Vikki Claflin Makes Me Laugh

Vikki Claflin Makes Me LaughHumor writer Vikki Claflin consistently makes me laugh and here are a couple of reasons why:

“I grew up with a slender mother and a little sister who wore a size zero if you hosed her down first and weighed her in her soaking wet clothes. My father used to refer to her as the “little one,” and I was always the “wholesome one.” Yeah, that was what a 15 year-old wants to hear. For years I viewed myself as a Swedish butter churner. Big bones and strong arms, yodeling my way through my domestic chores.”

and

“When Baby Boy was born, I didn’t get him circumcised. It seemed a tad barbaric. (‘Welcome to the world, son. Now we’re going to chop off part of your joy stick’) … After an emotional, post-partum promise to my 8-pound miracle that I would never let anybody hurt him, I wasn’t going to start with whacking his wienie.”

These nuggets come from past essays she has written and I still crack up when I read them.

Vikki Claflin is our generation’s Erma Bombeck.

Body image, parenting, menopause, marriage, makeup, pop culture, and those nasty chin hairs — Vikki’s observations about the foibles of modern life are consistently razor sharp and wickedly funny.

I first got to know Vikki’s writing through her blog, Laugh Lines: Humorous Thoughts and Advice on How to Live Young When You’re…well…Not, and found it to be a safe place where I could feel better about my double chin.

It amazes me that Vikki is as prolific as she is, but I guess middle age is rife with material.

Two years ago I giggled my way through Claflin’s Who Left the Cork Out of My Lunch? and was keeping my fingers crossed that there would be another collection of her essays someday.

And here it is!

Vikki’s fourth book, I Think My Guardian Angel Drinks … Irreverent Advice on Living Well After 60 Because Wine is Always Age-Appropriate — will be available soon and I have had the privilege of getting an advance read.

So let me give you a sneak peak.

From Happily Married, Sleeping Separately:

“He likes the dogs sleeping in the big bed. I wouldn’t mind if they could be trained to sleep vertically, instead of horizontally. The same goes for the grandkids. Two Chihuahuas can push an adult human onto the floor, and little people like to sleep sideways on your head until you give up and relocate. By the third time I get shoved out of the bed, I’m up and hauling two tiny humans, each holding a Chihuahua, down the hall to the guest room.

His favorite sleeping position is a wide X, with arms up overhead and legs spread wide. He looks like he’s making a 2000 pound snow angel. This leaves me trying to curl into the tiny, pie-shaped area under his right armpit and above his right knee, which is roughly enough space for an anorexic gerbil.”

“I like a warm room. He prefers to sleep in an igloo, where you can see your breath when you talk. Hubs will open the window and turn on a fan next to his side of the bed. In December. We’ve had snow in our bed on more than one winter morning. Oh hell no.”

Misery loves company in the name of Vikki Claflin.

Nothing quite prepares us women for the annoying changes that happen post-50. It’s enough to make you want to tear your (thinning) hair out. So we could cry … or we could laugh, because laughing about varicose veins and cellulite is the better alternative. Vikki’s writing has made her an international best-selling author and has secured her a place in the hearts of menopausal women everywhere.

All of Vikki’s books are available on Amazon. Needless to say, I would recommend each one of them.

My fantasy is that someday Vikki Claflin and I will meet for a glass of wine and whine. And lots of laughs.

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Ten Tips for Organizing a Successful Book Group

Do you belong to a book group? I do, and this is one of my observations: a fabulous book does not necessarily guarantee a fabulous discussion.

Ten Tips for Organizing a Successful Book Group

When everyone is in agreement, there isn’t much to talk about. But if there are diverse opinions, it makes for a much more satisfying conversation.

My book group has been around for 20 years or more. None of us can remember exactly when it began. It is primarily a women’s group, but once a year we invite our husbands/significant others to join us for the book and a potluck dinner.

