Tuesday, February 28, 2017

TV Tuesday: Sneaky Pete

Last summer, Amazon released a pilot for a new show, Sneaky Pete. My husband and I watched...and loved it! But then, there were no more episodes. We were thrilled to hear they finally posted more episodes in January and have been enjoying this unique show with a great cast, about a conman who steps into someone else's identity.

The first episode opens in prison, with a guy named Marius, played by Giovanni Ribisi (who will always be Pheobe's brother from Friends to me), getting really sick of listening to his cellmate, Pete, reminisce about his idyllic childhood on his grandparents' farm. Then, Marius realizes there is an opportunity here. He'll be getting out soon (and Pete is serving a long sentence), and he'll need a place to hide out from the gangsters that will come after him as soon as he's released. So, he changes tactics and encourages Pete to talk, describing the farmhouse, telling him all about each member of the family, and more. It seems that Pete's grandparents have a lot of money hidden in a safe in their bail bonds office, which could help Marius pay off his debt to the gangster and finally be free.

So, when Marius is released, he heads to Pete's grandparents' house and presents himself as Pete. Since they haven't seen Pete since he was 8 years old, they have no reason not to believe him. His grandfather, played by Peter Gerety, welcomes him home with open arms, while his grandmother, played by Margo Martindale, is a bit suspicious at first. His cousins - Julia, played by Marin Ireland, and Taylor, played by Shane McRae - have fond memories of playing with Pete as kids, so they are thrilled that he's back. Grandma and Julia even begin to teach the phony Pete the bail bonds business. Marius kind of likes being a part of this family.

Meanwhile, back in NYC, Marius' brother, Eddie, is in big trouble because the gangster Vince, played by Bryan Cranston, is using him as leverage to try to get the money that Marius owes him. Marius always protected his little brother growing up, so he's frantic to pay Vince off and keep his brother safe. However, his scheme to get at Grandma & Grandpa's money runs into a few snags.

With each episode, Marius gets deeper into his role as Pete, with plenty of close calls and being constantly worried that someone will figure things out, particularly his teenage cousin, Carly, who is quite sneaky herself. Meanwhile, he's trying to get at that money and keep tabs on Eddie. Oh, and he - Marius, not Pete - is supposed to be checking in with his parole officer in NYC regularly (played hilariously as a positive-thinking zealot by Malcolm-Jamal Warner). To keep things interesting, it turns out that Pete's family has some secrets of their own.

We are really enjoying this show. The cast is superb, the writing is excellent, and the twisty plot is very, very clever. It's always fun when you, as the audience, knows more than the characters in the midst of the story. It is suspenseful and action-packed and will keep you guessing, but it is also full of warmth and humor. There are 11 episodes so far in this season, and I see that IMDb already has a season 2 listed for 2018.

Since this is an Amazon Original series, it is available only on Amazon Prime (link below).

Monday, February 27, 2017

Movie Monday: Spectre

With our oldest son home from college all last week with the flu, the three of us watched a lot of Colony and Travelers (our latest TV obsession) but broke things up with a movie mid-week. They talked me into Spectre, the latest James Bond film. Now, let me be honest right from the start - I'm not a huge fan of James Bond movies in general. Fast cars, cool gadgets, hot women, lots of fighting & guns - it seems to be a guy thing to me. That said, however, I ended up enjoying this one!

This is Daniel Craig's 4th film as James Bond, and it starts out as you'd expect - with an action-packed sequence, this time in Mexico, complete with gunfire, falling buildings, speeding cars, and, of course, some spectacular moves by Bond (while wearing a neat suit). This was all to thwart a terrorist attack planned later in the day for a packed stadium. Bond discovers there is a secret global organization called Spectre behind both this attack and many other international threats.

Back home in London, there is a new M, played by Ralph Fiennes, who is fighting a political battle to keep the 00 program alive, as others in MI6 want to dismantle it and replace it with a new 24-hour electronic surveillance system. So, for pretty much the entire movie, Bond is on his own, supposedly on leave and with no authority from MI6. But he does have help behind the scenes, including some cool technology provided on the sly from Q. As usual, Bond's exploits take him across the globe, from snowy mountains to the hot desert and everything in between. And, of course, there are a couple of gorgeous women along the way.

