Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Category: New Reads Page 2 of 20

The Mayfair Bookshop: New Read

Four non-fiction books in a row means it’s high time for a novel, especially since I finished my previous read the night before a holiday. And this time it’s The Mayfair Bookshop by Eliza Knight! Why did I choose this book? Well…that’s a bit of a story.

My TBR shelf has turned into shelves, and you know that’s not allowed. Generally, I keep my TBR to one shelf, but with the windfall I accumulated a couple years ago due to a friend’s sudden move out of state (and she had to leave her books behind), I’ve allowed myself more than one shelf for a while now. I swore (a not so solemn oath) that I would read the books I had before I bought any more, but alas, here we are.

In my defense I have slowed down and this month promised I would refrain from purchasing the darlings and make an attempt at whittling down the pile, and then we went to Costco.

Like I’ve said before, I don’t usually buy any books there, but I do almost always peruse the stacks, just in case. There are sometimes fun novels there that beg to be taken home. Honest, they beg. I hear them.

This time as we moved toward the aisle where my precious coffee is located, my husband glanced down at the cart and looked back at me. “What’s this?” I smiled. “A moral imperative.” He laughed. “Why these ones?” I point to the words on the covers, “bookshop” and “library.” “Ah, I see.” I cannot resist a book about books and readers. They’re like friends coming to visit. He knows this.

At the checkout, I had to rescue them before he threw them on the conveyor belt right along with the meat and frozen vegetables. Seriously.

I posted on Instagram that I had begun a beautiful Easter Sunday (although I had forgotten it was Easter until I opened Facebook) with this fun book and several extra cups of coffee. That post led me to receive a comment from the author herself, which thrilled me to the bone.

I read for three hours yesterday morning, and my first thoughts were, “Charming.” and “I’m in love with these characters.” Last night, when I couldn’t fall asleep, I thought I’d get up and read a bit and see if that helped. I sat down, opened the book, “No, wait. I need a cup of tea.” Put the book aside to start the kettle, went back to get the book and read while my tea steeped.

I imagined the characters becoming exasperated with my indecision. “Is she going to read, or not?” I’m sure they are all in there waiting, their action paused, for me to pick the book back up. I wonder what they do while they wait.

This morning, I’m already halfway through this delicious book and I’ll probably read a bit more before I start the rest of my day. You know, the part of the day I spend off the couch, outside a book. The boring part!

I’m sorry Ms. Knight, but I do have one complaint. I feel compelled to add all the books you mention in your story to my TBR list. And call me ignorant, but I didn’t realize this was historical fiction when I picked it up, and that Nancy Mitford was a real author. So, thanks for that!

That’s sarcasm in case it didn’t come across that way. Almost every book I read adds two or three more books to my list. Reading is never-ending entertainment and information accumulation. And a TBR list is always one step forward and two steps back, or three, or four. It’s beautiful.

I have many Costco adventures. Click over to Shopping Cart Antics for more!

Want to read more of my thoughts on this gem of a book? Try Beautifully Relatable Characters.

Drug Use for Grown-Ups: New Read

Back in February, I posted in Podcast Roundup that I had heard Dr. Carl L. Hart interviewed on People I (Mostly) Admire for the second time. The first time was back in May of 2021. His reasoning and research about legal drug use was so good that I wanted to know more, so I purchased his book, Drug Use for Grown-Ups: Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear, back in March and I’m finally getting to reading it.

He starts with this quote:

“If people let government decide what food they eat and medicines to take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” -Thomas Jefferson*

“*I recognize that Thomas Jefferson and other revered historical figures enslaved black people. This was reprehensible even during their time. But the cruel hypocrisy of these individuals’ actions does not negate the noble ideal and vision articulated in their writings. These enshrined principles give us goals to which we continue to aspire.”

With that presented as the first words of his prologue, I’m now open to not only learning more about his views on drug use but also his views on racism. The book is a two-for-one deal.