Now having read hundreds of books, I can say that success is often hit or miss and there is never a guarantee that  well-recommended book will spark a great discussion. Sometimes we are surprised which way it goes.

Anyway, here are some tips that have worked well for my book group and may work for yours.

Ten Tips for Organizing a Successful Book Group

  1. An August get together is when we share suggestions. This is how we come up with selections for the coming year.
  2. If we need ideas, we can use online resources like Goodreads and Oprah’s Book Club.
  3. We make sure that at least one person in the group has already read the book.
  4. Historical fiction is a consistent winner, especially little known history.
  5. We try to choose a book with content that relates to social issues or contains controversial subject matter.
  6. We like to read authors representing the spectrum of nationality and ethnicity.
  7. Usually we opt for contemporary novels, but memoir, classics and the occasional non-fiction mix it up.
  8. We are conscious of the length of the book. We want everyone to be able to finish it in time.
  9. At each meeting one person is responsible for researching the book and the author, to add background and context to the discussion.
  10. It is OK to agree to disagree. No opinion is wrong.

Last month my book group read Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout. It is the story of ordinary, intertwined lives in the midwest small town of Amgash, Illinois. If you’ve read Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton you will recognize many of the characters in this novel.

I loved, loved, loved this novel. But I expected to. I am a huge fan of Strout’s writing.  I thought her Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge was pure magic.

About half of the group agreed with me on Anything is Possible. The rest had mixed feelings.

“I couldn’t follow it,” said one. “Too many characters and too many connections to figure out.”

I disagreed.

“Don’t you like when you reach a part where it starts coming together, and you say OMG, so that’s what’s going on?” I asked. “The ‘aha’ moment!”

“No, because I don’t like to have to go back and reread,” she responded.

“It was relentlessly sad,” said another.

I couldn’t deny that. “But there is beauty in the sadness,” I said.

Viva la difference!

This is exactly what makes book group discussions so much fun.

 

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Thanksgiving Cranberry Jello Ring

Thanksgiving Cranberry Jello Ring

 

Happy Thanksgiving from my home to yours! May your holiday be filled with the warmth of family and friends, and may your tummies be blissfully full with whatever your dinner plate holds.

For my family, Thanksgiving would be just another dinner if it were not for our traditional Cranberry Jello Ring. I am sharing it today, two days before Turkey Day, because if you are looking for an additional side dish, this quick and easy recipe might become a favorite of yours as well.

What makes the cranberry so Thanksgiving-ish?

The lowly cranberry generally gets little attention throughout the rest of the year, but Thanksgiving is its day to shine.

Why? Well, it is thought that cranberries appeared in the earliest Thanksgiving celebrations since they were readily available, being one of just three fruits native to North America. They grow in the wild in sandy bogs or marshes and are primarily found in the Northeast.

Early settlers from England also found healing properties in cranberries, using them to treat poor appetite, stomach complaints, blood disorders, and scurvy.

Low in calories and high in antioxidants, the cranberry is thought to ward against several diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease.

On Thanksgiving we don’t think so much about the cranberry as a healing agent, but more as a pleasing accompaniment to the dinner plate, with its bright red color accenting the muted colors of turkey and stuffing.

My mother began making this dish when I was a child and the recipe was handed down to me and now to my adult children.

With just the right balance of sweet, tart, and crunchy, it is a perfect accompaniment to the meal. I usually double the recipe to serve 12-14.

Thanksgiving Cranberry Jello Ring

2 c. cranberries
1 1/4 c. water
1 c. sugar
1 pkg. cherry jello
1 c. diced celery
1/2 c. diced apple
1/2 c. chopped nuts
1/4 t. salt

Cook cranberries in water. When tender, add sugar and cook 5 minutes. Pour boiling mixture over jello and stir until dissolved. Chill. When partially set, add remaining ingredients. Pour into ring mold and chill.

Thanksgiving Cranberry Jello Ring

 

You might be thinking, jello, ugh. But take my word for it, this is really yummy.

