Monthly Quotes: May 2020


But home isn’t where you land; home is where you launch

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

One of the hurdles of adulthood is when holidays become measuring sticks against which you always fall short. For children, Thanksgiving is about turkey and Christmas is about presents. Grown up, you learn that all holidays are about family, and few can win there.

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

But a man who is a father to a daughter is different from one who is a father to a son. One is the left shoe and the other is the right. They are the same but not interchangeable.

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

You don’t know what you need until somebody gives it to you exactly the way you need it gave.

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

Like they say, weeping endures for a night


Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

There should be a word for this, the way it feels to steal something that’s already yours

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage


Sometimes when you like where you end up, you don’t care how you got there.

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

There are too many loose ends in the world in need of knots.

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

Marriage is between two people. There is no studio audience.

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

Break your own heart, or they will break it for you

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

Ikigai by Francesc Miralles and Hector Garcia

Amazon.com: Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life ...

I had such high expectations from this book, and I am disappointed. I found this book trying to fill in pages and distracting from the topic in hand, Ikigai. I would have relished the contrast between the various schools of thought with Ikigai. But when a book about Ikigai dedicates an entire chapter to Yoga and a major portion to Stoicism, it gets distracting. I would have preferred the authors to stick to the core message throughout the book.

I appreciate the effort put in to research the topic and interviewing people. But the way of compiling and presenting the information doesn’t justify the effort. It’s the regular ‘how to lead an ideal life’ packed in a cover of Ikigai. I believe there are better sources out there to learn about the topic, than this book. Needless to say it didn’t resonate with me as much I thought it would.

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

“How you feel love and understand love are two different things”

Celestial
An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

‘An American Marriage’ by Tyari Jones won 2019 Women’s Prize for Fiction. It’s been on my TBR since, and I was excited to get my hands on it. As soon as I started reading it, I found myself completely immersed in it. It’s the kind of book where it plays like a movie in your head, and you knit your own details and expressions as if, it was left as an opportunity for you.

It’s is a story of a young couple, Celestial and Roy, who has recently married and is currently living in Atlanta. We are introduced to Roy’s family and their relationship with Celestial. His family doesn’t like Celestial very much, especially Roy’s mother. The couple finds themselves in a heated argument soon, and the narrative is shifted from Roy to Celestial. I was very amazed by the narrative shift from Roy to Celestial as it lets the reader be in the shoes of both characters and make peace with their words and actions.

We are introduced to Andre, who is a childhood friend of Celestial and also a college friend of Roy. Slowly, we understand that Andre is much as the part of the narrative as Roy and Celestial. And the reader is put in the minds of all three based on the storyline. Soon, Roy finds himself amidst a court trial of rape given the circumstances, and is proven guilty for the charge. He is sentenced for twelve years in prison. The changing dynamics between Roy and Celestial during Roy’s imprisonment is very uncomfortable, Andre is the third wheel of the story, who takes the lead from time to time. How Roy and Celestial sustain their marriage is the main plot. Not everything is back and white, but why they do what they do is known by the reader, because of the shifting narrative from character to character.

I really enjoyed this shifting narrative, I wish to read more stories narrated this way. It not only gives the reader an opportunity to be patience with the characters and judge their morale closely, but also an insight into how the characters perceive each other. The great part about the shifting narrative was the point of shift. Because we hear the character when we are deemed to judge them incorrectly, and someone else’s viewpoint could create bias. It allows the reader to know why they did what they did, without causing a turmoil in plot.

Maybe you should talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

“Words, after all, are nothing by themselves. They burst into meaning only in the minds they’ve entered.”

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: the heartfelt, funny memoir by a ...

In the Author’s words, ‘Maybe you should talk to someone’ is not a therapy book but a story about therapy. And It’s true to these words. Lori is a therapist. And through this book, she takes us through her story and of her four patients, John, Julie, Charlotte, and Rita. I saw a few people calling it a self-help book, which might be interpreted from the title of the book, but instead, it’s a memoir.

