Wow--a simple but incredibly challenging book about loving reality. I heard about Byron Katie through Lissa Rankin, who wrote Mind Over Medicine: ScieWow--a simple but incredibly challenging book about loving reality. I heard about Byron Katie through Lissa Rankin, who wrote Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself, and was so intrigued by the concept of "The Work" that I picked this up from the library. The Work is:
"Judge your neighbor, write it down, Ask four questions, Turn it around", and the four questions are:
1. Is it true? (Yes or no. If no, move to 3.) 2. Can you absolutely know that it’s true? (Yes or no.) 3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? 4. Who would you be without the thought?
Whenever we are unhappy with the way things are, or how someone treats us, and how unfair things are, do The Work. It's simple, but the stories we tell ourselves are so deep and complex, and it can be so challenging to take responsibility for our part in our stories (and a situation), that The Work is really tough. Unraveling the thoughts that lead us to continue suffering is TOUGH. We've all been there. Thoughts like: Why doesn't he love me? Why is she so messy? Why does that coworker continue to annoy the crud out of me? He's responsible for my unhappiness--why does he keep doing that? Anytime we're unhappy about the way things actually are, Katie wants us to do The Work. The book is organized in an interesting way, because it's mostly a series of scenarios between Katie and someone from the audience (she does this in large groups) has a dialogue with her that's transcribed in the book. I tried to play Katie in my head and see how I would steer the conversation or what questions I would ask, but I get caught up in my OWN story about OTHER PEOPLE'S story, and I didn't always have the skills to know where to go. It's like coaching on speed.
You can Youtube "Byron Katie the work" the see some examples from Katie's account--it's pretty incredible stuff--very powerful, very difficult for the participant (often lots of tears). But she really gets it, and the point is by doing The Work, you can release yourself from suffering because you're not expecting things or people to be anything other than what/who they are, even if that's unpleasant. She also discusses boundaries: your business, their business, and God's business ("God" being nature/the weather/etc.) Stick to your business. let them do their business. Don't get in their business. She's tough, but compassionate, and what she promises is by doing the work, you can free yourself.
I'm still not sure how The Work looks with someone who's been raped, or a victim or war, or a veteran suffering from PTSD--it's too layered for me to dig that deep. But I trust Katie to know, and for all of us to get better at our own inquiry with more practice. Pretty incredible....more
I love Kidd's writing, so I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed this, but by how MUCH I enjoyed it. I loved that it was based on historical fact--about twI love Kidd's writing, so I wasn't surprised that I enjoyed this, but by how MUCH I enjoyed it. I loved that it was based on historical fact--about two abolitionist and suffragette sisters from Charleston, SC before the Civil War. I love that Kidd alternated between the oldest sister and her slave "gift" Handful. I loved how colorful the setting was, and how well drawn the main characters were (and a few supporting characters as well). I found the story very satisfying without tying everything up in a happy bow at the end. Handful was tough as nails and smart; her mother Charlotte was bold, brash, and brave who understood the consequences for some of her actions (as stupid as they might have seemed); Sarah Grimke has to make hard choices all throughout the book and makes sacrifices to become the person she was meant to be; the Mother Grimke was awful--but not so different from many other Southern slave-owning matriarchs in the Antebellum south. I just enjoyed the story so much, I wasn't looking forward to it ending. Beautifully written, as usual, and captivating (and not particularly predictable, which is a welcome change!)...more
Frustrating. After enjoying his first Scudder book so much, I probably shouldn't have jumped straight to his last book (#17, written about 30 years laFrustrating. After enjoying his first Scudder book so much, I probably shouldn't have jumped straight to his last book (#17, written about 30 years later), but it was the only one available at my library branch. That'll show me. I waffled between 2.5 and 3 stars, but it ended ok, so I gave it 3. I'm not sure what hit me the wrong way, but I think it's because the dialogue was off. Not Scudder's, because he doesn't talk much. But the people he spoke to had a rhythm that felt unnecessary (they all talked too much and in this weird jokey way) and unrealistic, and most of the characters sounded the same--they had the same patter. It just felt off to me. I like that Scudder is flawed, and in this book he's exploring his sobriety in AA after years of drinking, casual sex, and blackouts (he's still dabbling a little in the casual sex). Combining his AA with a murder mystery seemed a little convenient for me, but I guess it tied two plots together. I just wasn't that engaged by the mystery, and the dialogue irritated. I'll go back and read #2 to see if it's just a been-writing-this-character-too-long thing. I was just expecting more....more
Whoa...Block, you're dark. But not in that "torture porn" way, just in an incredibly world-weary way that feels like Block the writer used to be a copWhoa...Block, you're dark. But not in that "torture porn" way, just in an incredibly world-weary way that feels like Block the writer used to be a cop. He knows a lot about that world.