“Too often, the conversation about recreational drug use is hijacked by peddlers of pathology as if addiction is inevitable for everyone who takes drugs. It is not. Seventy prevent or more of drug users – whether they use alcohol, cocaine, prescription medications, or other drugs – do not meet the criteria for drug addiction.”

Two things here, the first of which is the phrase “peddlers of pathology.” Why is it that everything lately is a pathology, something to abnormal to diagnosed and cured by a professional?

The second is something I’ve been thinking for a long time. If all the nasty headlines and studies are true, that all the drugs are so terribly addictive with horrible consequences for taking any amount at all, then why do I know so many healthy and productive people, living normal lives while occasionally taking them? I’m hoping this book will shed light on that.

“Outside the drug world, each one of us, on a daily basis, takes measures to prevent illnesses and to improve our health and safety. We brush our teeth, wear seatbelts, use condoms, exercise. We don’t call it harm reduction; we call it common sense, prevention, education, or some other neutral name.

… the term harm reduction obfuscates the fact that most people use drugs to enhance experiences, to bring about euphoria – for pleasure.

For example, traveling via car presents potential risks to one’s health as well as potential benefits that impact one’s happiness. Wearing a seatbelt, replacing tires so they are not worn, and making sure the brakes and windshield wipers function properly – all can be conceptualized as “health and happiness” strategies.”

That is a great point. I’ve only recently heard the term “harm reduction” and I thought it was a useful idea. Why not, instead of allowing people to kill themselves on a product, help them use it more safely? But we don’t do that at all. We have deemed a product dangerous and if you kill yourself or others doing it, then that’s on you. You’re the idiot that did what we told you not to do.

It sounds so…parental. Like we’re all children that just have to do stupid things the adults tell us not to, for no other reason than to be contrary. FYI – I don’t think children do this at all. They do what they feel does them the best good and we’re supposed to be helping them learn to listen to themselves and make the best judgement for themselves.

Instead of screaming, “DRUGS BAD! And you’re a horrible person if you want to try them and you’ll die if you do!” I’ve taught my children the positives of drug use, why someone would want the drug, and the dangers of drug use that I’m aware of. There are positives. We do know that, right?

This book has already begun to enlighten me upon another point of view, that maybe the “research” has been interpreted in some fairly biased ways, that possibly the outright banning of a substance that brings many people plenty of happiness is only increasing the chances of problems, violence and death, instead of lessening it. And, as I already suspected, hurts the poor and ignorant more than anyone else.

Why do we have such a need to control what other people do with their own bodies?

More posts on this book…
Steering Toward a Better View on Drug Use
Is It Time to End the Drug War?

The Opening of the American Mind: New Read

Next up, The Opening of the American Mind: Canon, Culture, and History by Lawrence W. Levine.

Picking a new book this time was a chore, people. A real chore. I just sat there in front of my TBR shelf (it’s low to the ground) and stared. I pulled books off and put them on the floor, contenders. I took pictures and texted them to friends asking for advice. I reordered, restacked.

I’ve read several self-help books, a memoir, and some science and sci-fi this past month. I wasn’t sure where to go next. I picked up this one about higher education and thought, “Meh, I’m not real excited about it, but I like books about education and it looks interesting, so what the hell?!”

Years ago, I can’t say when exactly because it was before I kept a reading journal and wrote the dates in the books as I read them (pre-2017), I read The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished the Souls of Today’s Students by Allan Bloom.

Correction! I thought of something and checked my old blog and found some of my comments there from November 2016. Back then, nearly six years ago, I questioned whether the book would depress or inspire me. My children were fifteen and sixteen years old and we were talking about college. I went to university but never graduated. My husband took a certificate course, but that’s all.

The way the news and people I know talk about higher education, I was wondering if it was worth it. The book didn’t help. It only confirmed many of my suspicions. In my opinion, if you want a liberal education, much can be had for free by joining groups and reading the books for yourself. Direction is missing, leadership from a professor, but you could find a mentor to help you through if you really wanted to.

