Gorgeous. A beautiful mythos, interesting and compelling narrative. The book is filled with wonder and joy. Through the lyric prose, Valente shares with the reader her obvious love of language, philosophy, history, theology, and mythology. Intertwined stories of Pentexore, a land of creativity, humor, love, sensuality, and immortality, contrast with an ascetic mindset. It’s challenging and layered, and writing this review freshly after reading it is difficult because I want to give the book its due but I’m still in awe and joy at what I just read.
Some people will probably dislike this story intensely. It’s not for people with little patience for poetic, lyric language, or for those who don’t enjoy trippy, dream-sequence style creativity. If you like direct, to the point, straightforward plots, be warned. This book meanders and dallies and teases the reader, playfully inviting you to suspend your disbelief to an extreme. It’s not for skimming, either; even though it’s a short read, it’s not a quick one because your whole attention needs to be focused to truly get the most out of this book.
The story and references will make much more sense to someone familiar with Christianity. I did a fair amount of research on the creatures in the book as I read, but I think anyone could roll with the descriptions in the story and be fine without that. Valente does a fine job of filling in those details you don’t understand, but it does help to have some of that knowledge, and might serve to frustrate those who don’t want to wait.
I enjoyed it so much. I can’t wait to read more.
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Duncan and I had a blast helping with this. Ian Cunningham is an awesome person and talent, and we’re proud to support him and our city. We’re at roughly 3:15 or so, and a few other times here and there. It was filmed on International Happiness Day, and will be a memory we’ll always have. “Happy” was just starting to get on my nerves, too. This renewed my love of the tune.
We’re at Railroad Park. Lots of friends participated in this film. It makes me happy.
Can someone tell me how I’m supposed to genuinely reduce stress while still being alive?
I mean, I get it, feeling like I am always about to either pass out or hyped up enough to skydive a genuine health issue. I completely concede that I need to slow the eff down, chill out, all of those things.
But seriously and truly — how am I supposed to just dial it down when life keeps on ticking away with its myriad messes? Taking deep breaths and making sure I go to bed on time is great and all, until your granny cries about how your kids are going to hell because they aren’t going to a church building with a Church of Christ sign on the door over the one-day Thanksgiving that you drove 6 hours round trip for, and the cat goes missing twice in 4 days? And plus run around delivering greenery for Boy Scouts and cooking supper and ghostwriting a book and just even remembering to feed myself. Honestly, some of that wouldn’t be that bad except it’s an example of even taking-it-easy life being stressful. The cat and granny — how do I just NOT CARE? Or, not Not Care, but take it in stride I guess? How do I drink anti-stress tea until I just suddenly have this happy zen que sera, sera attitude?
I just don’t have any freaking CLUE how to do it. I yoga and twinge something or start berating myself. I even try to not ruminate on stupid crap and the Spousal Unit picks up on the fact that I was thinking something stressful and then I get to hash it out, outloud. I have talked to him, and he’s trying to help, I’m just SAYING. I can’t freaking seem to get a damn grip on anything.
And watch the smug ass little cat traipse in here and my heart lift completely and it’ll be alright. Except it’s not.
I am reading books. I’m altering my chemistry. I am doing everything I know how to do and then some. I am napping. Sleeping in. Eating like a starved person. It’s got to get better sometime. I just can’t hardly deal or think or anything lately.
I feel so very frustrated. Is it just me?
This book is challenging, particularly to someone who qualifies by all her metrics as a Driven Perfectionist. However, it’s what I needed to read right now.
Some of the reviewers have said that this book is basic common sense, but I beg to differ. These “small changes” are not small at all, they’re enormous and difficult shifts in thinking for me. I’m adrenaline addicted (I could have told you this before the book) and LOVE pressure. I set up projects specifically anticipating the time crunch, late nights, caffeine and exhilaration of making it by deadline. I started reading this book at the same time I decided to do a huge project (NaNoWriMo) and realized I was doing it again, despite my lip service to cutting back on stress. I’ve got to acknowledge I’m in recovery.