One of my problems with many Bond movies is that the plots are so complicated you can barely follow them. This one is complex, but I had no trouble keeping up, and I found it engaging - something solid to hold all those action scenes together. I also enjoyed the side plot about the 00 program itself being in danger. Other than that, I'm not sure exactly why I liked this Bond movie better than other recent ones. I asked my husband, and he said he liked it but that Quantum of Solace was his favorite of the Daniel Craig era.

We watched Spectre for free on Amazon Prime (link below). It is also available on DVD, including from Netflix and Redbox.

Are you a fan of James Bond movies? Which one(s) are your favorites?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

My Progress in 2016 and Goals for 2017

Here it is the end of February already, so it's about time I finally post about my new year goals, don't you think? My college sons were home all January for winter break and most of February for one infection after another, so it's been a hectic start to the new year!

I wrote about my goal-setting process in a recent article for ProHealth: Setting Goals When You Are Chronically Ill (you can read the full article at the link). There, I explained how I have lifetime goals and then set more specific objectives and targets for each of those goals at the start of every year and track my progress. It's a process that anyone can use - not to set unachievable resolutions that will soon be forgotten but to set reasonable step-by-step targets to help you actually get what you want out of life...even in a life of limits, like ours.

You can also look back at my 2015 progress and 2016 goals (those related to health & wellness anyway).

Lifetime Goals
This year, after writing that article for ProHealth, I realized that my Lifetime Goals probably needed some minor adjustments since I hadn't really revised them (only added to them) since getting sick!

So, here are my New and Improved Lifetime Goals:
  1. To nurture and enjoy strong, fulfilling relationships with my husband, my sons, my family, and my friends.
  2. To be a writer, writing about topics I enjoy and am interested in and getting paid fairly for my work.
  3. To spend time outdoors and to travel, doing activities I enjoy and that rejuvenate me, and sharing those experiences with friends and family.
  4. To create and maintain a comfortable and happy home environment - both physically and financially - that contributes to happiness, comfort, and loving relationships.
  5. To be as healthy as I can be and to take care of myself so that I can do the things I want to do.
  6. To give back, help other people, and be part of a community.
SO THAT, I feel happy and content and can spend my time doing things I love.

I feel good about this revision, as it more closely aligns with my life as it is now, with the limitations of my health, my sons now young adults, and no longer being able to contribute a lot to our income (though I contribute in other ways, like handling the medical bills).

2016 Progress
I'm a very data-driven person, so I won't bore you with the details of my progress in 2016, but you can look back here to see what some of my health-related targets were and here is a quick summary of my progress in 2016:

The bottom line for 2016 was an exciting one  -
2016 was my best year ever since getting sick almost 15 years ago!

How do I know this? Like I said, I like data. I keep track of how I feel each day on a 1 to 5 scale (1 being great & 5 being badly crashed/bedridden), as well as my exertion levels (also 1 to 5, with 5 being most active). I just jot those numbers on a calendar at the end of each day, along with any unusual symptoms, new treatments, etc. So, I've been tracking these numbers, with monthly and yearly averages, since I first got sick in 2002. I also look at % of time spent crashed (a 4 or 5 on my scale). This also helps me to tell whether a new treatment is helping. My annual average for 2016 was 2.2, which was an 11% improvement over 2015, and a huge improvement over my early years of illness. I was crashed only 5% of the days in 2016, a stunning achievement, since I usually range between 10-25% days crashed in a typical year! It was also one of my most-active years ever, another indication that I felt better and could do more.

How did I improve my health in 2016? Well, that's complicated - mostly an on-going process and the result of not one miracle cure but a whole bunch of treatments over the years that have each helped a little bit, building on each other over time. The best summary of what has helped me (and my son) the most is in the blog post, Effective Treatments for ME/CFS. In 2016, what helped me improve further was getting even better control over chronic yeast overgrowth (by staying on prescription antifungals) and starting B12 injections (I quit being such a baby about shots!) and glutathione injections. I think the glutathione injections have been especially helpful and will write a blog post about that soon.