I’m digressing, I’m sorry.

I picked up The Opening of the American Mind from a used book pile a few years ago because I thought it would be interesting to hear the counter argument to Bloom’s book. I read Bloom and agreed with much of what he said, but now I’m reading Levine and I’m floored. There’s so much I didn’t know.

I’ve already spent six hours in this book, and I’m nearly finished. There’s so much to think about, so many comments I want to make. I’m hoping to share a few highlights with you in the next few days. I thought this was going to be complicated and dry, but it’s a surprisingly great read.

The Opening of the American Mind was written in 1996, so nearly thirty years later I have questions. Have things gotten better or gone off the rails? We hear every day about college and university problems, that schools are pandering to kids, safe spaces, cancel culture, and all that jazz.

I’ve been one of those “a liberal education isn’t what you get there anymore” people. But now I’m not so sure. I’ll be finishing the book very soon. Like I said, I want to think about it more and put together complete thoughts, so it may take me a few days to get a post together.

“It is essential that we understand the current struggles in and around the university in their historical context because only then can we fathom their meaning; only then can we comprehend fully the reason for and the nature of the changes that have been taking place in American universities in the past several decades.”

What do you think? Did you go to university? For what and why? I went to the University of La Verne as a theater major, set design. Yes, I’m aware the school specializes in teachers and lawyers, but I was young and convinced by my high school counselor that it would be a great idea. There’s something to write another post about. Yikes.

Want to read more? Try
History – The Awareness of Yesterday
Learning and Legitimacy: Who Are We?

From Melting Pot to the Pluralist Vision

The Tipping Point: New Read

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference is the third Malcolm Gladwell book I’ve read. The first two were Talking With Strangers and Blink. Both ended up being an entirely different book than I thought they were going to be, and in the greatest way. The way he writes pulls you in. He’s talking about statistics and behavior, but it feels like a story.

Malcolm Gladwell leads you through a maze of interesting (and seemingly unrelated) pieces of information and then allows you to connect the dots yourself. Both the previous books I’ve read changed the way I look at things. I felt smarter, more ready to take on the world, and in positive ways.

And that’s exactly the feeling I need right now, which is why I picked this book for my next read. The Tipping Point is about how ideas and behaviors spread like a virus.

I don’t have much else to say about the book so far. I’ve only read the introduction and first chapter. I’ll leave you with a quote (of course) before I go.

“We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that sometimes big changes follow from small events, and that sometimes these changes can happen very quickly.”

This book was written in 2000, so now this sentence feels quite ominous, doesn’t it?

We think life will continue on the same way forever; the frog in the water slowing coming to boil doesn’t notice the slow and steady changes, right? But at some point, the frog does notice, and things start happening. For the frog story, it’s bad. He gets boiled. Or does he? Maybe he jumps out. I don’t know! It’s just a silly analogy everyone knows.

My point right now is, what else around us has reached a tipping point and what was it? If we can notice the small changes that might trigger bigger ones, maybe we could respond in ways that make things better for ourselves instead of worse.

Want to read more posts about The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell? Try:
Product Epidemic in Real Time?
or Influenced? Yes, But That Can be a Good Thing

The Anxious Hearts Guide: New Read

It’s a 2-for-1 special today! I’m starting two books at the same time!

The first is a non-fiction self-help book that I couldn’t wait to start reading but didn’t want to dive into first thing in the morning. I’m saving that one to read a little at a time over my afternoon coffee. I decided to start a second book to wake up with, a sci-fi one that I picked up at the bookstore the day before.

I apologize, but there won’t be a wrap up post about The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner because it simply did not grab my attention. Not my cup of tea, I suppose. Maybe I’m meant for something stronger than tea?