And it looks great on your Thanksgiving table.

Happy Thanksgiving, and bon appetit!

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Book Buzz: Paris for One & Other Stories

Was I happy to get my hands on Paris for One & Other Stories, the latest collection from best-selling author JoJo Moyes?

Mais oui!

Book Buzz: Paris for One

I’m an unabashed fangirl of Jojo Moyes and have eagerly awaited her every novel. One of my very favorites was the breathtaking story about love and loss during World War I, The Girl You Left Behind, but the two novels featuring of protagonist Louisa Clark in Me Before You and After You captured my affection as well  — not just me, but the rest of the world, too.

Good news for us … in January, another novel about Louisa’s journey, Still Me, will be released.

I can’t wait.

Paris for One & Other Stories

Paris for One is a novella and a billet doux to Paris, about a young woman who finds romance hiding just around a corner. It is a story as sweet and pleasing as a chocolate croissant.

Who wouldn’t sigh with consternation at the unlikely happenstance of Nell, a shy 26 year-old British girl finding herself alone in a city she’s never been to, and stood up by her hapless boyfriend? Who wouldn’t swoon over the dreamlike weekend that unfolds?  Nell meets a guy on a motorbike who whisks her through the streets of the city and opens her eyes to adventure.

Nell takes a chance with this stranger on this strange but enchanting weekend in Paris, and her life is forever changed.

Fans of Moyes know that she has a deep love for the city of Paris since it features prominently in her writing. Me Before You ends with Louisa in Paris, honoring Will’s wish for her (the visual of her sitting alone at the cafe is still with me); After You flashes back to Lou’s time in Paris as she starts her new life; and The Girl You Left Behind is set against the backdrop of Paris during World War I. With Paris for One, Moyes again presents Paris in all its alluring glory, and gives us a strong, lovable female protagonist who finds her true self in the City of Love

Moyes serves up the rest of this delicious meal with a collection of eight short stories, each one about ordinary people navigating the terrain of thwarted love. I particularly enjoyed “Between the Tweets,” a story about love going awry in the age of Twitter (and quite relevant to stories in the news these days).

This novella and short stories format is a departure for Moyes, but it works well. Fans might clamor for more as the stories end too soon, but it is a testament to Moyes’ talent that she leaves us hungry and yearning.

Who knows? Perhaps one of these will turn into a novel someday.

Are you listening, Jojo Moyes?

 

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of Paris for One & Other Stories. Please click on the Books is Wonderful Facebook page and leave a comment. A winner will be randomly selected. US addresses only, please.

 

I received a copy of Paris for One & Other Stories from Penguin Books for an honest review, which is the only kind of review I write.

 

 

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Happy National Authors Day

Happy National Authors DayWe love our authors, and today because it is National Authors Day they get an extra shout out. Are there authors who have changed your life through their beautiful words? There are for me, too many to count.

“A writer is a world trapped in a person.” — Author Unknown

Is it a coincidence that National Authors Day is the same day as the start of NaNoWriMo, the writing competition that spans the month of November? For all of those participating in that mad dash to 50,000 words, good luck! I did it three years ago and finished the first very rough draft of my novel.

But alas, an author — at least, a novelist — I am not. Not yet, anyway. Novels are approximately 80,000-100,00 words and undergo revision after revision after revision. I’ve been through two major revisions already and am not done yet.

“A word after a word after a word is power.” — Margaret Atwood

Authors should be recognized. As an aspiring one, I know how incredibly difficult it is, and producing a well-written tome is something to be very proud of.

Here is some interesting info from Scribd, the reading subscription service, offering access to the books, audiobooks, news and magazine articles, documents and more.

Scribd has analyzed its user data to come up with the most popular author in each state.

