nice to read about a place where decisions aren’t rational; challenges are from another world (often dystopian, scary and imagined as the US many downtrodden years from now) and kids find true love at age 14 and fight like crazy for it.

As strange as it may sound, the books are actually quite refreshing.

A Non-Resolution / Lesson Learned

Yes, I just put a few New Year’s resolutions in writing… but I want to say a few things about non-resolutions, especially related to this blog. I learned something last year about blogging about books.

I’m not going to blog about every book I read this year. It’s a great goal and all, but it’s not going to happen. I tried last year – you can see that on this post aptly named 2013 Reads – and I only made it halfway through, and I spent so much time trying to format a blogroll-like single cumulative post… that it took the enjoyment out of the whole thing.

So blogs on books I read, yes, a post on every book I read in reverse chronological order with bolded subheadings, no. Probably not going to happen.

New Year, new you

I haven’t really taken part in the New Year’s resolution making thing in a while – but I’m going to make a few this year. And I think that part of resolving is telling someone – so you’ve actually put it out there that you want to change something. Or do something.

For perspective, this is where 2014 started –

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And then a few short hours into the new year,I flew back to New York and reality with sand in my shoes and a few things I wanted to do more of on my brain.

1. Birthday Cards

All of you people who send birthday cards every year – especially those that arrive on time, or even early – have the stuff I aspire to . It’s two fold really. I love receiving these cards. So I want to send them, too. I try – I’m just not always that successful.

Secondly, I think it’s part of actually being an adult. Yes, I know when people’s birthday are (thank you Facebook when my memory fails me), and I usually call and text, but real, actual adults – they send birthday cards. Early. Marked “Don’t open until 1/6! xx” Or something.

So stake in the ground for a more adult 2014 – be more concerted about sending birthday cards.

2. Use my phone to call people

Yes, this can go somewhat hand in hand with the previous resolution, but it’s supposed to be more about keeping in touch than celebrating once a year. I live in New York, and a lot of my best friends and family live elsewhere. So I want to talk to them more. I think emails, texts, instagram and snapchat are all great for making people feel close by… but nothing beats a phone call. So I want to keep in touch via phone, rather than apps on my phone, more.

3. Yoga

Sure, there a million great workout classes / fads / ideas, and I’m sure I would like the pilates classes where you are suspended from the ceiling or spin class by candlelight or whatever, but second to running, I love yoga, and I think it’s great for you. I look at my 50+ year old instructors and think I want to be that kind of moving when I’m 50+. I want to be that kind of bendable when I’m 27.

My schedule in the last few months hasn’t really allowed me to go to night classes (my favorite) and my lack of motivation hasn’t gotten me to those 7 AM classes (my least favorite)… so this resolution is about bringing back something that is good in 2014.

There – that’s it! Three whole resolutions. Hopefully, I can keep these and report back that I’m a birthday card sending, phone call making, yogi.

Here’s to that!