2017 Health-Related Targets
I won't bore you with all my detailed targets for writing, family, home & finances, etc., but here are my health-related Objectives and Targets for 2017:

1. Try New Treatments (this is an objective every year - I never stop searching for things that will help my son and I to improve our health & our ability to function).

2. Take Care of Myself:
  • Rest when symptoms flare (3 or higher)
  • Do 2 quiet things just for myself each week (no multi-tasking!)
  • Meditate at least 10 minutes every day
  • No computer after 7 pm
  • Do 2 fun things each week that are not TV
  • Take one "day off" each month
3. Improve Stamina:
  • Walk at least 4x each week (I have worked up to this over the course of years, after first treating Orthostatic Intolerance).
  • 10 minutes of gentle yoga stretches every day.
  • Muscle strengthening at least 4x per week (same as walking, plus I do most of it on my back to keep my heartrate down).
Much of the targets under Take Care of Myself may seem pretty basic, but I still struggle with taking care of myself, taking time out for fun, resting when I should, and relaxing. In fact, as I've improved, I've naturally wanted to do even more, so these kinds of simple self-care actions are even tougher now. My time and energy are still so limited that I want to be as productive as I can when I am up and feeling OK...so I need these reminders to take some time out for myself.

We are each at a very different place in our illness journeys, even when we have the same illness, so your goals, objectives, and targets will necessarily be different than mine, but I hope that sharing my goals and progress with you will inspire you to embark on a similar process for yourself. This helps me to actually achieve my goals, instead of looking back at the end of each year and realizing that nothing changed.

Have you set any goals or objectives for yourself for 2017? How was 2016 for you? Please share in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

TV Tuesday: Travelers

If you've been missing the awesome Eric McCormack since Will & Grace went off the air and Perception was cancelled, your wait is over! He stars in a new sci fi show on Netflix that my husband, son, and I are completely hooked on: Travelers. Our son has been home sick from college a lot the past few weeks, so we have been binge-watching this intriguing, original, exciting show!

The premise of the show is that the Earth is dying in the future, hundreds of years from now. Much of the destruction can be traced back to a disaster occurring in the 21st century that set off a series of devastating effects across the globe. Their solution is to send people - Travelers - back to our present day to try to stop the disaster and change the course of history. In the opening scenes of the show, we see four different people almost die and then, within moments of their death, their bodies are suddenly taken over by Travelers, and they live.

The Travelers have been trained to assume the identity of their host body's life, without letting anyone around him or her know that anything has changed. This is a challenge because these people from the future are totally unaccustomed to life in the 21st century. They have studied their host's life, through official records and social media, but that only tells them the basic facts. They operate according to strict rules - called Protocols - designed to keep from alerting anyone to their presence or disrupting 21st century life (other than saving the world, of course).

Because they are limited to host bodies in the same region who die at roughly the same time and are suitable to be hosts, the team at the center of the show is a motley crew. Marcy, played by MacKenzie Porter, is a mentally challenged young woman who can barely take care of herself and is under the care of social services (a bit of an error in planning for the Travelers). Trevor, played by Jared Abrahamson, is a high school football champion. Nesta Cooper plays Carly, a young single mother with a baby and an estranged, abusive husband. And Phillip, played by Reilly Dolman, has the bad luck to be a heroin addict. Though there is an intelligent, highly motivated mind from the future inside, he is stuck with his host's addiction. And finally, Eric McCormack plays Grant, an FBI agent and the leader of this away team of Travelers.

There are two integral pieces to the show: each of the travelers trying to fit into his or her new life and the missions they are given from their leaders in the future for trying to alter the course of history and save the planet and the human race. Both aspects are fascinating and ever-changing and make for a very immersive and suspenseful storyline. All three of us love this show. Our son was a little slower to get into it, but after a few episodes, he was hooked, too. As you watch each episode, you learn a little more about the future world that the Travelers come from (our future) and the events that lead to such a disastrous outlook. It is exciting, fast-paced, and completely gripping. I can't wait to watch the next episode tonight!

