Featured Post

Sassy Peach Goes to Kindergarten: Happy 5th Birthday!

Wow! We made it! Half a decade! That's crazy talk. I said to a friend the other day how much I couldn't believe how far I've com...

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

This was one of those paperbacks that I picked up on one of my used books expeditions, and I added it to my vacation arsenal, which is a stack of trade paperbacks that I can pick up, read on the plane or the beach or whatever, and then pass on to fellow readers. For my recent trip out to Denver (you may remember my posts on Capitol Hill Books, Innisfree Poetry Cafe, and the Tattered Cover), I grabbed Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, because I thought it would be crazy appropriate for my trip to a higher altitude.

In the spring of 1996, Jon Krakauer sets out with a team of climbers on an expedition to summit Mount Everest from the Nepalese side. He was an experienced climber in his own right, and he joined a team led by Rob Hall who was known for his diligence, care, and safety in getting his clients to the top. That spring, several other teams were trying to summit as well, and May 10 was the chosen date for two of those teams (and an additional rogue team) to make the last push for the top. What they couldn't have known, however, was that something had angered the mountain, and by the end of the climbing season, twelve climbers had lost their lives and many others were scarred by their experiences on the mountain. 

Wowza. What a book. I've been a fan of Krakauer's since picking up Under the Banner of Heaven, and there has yet to be a book of his that hasn't astounded me. He is arguably one of the best narrative non-fiction writers of his generation, and I look forward to picking up any of his books that he wants to release. (I will also post on Missoula soon, which was a very difficult if not vitally important piece of work.) This, which I believe was one of his first of the genre, written when he was a journalist for a magazine yet had to put his whole story down to help himself understand it, was just an outstanding 350 pages of madness. I never would have guessed that an adventure book would have kept me on the edge of my seat, but it did. I found myself in it to win it in the craziest way possible, and putting this book down was not a negotiable point. 

What makes this book so much more poignant than any of Krakauer's other books is that this is his own story, not just one that he is researching and reporting on. He always feels completely invested in the work he is writing, but this one felt so much more personal, for obvious reasons. The man almost lost his life, so you can't blame him for being all in. It does, though, lend itself to a certain investment from the reader as a result. I obviously know that he makes it down from the mountain (spoiler alert: he wrote the book), but the book becomes completely about the process, not the product. I became invested in the players in a way that doesn't often come even in non-fiction, but I was on the team with Rob Hall and Yasuko and Beck and Andy and Doug and Jon. I wanted them all to win, to succeed, to make it off the mountain, and I found it so incredibly unfair when not everyone did. If only we could turn back time and know what we know now, but we can't and we won't and, unfortunately, it has been seen that not many others have learned from this. Summitting Everest is still a popular, and desired, project. 

Nature, however, is a fickle beast. As is made clear in this book, it is impossible to predict with any certainty whether or not the chosen summit day will be brilliant or if, as Krakauer experienced, a sudden and violent, though common and normal, storm will swoop in and trap even the most prepared and practiced climber. While I wouldn't wish Krakauer's experience on anyone, he has taken that difficulty and given us an account that needs to read, one that respects the elements for the unpredictable experience it can provide and honors those who lost their lives in the process.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

When I first saw Seven Brief Lessons On Physics by Carlo Rovelli in the bookstore, I was terribly intrigued. Science was never my strong suit in school, but as I've gotten older and wiser -- just kidding, I only appreciate learning more than I did at 16 -- I've been curious to know what makes the world. So I bought this while in Colorado at The Tattered Cover and read it on the way to Texas the following weekend.

Physics is a complicated subject but not nearly as complicated as it wants to be. This book lays out seven brief lessons, beginning with Einstein's theory of relativity, moving through quantum mechanics, and finally ending with human life and our ability to exist. It's a mind blowing treatise the takes complicated concepts and breaks them down for the everyman reader. This book was a runaway success in Italy, and it's such a shame that we can't say the same for its presence in the United States. This is the history of the discipline combined into less than 100 small pages, written for your pleasure and to make your head explode with the possibilities.