Here are a few of the key data findings:

  • Mark Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck) is the most popular author in America, claiming the top spot in 7 states. (I reviewed this book.)
  • Pop culture is King – Stephen King (ItThe Tommyknockers) is the most popular author in 4 states and Ernest Cline (Ready Player One) is the most popular in 3 states.
  • The Northeast wants to know What Happened, with New York, Maine, and Massachusetts each reading Hillary Clinton more than any other author.
  • Most Popular Genres – Personal Growth and Mysteries, Thrillers & Crime are indisputably the most popular genres across America right now.

Happy National Authors Day

“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, familiar things new.” — William Makepeace Thackeray

Thank you, authors, for delighting us, inspiring us, drawing us in to worlds we never knew existed. Keep writing, keep creating, keep sharing! And perhaps we should all heed this suggestion:

“When you read a piece of writing that you admire, send a note of thanks to the author.” — Sherman Alexie

 

 

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Halloween Audibobooks with Chills and Thrills

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible.
The opinions and text are all mine.

Halloween Audiobooks with Chills and ThrillsShouldn’t the frost be on the pumpkin by now? Here in the northeast US it feels more like late June than late October. Nonetheless, the calendar says that Halloween will be here next week and preparations for this most fun holiday are underway.

But wait a minute. As I look around my house, I see the ghost of Halloween past. Now there are no Disney costumes hanging in the closet waiting to be whisked on for the school Halloween parade. I’m not tripping over cardboard skeletons or witches hats or scary monster masks strewn everywhere.

In years past, I would have purchased giant bags of candy for the neighborhood kids. Now, not a single Pop Tart can be found in the secret place I used to stash the bounty. The neighborhood kids have grown and gone, and the young kids now are savvy enough to have their parents drive them to a denser neighborhood where trick or treating is more efficient.

Boo. Make that boo hoo. I miss those days!

Halloween is just not the same when the kids grow up. As I wistfully watch our neighbors decorate their front yards with flimsy white cobwebs, I remember Halloween with a pang and hope that someday grandchildren will be around to let us partake in the fun again, starting with the serious discussions of possible costumes weeks before.

Maybe, too, I will introduce the kids to Halloween audiobooks, which make a fun holiday even better.

Halloween audiobooks for kids

For kids who are at that sweet spot of childhood where spooky stories and mock terror give them goosebumps of delight, there are so many audiobooks on Audible that hit the mark. When you’re carving the pumpkins, or selecting a bedtime story, or driving the kids home from school, you might enjoy one of these audiobooks:

Halloween Stories

Halloween Books With Chills and ThrillsAppropriate for K-6, this book is about a group of friends who have some spooky Halloween adventures.

 

 

 

 

Favorite Scary Stories of American Children

Halloween Books with Chills and Thrills

 

Grades K-3 will enjoy these sometimes scary, sometimes funny stories.

 

 

 

 

Leonardo the Terrible Monster

Halloween Books with Chills and ThrillsLeonardo thinks he is a failure as a monster because he is unable to scare anyone. Children ages 4-8 will adore this story with a sweet message about being loved for who you are.

 

 

 

In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories

Halloween Books with Chills and ThrillsAn “I Can Read” book, the content is just creepy enough to be scary but fun as well. The level is appropriate for 4-8 year-olds.

 

 

 

 

Halloween Stories

Halloween Books with Chills and Thrills

 

Written for children aged 5-7, this book has spooky stories to delight kids and adults alike.

 

 

 

The Halloween House and Other Scary Stories

Halloween Books with Chills and ThrillsThe three stories are “The Halloween House”, a cautionary poem about the dangers of trick or treating without obeying the rules, “The Nothing That Lives Under My Bed”, and “The Skeleton Inside Me”. Great for late night bedtime stories. Recommended for ages 5-7.

 

 

 

 

Do you have Audible? You should! If you don’t have Audible already, try it out with this free 30-day membership.

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The Life of a Book

The Life of a Book

The Life of a BookI have always been curious about the birthing process of a novel, especially when I finish one that I adore. How did this bundle of joy come into the world? What is the life of a book?