Travelers is a Netflix original program, so it is available exclusively on Netflix.

Have you watched Travelers yet? What new shows are you hooked on?

Monday, February 20, 2017

Movie Monday: La La Land

Last week, on Valentine's Day, my husband and I went out to dinner and then to the theater to see La La Land. Fortunately, Valentine's Day fell on a $5 Tuesday at the local theater, and this seemed like a nice choice for the holiday. We both very much enjoyed this joyful, original movie that harkens back to Old Hollywood.

The opening scene gives you a good idea of what the rest of the movie has in store. In the middle of a traffic jam in LA, we see the drivers of the stuck cars suddenly jump out of their vehicles - dressed in bright, primary colors - and do an awesome song-and-dance number in the street and on the roofs and hoods of the cars. It's pure Broadway musical and full of joy! Then, the traffic begins to move, everyone gets back in their cars, and we catch our first glimpse of the main characters.

Mia, played by the adorable Emma Stone, is in the way in her Prius, and Sebastian, played by Ryan Gosling, is behind her, gets impatient and honks, and drives around her car with a snarl at her out the window. Not a very auspicious start for this love story. Mia is an aspiring actress, working in the coffee shop on one of the big movie lots, dreaming of the day when she will be the big star turning heads as she grabs a coffee. Mia goes on one audition after another, but the competition and her lack of success are depressing...and these aren't even good parts.

Sebastian is a jazz musician who dreams of having his own jazz club one day. He even has the spot picked out - a famous old jazz club that is currently a Samba & Tapas place. For now, he has a job he hates, playing piano in a restaurant. It's the holiday season, and the owner makes it clear that he wants him to play only classic holiday standards, no jazz or anything creative. For Sebastian, it's a soul-sucking job.

Mia and Sebastian meet up again, at a Hollywood party, and soon begin to date. So, yes, this is a romance, but it's not at all predictable or formulaic. It's about love, yes, but even more about reaching for your dreams and being true to yourself. It's a wonderful story, where people occasionally burst into song and start dancing. Both Stone and Gosling are wonderful in it - who knew with the dark, brooding roles Gosling usually plays, that he can dance and play the piano and smile like that? La La Land is an homage to Old Hollywood and to Broadway musicals, but it is also a story with emotional depth. This is definitely a feel-good movie, filled with the joy of art - drama, music, and dance - that will leave you tapping your feet and smiling.

La La Land is currently in the theaters. It swept the Golden Globes, winning 7 awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor Awards for both Stone and Gosling, and has been nominated for 14 Academy Awards. I'm glad we saw it on the big screen, with all that glorious color and sound, but it will eventually come to DVD and streaming (no release dates have been announced yet, though DVDs are already available for pre-order).

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Weekly Inspiration: Reconnecting with Compassion

I was browsing through the TED talk website this morning, in search of inspiration to share with you, and I found myself drawn to the talks on compassion.

Certainly, our current political state worldwide makes compassion an important topic right now, but I am also drawn to this topic in a far more personal way. Compassion and kindness are very important to me, and I try to embody those concepts in my own life. We always taught our kids that treating others with kindness and respect is the most important thing in life, and living with chronic illness has only strengthened that belief.

I have always felt a strong pull to reach out to others and improve the world around me. Living with ME/CFS for 15 years, much of that reaching out has been focused on wanting to help others suffering with chronic illness, who face similar challenges to my own. I spend a large portion of my limited time/energy to help others, through this blog, Twitter, e-mail, and Facebook groups. While most people are grateful for help and support, my efforts are not always met with compassion and kindness in return. Several times - including very recently - I have offered information, support, or compassion and been met with anger, bitterness, a vitriol that is hard to fathom, and sometimes even a personal attack.

Intellectually, I understand that some people struggle more to accept this life of chronic illness and may be stuck in the "anger" stage of grief, but it still hurts. My response is often to try even harder to get through to them, to offer help, to provide compassion, but that often results in more hurt for me. Sometimes, you just have to give up (a hard lesson for me).

