"It is important that you know: I love you. Of course I have no idea who you are. But I have no real idea who I am either, so it seems fair to me."
Forget Yourself by Redfern Jon Barrett is is a fascinating look into a dystopian future where people show up in a tiny world, naked and with no memories. How people shape and create societies, our often futile attempts to fit in, and the difficulties of not being mainstream, polygamy, wife classes, queerness and gender identity are just a few of the issues covered.
Although I felt the ending was a little disjointed, I really enjoyed the novel itself and devoured it in just a couple of days - greatly recommend it. Quotes
“I think it’s really sad that you can hate more than one person but not love more than one person.”
“Blondee, you’re interested in what you can get for yourself. You’re interested in how you perceive yourself, who you are, what you are. You’re interested in how others perceive you, in who they see you are, who they think you are. You’re not interested in talking: you’re not interested in thinking. You’re just trying to make an identity for yourself, trying to build a person out of the lump of flesh and hair which landed here. It’s exactly the same as all the others. There’s nothing left but you, because you’re trying to build a whole new person, and if that doesn’t take the whole of someone’s time, the whole of someone’s mind, then I don’t know what does. “Of course everyone here needs an opinion on that, someone to test that experiment on. Someone to judge their achievement. So they get their little lovers and spend all their time impressing them. They try to impress them with this whole person they’ve built. But it’s pointless, neither is paying attention, neither is listening because really all they can hear is themselves. Each person trying to impress the other simply so they can impress themselves. Eventually it fails because no-one is really listening to anyone and they get angry, or frustrated, or bored, and the only time the other person then exists is as a nuisance they need to get rid of. And so they do. They get rid of each other and continue their experiment, searching for a whole new person to be a judge of it and start the whole fucking process over again.
“I don’t think anyone does, not really.” “What?” “What else is there to say?” she asked. “No-one does? No-one has any memories at all? But what about the book, what about -” “And they’re memories, are they?” “They’re memories of the outside, of the old world, how things were, of the world before.” “They’re not memories.” She sounded certain, spread before me as still as stone. “Then what are they Burberry?” “Inventions. Stories. Creations.” She was quiet for another moment. “I’m sure people think they’re real.”
“I hear you, Blondee. I hear you. I know what you want. You don’t just want to rebuild yourself like everyone else here. You want to rebuild everything, all we have, all by yourself. But you’ll destroy it first, there’s no other way. Do you know that? You’ll destroy it. I won’t let you. How could I let you? You’re destructive. We were wrong, so wrong to label you a minor. You’re the worst of anyone here.” He paused for a moment to catch his breath. His voice softened. “Blondee, I’m aware I’m angry at you. And you’re angry at me. Neither of us will listen – anger closes the ears. But you must pay attention to me: stop this. Stop this whole thing. What we have now is fragile, more fragile than you realise.”
“I don’t understand. Are you not happy?” How would I know? Perhaps it’s different outside, perhaps it’s different in the real world. Perhaps it’s larger, it’s bigger and better, perhaps every heart-jump and belly flutter is a feeble tremor compared to reality. Am I not happy? How the fuck should I know?
This book is an easy and amusing read, as well as an introduction to the secret English world of Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down (as well as the many b...moreThis book is an easy and amusing read, as well as an introduction to the secret English world of Nice Cup of Tea and a Sit Down (as well as the many biscuits that go along with it).