I did finish reading the book. It was a mystery of sorts, and I wanted to see what the twist was, but I was put off by the “men are bad/women are good” dichotomy. I didn’t connect with any of the characters or the situation. It wasn’t a bad book. It just wasn’t for me.

What’s next? Where should I start? Let’s start with the “self-help” one!

the anxious hearts guide

I found The Anxious Hearts Guide: Rising Above Anxious Attachment by Rikki Cloos on Instagram. I follow the author’s page and find such great advice about maintaining relationships, that I felt like I wanted, no, NEEDED to hear more of her words. I downloaded it to my Kindle and immediately started reading.

Click over and read some of her posts, you will not regret it! Don’t have Instagram? Here’s her site. She has some very helpful advice for those of us who have been labeled as “needy” and “clingy,” the ones that keep wondering where all the close connections went, and why everyone keeps looking at us like we’re crazy.

I’m a few pages into the Kindle version of the book right now. THIS is going to be life changing.

The other book I started today was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick. I’ve been hearing about this sci-fi classic for years and since I lost all control and bought it on my bookstore adventure, I figured it should be the first thing I read from that haul.

Side note: I didn’t see the face in the cover of the book until I took a picture of it, and it scared me. Seriously. It’s starting to rain, so I didn’t want to take the book outside to show you, so I put it on the top of the pile of books on my desk and snapped a picture. The preview in the bottom left corner of my phone screen showed a shadowy face and I about jumped out of my skin. Now I can’t stop seeing it and it’s creepy.

It was written in 1968 and is the book the Blade Runner movies were based on. I know I loved those movies. When the new one came out, we were sure to go back and watch the original before we saw the new one. They were both awesome…and that’s all I remember. I just watched the trailers to refresh my memory, and they are only vaguely familiar, the old one more than the new one.

My memory. Man, it’s so frustrating. But now that I think about it, I tend to knit while I watch tv. Some things I’m just not that interested in, but my husband wants to watch, so I knit. And lately, I can’t seem to sit still and focus on a tv show or movie, so I knit. Maybe that’s not a good idea? I’m not really watching and comprehending what’s happening. I’m losing the story but gaining socks. It’s a tradeoff.

I’ve been watching episodes of Electric Dreams on Amazon Prime, also based on Philip K. Dick’s stories, and loving them, so I’m excited to spend some time in this book!

The Lost Apothecary: New Read

I picked up The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner at Costco a few weeks ago while I was shopping with my mom. I almost always browse my way through the book pile at Costco, but I rarely buy anything. When I do, it’s fiction.

the lost apothecary
I don’t always buy books at Costco, but when I do, they are novels.

This novel is outside what I usually read, so why did I pick it up? What caught my eye?

Re-reading the back of the book, I see words that usually trigger my book hoarding instincts.

“Eighteenth century London,” “mysterious owner,” “poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives.” That last one started to lose me. Is this going to be a book about how mean men are and how women have life so much harder? Hmm…

Then, “explosive history” and “transcends the barrier of time,” sucked me back in. I dropped it in my basket along with Erik Larson’s new book, The Splendid and The Vile.

I’m usually more interested in non-fiction and classic literature than modern novels, but every once in a while something new catches my eye and I can’t resist. Why don’t I do it more often? Because there’s a 50/50 chance that it will be disappointing and then I feel like I’ve wasted my precious time and money.

Older novels have been filtered through time and become classics. They are more reliable. Modern novels seem too easy to read, the plots are simple, and the themes irritate me. But not always. The ones I’ve loved are filled with highlights and notes, and they’re usually about magical libraries and rethinking a life’s direction or priorities.

After one day of reading, I’m already halfway through The Lost Apothecary. The cover says “surprises right up to the final paragraph” but I haven’t seen any surprises yet. I like the story. I’m curious how the chapters will connect, what Caroline will find, but so far, I don’t feel emotionally connected to how any of the characters feel. Maybe we’re just too different?

