Just finished reading this book in a particularly long period of doldrums where my natural state of joyousness and exuberance seems to have deserted m...moreJust finished reading this book in a particularly long period of doldrums where my natural state of joyousness and exuberance seems to have deserted me a little bit. Though I have very up days, it's stormy. My moods are all over the map. I'm torn between the Pema Chodron variety of attending to and learning from painful emotions … and Gretchen Rubin's "get up and do something to be happier" / "choose happiness" approach. They're certainly not mutually exclusive but it's tough to understand at least in my predominant state of mind recently - restless, anxious, searching -- what day-to-day tactics to employ to regain a sense of peace, balance, deep joy and "rightness." Rubin's book gave me ideas, got me thinking about how I might find a middle way where I don't focus focus focus on negative emotions -- even trying to "just be" with them right now is too much for me sometimes. Sometimes it makes more sense to actively guide myself into happiness. Not fake it necessarily, but choose it…even when it doesn't feel so natural. The question for me now is how to balance between just paying attention to whatever I'm feeling in the moment even if it's not nice (because it may be telling me something about how I got to the low emotional state I'm in) and just trying to distract myself or change my state of mind to something positive.(less)
Tenorio's series of short stories highlights the Filipino American experience through the eyes of characters on the fringes of society. The title stor...moreTenorio's series of short stories highlights the Filipino American experience through the eyes of characters on the fringes of society. The title story features a C-list actress and her film-making longtime lover who make a trip to America to participate in a basement production of a budget sci-fi horror flick. The brother of a recently deceased transgendered man, a disillusioned protege to a quack healer, a teenaged leper exile, all come to life through Tenorio's skillful and compassionate story weaving. The narrative voice is matter-of-fact and non-judgmental, not making any character more than he or she actually is, but getting at the unique and beautiful human experience through attention to the tender details of each character's day-to-day.
Tenorio's stories let the reader in to rich worlds (both exterior places and interior lives) which seem new, but also somehow familiar. He treats all his characters with a deep tenderness that doesn't shy away from either the deep joy or tragedy. This is a very strong collection, well-written, well-edited, beautifully developed characters, clear voice, and a discernible and eloquent point of view on culture, identity, and what it means to be human.(less)
A Fort of Nine Towers describes author Omar's experience as a boy and young adult growing up in Afghanistan in the late 90s and early 2000s during the...moreA Fort of Nine Towers describes author Omar's experience as a boy and young adult growing up in Afghanistan in the late 90s and early 2000s during the period of civil war, through the Taliban occupation, and the arrival of the Americans. The book is told from Omar's point of view, in luminous, lyrical, but never flowery prose. The voice transitions naturally between a more innocent point of view as a young boy and a more adult perspective. Omar's narrative voice maintains a sense of reverence and openness in the face of repeated tragedy and the day-to-day privations of wartime living. Alongside the riveting human story, Omar weaves in history, landscape, culture, family dynamics, and a coming-of-age narrative. Beautifully written, flowing, poetic and clear-eyed, this book takes a complex, violent, heart-wrenching experience of war and distills it into something beautiful and meaningful.(less)