To my way of thinking, the best way to make use of a week in Vienna is to spend one day in the city and another in the country (or outside of the Ring), and to so alternate. You’re thereby assured of a fund of memorable experiences, punctuated by the presence of coffee and cakes, cyclamens and Calvary figures, wine and wonderful scenery.
A book on humor in this digital age is always welcome and the healing power of humor, play, and mental work shines in this book. The puns are clever, silly and desperate. They obviously are the efforts of a playful intelligent quirky minds. The collection of definitions and one-liners will be trove for those who are often engaged in social media. The narratives, however, are the book’s tour de force. In these stories, there is a slow buildup to the punch-line which repays the reader’s attention by giving hearty laugh or a cringing groan.
But it was always an embattled book, representing at various times, “too much Catholicism,” “too much Protestantism,” too much tradition, too much irreverence toward tradition, too limited in its reach or too inclusive as to be almost wimpy and unclear, an example of the poetic beauty of the English language, or too old-fashioned, incomprehensible, and quaint in its language. It was a thing that symbolized something to be rebelled against or something to be upheld.
Larrimore goes on to show how mistranslations, lack of knowledge of Hebrew, lost or wrongly-placed passages, the translator’s choice of words, emotional state, ethical temperaent, misconceptions about the idea of “patience,” the interpreter’s acquaintance (or lack thereof) with grief and suffering, and a saccharine idea of Job have affected the book’s history.
The stories are honest and open, going into a great deal of detail about exactly what the couples had been through – both in terms of their own experience, and in terms of each other. The stories are well-balanced and broad, exploring a wide range of stories from younger couples to older ones, a single parent, parents who struggle with the finances, parents who found IVF reasonably straightforward, and those who continue to struggle with unsatisfying outcomes.
Every story of adoption and reunion is different, and these two women have provided a book for both the general reader and those who are involved with the adoption triad (adoptive parents, birth parents, adoptees). It gives some insight into the issues that are involved with relinquishing and being relinquished, and most importantly, what a birth mother will go through when she does not want to give up her child.
We have to alter how we perceive ourselves. We need to stay in balance with who we are and our real source. We should also live from a place of gratitude instead of always expecting more and more. When we change our attitude from wanting to gratitude, we will be much happier and much more content. This gratitude will help us to exude more love towards others. And when we give love to others, we will also receive it abundantly.
One of the main premises of the book is that we can always change, and that we not only deserve to enjoy our lives and live creatively and powerfully, it’s our responsibility to try and do so. If that seems facile or new-agey, it certainly isn’t. It’s very easy to go down a specific career path and begin building up an image that is self-limiting and unsatisfying. Doing the exercises will take readers through a range of life areas including one’s career, one’s social life, one’s financial needs, one’s physical well-being, spirituality, and the community.
Most essays are centred on a particular work, and collectively they cover a period of about 40 years (1871-1911), for Rodin was always working, sketching even at the last. We learn some interesting things: for example, that The Kiss (1899) was inspired by Dante; that Rodin saw Nijinsky dance; of his affinity with Baudelaire, Mirbeau and Flaubert.
Could a full-length novel result from an accumulation of five minute exercises? Maybe an episodic one. Of the seventeen “Student Contributors” whose exercises Abercrombie includes, only two are working on novels; the others are working on memoirs.