The “10 Simple Solutions” aren’t simple, especially for someone who has reached the “Burned Out” stage. The authors understand what they’re asking is going against the very nature of the people they’re writing to, thankfully. The book encourages us to implement what we can. In the past two weeks, I’ve been eating like crazy, while cutting out coffee and anything else stimulating. I’ve slept in when I could, and gone to bed by 10:30 most nights. I have been taking naps or at least spending 30 minutes meditating every day. This may sound relaxing and enjoyable to some, but to me, it’s TORTURE. On top of all that I need to chillax about the fact that it’s torturous and just relax and enjoy it. I suspect the same is true of anyone who truly needs this book. It’s more than changing diet and activity. It’s examining your very way of life. It HURTS to read that with all of your efforts to be the best you possible, you’re actually tearing yourself down. Just be prepared for that sting when you look at yourself from this perspective.
The supplement chapter is especially complicated, and it is partly outdated already. Also, I’m supposed to cut back on work hours, but somehow find the $$ for all of this? Sure, okay. Some of the suggestions aren’t readily available. The book is fairly repetitive and talks down to the reader sometimes (I wasn’t fond of the pronunciation guides, especially), but these are minor quibbles. On the whole, a needful book for me.
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This weekend is my high school’s 20 year reunion, and I’m not going.
Yep. That’s how I feel.
The irony is that I’m probably the reason they’re going to have a reunion in the first place. For a long time, I thought my class had a 10 year reunion and just didn’t invite me. I asked around on Facebook about any plans, and I was assured that we just didn’t have a 10 year because class leadership flaked. Part of me really wants to believe that, but the way people have treated me during planning makes me think that maybe she’s just being nice.
I loved school, but the social side of it always sucked for me. I didn’t have a concentration camp or starvation childhood, but it wasn’t great either. I hate going back to that town in general. Too many memories. I spent most of this week in a very dark place, thinking about my brother and lots of painful stuff that I tried to block out but just kept looping in my head. That might be the tipping point, because this week I just don’t know that I’d be good company having to go back to that terrible town.
I was the class Valedictorian, and hated and vilified the way nerds sometimes are. I was socially and physically bullied from Kindergarten through 12th Grade. I didn’t go to prom because I wasn’t allowed. I drove by in my Little Caesar’s uniform to say hey to my friends in their pretty dresses and pine for the one chance I’d have to wear a formal gown to a spiffy party. (Weddings don’t count, and I never have and probably never will get to wear a formal gown anywhere ever.) I had very little freedom before I was 16, and since I skipped a grade, that was really only a year of having any kind of ability to socialize even remotely, not that anyone but my boyfriend ever wanted me around.
I know for a fact (because it’s been hinted at in not very subtle fashion) that there are a few people can’t wait to see me and gloat over what a failure I am. I’m so not a failure, but I am also not about that Romy and Michelle crap, either. I have a good friend who felt it imperative that she be the “hottest” person at her reunion, and I think that’s a typical reaction to these types of events and I’m trying to cut stress and toxicity out of my life. I have very little relationship with most of these people, and don’t really want to try and recreate connections that I’m pretty sure never existed. I’ve already blocked quite a few on Facebook due to some real nastiness.
Maybe all of this sounds like Poor Me, but I really don’t feel sorry for myself at all. I did have some friends, but most of them in Band, and not in my grade. (If it were a Band reunion, I’d be there in a heartbeat.) There are a few people from my class I’d really like to see, but mostly those people aren’t going, either.
Maybe it sounds bitter. That is probably closer to accurate, but I don’t get people who want to relive those days. If school was your life’s glory time, then I really feel like you might be living life wrong. Or maybe I’m just unkind and high school can be a wonderful place and John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club is actually a good movie.
On Saturday, I’m going to enjoy a much better option. I won’t sit at home and mope or ruminate about how I made the wrong choice. I’m going to an Inklings meeting with people I do know and love, and maybe some people I don’t know yet, but even there, we’ll be talking about topics I relate to (literature, gaming, parenting, music, science!) rather than dick-sizing about who is most successful. Plus, I really loved The Lies of Locke Lamora and can’t wait to talk to other people who did, too!