I picked this book up this morning and was not able to put it down today until I finished it. It's an absolute must-read for anyone who builds and maiI picked this book up this morning and was not able to put it down today until I finished it. It's an absolute must-read for anyone who builds and maintains client relationships. It's both captivating and enlightening because the author's approach to doing business is so far outside the norm. Having come from the management consulting world, it spoke to me even more. Nonetheless it's totally relevant to any field, no matter who your clients are....more
Awesome read! I love the author's writing style and wit (I was literally laughing out loud for most of it). It's also a very practical guide for anyonAwesome read! I love the author's writing style and wit (I was literally laughing out loud for most of it). It's also a very practical guide for anyone new to running. She alternates between providing advice and sharing relevant reflections from her journal while she was training.
I will say, though, that even though I love running I'm still not convinced that running 26.2 miles is for me. ...more
You had to have been living under a rock over the last several months if you didn't catch the media’s obsession with letting the world know that blackYou had to have been living under a rock over the last several months if you didn't catch the media’s obsession with letting the world know that black women are undesirable. If so, I submit Exhibits A, B, C, D, E…Z – and I’ll stop there even though there’s much much more. Well, in the midst of this ridiculous craze, a young woman named Helena Andrews made the spotlight. A single, educated, successful and attractive woman, she was featured in a Washington Post article about her, then, upcoming memoir entitled Bitch Is The New Black(aka #BITNB). The article focuses on Andrews’ life as a young black woman dating in DC and the frustrations that many like her feel trying to meet suitable companions in the city. While the article was interesting, it didn’t do the book justice. I couldn’t be happier that I stepped out of my used-books-only (or-seriously-discounted-bookstore-books-only) norm and ordered myself a copy. I absolutely loved it, and let me tell you why.
Her wit is razor sharp and her writing style is engaging.
He’s the Nigerian E-mail Scam of ex-sorta-boyfriends, trying to seduce me over cyberspace with promises of riches in the real world. Problem is, I’m black and I have a vagina, so my Waiting to Exhale intuition tells me this shit ain’t for real.
The memoir is a collection of 16 essays with titles such as ”Perfect Girl” and Other Curse Words and Riding in Cars with Lesbians. Nuff said right? It gets better, though. Andrews uses each of these essays to chronicle her past, smoothly jumping back and forth in time in many of them. She gives us insight into everything from her childhood to her professional endeavors post graduate school. She has a really intriguing childhood growing up with a lesbian mother who made them move around quite a bit and an even more interesting adult life filled with dating trials and tribulations, a friend/line sister who commits suicide, a best friend on the west coast, and a blossoming career in DC.
Her mother is awesome.
See, Frances does this. We’ll be talking about something FCC-approved for mothers and daughters, like, say, vaginal itch, and she’ll bust in like the emergency broadcasting system with a ‘What kind of birth control do you use’ or and ‘I’ve been celibate for almost a decade’ or an ‘Oh, so you two are just fuck buddies then. Beeeeeeep goes the filial flat line. Dead. She’s got mommy Tourette’s.
Simply put: Frances, Andrews’ mother, is awesome. Not more awesome than mine, of course. But on a scale for non-my-mothers, she hits the top. Beside the fact that she calls her daughter “little brown eyed girl” – my mommy calls me “precious” *smile* – she’s just an amazing fun-loving woman pulling Andrews through a childhood filled with unpredictable turns while working hard to raise her the best way she knows how.
She’s me. At the very least, she’s like my bff.
I don’t feel almost twenty-eight. Not an actual adult, I’m more adult-ish. See, I’m just a girl. An awesome one, of course, but just one. And like so many other little brown girls my age, I believe the problem of loving, lusting, or even “liking liking someone can be solved with a simple equation: x + y = gtfohwtbs (if “x” ≥ 28 years old and “y” = socially retarded men).
I connected to Helena like she was a new girlfriend telling me her story over sushi and way too many bottles of Riesling. She laughs. She curses. She complains. She gets excited. She struggles. She seeks love while still holding onto pieces of relationships that aren’t worth more than a penny. She’s a twenty-something. She’s me.
It was so exhilarating for me to read a candid and completely relatable memoir written by someone not much older than me. It’s like being in eighth grade and listening to the older kids talk about their daily lives, both in junior high and high school. You listen to the joys, the heartache, the triumphs with excitement for times to come while wondering how to avoid the future heartbreaks that are inevitable.
She and her best friend are hilarious.
‘Dude, what is your life about!?’ quizzes Gina every morning over IM like the opening bell of a boxing match, startling me into the ring of another Monday. The alarm to starting the day off single.
Frequent use of DUUUDE! and play by play accounts of online IM chats and texts with her BFF and various guys were enough to make me giggle like a little girl. Now, my daily gchat convos with one of my girlfriends have never been the same since we put this book down. A convo just doesn't feel right without at least one use of the word. What did we ever say before to express our feelings? "Dude" just seems so much more fitting now for every situation.