I heard about Block from the new Liam Neeson movie that's coming out, and is part of the Matt Scudder series. I explored book 1 in the series, was intrigued by the premise, the cost (hey, $4.99 kindle!) and the positive reviews. Now I'm kinda hooked on the series. I think this was written in the 70s, and the setting was in 1974 (so it's not "historical")-- that was kind of wild. Paying $400 for an apartment was apparently hella expensive back then. But the plot was tight, Scudder is a fascinating character (he reminded me a little of JK Rowling's PI character Cormorants Strike from her Robert Galbraith books), and I ripped through it in about 3 hours. Block knows how the police work, how the game is played, and he doesn't mind Scudder having some dirt and grime to him. I figured out the killer about halfway through (it's not too difficult if you look closely), but the story really hung together. Dark but not disturbing, which is my kind of cop story. Well done....more
Just like I have recently accepted that I simply do not like brussel sprouts, no matter how they are cooked, I have also accepted I don't enjoy or appreciate BSDM erotica. Yep, I just compared brussel sprouts to BDSM fiction. I stumbled across this book from Jenny Trout's (very funny) blog, who is the real name of Abigail Barnette. Apparently she did an entire series where she reads and recaps the perpetually awful 50 Shades of Grey, and then she decided to try her hand at it with this (free, and it was pretty good for free) novel. Basically how FSOG SHOULD'VE been if it hadn't been so effed up. And for the most part, I thought she did an admirable job. Sophie is a pretty likable heroine...although much more mature than most at 24, almost unrealistically so. Neil is her uber-rich, well-hung (well, obvs) new boss at the Vogue-like magazine that she had a hot one-night-stand with 6 years ago (yes, when she was 18 and he was 42--ew.) The fact that Neil is almost 50 and she's slightly older than his daughter is still gross and cliched. The fact that his daughter overheard them getting it on is SUPER gross. And the fact that Neil likes to be the Dom in a D/s relationship is also cliched--doesn't he wield his power all freaking day long?!? And the fact that Neil is a lovestruck puppy (when he's not in domination mode) while Sophie is battling daddy issues and doesn't want to give in to love is...psssh, whatever.
The weird thing to me about this book, and I know I'm a throwback prude, is how much Barnette works to have Sophie admit she HATES falling in love with Neil because she just wants to have no strings attached sex. I'm sorry, I can't find the celebration of no-strings-attached sex. Why are you fighting attachment? You obviously care for the guy. What's wrong with kink AND love? And the sex scenes just sounds unpleasant, but then--nipple clamps aren't my thing. Sorry. And Neil just doesn't sound like a believable mogul to me. He's too friendly, too lovestruck by a 20-year old, too terrible of a businessman. He's written like a dude who's all--"look at that! I've ended up a millionaire! How did that happen! Oh look, a paddle!"