So, with this on my mind this morning, I found a TED talk by Krista Tippett about compassion that I enjoyed. It's all about what compassion really means and why we need it in our lives. This is an important lesson for our world right now, both politically and personally.

Two points Krista makes were particularly resonant for me:
  • It is sometimes hardest to be compassionate toward those we are closest to (definitely true!)
  • Suffering can actually make a person more compassionate, a fact that I recently wrote about in my article, The Hidden World of Invisible Suffering.
What are your thoughts on compassion?

Have you ever offered someone compassion and been rebuffed or even attacked in return? How did you cope with that?

Hope you are enjoying this lovely weekend - supposed to be almost 70 degrees here today!

Friday, February 17, 2017

New ProHealth Article: The Importance of Play

Camping with my husband is one way I play & relax
My latest article for ProHealth's Inspiration Corner was published this week: The Importance of Play. You can read the full article at that link.

My inspiration for this article was two older posts from this blog: Do You Play? and How Do You Relax? Both posts discussed my difficulties in making time for myself to just do something fun and include lots of great comments and suggestions from readers like you!

For the ProHealth article, I built on those ideas, discussing the benefits of play and adding some helpful tips for those with chronic illness. I got lots of great ideas from other people with chronic illness, both from comments here in the blog and from Facebook groups I belong to...so thank you!

Take a look at the article and let me know how YOU play. Because I definitely still need help!

Reading is another favorite way for me to have fun!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Movie Monday: The Accountant

With my college son home sick all weekend, the three of us decided to escape with a movie last night. We watched The Accountant, an exciting and unusual thriller about math! We all enjoyed it very much.

Ben Affleck stars as Christian Wolff, the accountant in the title, a quiet but brilliant man with few people skills. He has been hired by a robotics company to "uncook" their books - that is, to review all of their accounting information with a fine-toothed comb because a junior accountant named Dana, played by Anna Kendrick, found an anomaly amounting to millions of dollars. What Christian finds quickly results in several deaths.

Meanwhile, a Treasury Department investigator named Ray King, played by J.K. Simmons, is getting ready to retire and is obsessed with the mysterious Accountant who he knows is behind the money laundering of major crime families all over the world. He appears in many photos with known criminals, but you can never see his face. Ray blackmails a younger employee named Marybeth Medina, played by Cynthia Addai-Robinson, into helping him track down The Accountant. Although they don't know his name, we immediately see from the partial photos they have that they are after Christian.

Flashbacks reveal that Christian had a difficult childhood and has autism, which explains his quirks and inability to relate to those around him. However, he senses something different in Dana, right from their very first meeting, and is uncharacteristically drawn to her. She shares his aptitude, fascination, and all-around geekiness with respect to math and has also felt like an outsider much of her life. She was the first one to recognize the anomaly in the books, after all. When the violence begins, he feels protective toward Dana.

This is a very violent movie, with a lot of fighting and shooting and a huge death toll. I don't generally like that in a movie, but I still liked this one because it is very clever. The reasons behind the violence are complex and interesting. The pieces of the puzzle that are Christian's childhood and current life only gradually fall into place, at the same time that we are learning about the scam going on in the robotics company and watching the two renegade Treasury Department investigators slowly closing in on Christian, unaware of the current chaos he is embroiled in.

It's all very suspenseful, exciting, and action-packed but also very smart. The entire cast is excellent (and also includes Jeffrey Tambor and John Lithgow), but Affleck is mesmerizing in this role, holding his emotions close as we slowly see flashbacks of what made him the way he is. In fact, the child actor who plays Christian as a boy, Seth Lee, is also very good. I don't always like the action-packed thrillers that my husband and sons prefer to watch, but all of us thoroughly enjoyed this one - especially seeing all the pieces slowly come together in the end.

Have you seen The Accountant yet? Do you like thrillers and action movies?