As a Dane, of course this part cracked me up:
"...One of the most popular biscuit tins is the Danish Butter assortment. This, to me, is an enigma. What exactly is assorted about them? The Danes only appear to know how to make one type of biscuit, and in a feeble attempt to disguise this fact they make it in various shapes. Alas, most of the shapes are roughly circular, so any difference is far from obvious. But the more troubling matter surely has to be Denmark's track record in biscuit baking. Granted, they are well known for their pastries, although it seems that everybody else makes them on their behalf, much in the way that the Spanish have franchised out their omelette business. There is also a lot of bacon of Danish origin. Biscuits, however are something that they only seem to crank out at Christmas. Presumably the Danish fleet of biscuit factories remain mothballed for much of the year and gets recommissioned each winter to produce a tide of butter biscuits. It also seems likely that the Danes put in a sizable order for butter round about mid-September, which could be a handy piece of information if you happen to run a dairy."(less)
Basic introduction to Internet and email marketing. Nothing that surprising or unique, but if you don't know anything and is just looking for a free i...moreBasic introduction to Internet and email marketing. Nothing that surprising or unique, but if you don't know anything and is just looking for a free introduction, it is worth checking out.(less)
The main message of this book is find out what your values are, and lead your life according to those values. Much of the information covered has made it into mainstream culture and many other books (7 Habits was first published in 1989), and while much of the information was familiar to me it was still a great way to go in depth with the topics. First 3 Habits; moving from dependence to independence Habit 1: Be Proactive Take responsibility for your own life and your choices. Take the initiative based on the values and principles you want to base your life on. Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind Know what goals you have for life, and what you want for each of your roles and relationships and keep these things in mind with your daily actions. Put First Things First Building on habit number 2, make sure that your daily and weekly tasks are prioritized according to what is most important to you, rather than what is most urgent. Next 3 Habits; moving from independence to interdependence Habit 4: Think Win-Win Fully understand that mutual beneficial solutions are ultimately better in the long run for everyone involved. Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood Listen emphatically, keeping an open mind, to really understand another person's point of view, before trying to explain your own point of view. Habit 6: Synergize Team work combines people's strength and allow the team to reach goals that no one could have achieved on their own. Overarching Habit: Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw Make sure you look after yourself in terms of physical, mental and emotional health so that you have the energy and ability to lead an effective lifestyle in the long-term.(less)
Great and interesting look at the way we see "the number on the scale", and really brings home the point that at the end of the day, it's just a numbe...moreGreat and interesting look at the way we see "the number on the scale", and really brings home the point that at the end of the day, it's just a number.(less)
The History of Loveby Nicole Krauss might at first glance sound like a romance novel. It's not. It is true, however, that it deals with love, and also...moreThe History of Love by Nicole Krauss might at first glance sound like a romance novel. It's not. It is true, however, that it deals with love, and also love in a romantic fashion.
The History of Love is the story of an old man who taps on the radiator to make sure his buddy is still alive - and vice versa. It is also the story of this old man in his youth, and the book he wrote about and for the woman he loved. It is the story of a young girl named after the woman in the book, and her quest to find her namesake.
I love the way The History of Love is written. The language is incredibly beautiful, yet also very simple. It is similar in style and tone to Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, which is another favourite book of mine. Quotes
There are passages of my book I know by heart. By heart, this is not an expression I use lightly. My heart is weak and unreliable. When I go it will be my heart. I try to burden it as little as possible. If something is going to have an impact, I direct it elsewhere. My gut for example, or my lungs, which might seize up for a moment but have never yet failed to take another breath. When I pass a mirror and catch a glimpse of myself, or I’m at the bus stop and some kids come up behind me and say, Who smells shit?— small daily humiliations— these I take, generally speaking, in my liver. Other damages I take in other places. The pancreas I reserve for being struck by all that’s been lost. It’s true that there’s so much, and the organ is so small. But. You would be surprised how much it can take, all I feel is a quick sharp pain and then it’s over. Sometimes I imagine my own autopsy. Disappointment in myself: right kidney. Disappointment of others in me: left kidney. Personal failures: kishkes. I don’t mean to make it sound like I’ve made a science of it. It’s not that well thought out. I take it where it comes. It’s just that I notice certain patterns. When the clocks are turned back and the dark falls before I’m ready, this, for reasons I can’t explain, I feel in my wrists. And when I wake up and my fingers are stiff, almost certainly I was dreaming of my childhood. The field where we used to play, the field in which everything was discovered and everything was possible. (We ran so hard we thought we would spit blood: to me that is the sound of childhood, heavy breathing and shoes scraping the hard earth.) Stiffness of the fingers is the dream of childhood as it’s been returned to me at the end of my life. I have to run them under the hot water, steam clouding the mirror, outside the rustle of pigeons. Yesterday I saw a man kicking a dog and I felt it behind my eyes. I don’t know what to call this, a place before tears. The pain of forgetting: spine. The pain of remembering: spine. All the times I have suddenly realized that my parents are dead, even now, it still surprises me, to exist in the world while that which made me has ceased to exist: my knees, it takes half a tube of Ben-Gay and a big production just to bend them. To everything a season, to every time I’ve woken only to make the mistake of believing for a moment that someone was sleeping beside me: a hemorrhoid. Loneliness: there is no organ that can take it all.
Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.
And if the man who once upon a time had been a boy who promised he’d never fall in love with another girl as long as he lived kept his promise, it wasn’t because he was stubborn or even loyal. He couldn’t help it. And having hidden for three and a half years, hiding his love for a son who didn’t know he existed didn’t seem unthinkable. Not if it was what the only woman he would ever love needed him to do. After all, what does it mean for a man to hide one more thing when he has vanished completely?
It might seem like you’re limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky. My mother did not choose a leaf or a head. She chose my father, and to hold on to a certain feeling, she sacrificed the world.
Holding hands, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together. And at night, when it’s too dark to see, we find it necessary to gesture on each other’s bodies to make ourselves understood.
So many words get lost. They leave the mouth and lose their courage, wandering aimlessly until they are swept into the gutter like dead leaves.
I filled the sink with soapy water and washed the dirty pots. And with each pot and pan and spoon I put away, I also put away a thought I couldn’t bear, until my kitchen and my mind returned to a state of mutual organization. And yet.
there are two types of people in the world: those who prefer to be sad among others, and those who prefer to be sad alone.
He learned to live with the truth. Not to accept it, but to live with it. It was like living with an elephant. His room was tiny, and every morning he had to squeeze around the truth just to get to the bathroom. To reach the armoire to get a pair of underpants he had to crawl under the truth, praying it wouldn’t choose that moment to sit on his face. At night, when he closed his eyes, he felt it looming above him.
And then I thought: Perhaps that is what it means to be a father— to teach your child to live without you. If so, no one was a greater father than I.
At the end, all that’s left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that’s why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.
That was the end of my search to find someone that would make my mother happy again. I finally understood that no matter what I did, or who I found, I— he— none of us— would ever be able to win over the memories she had of Dad, memories that soothed her even while they made her sad, because she’d built a world out of them she knew how to survive in, even if no one else could.
I am not a fan of being "told" the story, rather than being "shown" it, and I felt that Nicholas Sparks did this a lot in Safe Haven. Halfway through...moreI am not a fan of being "told" the story, rather than being "shown" it, and I felt that Nicholas Sparks did this a lot in Safe Haven. Halfway through the book it started getting better, and more exciting, but the ending was just unrealistic and spoiled it for me.(less)
The S&M Feminist: Best Of Clarisse Thornis an excellent introduction into pro-sex feminism, as well as S&M, polyamory, gender issues and relat...moreThe S&M Feminist: Best Of Clarisse Thorn is an excellent introduction into pro-sex feminism, as well as S&M, polyamory, gender issues and relationships from a feminist point of view. If you're a regular reader of her wonderful blog you will probably recognize a lot of the articles, but this book ties them all together in a new way.
I think this book is incredibly important and relevant for everyone, whether you identify as feminist or not, whether you are interested in BDSM/S&M or not, polyamorous or not, etc. One of the main topics in the book is communication and consent, a topic that is relevant to all of us, and which I think is too often ignored in "normal" relationships, where we often go by assumption, rather than talking and discussing things openly.
