Imagine right here is a gorgeous painting of depth and humanity that makes you feel normal, fine, not crazy, horrible or alone.
What a gentle, lovely l...moreImagine right here is a gorgeous painting of depth and humanity that makes you feel normal, fine, not crazy, horrible or alone.
What a gentle, lovely little book. If you are in the target for this thing, you are totally in the target for this thing. I would have read it in under 8 hours but I passed out while reading and had to go to work. Those were the only interruptions.
This is what I have needed to find when I have googled “Is love a lie” or “how to kill self pity” or when you have seen your cat’s penis twice this month. But seriously folks, this is the kind of book you wish you could read aloud, or just hand to someone when the judgments come in, instead of the “huh, I wonder what that’s like”s.
Not simplistic, not negative, not “you go girl! Whiten your teeth!” And helps you understand, if you are the target walking around thinking “what, is it just fun to shit on single women or something?” that the answer is yes, but you don’t have to take it so much to heart, and all the reasons that you might anyway.
My favorite highlight: “When your demons come, offer them a piece of cake.” I'm trying pumpkin bread and Nutella.
I mean this is a coffee table book, so you can't really cuddle up with it.
Anyway, it was produced as part of an exhibit in Detroit. I found it very l...moreI mean this is a coffee table book, so you can't really cuddle up with it.
Anyway, it was produced as part of an exhibit in Detroit. I found it very life affirming and made Vince seem much more human and not just a guy marking time until he gets weird with a hooker. Some of the portraits, yes, are boring, but some make your eyes roll around in your head and make you want an MRI that will explain what the hell he is doing to your brain with color. My favorite news was that Van Gogh had an actual friend! Gaugin! Vince's letters were nice! He organized a bunch of exhibits in Paris! Painters liked him! People brought him flowers to paint! He was manic depressive/had epilepsy/was crazy but was often very kind and tender borderline naive. i.e. *not *pathetic i.e. *not *only *worth *his *paintings as a human being, which I've found depressing about Van Gogh. Apparently he was always trying to capture the spirit of people in a portrait--and in this book you can see it, and why he finds photography too clinical. He also got a fisherman's hat and geeked out very hard about it and then kept putting it on guys from the local poorhouse who never fished in their life.
Gaugin was like "well you know, you're the guy who just paints sunflowers" at which point Van Gogh totally lost it and cut his ear off. There are month to month chronologies of him which are extremely nice, i.e. "he took a weekend trip and looked at boats." that makes me want to write a moving screenplay. Van Gogh heard jokes he liked and ate dinner with people. That is extraordinarily fantastic, because to look even at the book cover, you think if you saw him on the street you'd jump back into whatever store you were close to and pretend to get an emergency call from a relative.
Also there's a painting he did of himself that is scary, and he sent it to Gaugin and was like "haha! Don't I look like death?! haha! oh well--anyway, send me the portrait of yourself already!" There is another more exhaustive biography that explains how terrible his personality really was, but this book introduces you to a very relatable, naive idealist which sorta makes him more tragic, because he feels so much more real.
Here's his poet friend Eugene Boch. Vincent said "hey, if you want to come to the south of France for a visit, my brother will pay for it. I know you're broke."
eta: er, well I just read 2 chapters of that biography heh and well, heh, heh heh heh. (less)
On the top floor in the Strand Bookstore in New York, I saw a self-consciously bored worker show a struggling-to-be-bored kid with his mom to the art...moreOn the top floor in the Strand Bookstore in New York, I saw a self-consciously bored worker show a struggling-to-be-bored kid with his mom to the art table. The worker was like "well, you need this, and this, and this" and I realized the kid must be in art school and the worker must have graduated pretty recently. The worker was like "have you read Ways of Seeing? By John Berger?" and wanted to have geeky enthusiasm, but kept her eyes half closed and only lifted the book two inches. The kid was like "no, what is that?" and trying not to care. The worker was like, totally monotone, "well, it's really amazing. You'll have to read that. Everyone reads it. Anyway, it's awesome." Then they went away and I picked it up, because I would like to go to art school, learn 1,000 techniques and become spiritually fulfilled, kind, married, a terrific cook, and understand flowers etc. and make informative life-affirming web shorts that are not irrelevant. In the bookstore, Ways of Seeing was boring but I decided it was my fault. Months later, I found it in a library in Santa Cruz, California. It is printed in bold type for no reason. I guess it is interesting. Oil paintings were about conspicuous consumption back in the day. Only women are conscious about what they present to the world looks-wise. Fetishizing the past helps aristocrats stay aristocrats. Capitalists turned art into a commodity. This is apparently all pulled from a BBC special which I bet is more interesting. At a certain point in your life this will BLOW YOUR MIND, but if you know in your heart that one day we will all hate stainless steel kitchens and be like "ugh, so old fashioned, barf" you will probably be like "yeah, this was okay."(less)
I read this after geeking out hard because of her TED talk. I think there is a certain point in some these books where you have to have a big fold out...moreI read this after geeking out hard because of her TED talk. I think there is a certain point in some these books where you have to have a big fold out section that says in type as big as your face: DO YOU HAVE MONEY? and also DO YOU HAVE A FAMILY? and if you say no, the last 25% of the book will disintegrate or turn into dust. The first 75% was great, relevant, filled with good thoughts and information and quotable stuff. Then she gets to the "my husband's on call a lot" and "my kids dance in the kitchen" and "we all took a day off of work." So. There is a point in your life where this is perfect to read and makes sense and is relevant. There is another point where you feel like this is a beautiful woman complaining that her dates all go to long and the guys she meets love her too much and sometimes her chauffeur gets places too quickly. This is only the last 25%. Still. I cannot relate to it and maybe felt shamed? Who knows. Me. But whatever. I guess part of it is that the beginning is so universal, that you feel like the end is universal too, so if you don't relate to the end, you were kidding yourself about relating to the beginning you disgusting fatbag. Get injections OF SOMETHING.
