Why we need to slow down our lives

I know it seems ironic that I’m posting this through the internet, but I want to help spread Pico Iyer’s message! Also, check out one of my favorite essays, also written by Pico Iyer (http://www.utne.com/mind-and-body/where-silence-is-sacred-chapels.aspx?PageId=1) which I previously blogged about (https://breathsperminute.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/travel-updates/).


As technology accelerates our lives, many of us feel an urgent need to slow down. One seductive solution: A secular sabbath. Pico Iyer makes the case, in this meditative excerpt from his new TED Book, The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere

The idea of going nowhere is as universal as the law of gravity; that’s why wise souls from every tradition have spoken of it. “All the unhappiness of men,” the seventeenth-century French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal famously noted, “arises from one simple fact: that they cannot sit quietly in their chamber.” After Admiral Richard E. Byrd spent nearly five months alone in a shack in the Antarctic, in temperatures that sank to 70 degrees below zero, he emerged convinced that “Half the confusion in the world comes from not knowing how little we need.” Or, as they sometimes say around Kyoto, “Don’t just do something. Sit…

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In which Charlotte and I ride a 1h30 train to saunter through a graveyard

Dear Switzerland,

Where’s the snow?


Charlotte and I wanted to go skiing this weekend at Chateau-d’Oex, an easy 1h30 min train ride from Lausanne. There hasn’t been much snow in Switzerland thus far, which is obviously bad-news-bears for the little ski towns and all the people who want to go skiing. But there has been some snow. Sherbs and I figured we could at least go snowshoeing, if skiing wasn’t a possibility. So on Sunday, we made our way out to Chateau-d’Oex. Unfortunately, when we arrived, we were informed that neither skiing nor snowshoeing were possible due to lack of snow.

Continue reading “In which Charlotte and I ride a 1h30 train to saunter through a graveyard”

2014 Book List

Meant to post this before the end of 2014, but better late than never! A chronological list of the books I read last year and occasionally some brief notes on what I thought. I highly recommend the bolded books. Happy reading! Looking forward to more great reads this year!

  • (F) The Ocean at the End of the Lane, 4 stars
  • (F) Stardust, 5 stars
  • (F) The Interpreter of Maladies, 5 stars
    • poignant description of human nature, not always happy but a lot of Truth buried in Lahiri’s stories
  • (F) Unaccustomed Earth, 3 stars
    • stories seemed hackneyed after reading so many of them as Lahiri relies on many of the same themes
  • (NF) The Emperor of Maladies, 4 stars
    • slow at some parts but an Mukherjee is an engaging writer
  • (NF) Man’s Search for Meaning, 4.5 stars
  • (NF) Why Does the World Exist?, 2 stars
  • (F) Love in a Time of Cholera, 3.5 stars
    • Insightful piece into Marquez’s ideas of what constitutes love and what keeps a marriage together. Marquez created a striking illustration of how marriage during middle- to old-age is based more upon habit/routine and stability rather than on love or passion.
  • (NF & F) The Opposite Of Loneliness, 3 stars for F, 4 stars for NF
  • (F) The Goldfinch, 1 star
    • Interesting premise but the book was in serious need of a good editor. Tartt’s lack of consistency in her character descriptions was the most annoying part of the book. Hard for me to take seriously the “depth” of her characters because she kept changing things about them. Extraneous details with choppy logic flow, especially at the end when she tries to draw a point about good/bad/gray lines of life. The “aha” moment was didactic rather than enlightening.
  • (NF) Eat Pray Love, 3 stars
    • Gilbert’s prevailing humor made what could be dense topics into light, funny anecdotes.
  • (F) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, 4 stars
  • (F) Re-visited: Howl’s Moving Castle, 5 stars
    • Love the approach to doors and the different places to which they can lead
  • (F) The Book of Life: A Novel (All Souls Trilogy), 1 star
    • Only read this in order to finish the series. I do not recommend the series. Harkness is inconsistent and wordy. Additionally, there are major plot holes as well as spotty character/plot development.
  • (NF) Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity, 5 stars
    • It’s hard to believe what we, as humans, are capable of doing, both the good and the bad
  • (F) The Dinner, 4 stars
    • Captivating plot that made for an easy read
  • (F) 100 Years of Solitude, 4 stars
    • Beautiful prose, but hard to keep track of characters
  • (NF) Blood and Guts, 4 stars
    • Gory but great read and retells the surgeries with great details
  • (NF) The Examined Life, 3 stars
    • Kind of disjointed; the stories were short and Grosz tried them together in themes of “love” or “change” etc, but it didn’t work for me.
  • (NF) Being Mortal, 4 stars
  • (F) The Rosie Project, 3 stars
    • Cliché ending
  • (F) Keep the Apidistra Flying, 2 stars
    • Very negative, but then again, it’s Orwell