I think we need to teach that sex can be incredibly difficult. It can be hard to communicate with your partner. It can be hard to learn and come to terms with your own sexual desires. It can be hard to understand or accept all your partner's sexual desires. And just because it's hard, doesn't mean that you're with the wrong partner — or that you're missing some vital piece of information that everyone else has — or that you're doing it wrong.
All my most extraordinary sexual connections have benefited from everyone involved taking ownership of their desire, and talking about it directly at least a little bit.
The fantasy of a sexual relationship that is totally instinctive and perfect without any effort is just that — a fantasy.
Another important point she makes, is that we, maybe especially as women, need to learn to be okay with what we want - and with what we don't want. And accepting that we are okay, the way we are; "
sometimes you simply want or don't want things, and that you aren't required to justify your desires."
I think many people have sex they don't like because they don't feel like they can look for something different — they think it's the best they can get. I think many people have sex they don't like because they think it's what their partner wants
I normally enjoy reading classics - they are usually classics for a reason. Lately however, I have been disappointed. Les Miserableswas long-winded an...moreI normally enjoy reading classics - they are usually classics for a reason. Lately however, I have been disappointed. Les Miserables was long-winded and old-fashioned - but at least it had a beautiful story.
Last week I read On the Road by Jack Kerouac and it was such a disappointment. I had great expectations for it! Supposedly the "soul of the beat movement" (whatever that is), sounded great.
However I never got to care about any of the characters, and by the end I actually despised most of them. I know it was a different time, but no matter the time I can't stand books that minimize violence against women or the purposeful destruction of other people's property for no reason.
In my opinion, On the Road is a book about not caring at all about other people and the affect you have on their lives. Using people, their property and their money, and just do whatever you want.
I did enjoy the parts on living your own life, not the life other people want for you, and breaking with traditions, but to me that didn't make up for the bad parts.
If you have read it, what did you make of it? Quotes With that being said, there were still a few quotes I enjoyed.
But then they danced down the streets like dingledodies, and I shambled after as I’ve been doing all my life after people who interest me, because the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!’
And I said, ‘That last thing is what you can’t get, Carlo. Nobody can get to that last thing. We keep on living in hopes of catching it once for all.’
Boys and girls in America have such a sad time together; sophistication demands that they submit to sex immediately without proper preliminary talk. Not courting talk – real straight talk about souls, for life is holy and every moment is precious.
This is the story of America. Everybody’s doing what they think they’re supposed to do.
A pain stabbed my heart, as it did every time I saw a girl I loved who was going the opposite direction in this too-big world.
because I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion.
How To Win Friends and Influence Peopleby Dale Carnegie is a classic. I have been told over and over again (especially within the business world) that...moreHow To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a classic. I have been told over and over again (especially within the business world) that this is a must read book (ironically, for how much this book is recommended, it is rarely followed). I can understand why it is a classic, it is certainly sound advice, but a lot of it also strikes me as fairly common sense, aka the Golden Rule.
The book is divided into three parts covering the following 30 principles:
Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
Give honest and sincere appreciation.
Arouse in the other person an eager need or want.
Become genuinely interested in other people.
Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Show respect for other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
Begin in a friendly way.
Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
Let the other person do a a great deal of the talking.
Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
Try honestly to see things from the other persons point of view.
By synthetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
Appeal to the other nobler motives.
Dramatize your ideas.
Throw down a challenge.
Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
Let the other person save face.
Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your appreciation and lavish in your praise.”
Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
It's not a long book, and I think reading the book over a month, a principle a day, is definitely worth your time. It'll give you food for thought, or at least remind you of some principles you might have forgotten. Quotes
I have had some interesting correspondence with Lewis Lawes, who was warden of New York’s infamous Sing Sing prison for many years, on this subject, and he declared that ‘few of the criminals in Sing Sing regard themselves as bad men. They are just as human as you and I. So they rationalise, they explain. They can tell you why they had to crack a safe or be quick on the trigger finger. Most of them attempt by a form of reasoning, fallacious or logical, to justify their antisocial acts even to themselves, consequently stoutly maintaining that they should never have been imprisoned at all.’ (This actually reminds me about the book; Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) which deals with logical fallacies and how we justify past mistakes and errors).