Also, I guess I'd like to hear the thoughts you have to fight to, say, dance with your kid in the kitchen, which I guess to me is comically bragging about a perfect family. Because I'm interested in what she has to conquer to do those things, and in the beginning I think it is clear what she's fighting.
Also I think it is admirable not to eviscerate your family, but I guess it is weird to read a book so balanced about feeling insane and then is is all just flat positive about her husband and her children, who have to be annoying sometimes or she's leaving out "they are robots."
Also the whole notion of "I couldn't have made it without my husband" kind of says to me "you can't make it" and also slips into "aww, someone chose you!" A, yes you could have made it. It would have been horrible and awful and maybe you'd have to have a degree of government assistance you were not banking on, I would guess. B, the whole idea that romantic partners are never annoying is a kind of pretend jail. My husband Terry and I talk about this all the time while he tidies up and I donate to charity.
Here are titles I would like to find: "Am I a Dickhead?" Solving the Essential Question With the Only True Answer: "A Little Bit, But It's Okay." (less)
Not quite as fascinating as "How the Irish Saved Civilization" which is good because I am about to become a social outcast nerd babbling about ancient...moreNot quite as fascinating as "How the Irish Saved Civilization" which is good because I am about to become a social outcast nerd babbling about ancient Sumer in a corner. As is, I just managed to babble about it on a subway platform, how odd that an ancient Sumerian God is always portrayed with a constant boner that ejaculates the Tigris. I know standard-issue, very vague things about the bible and the old testament so to me, this was a very interesting "ooooooh, okay, so that is the deal with Abraham." He traces the beginnings of civilization and written language (writing came about to do some accounting in a warehouse in what's now Iraq) and sketches what daily life was like in the fertile crescent which is, duh, unreal that we all have a relationship to it. Cahill makes all of the old testament stories accessible and relatable so you really get the deal with everybody, including Moses (which was Moishe, which is an Egyptian name. Interesting) and crazy Pharaohs and how weirded out the supermodel King Saul was David came on the scene. The main point of the book is that Judaism gave us individuality and a sense of linear history for the first time ever.
Enjoy the following Wikipedia/Google geek out: Ninkasi, the goddess of beer. Several academics have made beer according to their recipe. Obviously, this would be extremely interesting. Love in the Bronze and Iron Ages: (who cares about ladies, my best dude friend is aMAZING!!!) Aton the Solar Disc: what Egyptians worshiped for like a second, also an amazing DJ in East Berlin, j/k about the Berlin part. Famous Oak Trees.
Also, this is a pretty good quote from an ancient Sumerian myth: "an almost unimaginably terrifying creature whose face looks like coiled intestines." hahaha
I enjoyed Gilgamesh freaking out after his man friend died, roaming the earth, and finally finding the guy who has the immortality potion who says, basically "Gilgamesh, please chill out. Honestly, you need to relax. Do you feel better now that you wasted all this time and effort trying to find me? Seriously, just go home, have a BBQ, talk to your wife and like, please, just don't do this again."