Will Smith: New Read

I’d call my self more of the “influenced” than an “influencer,” which is exactly why I picked up Will by Will Smith with Mark Manson. A friend of mine was listening to it as an audio book on his walks and said it was really good. I had reservations (and not for dinner).

I’ve always been a big fan of Will Smith. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was one of my favorite shows as a kid. He was SOOOO cute! Since then, I’ve never seen a bad movie with him in it. Whenever I heard interviews with him, he sounded so intelligent, grounded. And he and his wife were homeschooling their kids when I was, and for similar reasons! …swoons…

I realize my vision of him is probably idealized. He’s a performer, a public persona. Of course, it is! I wasn’t sure I wanted to read a memoir by him. What if he painted a picture of himself that didn’t match my expectations? My dreams…shattered.

One hundred and thirty pages in and, nope. Still dreamy.

“Living is the journey from not knowing to knowing. From not understanding to understanding. From confusion to clarity. By universal design you are born into a perplexing situation, bewildered, and you have one job as a human: figure this shit out.

Life is learning. Period. Overcoming ignorance is the whole point of the journey. You’re not supposed to know at the beginning. The whole point of venturing into uncertainty is to bring light to the darkness of our ignorance.”

The man continues to amaze me.

I can’t stop reading it. His life, his art, his everything is nothing like mine. I hate hip-hop (other than the most popular ones played in the 80’s…everyone liked those songs). But reading how he describes what happened? Wow…I’m completely absorbed in it.

There’s just nothing like hearing someone who is so excited, in love, and passionate describe what they do. It’s inspiring.

One more quote before I go. This one is so relatable, it made me tear up.

“Throughout my life, I have been haunted by the agonizing sense that I am failing the women I love.

This insatiable desire to please manifested itself as an exhausting neediness.

To me, love was a performance, so if you weren’t clapping, I was failing. To succeed in love, the ones you care for must constantly applaud. Spoiler alert: This is not the way to have healthy relationships.”

Yeah…about that…Didn’t we just talk about that recently?

This is why I love memoir so much. Every time I read the deeper thoughts, the process, the journey of another human being, no matter who they are or what walk of life they come from, I feel as if I’m more connected to the universe. A good memoir is better than any fictional universe I’ve ever experienced. And this one is already proving to be fantastic.

Why? Depth. The man thinks. He isn’t just moving through this world by instinct. He considers, reflects, and adjusts, admits mistakes, praises his own wins. It’s magic. Reading memoir is how we live, and learn from, more than one life at a time.

Attached: New Read

Ok, my dear reader, my thoughts and commentary on Attached. The New Science of Adult Attachment and How it Can Help You Find – And Keep Love by Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A. are going to get a little personal.

I first heard about “attachment theory” shortly after my first child was born and it all made so much sense. Children, right from birth, seek attachment and safety. Once that is achieved, they can move on to independence and then interdependence. That’s my short-form explanation.

It changed the way we raised our kids from the moment I understood it. When they cry, we feed and soothe them. When they reach for us, we’re there. Humans will grow to be independent on their own. We don’t need to force them to “grow up.” I fought with my family about this, and I never could understand why they could not understand.

My sons are adults now and, I believe, are establishing healthy relationships with their own partners. Yes, I they still do reach out to their dad and I when they feel they need emotional support. And that is a good thing. We are all securely attached to each other in healthy ways. We are family.

So why read about attachment now when my children are all grown?

Because a few years ago, I discovered that attachment theory applies to adult/romantic relationships as well. Discovering that, and what my current “style” is, has helped me grow closer to my husband of 23 years, something I didn’t know was possible. I wish I had understood some of this as a young adult. It would have probably helped avoid a lot of heartache.

Where did I discover it? Instagram, another reason to love that platform. The self-help and relationship help that I’ve found there has been wonderful. Pages like The Love Therapist and Self Work Co have changed my outlook on life.