It starts with a gleam in the author’s eye, of course. What inspires her? How does she take a nugget of an idea and flesh it out? What sparks her imagination when she creates characters and a fictional world that draws us in?

Let’s say she completes the book and is lucky enough to find an agent who loves it and sells it. What happens next? As a novel travels through its own bookish birth canal, from conception through delivery, all kinds of things are happening behind the scenes that most of us are unaware of.

I’ve always been drawn to interviews in which authors can talk about their journey. And now, thanks to Penguin Random House, we can hear from selected authors about just that — as well as the book doctors and nurses critical to the book’s success.

The Life of a Book

Penguin Random House has a fascinating new interview series on its website called The Life of a Book that gives you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the publishing process from start to finish.

If you read my blog last week, you know that I was smitten with Celeste Ng’s latest novel, Little Fires Everywhere. With its absorbing plot, unique and multi-dimensional characters, and modern-day look at complicated issues, Little Fires Everywhere stood out as an exceptionally good read.

So I was delighted to find out that Ng is one of the authors interviewed in a podcast for The Life of a Book series.

I listened to Ng’s interview, and if you’ve read the book (or even if you haven’t) I think you’ll enjoy hearing her musings on different aspects of her writing process. For instance, you’ll find out …

  • Is she a planner or a pantser? (Pantser means a writer who doesn’t rely on an outline but lets her characters lead the way in the story development)
  • Why she chose photography as the artistic persuasion of one of her characters.
  • What she felt the hardest part was to write.

It Takes a Village

I moved on to the interview with Virginia Smith, Senior Editor at Penguin Press, who spoke about the value of a team. Contributions from editors, cover designers, publicists, marketing experts all add up to make the book shine in every way.

Assistant Director of Publicity Juliana Kiyan explained how the publicity strategy for a sophomore novel differs from that of a debut. Her job is to spread book love among a targeted but widespread audience: readers, booksellers, the media and, of course, fans of Ng’s first novel. Sales Manager Megan Sullivan described the fun of getting to read galleys (uncorrected proofs) months in advance so she can start creating a buzz long before the novel is published.

Jaya Miceli, the cover designer, shared what she looks for in cover art; how it must relate to and capture the mood of the writing.

You can find all this on Penguin Random House’s blog, The Perch, along with interviews of other authors and publishing professionals.

Happy reading!

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Book Buzz: Little Fires Everywhere

Book Buzz: Little Fires Everywhere

As I raced toward the explosive conclusion of Little Fires Everywhere, I simultaneously couldn’t wait to find out what happened but dreaded finishing this extraordinary read. You know that feeling, right?

I loved Celeste Ng’s debut novel, Everything I Never Told You, with every fiber of my being. It was a captivating story of race and prejudice and family dynamics, and it went on to win a ton of awards and made Ng a respected new voice in fiction.

Patiently, I waited for Ng’s sophomore novel to be released.

The wait was worth it, people.

Little Fires Everywhere is, well, brilliant.

Book Buzz: Little Fires Everywhere

 

Little Fires Everywhere

The story of two families in Shaker Heights, Ohio — Mr. and Mrs. Richardson and their four children, the “haves,” and Mia Warren and her daughter, Pearl, the “have nots,” whose lives intersect for a brief period of time and everything changes collossally for both families.

Elena Richardson is the matriarch — a Shaker Heights native whose expectations for her life followed a prescribed formula, just as the community itself had been one of the first planned communities in the U.S.

All she wanted was marriage, children, career, and a lovely home. And it pretty much worked out that way.

But then, Mia and her teenage daughter Pearl arrive on the scene. Looking for an affordable place to live, they rent a small house owned by the Richardsons. Mia is an independent thinker, an artist on the side; she needs to work several low-paying jobs to make ends meet. Pearl is a shy but friendly girl,  and is embraced by the Richardson family and spends most of her time hanging out with them.

In short order both mother and become more than tenants: each of the four Richardson children is drawn to these women, and Elena Richardson employs Mia as a part-time housekeeper.