As a PS, this book made me read the Song of Solomon on the subway. I guess everyone seriously loves Lebanon, but isn't like super talented when it comes to giving compliments: "your teeth are like a flock of shorn ewes that have come up from the washing, all of which bear twins, and not one among them has lost it's young." Oh. Thank? You? "Your nose is like a tower of Lebanon, which looks towards Damascus." Look, that is genetic. "How beautiful your feet are in sandals." All right. "We have a little sister and she has no breasts." Great. Sounds great. I have to go.(less)
I picked this up because I liked what I read in the bookstore, it was Christmas/EmotionalShitstorm, and New York had violently robbed me of hope. This...moreI picked this up because I liked what I read in the bookstore, it was Christmas/EmotionalShitstorm, and New York had violently robbed me of hope. This book entirely changed Phyllis Diller's life and I love Phyllis Diller. I am very sad to say I could not get into it and felt like the undercurrent was "I think you're a moron" and "I think you have no actual experience of humans." He'd say like "This guy was sad. I told this guy to say bible verse X. He did. He is no longer sad." I personally enjoy the nitty gritty details which make it believeable. For example "in the middle of the night, she was positive someone shined a flashlight into her window with the express purpose of a murder since it was Europe and everyone loves the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, even though her window was 14 feet from the ground, there is a crime rate of -10%, and the average per capita income was over $350,000. She secretly still believes this is real. I told her to read my book, throw it away, pick it up, throw it away, pick it up, throw it away, say it was stupid and condescending, pick it up, throw it away, memorize some friendly bible verses anyway, and then go see some nature." I guess it turns out life is subjective which is bullshit and not fair but also fine and probably better since I am not Head Fascist, which is too bad but probably better.(less)
So this is like a book of daily devotionals (?) or like ideas for codependent people. It's very heavy on the Al-Anon tip and 12-step references, so th...moreSo this is like a book of daily devotionals (?) or like ideas for codependent people. It's very heavy on the Al-Anon tip and 12-step references, so this would be very appropriate if all of these things fall in your corner. If they do not, well, it is still very terrific. I had to call a lot of people and say "well, I'm codependent anyway" and have one friend say "no, I think some of that is just being a person" and I agree, because it is more flattering. Still. I very much like this book a great deal for brain chill-out purposes and "meh, it's all okay" purposes. You can also check the index for emotions and find something relevant. I am a little bit embarassed about the degree to which I enjoy this book, but I own my own feelings now, so never mind. (less)
Well, I guess I loved this anyway. Sometimes he is annoying and you want to punch him for being a post-hippie perfectionist and name dropping Ram Dass...moreWell, I guess I loved this anyway. Sometimes he is annoying and you want to punch him for being a post-hippie perfectionist and name dropping Ram Dass and saying "transition" over and over. But then he says how things really went for him and how communal living got annoying and everything he thought was perfect and magical and The Answer revealed it's disappointing reality, and then balanced out to be okay.
He gave a name to the shitting-your-pants "oh God, what is happening, who am I, will it always be this horrible, what do I do, what do I do" in between times when you can imagine no future and have no direction. He calls this the "neutral zone" with I enjoy as a euphemism. Also that the world is not a machine, and stop wasting time trying to find the right answer, and that everyone's life is a meandering mess if people are honest, but the mess makes good, organic fertilizer and without all the naturally created shit, you don't get trace nutrients that help in ways you don't understand.
He points out that there is no answer, even though he always thinks there is, that you have to deal with it, but that things die and an ending has to happen to make way for a new beginning. He describes the feeling in a way that I would like to hug him for and give him some small flowers and a non-organic steak well-cooked by an immigrant.
You procrastinate because you get something from it: like wanting something to feel nice in the moment in the face of something upsetting. Like readin...moreYou procrastinate because you get something from it: like wanting something to feel nice in the moment in the face of something upsetting. Like reading celebrity gossip in the middle of packing. Or holding that book and feeling the irony of not finishing it. I did like it though.(less)
This is a memoir of a pre-vatican II nun. O my I loved all of the gory details. Unfortunately I was very interested in finding reasons to become a nun...moreThis is a memoir of a pre-vatican II nun. O my I loved all of the gory details. Unfortunately I was very interested in finding reasons to become a nun and other reasons to turn my mind off etc. So. This book does not those grant. I mean, this is sensible food for your "I will just drop out and become a nun" fantasy. Soooo.
Lots about modern day religion. Funny and delightful and honest. There is a hilarious (very strange and rarely done, even among Hasidic people) Jewish...moreLots about modern day religion. Funny and delightful and honest. There is a hilarious (very strange and rarely done, even among Hasidic people) Jewish ritual where you scare a bird from a nest and hold the egg. Also, there is a correct way to put on your shoes: right, left, tie the left shoe, tie the right shoe.
This is something I would enjoy doing, but it is a little bit of a problem when you are female and can't grow a beard. (less)
A little academic and dry, but also very sane and interesting. She calls out the weirdos for being weirdos and the facists for being facists on both s...moreA little academic and dry, but also very sane and interesting. She calls out the weirdos for being weirdos and the facists for being facists on both sides of the divide. I did a lot of underlining. (less)