I had seen this book in several bookstores and was waiting for the right time to pick it up. Finally, I had a long trip to Dallas to meet my boyfriend's family, so I decided to start reading it on the way. I realized very quickly that I was going to need to read a chapter and take a break, not because the writing is terribly hard, but because the concepts are so big and mind blowing. I will be the first to admit that I didn't pay very much attention to physics in high school. Actually, I read Gone with the Wind and convinced my ex-boyfriend to do my work for me. I'm not necessarily proud of it, but then again, I kind of am. Guilt is a powerful force. This means that I didn't really grasp a lot of the concepts that I was supposed to have learned even though I somehow made a B in the class. (Or maybe it was a C? Can't recall exactly.)

So beginning with Einstein's theory of relativity, my mind was blown. This book was written in such a down-to-earth way that I was able to grasp the concepts that really needed to sit on it for a while. Then going into things like particle physics, my mind was just absolutely wrecked with this book. I feel like I understand the basic discipline of physics so much better than I did before, even though I will never tell you that I think of myself on par with any physicist. I never really understood the concept of space bending around objects, but Rovelli described it in such exquisite detail that I actually said aloud, "Whoa." Then to move on to quantum physics and later, black holes in the ever expanding universe, I just don't even know what to say that could convince you to pick up this book more.

I read this entire book with pen in hand, underlining phrases and facts, and jotting down notes. This is giving me a new appreciation to how small we as humans are in the larger realm of time and space. The idea that we are just teeny tiny specs in a little universe that is so large it's beyond our comprehension is so cool to think about. I am glad that I purchased this book, as that's when I will continue to go back to you again and again.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools

This is one of those books that I have been needing to read for years. It comes up in educational research all of the time and I always said to myself, "One day." Well, I decided this summer was actually the day to pick up Jonathan Kozol's seminal Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools.

Across this nation, a gulf exist between the funding of schools based upon whether a family is low socioeconomic status or higher SES. Disparities can be seen in tax rates and numbers, but some of the larger disparity can't be seen unless you go in, sit down, and make yourself comfortable. In this education classic, Jonathan Kozol enters into classrooms across the country to explain to his readers exactly what these disparities look like. He visits Mississippi, Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Texas, and paints for his readers a portrait of what savage inequality looks like on a day-to-day basis in the classroom.

I should have read this a decade ago. There's just so much to read, and so little time. I'll forgive myself knowing that I picked it up now. This book was written in 1991, but very little has changed. Sure, the hard numbers have, but when you just things for inflation they are the same 25 years later. Children are segregated in this country not just by socioeconomic status, but also by race. These two things are so closely intertwined that it's hard to tease out which is which, but we do know that the economically disadvantaged tend to be minorities. We also know what districts in this country are listed as apartheid school district, and once you start to get down to the nitty-gritty, Kozol is spot on. It's just hard to tell the difference between 1991 and 2016.

My copy of this book is highlighted and annotated and written and it's been thrown across rooms. If you care even remotely about the education of our countries people, you probably read this book. You're probably angry about the state of her education system. And the truth is, if you genuinely believe that the system is not rigged, and that everybody can pull themselves up by their bootstraps, well then, you probably ought stop reading this blog post. It's a little bit like preaching to the choir, and I am unsure what else I can say to convince you that there's a major issue in this country, and it begins in our education system.

Kozol is a superb writer, and there's no doubt in my mind that this book became a sensation and has remained such because of his work. The insight he brings to his writing as a teacher and a writer provides the perfect underpinning for what is one of the most super pieces on education ever written. He poured his heart and soul into this book, and I have mad respect for him.

I leave you with this quote from the prologue.

"What seems unmistakable, but, oddly enough, is barely said in public settings nowadays, is that the nation, for all practice and intent, has turned it's back upon the moral implications, if not yet the legal ramifications, of the Brown decision. The struggle being waged today, where there is any struggle being waged at all, is closer to the one that was addressed in 1896 in Plessy v. Ferguson, in which the court excepted segregated institutions for black people, stipulating only that they must be equal to those open to white people. The dual society, at least in public education, seems in general to be unquestioned."

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Modern Lovers: A Novel

Oh, Emma Straub, how I love thee. You may remember by adoration of The Vacationers, and I am dying to read Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures and her short story collection. I am, it's fair to say, an Emma Straub devotee. Here is her latest, Modern Lovers.

