Posts tagged books.
So, my sister and Robbie were never able to have the time together they both so longed for… and deserved. So in the book, I wanted to give Robbie and Cecilia what they lost out on in life. I’d like to think this isn’t weakness or… evasion… but a final act of kindness. I gave them their happiness.
this fucking book
I never got people looking up to celebrities as inspirational figures. I know it happens, my nearly 14 year old sister has Cheryl Cole autobiographies and Selena Gomez posters to beat the band, but I can’t say I ever saw the appeal. I guess it was ‘cos I never really thought these women had actually done anything to earn any kind of role model status. Yeah, they’re beautiful, and that’s lovely, but it was luck. Being able to sing, amazing, but something you’re born with, not something you’ve earned really.
Reading this book, I finally got that inspirational feeling from another person. I learnt what I really, really respect is a woman with her brain switched on. With the kind of confidence that comes from actually being happy with how you are rather than that from hundreds of thousands of euros beauty treatment and fans telling you how wonderful you are on a regular basis.
Everyone should read it. Caitlin Moran is amazing. When I grow up I wanna be just like her. Yeeha.
I’m really glad this book is introducing so many women to the wonderful world of feminism, empowerment and sex positivity, but dear god, I wish it were written by someone with a better view on sex workers. I loved this book until I stumbled over the part wherein she proclaimed sex workers to be a disgrace unto womankind. It was an odd thing to find, actually. The majority of the book is fresh, progressive and gutsy, then out of the blue she slips into this swamp of archaic, ignorant, oppressive bullshit. It sort of knocked me for six.
This is exactly how I feel when I’m so absorbed in a book and then somebody starts talking to me. I even have this “I’m-reading-talk-to-me-later” look, at least according to people who know me all too well.
I fell in love with books. Some people find beauty in music, some in painting, some in landscape, but I find it in words. By beauty, I mean the feeling you have suddenly glimpsed another world, or looked into a portal that reveals a kind of magic or romance out of which the world has been constructed, a feeling there is something more than the mundane, and a reason for our plodding.
“Some places are like people: some shine and some don’t.”
Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindbogglingly useful could evolve purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as a final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God. The argument goes something like this:
“I refuse to prove that I exist,” says God, “for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing”.
“But,” says man, “the Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It proves you exist and so therefore you don’t. QED.”
“Oh dear,” says God, “I hadn’t thought of that,” and promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
“Oh, that was easy,” says man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white, and gets killed on the next zebra crossing.
Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo’s kidneys. But this did not stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme for his best selling book, Well That About Wraps It Up for God. Meanwhile the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different cultures and races, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.
DATE A GIRL WHO READS
by Rosemarie Urquico
(In response to Charles Warnke’s You Should Date an Illiterate Girl)
Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.
Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag.She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.
She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.
Buy her another cup of coffee.
Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.
It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.
She has to give it a shot somehow.
Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.
Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.
Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.
If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.
You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.
You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat, Harry and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.
Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.
Or better yet, date a girl who writes.
“When a child first catches adults out — when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just — his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child’s world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.”
- John Steinbeck, East of Eden
I just read that link. That’s awful - I’d always assumed Lacks volunteered her cells.
nope! I blogged about this a while back, here’s my longer thoughts on Henrietta lacks
I read this book this past semester, it’s an important story to be told about race, class, gender and science in our country.
From it’s Amazon page:
From a single, abbreviated life grew a seemingly immortal line of cells that made some of the most crucial innovations in modern science possible. And from that same life, and those cells, Rebecca Skloot has fashioned in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks a fascinating and moving story of medicine and family, of how life is sustained in laboratories and in memory. Henrietta Lacks was a mother of five in Baltimore, a poor African American migrant from the tobacco farms of Virginia, who died from a cruelly aggressive cancer at the age of 30 in 1951. A sample of her cancerous tissue, taken without her knowledge or consent, as was the custom then, turned out to provide one of the holy grails of mid-century biology: human cells that could survive—even thrive—in the lab. Known as HeLa cells, their stunning potency gave scientists a building block for countless breakthroughs, beginning with the cure for polio. Meanwhile, Henrietta’s family continued to live in poverty and frequently poor health, and their discovery decades later of her unknowing contribution—and her cells’ strange survival—left them full of pride, anger, and suspicion. For a decade, Skloot doggedly but compassionately gathered the threads of these stories, slowly gaining the trust of the family while helping them learn the truth about Henrietta, and with their aid she tells a rich and haunting story that asks the questions, Who owns our bodies? And who carries our memories? —Tom Nissley
Just to elaborate on the story
- At the time blacks were in separate hospital wards. She could only afford to be treated at the free clinic colored ward in her home town.
- The ward that treated her mis-diagnosed her and radiated her insides to the point that it was visible to her outsides.
- Because she was an uneducated African American woman, no one really bothered to explain to her what the treatments were doing to her
- After a while, the hospital refused to give her pain pills because she the pain she was in required too many. They also refused to give her bloog transfusions so she had to bring a truck full of family members each time she needed new blood.
- I want to impress upon the fact that the scientist who used her cells got them for free. and her cells created a multi million dollar industry. Her family, TO THIS DAY continues to live in poverty. Her daughter is quoted to say that while she isn’t looking for a handout or money, It’d be nice if her struggling family didn’t have to pay for the expensive medicine her mothers cells helped to create
The most aggravating part of this story is that somehow people, when given all these facts, still believe that race & class had nothing to do with how Lacks was treated. That we can’t be mad at the scientists. That medicine and testing is more important that human dignity. All i want to know is why did history try so hard to hide the fact that the cells that lead to a scientific breakthrough belong to a black woman. So many other people are glorified in history for their role in revolutionizing medicine. But nothing is said when one of the most important mothers of modern medicine happens to also be black…
no one likes asking the hard questions because we don’t like being honest about the answers…