I got to read so much more this summer than I have in the past few years, and it’s been glorious. I feel like I’m constantly learning when I read every day. Thought provoking phrases and ideas have appeared in both the fiction and non-fiction I’ve tackled, so here are the notes I made.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
“Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it.”
Year of No Sugar by Eve Schuab
“The most inhumane perspective is the one that denies the life-death-decay-regeneration cycle. Everything is constantly eating and being eaten.”
“Living involves some degree of violence by definition.”
“Is modern society based on our collective desire to run away from consciousness/deep feeling/God?”
Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
“Art thrives in times of uncertainty.”
Insatiable: A Young Mother’s’s Struggle with Anorexia by Erica Rivera
This book had me crying more than once. So many of its passages are heavy with the weight of time, opportunity, and happiness lost to an eating disorder. While no single passage seemed to properly convey the pain of Rivera’s story, the book left me with a strong sense of just how much power eating disorders have over their victims. And victims don’t include just those who have the disorders themselves. Rivera clearly showed how her parents, partners, and daughters suffered as a result of her disorders.
Atlas Girl by Emily T Wierenga
In this one, I saw more of eating disorders’ intrusiveness on relationships. This memoir, however, also illustrated the strength and kindness of those who support their loved ones with eating disorders. I found this especially touching because I can imagine the pain I caused my friends, boyfriend, and parents as I dealt with my eating disorder.
In one passage, Emily tells how after she’d starved herself all day, her husband came home and offered to cook her dinner:
“He would make burgers and corn on the cob, and I could rest and then eat and perhaps I would laugh again like in the old days. “You go lie down, and I’ll take care of it. Burgers sound okay?”
I nodded. “I’m very hungry,” I said.
I grabbed a bag of marshmallows from the cupboard. “I’ll paint while you cook. Thanks, babes.”…
I emerged from the art room with an empty marshmallow bag and white-powder lips.
I sat down at the table and looked at my plate and said, “I’m not hungry.”
The meal was silent with only Trent eating, and eventually he pushed his plate away and said, “I can’t believe you ate the whole bag of marshmallows when I told you I was making you supper. And you won’t even take a bite?”
And I began to cry. “You don’t understand. I was so hungry. I’m really sorry…”
Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robison
“Asperger’s is not a disease. It’s a way of being. There is no cure, nor is there a need for one. There is, however, a need for knowledge and adaptation on the part of Aspergian kids and their families and friends.”
The Art of Mindfulness by Tyler Hughes
“When you’re disconnected with yourself, you begin to lose sight of your actual, full potential. Your thoughts and actions start becoming mechanical, similar to knee-jerk reactions…Mindfulness allows you to ‘respond’ with awareness rather that ‘react’ out of habit.”
Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins
“When you steal, don’t just copy and paste the work of your predecessors. Once you have mastered the form, bring those influences together in a new way. Curate before you create.”
“When we undervalue our work, we end up playing the martyr, resenting the free gig halfway through the process. If you’re feeling resentment at all, you’re charging too little.”
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
“Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them, That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. ‘To know is to forgive all.'”
“One of the most neglected virtues of our daily existence is appreciation.”
“Even the most violent critic, will frequently soften and be subdued in the presence of a patient, sympathetic listener.”
“To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.”
“The life of many a person could probably be changed if only someone would make him feel important.”
“Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes-and most fools do-but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one’s mistakes.”
“The legendary French aviation pioneer and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote ‘I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.'”
What did you read this summer? Let me know in the comments or by using the hashtag #thetakeonadventure.