Elizabeth and Zoe are best friends, and thankfully they live a few doors down from each other. They've been best friends since college when they were in a band, Kitty's Mustache, with Elizabeth's now-husband Andrew and the soon to be famous Lydia, singer of "Mistress of Myself." Now, 25 years later, Zoe is married to Jane and their daughter Ruby is a massive fuck up, Elizabeth and Andrew have the perfect son Harry, and a big Hollywood producer wants to make a movie of their alliance due to Lydia's infamous early death. Unfortunately, 25 years later, each couple is struggling with their own issues of growing together and apart, and all the while Harry and Ruby strike up a romance. It's a complicated web that makes up "adulthood."

This was such a lovely, indulgent book for my Labor Day weekend. I was able to just get lost in it for a few days and not have to even look up from the pages. I lived in the world of Zoe and Jane and Elizabeth and Andrew; I rooted for Ruby and Harry; and I wanted to eat at the Hyacinth, Zoe and Jane's restaurant. I loved the complicated relationships, not only because the mirror real life, but because Straub has a way of creating characters and complicated relationships that make you want to fight your way out of them. Not only are the characters compelling, but their relationships are as well. She writes with such a human voice that if I hadn't had the pleasure of hearing her talk about her last book, I would wonder if she had multiple personalities. Her characters are so real, so much to the point where I feel like if I went to Ditmas Park myself today I could easily go stand in front of Zoe and Jane's house.

Another thing that Straub does particularly well is make neighborhoods come alive as a character in her stories. I prefer to not live as far out from Manhattan as the main characters do, but after reading this I now want to purchase a house in Ditmas Park. I want to go eat at the Hyacinth, and I want to attend the yoga studio that Andrew helps fund. She makes these neighborhoods come alive in ways that so few other writers can do (even though so many try!), and the result is amazing.

The relationship between Ruby and Harry was a little bittersweet. It's easy to think back on those years of the young love, those summers that made you feel like you were high as a kite and floating on a cloud of love. It's a young love, and a difficult love looking back, and you think it will never end but inevitably it will. I have to say, on the other side of life, I much prefer the quiet low level intensity of my adult relationship, which Straub so perfectly describes through Elizabeth, but I know that deep and intense love of being a teenager. I absolutely related to Elizabeth and Andrew and their long-term marriage, and the passages where the author is describing the difference in the relationships of the two best friends hit the nail on the head. This was quite an indulgent story of a summer in the lives of best friends and neighbors, and I loved every second of it. It's a story of a complicated web of relationships and the events that will either make or break them.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Guest Blogger Charlotte: The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree has been inescapable throughout my childhood, I see it on every bookshelf, bookstore, and library I pass, but I hadn’t bothered to pick it up until now.  You know that one bestseller that’s been around forever, and that everyone has seen and you’ve heard so much about that you feel like you’ve seen it without actually having seen it? Yea, that’s my relationship with The Giving Tree. Okay, wow, I now see why this book is on almost every bookshelf in America. And, I’ve got to say, for a couple of hundred words, this story is surprisingly heavy and meaningful.

I know we’re all used to children’s books with a single or maybe a couple of lessons or morals woven into the story with a nice, neat payout at the end. This kind of story is satisfying to the mind and perfect for helping with sleep. That said, The Giving Tree is not this kind of book and should probably not be read as a bedtime story.

And that’s the exactly what’s so great about it! This book makes you think. It tugs at your heartstrings in lots of different directions. Shel Silverstein is a true artist and The Giving Tree is possibly his most thought provoking work. The book is at most a five-minute read and, again, packed with layers and layers of meaning. I’ve gotten far less out of five-hundred-pagers I was stuck with for a week.

The story is about a boy and the special relationship he has with his favorite tree. The tree is a girl. He loves the tree, visits her every day, and does with her all of the things boys usually do with trees. The tree loves the boy too and is increasingly sad as the boy grows up and his visits to the tree become less frequent. When the boy does visit and needs something, the tree provides. The tree sacrifices for the boy. First her apples, then her branches, and finally her trunk, leaving nothing but an old stump. Still, when the boy returns the tree is overjoyed, and gives her all to please him. The story ends with the boy, now an old man, desiring only to spend the rest of his days resting near the stump. The tree warmly welcomes him back.