To sum up, in one line, it’s about a therapist attending her patients amidst dealing with her own struggle. It’s interesting how she contemplates finding a therapist for herself like any other person seeking therapy. There are five patients in the story. One is Lori herself, who is visiting a therapist to deal with her breakup. She decides to go for a therapy herself when she finds herself in a messy breakup. We are introduced to both versions of Lori, as a patient and as a therapist. The contrast of her behavior and her thoughts in both processes is very intriguing. A reminder that everyone feels the intense emotions, and it’s okay to seek help to manage them better. When Lori goes to therapy, she is self-aware of her thoughts but acts against it anyway, her therapist Wendell guides her to the set everything straight.

“Therapist don’t perform personality transplants, they just help to take the sharp edges off”

The other four patients have very heartfelt narration as well, each one of them dealing with emotions in their own way while struggling with issues of life. I very much liked the way the story is narrated, it’s very well written. There wasn’t a single line that felt out of place. Rarely, I get so hooked to a book, which I adore cover to cover and, this is one of those books.

I know that often people create faulty narratives to make themselves feel better in the moment even though it makes them feel worse over time—and that sometimes, they need somebody else to read between the lines.

Among all the patients, I like John’s character a lot. His personality is most puzzling, and among all the four patients, he is one of the most difficult to talk to. Needless to say, He teared me up the most. The book has a happy but emotional ending, so be prepared to shed some tears. It’s a good book, I would say if you like books like ‘Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine‘ you will like this one.

As the late psychotherapist John Weakland famously said, “Before successful therapy, it’s the same damn thing over and over. After successful therapy, it’s one damn thing after another.”

Dear Girls by Ali Wong

Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living ...

‘Dear Girls’ is a hilarious memoir of Ali Wong, written as a series of letters addressed to her daughters, Nikki and Mari. Ali narrates her story of studying abroad, her dating life, the story meeting her husband, and her journey as a stand up comic. This book is very casual and fun, just like Ali’s personality. I picked up this book because I like reading Memoirs of celebrities. It gives me more insight into their background and their work. Being her fan, this was on my TBR since it came out.

Ali talks about everything in this book, the hard work she put in to be where she is right now. Sharing her struggles being a comic and raising two daughters, her relationship with her parents, about her husband and more. This book is funny, but it’s more than just a funny memoir. It’s inspiration covered in humor.

I really liked the ending of the book. The afterword is written by Ali’s I really liked the ending of the book. The afterword is written by Ali’s husband, Justin, who’s referred to as ‘Daddy’ in the entire book. Everything until that point was narrated by Ali, most of which was about her marriage and raising Mary and Nikki in which Justin played a prominent role. So it was refreshing to read his side of the story. It completed the book for me.

This book, being fun and humor might only cater to readers who are familiar with Ali Wong’s work and want to read more about her. However, I believe if the new audience gives it a chance, this book and Ali wong will grow on them. It’s a very transparent record but very sexual as well, in a humorous way, just like Ali’s stand-ups. Don’t let the title throw you away, ‘Dear Girls’ is for Nikki, Mari and everyone else.

Nine Pints by Rose George

Nine Pints: Rose George: 9781250230683: Amazon.com: Books

‘Nine Pints’ is presented as a story of blood in ‘Nine Pints’ that is Nine chapters. Each chapter covers deals with a different story of blood, some stories do divert from being just about blood. Sometimes so much that they are not about blood anymore. But to defend it, there’s only so much that can be written about only blood without making it too academic. And this is what I liked in the book, that even though there were a lot of academic research-based theories in the book, Rose still managed to make it interesting for a read.

I picked this book from Bill Gates’s recommendation to incorporate into my Non-Fiction Reading list. I was slightly skeptical to continue this after the first chapter, but I did it anyway. I do know a lot more about blood now than I did before reading this book. But if I know it for good, I don’t know. Every chapter is dedicated to some aspect of blood, like the fifth chapter is about HIV and majorly covers the town of Khayelitsha, where HIV cases are still untracked. I found chapters six and seven quite fascinating of the book, which deals which menstruation. Mainly focusing on the taboos related to menstruation in Nepal and India. There is one chapter on blood donation, another on leeches, and leech therapy. I found the chapter with leech therapy diverting too much from the topic in hand, blood.

It’s not an easy read. But if you are engaged in it, you can read it one section at a time. I found it a little hard to transition between chapters because the switch in the story was not expected, but within a section, it’s a comparatively easy read. I believe that since the chapters are not interlinked, the sequencing of the chapters could have been different to make it more engaging.