I didn't dislike it, and it was pretty well written, I just thought it had issues--many of the same structural issues as FSOG (older ridiculously rich dom guy, young sub girl who works for him, which, you know--unequal power and sexual harassment issues...but whatever!). I enjoyed how the friendship was written between Sophie and her roommate, and the inner workings of a fashion mag, and Sophie was pretty reasonable and she had agency, sexual or otherwise. But I read on to synopses of books II and III, and it sounds like Barnette made writing choices I don't have an interest in reading. I didn't like them enough as a couple to continue. And seriously, I don't get BSDM culture and don't need to read more about what I'm sure next will be a vibrating poker he's going to stick in places unknown until she says the safe word. Just ain't my thing. I like a little romance with my sex, is all....more
When Robin Williams died, I was inundated with information on the Internet about what it was like to live with clinical/crippling depression. As thisWhen Robin Williams died, I was inundated with information on the Internet about what it was like to live with clinical/crippling depression. As this is something I've never experienced (and hope I never do), I was very curious to read first person accounts (through comments, blog posts, facebook messages, etc.) I was pointed to Allie Brosh's blog "Hyperbole and a Half", a crudely illustrated blog that had Depression Part I and Depression Part II. They amazed me. The (intentional) crudeness of the drawing (Brosh creates the comics in something like MS Paint) added to the emotion of the work. Brosh then wrote this book that included some of her blog comics as well as some new stuff, and I'd already downloaded it to my ipad, but hadn't gotten around to reading it. I don't know why I waited so long--her work is absolutely brilliant. Depression Parts I and II are the most challenging pieces, but her comics on her dogs made me laugh so hard I cried. And that's pretty hard to do. The "Allie Brosh"...character...is just the funniest thing ever (especially when her eyes go berzerk), and her vignettes about eating her granddad's cake as a kid, getting dental surgery as a youngster, and her run-in with a particularly vicious goose are just astounding. I can't do them justice, but Brosh has a writing and illustration style that tells me I could read her work over and over and find it just as funny. She's heartbreaking, self-aware, and completely lacking in bullsh*t. Read this IMMEDIATELY.
Now I need to go through and read all the posts that didn't make it in the book. Keep 'em coming, Allie....more
Read about 100 pages, and just didn't enjoy it--the tone, the characters, the storyline. Not familiar with much of Lamb's other work besides "She's CoRead about 100 pages, and just didn't enjoy it--the tone, the characters, the storyline. Not familiar with much of Lamb's other work besides "She's Come Undone" (which I liked), but the conversation at book club didn't entice me to pick it back up....more
The book immediately hooked me, and I really enjoyed it...up until the first half. I was impressed by the author to make the main character both so emThe book immediately hooked me, and I really enjoyed it...up until the first half. I was impressed by the author to make the main character both so empathetic and still so unlikeable. She maintained an impressive balance (I think I read she's had foster children herself). But then as the book alternates between present day and 10 years ago, I had problems at the mid-way mark. The foster mother makes a decision that I didn't think was true to her character which altered the rest of the book. The love interest put up with WAY more crap than any guy--with a depressed mom or not--would put up with. And the main character was getting help from everyone but refusing to accept it, and generally acting like a pill. It brought up way too many memories of people from my past who behaved awfully to others, especially people who loved them, and thought their tough past was a good excuse to do so. NO, IT'S NOT. So by the end I found her to be absolutely tedious (accurately written, maybe, but tedious all the same). The book was definitely well written and had more gravitas than Orphan Train, but it frustrated me too much to give it more than 3 stars....more
Holy hell, I'm so happy to be finished with this book. I can't even write how I feel about it--I have to give it a few days/weeks to sink in, and willHoly hell, I'm so happy to be finished with this book. I can't even write how I feel about it--I have to give it a few days/weeks to sink in, and will probably get back to it after I go to book club in a few weeks. Ugh. Such a bloated book. And I don't even understand the point of it. What was the point with me spending all that time with drug-addicted (and selfish) Theo? What was I supposed to learn from him? I'm just relieved to be done with him, and Boris, and the whole lot of them (except maybe Hobie. And Popper). Just absolutely tedious, and frankly I'm amazed Tartt chose to spend 11 years with these unpleasant characters. Damnation, I'm irritated with Tartt. I'm leaving The Secret History until much, much later, and I give myself permission to give it up (like I wished I'd done with this one) at any time it starts to irritate me.