I’ve been looking forward to reading Attached. by Amir Levine, M.D. and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A. for several months but kept thinking I already had it on my shelf until I realized that I have Boundaries by Cloud & Townsend there and it has the same color scheme. That’s how my brain works…it can be annoying.

This will be another fun book to read, I’m sure. The opening pages describe some of my most bothersome (to me) behaviors through the lens of someone else’s relationship. I’ve always been told these are things I should fix about myself, and I’ve spent my life attempting to not need people and become more independent.

“…we live in a culture that seems to scorn basic needs for intimacy, closeness, and especially dependency, while exalting independence. We tend to accept this attitude as truth – to our detriment.”

Man, that feels good to read. Like suddenly I’m not alone.

“…attachment continues to play a major role throughout our entire lifespan. The difference is that adults are capable of a higher level of abstraction, so our need for the other person’s continuous physical presence can at times be temporarily replaced by the knowledge that the person is available to us psychologically and emotionally. But the bottom line is that the need for intimate connection and reassurance of our partner’s availability continues to play an important role throughout our lives.”

Here’s where the personal stories come in.

I have this strange habit of reaching out to the people I love and need attention from. I text if they aren’t there. I walk into the room and say random things. I reach for them as I pass by. They are what my husband calls “pings.”

“Ping, a computer network administrator software utility, is often used to check the reachability of a host. The reachability includes two aspects. One is the availability, while the other is the response time.”

That’s what I’m doing. I’m checking the reachability of a loved one. “Yep, they are still there. I’m ok.”

To some people it can be irritating, especially if I’m feeling overly vulnerable and you don’t answer fast enough. I have been known to go off the deep end far too often than I probably should.

But knowing that’s what I’m doing helps me react better and helps my loved ones understand and show support. It’s a need for me and I’m uncomfortable without it. Yes, I’m aware that I should be ok alone and I generally am, but, like that baby that needs to be fed or that toddler that needs reassurance, I need to know my loved ones are there for me.

This book is going to be another great help to me. Relationships take energy, work, and self-awareness to thrive. Hopefully, the information here will bring more insight and peace to my current relationships. I’ll be sharing what I find as I go, but it won’t be a summary of what’s inside by a long shot. Hopefully what I do share will help you decide if reading it yourself and gleaning your own insight will be worth your time!

Read my final thoughts on this book at “Looking For Love: Anxious Attachment”

Apocalypse Never: New Read

I’m finally getting to read Apocalypse Never: Why Environmental Alarmism Hurts Us All by Michael Shellenberger.

The first time I heard from Michael Shellenberger was on Conversations with Coleman back in August of last year. I talked about it in my post, Buddhism, Economics, Racism, and More: A Podcast Roundup.

Confession: I have been accused of being what people call a “climate change denier” most of my adult life for all the reasons that Michael Shellenberger is writing about in this book. The statements I hear from activists don’t make sense. There doesn’t seem to be any real research backing up the radical claims that I hear spread all over the media. The fearmongering “sky is falling” rhetoric makes me tune anything you say out. If we’re all going to die, right now, and there’s nothing we can do but go back in time and start over…well…yeah. What do you expect?

That interview last year is what piqued my curiosity and enticed me start listening. His assessments made sense. He seemed logical. And I wanted to know more. I read some of his articles after the interview and put his book on my wish list for future reading. And here we are.

This book is based on the idea that we can do more for the environment by increasing tech, helping developing nations stabilize their governments, and moving forward, not backward. How we got here, history, is important. Technology has made things better, not worse.

From the introduction:

“I wrote Apocalypse Never because the conversation about climate change and the environment has, in the last few years, spiraled out of control…”

Like every other conversation, true. Everything has turned into a religious war.

“I also care about getting the facts and science right. I believe environmental scientists, journalists, and activists have an obligation to describe environmental problems honestly and accurately, even if they fear doing so will reduce their news value or salience with the public.”

Because lying and exaggerating get you nowhere. You only lose credibility.