There are so many ways to interpret this story. It’s also clear to me that my interpretation of the story will change as my perspective changes. The meaning of this story depends totally on the lens through which you view it. And that’s what makes it great! I’m sure I’ll read it again in five years and see it in a whole new light.

I did have a few immediate thoughts when I closed the book. For me the story brought clarity to the concept of unconditional love and I was immediately thankful for my wonderful family and all they do for me. And all the things we do for each other. It’s an intense feeling to know that my family would sacrifice for me in the same way the tree sacrificed for the boy.

I also thought about the tree and how she seems to depend on the boy for her happiness. The entire time the tree is only trying to please the boy so he would stay, however, as soon as he leaves (pun intended) she is instantly saddened. This reminded me to be responsible for my own happiness and to not let my sense of self get wrapped up in anyone else. I don’t want to end up with just my stump.

It’s important to remember to climb trees and take naps outside in the shade. The boy in the story lost his innocence and imagination, which I think was ultimately a source of his trouble. In life you don’t need every single thing available because in the end it won’t make you happy.

The Giving Tree is certainly food for thought. The story will undoubtedly leave you feeling good about the people around you.

Take five minutes and read this book.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Today Will Be Different: A Novel

You know we all loved Where'd You Go, Bernadette. It was one of those books that was so worth the hype and the praise that I still can't get over it. So at BEA this year, I jumped in line for the book signing of her latest, only to discover that it was a print from the book. Imagine my surprise when, a few months later, this gem landed in my mailbox. I screamed with joy in my apartment lobby, and my boyfriend was terribly confused at my excitement. I had forgotten that the publisher had promised to send galleys when they were ready. This, my friends, is Maria Semple's Today Will Be Different.

Eleanor promises that today will be different. She will be more patient, she will dress up, she will make all of her appointments, and she may even initiate sex with her husband. Today will be the day she has it all together, she swears. That is, until her poetry lesson doesn't go as well as expected, she has to pick up her faking-sick son Timby from school, she steals a fellow mom's keys, her husband has told his office they are all on vacation and are suprised to see her when she stops in, and a ghost of her old life shows up and reminds her of the biggest loss in her life. A raucous good time, no?

Of course I will own up to the fact that I love Maria Semple wholeheartedly and that love runs deep. Bernadette was a lovely, astounding book that I couldn't put down, but Today was so much better. I don't say that lightly – this book entranced me and gripped me in a way that surpassed the incredible nature of Bernadette. This book owned me totally and completely – I only wanted to finish whatever I was doing that to be able to get back to this book.

Semple has a way of telling the most crazy and meandering story in a way that feels entirely realistic and completely plausible. She writes her protagonists as people whose readers can not only relate to but also understand as if she were telling her own story. Life is complicated – it's ridiculous and it's confusing and it's wonderful and it's something that you have to learn to figure out every day. No two days will be the same, but surely, when every day each and every one of us wakes up we hope today will, in fact, be different. The protagonist of the story is no different, one who promises she will be patient and will love her has been more and will dress up, and will be the best. Lo and behold, life doesn't have that planned for her today. Today is different than any other day, and you have to read this book to understand why.

I couldn't put this book down, and if you are to read it for yourself, you will certainly understand why. The pain of not being close to the one family member you hoped that you would always be is difficult to accept but vital to doing in order to make today different. Accepting the day in stride and pushing forward nothing is wrong is a big piece of being human, but Semple takes it to another level. I certainly don't have my own husband to lead me to follow a new path, but I did find myself laughing and entirely entranced with this work. Semple has the ability to insert love in the hardest hearted person to make him or her giggle. Her wit, her timing, and her aplomb is simply to die for, and I can't wait another three years to get my hands on her next book.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Reputations: A Novel

I had no idea what I was getting into when I picked up this book at the Expo this year. I was told it was scary, and I noticed it was on the shorter side, so I said, "Why not?" This is Juan Gabriel Vasquez's Reputations.

Javier Mallarino is a famous political caricaturist for the incredibly popular independent paper and Columbia. On his multi-decade anniversary of his tenure, he receives an award for his indispensable work to the nation and his people. He also spends a great deal of time reminiscing on his professional and personal life. On the night of his award, a young woman comes to visit him under the guise of an interview, and her surprise visit opens old wounds, events that happened 20 something years ago when he was newly divorced and the girl was young. These were events that forever changed her life, and the reemergence will forever affect his.