The Accountant was recently released on DVD and is available in Redbox. It is available to rent starting at $3.99 on Amazon Prime (link below); it is only available on DVD from Netflix.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Weekly Inspiration: Inspiring Posts on Other Blogs

Yes, I'm still here. Sorry there were no new posts here this week (in between Sundays); life has just felt like it is spinning out of control lately. Physically, I had a rough week as my erthyromelalgia flared up badly and spread from just my toes to include my heels, too. At one point, the bottoms of my feet were so sore, I could barely walk barefoot across the room (and I haven't been able to wear socks since September!). Meanwhile, there was just a lot to juggle this week - I negotiated an awesome refinance on our mortgage (which is exciting but took a lot of energy), we had a false alarm scare for 24 hours where we thought our car had been stolen (bit of stress), and both of our college sons came down with a stomach virus. One came home for some TLC and the other stayed at school. I have been wiping everything down with disinfectant nonstop!

Anyway, enough about me. This is Weekly Inspiration, not weekly complaining!

Today, I thought I'd go back to the origin of blogs - did you know the word blog is a shortened version of weblog and that blogs were originally intended for just that, a log of cool stuff on the web? Yup, blog originally meant a list or log of links to other websites.

My own blog is sorely out of date, including the list of other blogs - I intend to work on that as soon as things slow down here (ha ha) - so I thought I'd introduce you to some inspiring posts on other blogs - maybe we can both discover some wonderful new blogs together.

Here are some recent inspirational posts for your enjoyment:

To Get Better This Year Means Getting Better Today on the blog A Chronic Voice.
This brief post shares a very important message, all about taking one day at a time and focusing on today rather than long-term expectations that feel unattainable. Great message and very well said, including some inspiring quotes.

10 Simple Ways to Love Yourself for Valentine's Day on the blog Lilac and Lyme.
A wonderful list of self-indulgences for taking care of yourself. This is definitely something I need to focus on more in my busy life! I wholeheartedly agree with her on reading books and watching old I Love Lucy episodes. In fact, in the early days of our illnesses when my son and I were both severely ill and often homebound together, he and I watched I Love Lucy every day. We can still get laughing together over a funny episode (like when Ricky thought he was losing his hair and Lucy tried her special "treatment" on him!), and my son still often reminds me that laughter is the best medicine!

[NOTE: just a quick warning - her first suggestion is a bath. Anyone with Orthostatic Intolerance (that's 97% of those with ME/CFS, 75% of those with fibro, and many with Lyme) should avoid hot water and keep the temp at or below body temperature. Hot water dilates blood vessels, making OI much worse and making you feel sicker.]

Reduce Stress with an Adult Coloring Book on the blog Xo, Faith.
Blogger Faith delves into the recent adult coloring book craze and the new reports of its ability to reduce stress. I have been known to get my kids' old coloring books and crayons out! I haven't tried any of the newer coloring books, created for adults, yet, but I really want to. I could seriously use a little zoning out time for myself.

Four Tips for Maintaining Resilience When Battling a Chronic Illness on the blog Living Mighty Well.
This post features a short profile of a teen with Mast Cell Disease and POTS, with 4 ways that she makes the best of her life with chronic illness. Inspiring and very relatable for most of us.

The Soundtrack of a Chronic Life on the blog My Brain Lesion and Me.
She provides an overview of the role that music plays in our lives and how it can inspire us or express what we are feeling. She also includes a few excerpts of lyrics from some of the eclectic group of songs that she can relate to. I heartily agree on her choice of The Climb by Miley Cyrus - I always find that song inspiring, and it is on my own Cheer Up/Happy playlist!

Hope you find some of your own inspiration among these wonderful blogs and this wide variety of topics. I think I'm going to pull out the coloring books this week...and maybe watch some old Lucy episodes with my son today!

Enjoy the weekend.

Sunday, February 05, 2017

Weekly Inspiration: Favorite Quotes from Cloud Atlas

Happy Sunday! Sorry the blog has been so quiet this week, but things have been hectic (and exhausting) here. Every day has been a blur of activity so that I am wiped out every evening - you know how that goes. My two sons, 19 and 22, move back to college today (that's one reason for much of the busy-ness this week), so I have one more hectic day today, helping them get out the door, cooking, refilling meds, etc. and then...total silence and solitude tomorrow morning! Whew - I'm going to need it to recuperate and recover.

