Self-help as curation

Self-help as curation

It's the curation I was curious about; someone had to wade through all those case studies and psychiatric treatises (or whatever they're called) and fashion them into a mini-manual on, say, how to steal another man's wife. Brett Kahr fit the bill, I found out. Life Lessons from Freud is tidy and clever, offering enough of brain hurt from Freud's writings, with Kahr's voice confidently (chummily, intelligently, and never condescendingly) steering the reader through it all. [Continue reading.]

Light reading

Light reading

I started this draft right after I read the book—which was amazing and fun and full of useless information, exactly the sort of thing I like spending my time with, and also full of deeply human things, like the life one can lead when one is surrounded by ridiculously intelligent and go-getter people and also when one very badly wants babies to impart all that useless information to, and wee! And I’ve kept trying to go back to the draft above, but then Real Life has always had this pesky tendency to kick all your well-meaning plans to up your self-worth right in the balls. Okay. That’s the explanation I’m going with. Toodles. [Continue reading.]

On Permanence

On Permanence

This is what I’ve been doing for more than five years: Consciously cultivating a shared language with P., and actively searching for the books (because how else can I do this) to help me do so. “I am interested in this because this interests you” signals how contrived this kind of reading is, but over time my own curiosity grew, and I came to these books—“his” books, I first figured—willingly, and on my own. There remains a tiny whisper, though, that this a secondhand fascination. I can’t shake off the feeling that I’m impinging onto someone else’s territory. [You are literature, Sasha; they are everything else.] [Continue reading.]

Alberto Manguel, A History of Reading, and our “essential function”

There is nowhere to begin with A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel when you’ve got a mind as speckle-y and inane as mine. Faced with this kind of book-dorkery-in-a-book, the tendency is to quote long passages from each of the chapters, and [over-] share personal experience that basically says, “I agree, I agree!” [I [...]

Some things off the top of my head, in response to A Vindication of Love: Reclaiming Romance for the Twenty-first Century by Cristina Nehring

Romantic love needs to be reinvented for our time . . . it needs to be formulated afresh. The purpose is by no means to beatify romantic love, or to reclaim it as a fine hallmark sentiment suitable for swooning schoolgirls. The goal is to embrace its dangers and darknesses as well as the light [...]