Who have we become even when we forget about the events, willfully or unwittingly, that shaped us? This beautiful novella explore the question of how our past shapes us, and how willing we are to forget about it. The event in question occurred when his daughter and her friend were very young, and the aftermath saw the suicide of a famous politician and be forever implanted distrust in the young woman. And even though it's something that Javier doesn't think about very often, it ultimately brought out some of his most stating work. I found the interactions between Javier and the young woman to be incredibly interesting, particularly in light of Javier's relationship with his ex-wife. It's a complicated web for such a short piece of work, but very interesting.

I realize that this is the work of an international writer, and this they may very well be my American sensibility, but I felt a dissatisfaction at the ending. We never really get a resolution to the young woman's crisis that originally brought her to Javier's doorstep, and with my love of murder and mayhem in mind, I very much wanted the confrontation that needed to happen. Trying to be as vague as possible while still giving you my feelings on the book, because I definitely do not want to spoil the surprise and the intrigue that comes as the gift of reaching the middle of this novella. The ending not withstanding, I found the prose to be beautiful and luxurious. It's a book that I thoroughly enjoye, and I would absolutely recommend for a quiet weekend day on the veranda with a glass of wine.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Not My Mother's Kitchen: Rediscovering Italian-American Cooking Through Stories and Recipes

This was an unexpected pick-up this year, as I wasn't planning on taking home from Chicago more than my very specific list. However, I couldn't resist this one, as my Italian roots were calling my name.

I had originally picked up this book thinking that it would be a quick read of recipes and I can pass it onto one of my beloved family members. That flew out the window about 10 pages into the book. I quickly realize how important this but was going to be to me and to my kitchen. This is more than just recipes; it's a combination of parentage that expands and entire country, several regions, an individual households. It's a recognition of a culture that has a way of doing things that respects the individual differences. It has an abundance of garlic and onions, but it also visits cuisines that include meat, pizza (as plebeian as it is), pasta, and drinks. there is wine for sure, but don't forget the aperitif or the digestif.

There are more recipes and I can possibly name that I flagged before I put this back on my bookshelf. I found myself completely reveling in the stories, the history, and the food. I was hungry at a much more importantly strong level than I normally am, and that's saying something. Before I even finish the book, I ordered supplies from one of the resources in the back of the book, and I can't wait to get started this very weekend on some of the recipes in the book. Of course, I'm Italian, so I just take recipes the general outline or a good idea and make it my own. I'm looking forward to this process and creating some of these dishes my own.

Here's a picture of my hasty order:

Yeah. I'm sold. I am madly in love with this book and I will never go back. I will be gifting this book for years to come. Thank you, Robert, for putting a piece of my heart in writing and giving me and my generation a definitive book of Italian cooking of our own. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Girl in Pieces: A Novel

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow fell in to my lap at Book Expo this year. It looked like it could be an interesting read, so I picked it up without much thought and added it to the queue.

Fresh off the street, Charlie is currently in rehab for self harm. What she went through to get there was too harrowing to speak of. With virtually no parents to speak of, she depended on the protection of her friends on the street. Now that she is being released from rehab through no fault of her own, she must learn to make a life on the outside that resembles something productive, and safe, even if it's not happy. She gets on the bus to Tucson where an old friend lives, and she sets up life as a dishwasher in a local coffee shop, meeting new characters, fighting off old demons, and learning how to fend for herself in this scary world.

I was pleasantly surprised at how interested I was in this book from the beginning. Glasgow does a really marvelous job of describing rehab in an empathetic and human light, one that really helps us buy in to Charlie's story early on. Granted, we are in Charlie's head, so that helps, but she teases us with enough information to get us coming back. Her fellow patients called her Silent Sue, and the name is very befitting. I was incredibly intrigued by the character and what she had gone through to get where it is that the book started. I was not expecting her to be released from rehab so suddenly and unexpectedly; it was an abrupt change in the story that, looking back, I realize is very realistic and it was an excellent story choice.

