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Showing posts from 2016

"The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark Manson

Let me set this up for you. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck does not mean you don’t give a f*ck about anything (what would be the point of that?), it means you have to choose what to give a f*ck about.

“The point,” says author Mark Manson, isn’t to get away from all the sh*t. The point is to find the sh*t that you enjoy dealing with.”

Think of Manson as that foul-mouthed friend who tells you to get your sh*t together, by telling you to get your sh*t together. Literally. The logic behind this "counterintuitive approach to living a good life"  is an endless series of decisions as to “which problem is better.” Choosing well, based on your values, is a kind of trading up of problems, where deciding what to care about, and taking action, high-grades your situation for the better. Problems in life are inevitable, but your quality of life, says Manson, “is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.”

That means losing the sense of entitlement, and taking responsibility for…

"Love with a Chance of Drowning" by Torre DeRoche

As the “Amazing Grace” sets sail for a voyage to the South Seas, Torre DeRoche looks down and contemplates one of her toenails. It bears a remnant fleck of nail polish, a last shred of her former life as a two-feet-firmly-on-terra-firma graphic artist from Australia about to embark upon a life at sea. Until this point, DeRoche’s greatest adventure has been to leave her big, boisterous family in Australia for what was meant to be a three hour tour—whoops-year—in San Francisco.

But when Torre meets Ivan, an Argentinean IT project manager with an unwavering dream of sailing the South Pacific, her best laid plans go through the proverbial porthole. Soon enough, DeRoche takes the plunge, with anxiety, humour and a darn-good putty-knife.

Some days are better than others en route to French Polynesia. Postcard sunsets and unspoiled tropical islands are interspersed by knocking about in squalls, seasickness so severe it has Torre bunk-ridden for days or bailing a bilge that fills faster than …

"Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy" by Judd Apatow

“Look, only a few people get to die peacefully in their sleep after a wonderful life. So that’s like not making the football team. There’s lots of things you don’t get to have.
That’s probably one of them.
Thank God, I consider myself lucky that I live after anesthetic.
Can you imagine those days? ‘Sit down. Tuesday, we’re taking off your arm.’” --Albert Brooks in Judd Apatow's Sick in the Head
Let’s be smart about this. You could spend the next year reading through the bestseller list on anger management, business, collaboration, creativity, living for the moment, marriage, mentorship, parenting, perseverance, rejection, self-help and the spiritual feeling that comes from writing. Or, you could find all that and more in Judd Apatow’s Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy. First released in 2015, this collection of conversations had its origins in the early 80s, when 15-year-old Apatow, a self-described “comedy geek”,  was interviewing up-and-coming comedians for …

"Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy" by Judd Apatow

“Look, only a few people get to die peacefully in their sleep after a wonderful life. So that’s like not making the football team. There’s lots of things you don’t get to have.
That’s probably one of them. Thank God, I consider myself lucky that I live after anesthetic.
Can you imagine those days? ‘Sit down. Tuesday, we’re taking off your arm.’” --Albert Brooks in Judd Apatow's Sick in the Head
Let’s be smart about this. You could spend the next year reading through the bestseller list on anger management, business, collaboration, creativity, living for the moment, marriage, mentorship, parenting, perseverance, rejection, self-help and the spiritual feeling that comes from writing. Or, you could find all that and more in Judd Apatow’s Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy. First released in 2015, this collection of conversations had its origins in the early 80s, when 15-year-old Apatow, a self-described “comedy geek”,  was interviewing up-and-coming comedians for …

"Terrorist" by John Updike

"I have the American dream — I had a dream of becoming a writer! I was little — not rich, or not anything really, but I did have this hope and faith and it kind of has come true for me. So I wouldn't say the American dream is all hokum.
Not in my case, at least." —John Updike*
“Writer’s and Company” recently aired an encore presentation of Eleanor Wachtel’s 1996 interview with John Updike. Feeling remiss in never having read even one of Updike’s 60 books — two of them Pulitzer Prize-winners — I went in search of Rabbit, Run.

I found Terrorist instead.

Inside 18-year-old Ahmad Ashmawy Mully, something terrible is churning. On the surface, he is a high school senior. A solid student. He runs track every spring. And wears a crisp, white, buttoned up shirt every day that does nothing to conceal the contempt he feels for his classmates at Central High School in New Prospect, New Jersey.

Through the lens of detachment, Ahmad observes—and is offended at every turn—by the consu…

“Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me” by Patricia Folk

“‘When my great-grandparents die, one right after the other, I’m little and can’t figure it out. Where did people go? ‘How can they just disappear?’ I asked my mother. ‘They don’t,’ she said. ‘They’re in you. Every generation that precedes you. Sometimes in ways you don’t even know. It could be anything, darling. A turn of phrase. Not liking nutmeg. People don’t disappear.Look how you hold your pinky.’ I looked down. ‘It’s just like Poppy!’ ‘Exactly.’” —from Shocked: My Mother, Schiaparelli, and Me by Patricia Volk Once upon a time in Manhattan, a daughter is born to an “outrageously” beautiful mother. When she is 10 years old, the daughter, Patricia Volk, discovers a book so compelling she feigns a sore throat to stay home from school and finish reading it. But really, there is no rush. She will come back to it, time and again, to understand that it is possible to be someone other than the ideal of Audrey, her beloved, complex and beautiful mother. The book is Shocking Life—the auto…