I don't think Michelle [Obama:] minds bein our new muse. I think she gets it. We little brown girls - drunk off The Cosby Show, sobered up by life, and a little suicidal - we need her.
I love how willingly she shares her imperfections. In an effort to tell her life story she provides the reader with a view into her mind and allows us to laugh with her as she reflects on her moments of insanity, pain, confusion and joy. To judge her would be to judge both my current and my future selves. She makes mistakes, deals with broken hearts horribly, has terrible days and denies her need to emotionally release all while cherishing her family, friends and dog and living life as best she knows how. All of these things I know too well (except the dog part…).
After all, isn’t that what the twenties are about? If not, then I guess I’m doing it wrong.
“By the River Piedra I sat down and wept. There is a legend that everything falls into the waters of this river – leaves, insects, the feathers of bir“By the River Piedra I sat down and wept. There is a legend that everything falls into the waters of this river – leaves, insects, the feathers of bird – is transformed into the rocks that make the riverbed. If only I could tear out my heart and hurl it into the current, then my pain and longing would be over, and I could finally forget.”
And so the novel starts out. The most beautiful opening paragraph I’ve ever read in my life. And unless you are heartless or have never been in love, I don’t know how this wouldn’t at least rank somewhere on your list of most beautiful passages.
By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept was written by Paulo Coelho. He is best known for writing The Alchemist which just so happens to be my least favorite of the three books I’ve read by him. My introduction to Coehlo was The Zahir which was, like the other two I read, a beautiful story of love. Neither of those however prepared me for the beauty I would find in that very first paragraph of the novel.
It then continues:
By the River Piedra I sat down and wept. The winter air chills the tears on my cheeks, and my tears fall into the cold waters that course past me. Somewhere this river joins another, then another, until – far from my heart and sight – all of them merge with the sea."
A couple pages later the protagonist, Pilar, takes us back to the beginning to tell the story of how she ended up weeping for this young man. They seemed to have always loved each other, even as childhood friends. However, they grew up and took separate paths in life. He chose to leave their small town to learn about the world (a theme present in both The Alchemist and The Zahir) while she chose to take the prescribed path of enrolling in a nearby university. They kept in touch throughout his travels, and one day he invited Pilar to hear him give a lecture in Madrid.
The story is a whirlwind from here. Pilar struggles to accept and embrace her feelings for him. He struggles to reconcile his love for the seminary, the gifts he has been given and the love he has held onto for so many years. While the beauty of their love story as it unfolds kept me wanting more, I found myself disappointed, especially toward the end when I didn’t feel the same intensity of emotions as I did with the opening paragraphs.
Like the other Coelho books I’ve read, By The River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept carries a spiritual theme, as he touches quite a bit on the mystical nature of God. In this particular piece, he focuses on the young man’s belief in a feminine God that grants him the power to heal. For some this may be an appealing aspect of Coehlo’s writings, but it tends to throw me off. It gives me some of the same vibes that the Celestine Prophecy gave me, which is more eerie than anything else.
Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book. I have two more books by Coelho that I want to read. And if you know me, you’ll know that there are VERY few authors from whom I’ve read more than one book. I must really like this guy....more
"In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding that they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastaFave quotes:
"In desperate love, we always invent the characters of our partners, demanding that they be what we need of them, and then feeling devastated when they refuse to perform the role we created in the first place." (18)
"When I get lonely these days, I think: so be lonely, Liz. Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience. But never again use another person's body or emotions as a scratching post for your own unfulfilled yearnings." (65)
"Moreover, I have boundary issues with men. Or maybe that's not fair to place. To have issues with boundaries, one must have boundaries in the first place, right? But I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything... If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else." (65)
"...I think that perhaps my life has not actually been so chaotic, after all. It is merely this world that is chaotic, bringing changes to us all that nobody could have anticipated. The Augusteum warns me not to get attached to any obsolete ideas about who I am, what i represent, whom I belong to, or what function I may once have intended to serve. Yesterday I might have been a glorious monument to somebody, tru enough - but tomorrow I could be a fireworks depository." (75)
"I don't want to hear it anymore. I couldn't care less about evidence and proof and assurances. I just want God. I want God inside me. I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water." (176)
"Guilt is just your ego's way of tricking you into thinking you're making moral progress." (183)...more
I LOVED this book. It was so vivid and passionate. It was one of those books where I kept reading and rereading certain passages because they were wriI LOVED this book. It was so vivid and passionate. It was one of those books where I kept reading and rereading certain passages because they were written so beautifully. A must read!...more
All I can remember about why I loved this book was that once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. No matter where I was, you could find me glued toAll I can remember about why I loved this book was that once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. No matter where I was, you could find me glued to the words on the page. The movie is phenomenal as well, particularly in regards to the imagery. ...more