Elena  is curious about Mia’s past, and feels prompted to nose around when Mia becomes intimately involved in a child custody case involving a friend Mia has met at one of her jobs.

The friend is a Chinese mother, Bebe, who abandoned her infant during a time of duress. The infant is given to the McCulloughs, friends of the Richardsons, who had struggled with infertility for years and were on an adoption waiting list. Now the baby is a year old, and the McCulloughs have assumed this child will be theirs forever.

But then Bebe reappears, and wants her daughter back.

The case divides the community, as well as the Richardson family. I won’t say more, because I don’t want to spoil it. Coincidentally, the novel I reviewed last week, Lucky Boy, had the same theme. In both books it is dealt with so compassionately and even-handedly. I admire both authors for being able to find compelling voices on both sides of an emotional issue.

Ng’s characters are so well drawn, each unique and credible, and truly, Shaker Heights itself must be counted as one of the protagonists. Shaker Heights, Ng’s hometown, was  planned with the best intentions and idealism, and although successful in some areas, it nonetheless is beset with the same race and class issues faced just about everywhere else.

I am sure that Little Fires Everywhere will have the same phenomenal success of Ng’s previous novel. Already, Amazon has named it a “Best Book of September 2017.”

And I sure hope Ng is working on her third.

 

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of Little Fires Everywhere. To enter this giveaway, click on the Books is Wonderful Facebook page and leave a comment. US addresses only, please. The winner will be randomly selected.

 

I received a copy of Little Fires Everywhere from Penguin Press for an honest review, which is is the only kind of review I write.

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Book Buzz: Lucky Boy

A hauntingly beautiful story and so achingly relevant for these times, Lucky Boy held onto my heart and still has it in its grasp.
Book Buzz: Lucky Boy

Lucky Boy

Lucky Boy is the story of two strong women: Soli, a teenager fleeing her native Mexico for a better life in northern California, and Kavya, daughter of immigrant Indian parents now living with her husband Rashi in upscale Berkeley — whose lives crash together in a torrential storm of love and loss.

Author Shanthi Sekaran is so seriously good at telling this story that you fall in love with both of these women — vulnerable, passionate and loving — even though their motivations are in stark opposition to each other’s.

Lucky Boy brings to light the struggles of undocumented immigrants thrust into a society so different from their own, where the norms and routines are true culture shock. They live in constant fear of being caught and sent back to their homeland that they had fled for good reasons. The only way to survive is to stay under the radar. Not make eye contact. Be invisible.

Lucky Boy is also about the heartbreak of infertility. Having known friends who have gone through this, I felt the anguish of Kavya and Rishi who have a wonderful life but are denied the one thing they want more than anything.

Soli survives a harrowing journey from Mexico and locates her cousin’s apartment where she will stay. The cousin is shocked at Soli’s appearance. She is dirty and gaunt from the trip, but she is also unwittingly pregnant. Nonetheless, she finds work for Soli as a housekeeper for a wealthy Berkeley family where she is treated well, even given paid leave when it is time for the baby to be born.

However, circumstances intervene and suddenly the cousin is being deported and Soli is sent to a detention center. Her infant son is taken away from her.

At the same time, Kavya and Rishi are desperate to conceive a child but in spite of lengthy and expensive fertility treatments they have not been successful. They decide to become foster parents, and as fate would have it, Soli’s baby boy comes into their welcoming arms.

Soli tries to survive the horror of the detention center, deprived of decent food and living conditions and repeatedly raped by guards. Barred from talking to a lawyer, she does not know where her son is and if she will get him back.

While Soli languishes at the detention center, Kavya and Rishi embrace parenthood and begin to forget that it is only temporary. They are in denial that their baby has a birth mother who is fighting to get him back.

Such an engrossing story with multi-dimensional characters, Lucky Boy would be a perfect choice for a book group because there are so many issues to ponder over. Immigration, motherhood, privilege … this novel will open your eyes to injustices in our broken system.