So, that is part of why I am running behind on blogging (as usual!), but last week, I finally managed to write a summary post on my book blog of what I read n 2016 and which books were my favorites last year. If you enjoy reading, please check out my list; my book blog also includes a complete list of all the books I have read n the past two years, with links to reviews. If you have trouble concentrating and regular books are tough for you to manage, consider audio books (I love audios!) and/or teen/young adult or middle-grade books. They are usually shorter and easier to read, but there are still many excellent ones that are of high quality for adults to enjoy, in all sorts of genres. My summary and books list include those, too.

My favorite novel of the year was Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (my review at the link - no spoilers!). It was my first Mitchell novel, and I loved the way the separate stories all overlapped and gradually came together in unexpected ways. Also, the writing in Cloud Atlas was amazing - I filled my Quote Journal with all kinds of quotes from the different stories in the book - some deep and thoughtful, some clever, and some just funny!

Here are some of my favorites:

Clever, Funny, or just plain Beautifully Written:
"Faith, the least exclusive club on Earth, has the craftiest doorman. Every time I've stepped through its wide-open doorway, I find myself stepping out on the street again."
- From Letters from Zedelghem
A very true comment on the slipperiness of faith, using a clever metaphor.

"I refought old arguments, then fought arguments that have never even existed."
- from The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish
Wow, could I relate to this one! I tend to get obsessive thoughts exactly like this - fighting imaginary arguments in my head - especially when I get badly crashed. I completely understand what he's talking about and hate when it happens to me.

"Sometimes the fluffy bunny of incredulity zooms around the bend so rapidly that the greyhound of language is left, agog, in the starting gate."
- from The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish
Another brilliant metaphor! I've never actually seen a greyhound race, but he paints a vivid picture and certainly gets the point across. This is an amazing sentence.

Thoughtful, Thought-provoking, and Especially Relevant Given World Events Lately
"Rights are susceptible to subversion, as even granite is susceptible to erosion. My fifth Declaration posits how, in a cycle as old as tribalism, ignorance of the Other engenders fear; fear engenders hatred; hatred engenders violence; violence engenders further violence until the only "rights," the only law, are whatever is willed by the most powerful."
- An Orison of Sonmi-451
This one is taken from a dystopian story of the future - scary how relevant it seems to our own world today, isn't it?

"In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction."
- from The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing
Another shiver-inducing and thought-provoking prophetic quote (this one from the past).

"If we believe that humanity may transcend tooth and claw, if we believe diverse races and creeds can share this world as peaceably as the orphans share their candlenut tree, if we believe leaders must be just, violence must be muzzled, power accountable and the riches of the Earth and its oceans shared equitably, such a world will come to pass. I am not deceived. It is the hardest of worlds to make real. Torturous advances won over generations can be lost by a single stroke of a myopic president's pen or a vainglorious general's sword."
- from The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing
Though that last sentence is chilling in its prescience, this quote at least provides some hope. We just need enough people to believe in such a world.

On Books as Escape
"Mother used to say escape is never further than the nearest book. Well, Mumsy, no, not really. Your beloved large-print sagas of rags, riches, and heartbreak were no camouflage against the miseries trained on you by the tennis ball launcher of life, were they? But, yes, Mum, there again, you have a point. Books don't offer real escape, but they can stop a mind scratching itself raw."
- from The Ghastly Ordeal of Timothy Cavendish
I love his writing! The metaphors are killer! Don't you just love that - "the tennis ball launcher of life"? ha ha Perfectly apt description of life with an ever-changing chronic illness, don't you think? And I love that last line, too, about how books can "stop a mind scratching itself raw." Perfectly put. That's why I turn to reading on my worst days (and my best days, too - I love to read).

So, those are just a few of my favorite brief excerpts from this amazing book. There are more in my Quote Journal and many more in the novel itself.

Can you relate to these quotes, too?

Do you depend on books for escape?

What was your favorite book read last year?