There were times toward the middle of the book where I felt pieces of the story were not entirely necessary, but overall the book read quickly and I was sold on the character and the story choices. I was particularly taken by the character of Linus. I don't want to say much about her, because you should read this book for yourself in order to thoroughly enjoy it. She was a minor character for sure, but one I related to probably on an adult to adult basis. She was an excellent torch bearer and rock for the story, which would often go in and out of emotions including hopeful and despair. When, for example, an old friend from rehab comes to visit, Charlie's life is turned on its head, and I found myself really angry at the entire situation. That for me is the sign of a good story, to have such intense emotions about it. Getting angry at a story is usually a sign that I care, which means that ultimately I felt this was a good book.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counter Intuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

Disclaimer: Based on the title of this book, it won't surprise you that this post contains a lot of foul language. Like a LOT. If you are offended by that, you should probably skip this post. Yes Mom, that most likely means you.

Mark Manson, the author if this here The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, had a widely shared article recently that you most likely read. It was a lead up to this sucker, of which I have been highly recommending to just about everyone I know since reading it cover to cover on the lane home from BEA. Now it's my turn to try to peddle it to you, dear reader. That is, if you made it past the disclaimer.

We aren't meant to be happy all of the time. That's right. You read that correctly. Read it again: We aren't meant to be happy all of the time. However, we are constantly bombarded with ideas that we are supposed to medicate and talk our way out of bad days, bad weeks, bad years. Instead, sometimes things are just supposed to be shifty. We have to get through the bad to enjoy the good. Most things worth having in life are worth wading through the muck for. My PhD for example, or my relationship with the World's Greatest Boyfriend (WGB). (I really do have that boyfriend. More on that soon.) Life isn't supposed to be a bag of roses and Cadbury eggs. We are supposed to LIVE IT, and that means we take the shitty with the amazing.

One thing that Manson talks about early on is how we don't want to put the work into relationships anymore for the longtime payoff. Relationships take work, and anyone who tells you otherwise is just lying (and wanting you to think their life is perfect -- that's another discussion). This hit home, because this was a point of conversation with my best friend and me as if late. Suffering in a relationship -- manipulation, emotional abuse, control -- is NOT GOOD. But work and hard stuff -- now THAT is what gives you the payoff. WGB and I went through this. (Another disclaimer: This is my side if the story. While I know he agrees with me, his side is his to tell.) WGB and I have been friends for more than a decade, good friends for more a year, we spent the entire last fall pretending we weren't dating. Then in the spring I basically told him to out up or shut up, and we came to a bit of a standstill. He had to choose a direction, and it was a bit iffy there for a few days. To his credit, he made up his mind pretty quickly, but I wasn't ready to hear the verdict. The three days between putting my foot down and deciding it give this a go were three of the saddest, worrisome, and hardest of my life. I was heartbroken. Nothing scared me more than losing him, but I knew that if I didn't risk it, I wouldn't get the reward, which was him loving me back. (And dear readers, it's the greatest reward on the face of the planet, even though he drives me absolutely nuts sometimes.)

I loved this man, long before we ever said that to each other, but I knew that if we didn't do the work, and we didn't go through this, then what was lying on the other side just wouldn't matter. The story obviously has a happy ending -- but we work on it constantly. We talk about feelings and hopes and dreams and order tacos and watch Star Wars and talk some more. We are willing to put in the work for the longneck payoff go being a unit. I'm do thankful everyday for this man who wants to work as hard as I do at this.

In the fourth chapter, Manson talks in detail about suffering, and specifically about the difference in suffering for good values and suffering for bad values. Bad values are those that are based on things out of your control: fame, money, popularity, pleasure. These values are so dependent on other people and other factors outside of your control. He specifically tells the story of Pete Best, kicked out of the Beatles and replaces by Ringo Star right before they recorded their first album,  later in life, Best gave an interview and said it was for the best (pun unintended) -- he was much happier than he would have been in the band. He reoriented his values, and he was happier in the long run for it. This was something I got.

I have failed a lot in life -- all of us have, and what we have chosen to do with that failure is what counts. I have been laid off twice (really, it was because it's damned hard to fire someone in this state), and I left the theatre after the second one because I just didn't give the amount of fucks that I should have for continuing to work in the field. I changed my priorities -- I changed what I gave a fuck about. And I'm certainly happier for it in my own long-run.

Basically what I saying is that this book is psychologist approved. {Wink, wink.}