“Finally, Apocalypse Never offers a defense of what one might call mainstream ethics. It makes the moral case for humanism, of both secular and religious variants, against the anti-humanism of apocalyptic environmentalism.”

I’m looking forward to reading this. It’s far more inspiring than, “Humans are bad!” and “Let’s all live in dirt huts and eat ants!” Or making feel-good recycling and banning laws.

Want to read more? Check out: Nuclear Power & Vacations and Environmental Humanism: Hope

I. Asimov: New Read

I. Asimov: A Memoir was an impulse buy! I think I was searching Amazon for something else and saw the memoir recommended…wait…I remember! I had bought Will Smith’s autobiography the day before and when I opened my browser, Amazon was kind enough to recommend Asimov’s. Since I’m a huge fan of that man as well, and I’m totally in the mood for more memoir, I clicked BUY NOW and walked away.

I. Asimov

A couple days later, there it was in my mailbox. That’s the glory of buying one book at a time on Amazon, they usually fit in my mailbox and I don’t have to drive to the post office and pick it up. This time, I was allowed to experience that beautiful feeling when I open the box and there it is, in a bag, all scrunched up with my mail from the last few days!

As soon as I got back in the car, I threw all the junk mail and bills to the passenger seat and held my precious in my lap. It was heavy but small. I pulled open the bag just to get a moment with it before I drove off to the grocery store. It’s a fat one! I took a picture of it immediately and sent it a friend I knew would appreciate my joy.

I’m not sure how he does it, but he’s so proud of himself and you’d think he’d come off as an ass, but he doesn’t. After every chapter, I only wish I could have hung out and had a cup of coffee with the guy.

Here are a few quotes from my reading this morning. Yeah…I can’t put it down. Damn these responsibilities getting in the way of my reading!

“At last I met people who burned with the same fire I did; who loved science fiction as I did; who wanted to write science fiction as I did; who had the same kind of erratic brilliance as I did.
I did not have to recognize a soul mate consciously. I felt it at once without the necessity of intellectualizing it.”

This one reminded me of my dad describing how much he loved his theatre people in high school. Meeting people that share your passion for something, or (in my case) at least share your enthusiasm for life in general…there’s nothing like it. I think it’s what the Founding Father’s meant by “the pursuit of happiness,” but that could also mean all the books you ever want.

“Writing was exciting because I never planned ahead. I made up my stories as I went along and it was a great deal like reading a book I hadn’t written.

When asked for advice by beginners, I always stress that. Know your ending, I say, or the river of your story may finally sink into the desert sands and never reach the sea.”

This! I read this in A Roving Mind last year and it confirmed, once again, that I was doing nothing wrong. 99% of my posts, fiction and non-fiction are cleaned up first drafts. Even in high school and college, once I wrote it down, it was done, other than cleaning up errors and fixing a few things. That doesn’t mean they are all winners, perfect right out of the box. It just means that it’s exactly what I wanted to say.

I’ve always been overly honest. I’m not one to hide behind my words. I say what I mean, I mean what I say. And it all comes tumbling out of my head and onto the page, the same way I speak. It’s me. The more I do it, the better, more organized, it gets. So…you, my dear reader, get the brunt of it thanks to the glory of the internet.

“It always seems to me that it’s not hard to be nice to people in small ways, and surely that must make them more willing to be nice in small ways in return.”

How’s that for an idea to start your day with? If you’re wondering what you can do to make a difference in the world, try a small kindness. Give a couple bucks to that guy. Smile and say thank you, make eye contact with the cashier. Compliment your waiter on how well he’s doing, even if he’s not THAT great. Those small things ripple outward like waves that create bigger waves. Weave some bright threads into the tapestry of our lives. Be nice today. Make someone smile, laugh, or feel a little bit better about themselves.

I’ve read quite a few Asimov books in my life, but I’ve only posted about him a few times recently. Check out A Roving Mind and The Gods Themselves.

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