Browsy Sunday-Lonliness Edition

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Books

I finished Slouching Towards Bethlehem and I was blown away. This is a good collection of essays to read at the end of the summer if you are lonely, restless and the winds of change are a-breezing. If you don’t feel like reading the whole book, here’s one of her personal essays about self-esteem and here are three of my favorite quotes from the book:

“Why do we like these stories so? Why do we tell them over and over? Why have we made a folk hero of a man who is the antithesis of all our official heroes, a haunted millionaire out of the West, trailing a legend of desperation and power and white sneakers? But then we have always done that. Our favorite people and our favorite stories become so not by any inherent virtue, but because they illustrate something deep in the grain, something unadmitted. Shoeless Joe Jackson, Warren Gamaliel Harding, The Titanic: how the might are fallen. Charles Lindbergh, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Marilyn Monroe: the beautiful and damned. And Howard Hughes. That we have made a hero of Howard Hughes tells us something interesting about ourselves, something only dimly remembered, tells us that the secret point of money and power in America is neither the things that money can buy nor power for power’s sake (Americans are uneasy with their possessions, guilty about power, all of which is difficult for Europeans to perceive because they are themselves so truly materialistic, so versed in the uses of power), but absolute personal freedom, mobility, privacy. Is is the instinct which drove America to the Pacific, all through the nineteenth century, the desire to be able to find a restaurant open in case you want a sandwich, to be a free agent, live by one’s own rules.”

 

“I lost the conviction that lights would always turn green for me, the pleasant certainty that those rather passive virtues which had won me approval as a child automatically guaranteed me not only Phi Beta Kappa keys but happiness, honor, and the love of a good man; lost a certain touching faith in the totem power of good manners, clean hair, and proven competence on the Stanford-Binet scale.”

 

“It was not a country in open revolution. It was not a country under enemy siege. It was the United States of America in the cold late spring of 1967, and the market was steady and the G.N.P. high and a great many articulate people seemed to have a sense of high social purpose and it might have been a spring of brave hopes and national promise, but it was not.”

 

I also listened to The Power of No by James and Claudia Altucher. I recommend the audiobook; James and Claudia have cute side conversations. I am a big fan of Altucher and his quest to cut through the dishonesty that keeps us from living our best lives. This book is another manifestation of that quest, complete with his partner-in-crime, Claudia. I hope if I get married my husband will be willing to write books with me.

 

Shorter Reads

 

Want to stay focused and retain information? Doodle. Do you want that focus to become negative? Get lonely. One way to get lonely is to move to a new place. Here is a list of the hardest things to get used to in America (surprise-it involves unhealthy food.) How can we beat this loneliness? Make things with our friends, like Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Or you could try to manipulate your facial expressions to make a better first impression.

 

Are you worried you might become lonely because all of your friends are going to die of Ebola? Don’t be. Here is an excellent article about how a pandemic will probably take out the human race, but that pandemic won’t be Ebola. I don’t know how to segue into A-Rod’s bizarre doping habits, but this is definitely an article you should read if you like reading about sports, drugs, or quacks. If you like reading instead about researchers and doctors who work miracles, this is the article for you. If you were avoiding museums because of the Ebola scare and are now wondering if you will be forced to venture outside to experience culture, here’s another reason to avoid the art of Europe.

 

 

Ellen
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