There could not be a better time for us to become enlightened.

One of my lucky readers will receive a copy of Lucky Boy. Please leave a comment on the Books is Wonderful Facebook page and a winner will be randomly selected. US addresses only, please.

 

I received a copy of Lucky Boy from Putnam for an honest review,
which is the only kind of review I write.

 

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Not Giving a F*ck

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Audible.
The opinions and text are all mine.

Who is Mark Manson, and why has he written a self-help book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living the Good Life?

Not a Ph.D, not a therapist, Manson is a regular guy in his 30s who started writing a blog in 2007 for his own enjoyment. His funny, irreverent style and refreshingly blunt philosophy caught on with the masses; hence, his book became a best seller.

Not Giving a F*ck

I am not typically drawn to books in this genre, but with a title like this one, I had to check it out. I downloaded the audiobook from Audible and listened to it while doing stuff around the house last weekend.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Note: There are a sh*tload of f-bombs throughout. Let this be a warning if you are listening to the audiobook as I did.

Manson contends that the lets-all-feel-good-about-ourselves mindset we’ve been spoon fed for years is just wrong. We’ve been conditioned to believe that if we’re not in a constant state of happiness, well, there must be something wrong with us. Not true!

The self-love philosophy that encourages us to buy more, earn more, be more, actually serves to remind us of what we are not, what we have failed to be — why haven’t we reached those higher plateaus? Realizing we’re not good enough, we try even harder, get more neurotic, tear our insides to shreds, and become less happy, not more.

Manson believes that the more we pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied we become, the more we give a f*ck, and the vicious cycle continues.

Giving too many f*cks is bad for your mental health. As Manson says, we’re here on earth for a short time. The key is to not give a f*ck, and you may find that when you stop trying so hard, things start to fall into place on their own.

What the f*ck is wrong with coming in second?

For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F*ck positivity,” Manson says. “Let’s be honest, shit is f*cked and we have to live with it.”

When everyone on the soccer team gets a gold medal for just showing up, it does our kids no favor in the long run. We think we’re protecting their feelings, but pretending everyone is extraordinary is perpetuating a myth. The truth is there are winners and losers among us, and that is often isn’t our fault. It’s just the way the cards were dealt.

It is unrealistic to think that things will always turn out the way we want. What makes us stronger — and happier — is dealing with adversity.

Manson knows from whence he speaks.

Like the road not taken, Manson says, it was the f*cks not given that made a difference in his life. He quit his job in finance after six days to start an internet business. He sold most of my possessions and moved to South America. No f*cks given.

F*cks should be given about the important things. That said, the art of prioritizing the important things in life is not an easy process. Over the course of our lives we identify the most meaningful components and eventually discard the things we thought were important but really aren’t. We ultimately realize that we can’t give a f*ck all the time because then we will be disappointed when things don’t turn out the way we thought they would.

A benefit of aging is realizing when to give a f*ck.

We reach maturity when we learn to only give a f*ck about what is truly f*ckworthy.

As we grow older, we come to accept who we are and not aspire to some unrealistic version of ourselves. This is liberating.

I hear this from many of my contemporaries. We no longer need to give a f*ck about everything. We reserve our f*cks for our friends, family, our passions – this is as it should be. Happiness will come as we adjust our expectations of life and accept who we are.

Everyone will have pain, but avoiding it or denying it will just bring more pain. Happiness comes from not avoiding problems, but solving them.

So what the f*ck can we do about it?

Manson says to get real about our limitations — own them and accept them. It’s not wrong or weak to acknowledge our fears and faults; it’s actually empowering. Avoiding the truth leads to unhappiness, but if we can tackle our fears straight on we will actually find happiness through the resilience to deal with them.

Like “don’t sweat the small stuff,” not giving a f*ck can be liberating.

What in your life do you not give a f*ck about?

 

 

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