Monthly Quotes: April 2020


Philosophy has a single task of discovering the truth about the divine and human worlds. Philosophy has taught man to worship what is divine, to love what is human, telling us that with the gods belongs authority, and among human beings fellowship.

Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

This is why I look at people like this as a spiritless lot – the people who are forever acting as interpreters and never as creators, always lurking in someone else’s shadow. They never venture to do for themselves the things they have spent such a long time learning. It is one thing, however, to remember, another to know.

Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

No amount of wisdom, as I said before, ever banishes these things; otherwise – if she eradicated every weakness – wisdom would have dominion over the world of nature.

Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

For a person who is not aware that he is doing anything wrong has no desire to be put right. You have to catch yourself doing it before you can reform. Some people boast about their failings: can you imagine someone who counts his faults as merits ever giving thought to their cure? So – to the best of your ability – demonstrate your own guilt, conduct inquiries of your own into all the evidence against yourself.

Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

A person teaching and a person learning should have the same end in the view: the improvement of the latter. A person who goes to a philosopher should carry away with him something or other of value every day; he should return home a sounder man or at least more capable of becoming one.


Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

To win true freedom you must be a slave of philosophy

Seneca, Letter from a Stoic

Therapy elicits odd reactions because, in a way, it’s like pornography. Both involve a kind of nudity. Both have the potential to thrill. And both have millions of users, most of whom keep their use private. Though statisticians have attempted to quantify the number of people in therapy, their results are thought to be skewed because many people who go to therapy choose not to admit it.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

“You need to find a place where you’re not being a therapist,” she adds. “You need to go where you can completely fall apart.”

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

Study after study shows that the most important factor in the success of your treatment is your relationship with the therapist, your experience of “feeling felt.” This matters more than the therapist’s training, the kind of therapy they do, or what type of problem you have.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

People often mistake numbness for nothingness, but numbness isn’t the absence of feelings; it’s a response to being overwhelmed by too many feelings.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

I know that often people create faulty narratives to make themselves feel better in the moment even though it makes them feel worse over time—and that sometimes, they need somebody else to read between the lines.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

Don’t judge your feelings; notice them. Use them as your map. Don’t be afraid of the truth.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

The things we protest against the most are often the very things we need to look at.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

People want to be understood and to understand, but for most of us, our biggest problem is that we don’t know what our problem is. We keep stepping in the same puddle. Why do I do the very thing that will guarantee my own unhappiness over and over again?

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

Anger is the go-to feeling for most people because it’s outward-directed—angrily blaming others can feel deliciously sanctimonious. But often it’s only the tip of the iceberg, and if you look beneath the surface, you’ll glimpse submerged feelings you either weren’t aware of or didn’t want to show: fear, helplessness, envy, loneliness, insecurity. And if you can tolerate these deeper feelings long enough to understand them and listen to what they’re telling you, you’ll not only manage your anger in more productive ways, you also won’t be so angry all the time.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

We tend to think that the future happens later, but we’re creating it in our minds every day. When the present falls apart, so does the future we had associated with it. And having the future taken away is the mother of all plot twists. But if we spend the present trying to fix the past or control the future, we remain stuck in place, in perpetual regret.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

I remember a quote from Einstein: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” I’ve always felt that made sense, but, like most of us, I also believe that I should be able to think my way out of my problem by going over and over how I thought myself into it.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

This was grief: You laugh. You cry. Repeat.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

As the late psychotherapist John Weakland famously said, “Before successful therapy, it’s the same damn thing over and over. After successful therapy, it’s one damn thing after another.”

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

You will inevitably hurt your partner, your parents, your children, your closest friend—and they will hurt you—because if you sign up for intimacy, getting hurt is part of the deal.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

I thought about how many people avoid trying for things they really want in life because it’s more painful to get close to the goal but not achieve it than not to have taken the chance in the first place.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

Reacting vs. responding = reflexive vs. chosen.

Lori Gottlieb, Maybe you should talk to someone

“When you have no choice, you have no discontent either.”

Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar

“Words, after all, are nothing by themselves. They burst into meaning only in the minds they’ve entered.”

Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar

“It’s true what they say – it’s not we who control money, it’s the money that controls us. When there’s only a little, it behaves meekly; when it grows, it becomes brash and has its way with us.”

Vivek Shanbhag, Ghachar Ghochar