“We judge in areas where we feel insecure, and we pick people who are doing worse than we are. I think when you hear someone snark at someone about something, that’s clear as day that person has some real shame around that issue. When I’m really on that judgment train I have to stop and think, ‘What am I feeling?’ If I’m comfortable in my body, in my work, I don’t care about yours … [These judgements and shame manifest for] women, [through] appearance, body image, motherhood. It’s perfectionism: do it all, look perfect doing it … Women talk about other women’s appearance. We do it unthinkingly, and we’re not awake. If we want to be free and out from under the shame and the heaviness of not being enough, if we want to be valued, we have to practice vulnerability. We have to do the hard things.”
–Brene Brown talks to Salon about how to combat snark and other themes in her new book Daring Greatly. If you’re not familiar with Brene Brown, I highly recommend watching her TED talk on the power of vulnerability. It really moved me and shifted some of my thought paradigms. I can’t wait to read her new book, which delves into the “social climate of scarcity” and how we can all live more daringly. I’m glad someone is thinking about these big picture, cultural issues. Should we figure out how to evolve as a society, I think we should throw Brene Brown a party. [Salon]
NW, the title of Zadie Smith’s new novel, refers to northwest London, specifically the neighborhood of Willesden, the area where Smith grew up. Smith revisits this multi-cultural neighborhood, which served as the setting for her debut novel, White Teeth (one of my all-time favorites). “This is the story of a city. The northwest corner of a city,” says NW‘s description. “Here you’ll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between. Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds. And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system.”The novel follows four Londoners as they try to make adult lives. Exactly the kind journey I can relate to. In true Zadie Smith form, I’m expecting one-of-a-kind characters overlapping in tangled plotlines, exploring such topics as race, class, politics and identity. [$16.17, Amazon]
Searching “vagina” on iTunes for a cheap thrill, basement pervs? You are shit out of luck. iTunes censors the word “vagina” from Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues on its e-book page in the title and throughout the teaser, spelling “vagina” as “v****a.” Strangely, though, iTunes does not blur the word “vagina” from the book’s cover image — hopefully no one sprains a wrist clutching their pearls upon seeing it. Thank you, Apple, for keeping for keeping us safe from such a dirty, bad word! How would my pretty little head have handled it if I wanted to buy a copy of The Vagina Monologues but I had to see the word “vagina” on your website? [iTunes.Apple.com]
I am much too obsessed with Paris for my own good, especially considering that I’ve never been there. I’m enamored of the idea of it, so when I do eventually go (and, by God, I will), there is a decent chance that I will be hideously disappointed. With that in mind, I’m significantly less interested in purchasing tickets to Paris than I am in purchasing photography books that portray it as idealistically as I do in my head. Why go all the way there just to be let down when I can sit right here and just pretend that I’m there and it’s awesome? Paris, Portrait of a City, “the true family album of all Parisians,” is just the glossy 544-page photo book I need to sustain my delusions, and with its chronological layout spanning photographers from Daguerre to Cartier-Bresson, it’s a solid lesson in European history, too. We’ll always have Paris, after all. [$69.99, Taschen]
Self help books get a bad rap sometimes, I think. They’re seen as the province of walking, talking “Cathy” cartoons and hippie-dippie-fruit-loop types. That couldn’t be less true: there are many different types of self-help books for all kinds of problems. Some books are more spiritual while others are more practical, as in teaching you techniques of coping with depression and anxiety. Not only is a good self-help book cheaper than paying for therapy — even if it’s just a co-pay!— but you can circle sections, fold over pages, and come back to them whenever you read.
I scoured my own bookshelf and that of The Frisky staff to find the best self-help books we’ve ever read — ones that actually work!
This piece is part of The Frisky’s How To Deal Week, in which we’re tackling mental health issues.