Dr. Dewey said that the deepest urge in human nature is ‘the desire to be important.’
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.
I really enjoyed it, but I also love learning about how our brain works and how we can use it to our full ability. The book is written in an easy-to-understand language, while still giving enough details and background information to sustain the claims made.
Make Your Brain Work covers such diverse topics as how our brain prioritizes, how we absorb new information, the way we deal with stress, controlling feelings and emotions, distractions, making decisions, focus, habits, conflicts, work-life balance, control, time versus energy, goals, motivation, meetings, presentations, leadership, sales and management. And all in less than 300 pages.
Of course books could be written, and have been written, on each of these topics, but for a quick insight with loads of practical tips and ideas I greatly recommend Make Your Brain Work by Amy Brann.
Grande Guide to Lead Nurturing is an excellent introduction into lead nurturing, staying relevant to your prospects and understanding the process from...moreGrande Guide to Lead Nurturing is an excellent introduction into lead nurturing, staying relevant to your prospects and understanding the process from awareness and interest into an eventual sale - and post-sale.(less)
I really really wanted to love Cloud Atlas, because I love the premise of it, and the trailer looks excellent. The book isn't bad as such, but it is j...moreI really really wanted to love Cloud Atlas, because I love the premise of it, and the trailer looks excellent. The book isn't bad as such, but it is just so slow moving, and I was half-way through it before I really started caring about any of the characters - and just as you start caring about one character you move on to the next. The layout is interesting, and from a theoretical standpoint I really liked it, but in praxis it just didn't work for me.(less)
I am pretty much the stereotypical firstborn - for good and for bad:
Firstborns need permission to be able to relax. We struggle commonly with time management, stress management, and prioritizing because we tend to take on a lot . . . in fact, too much.
Firstborns and Only Children Reliable and conscientious, they tend to be list makers and black-and-white thinkers. They have a keen sense of right and wrong and believe there is a “right way” to do things. They are natural leaders and achievement oriented.
Believe it or not, people who have sloppy desks are sometimes more concerned with being perfect than people who appear on the surface to be neat and organized. The person who has the sloppy desk may be what I refer to as a “discouraged perfectionist.” He wants everything in his life to be perfect, and because he knows it never can be, he tends to leave things half done or not done at all. In other words, he’s afraid to attempt things that he knows he can’t do perfectly.
Firstborns are always ready to pitch in and help because they’ve been groomed to do so. They have a high sense of what’s right and what’s wrong. There’s not a lot of gray in the black and white of a firstborn’s world.
Firstborns don’t like surprises. They like things to be orderly and organized.
If you’re a pleaser, your motto in life is peace at any price. You bite off far more than you can chew. You’re the type of person who would do anything for others while leaving nothing for yourself. You hold yourself responsible for other people’s failures and negligence. Your goal in life is to make sure everyone is happy, because then, you reason, you count in life. So you run yourself ragged while trying to do favors for everyone else. Because you bail folks out of messes, people like you. You’re a nice person. You can always be counted on, and people seem to know your soft spots. You spend every day running on a tankful of guilt. You’re driven by that guilt because you know you can never do enough. You just can’t seem to say no.
Many parents tend to view their firstborn children as older than they really are. They expect them to grow up too fast.
Firstborns are goal setters; they are well organized; they are the sort of people who know where they’re going, how they’ll get there, and how long it’s going to take to get there.
Dr. Leman's book will teach you how to make the most of your special abilities as a firstborn, while helping you cope with the things we are more prone to struggle with, such as perfectionism, saying no etc.(less)