Review: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F#ck 

Review: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F#ck 

The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F#ck ~ by Mark Manson

4.5 Stars

Let me first say that I’m not a fan of self help books as I find, like diet books – they all say pretty much the same thing and are filled with fluff, “visualize your goals”, “life is like a game of chess”, “without desires & dreams, your thoughts do not matter”, “be positive & positive things will happen” …. blah, blah, blah. 

This book caught my eye about a year ago when I was on vacation – seriously, how many times have I said my life would be so much easier if I didn’t give a fuck! It was like Mark Manson was reading my mind. Still – it was a self help book so I had my doubts and the book stayed in the store. Then I picked up a tattered & torn copy laying on my sisters porch that looked as though it had be read, reread, and used! There must be something to this beyond the “F” word! 

I perused Mark Manson’s book with Chapters like “Don’t Try” & “Happiness is a Problem” and I was sold! Plus when I got to chapter 3, “You Are Not Special” I thought – this is what my family has been telling me for years! 😊

But really, the title may have dragged me in but the the book well written and uncomplicated. Don’t let the title fool you though, it’s not about not giving a fuck about everything, it’s about being deliberate in what to give a fuck about. At its core the book is about learning from the negative, asking yourself hard questions, exploring your values, and even possibly changing your values. Most of all it spells out that YOU are responsible for your life, not your parents, not your 5th grade teacher who gave you an F or the asshole boss that fired you. Challenge yourself, never get comfortable, don’t be afraid of negative experiences.  

“I say don’t find yourself. I say never know who you are because that’s what keeps you striving and discovering. And it forces you to remain humble in your judgments and accepting of differences in others.”  Mark Manson
What sets this book apart from the dozens of other self help books I’ve read is that Mark Manson blends personal stories with humor and brutal honesty, not the fluff sold in so many self help books. 

Think positive? 

“Fuck positivity, Let’s be honest; sometimes things are fucked up and we have to live with it.” 

Seek happiness?

“Happiness is a constant work in progress. Happiness comes from solving problems, not avoiding them.”

Be extraordinary?

“Not everyone can be extraordinary – there are winners and losers in society. If everyone were extraordinary, then by definition on one would be ordinary.”  

So what made this book different – it focuses on values, on having an appreciation for life’s basic experiences. Maybe I won’t ever be a published author, maybe I’ll won’t become CEO, maybe I’m not extraordinary but I can enjoy the simple pleasures of friendship, or reading a good book. I can relook my values OR just the way I measure them (as I believe my values are solid). I can question myself, get out of my comfort zone and not be afraid to fail and never stop challenging myself. I will do something, no matter how small.  

I can, in a nutshell, reevaluate and learn to let go, I will give fewer “fucks”, and focus on those things that are truly important and in my control. 

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Reunion

Driver holding welcome sign in airport, smiling, portrait

The Ass waited and waited, his excitement grew,
He couldn’t wait til his friend joined his crew!

 

beave-plane

His friend had arrived,  the Ass became a believer,
It was a Holiday miracle, it was the Christmas Beaver!

reunion

 

Book Review ~ The Museum of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman

The Museum of Extraordinary Things

by Alice Hoffman

My Rating / 3.5 Stars

museum-hoffman

This was my first Alice Hoffman read – I know, hard to believe! While I didn’t think this book was “Extraordinary” it certainly hasn’t turned me off picking up another Hoffman book to read.

The story, “Museum of Extraordinary Things” is connected by two great fires, the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Dreamland Fire in Coney Island, and the two young lovers from different backgrounds cultures finding each other in the melting pot of New York City.

Coralie Sardie is the daughter of the sinister entrepreneur behind “The Museum of Extraordinary Things”, a Coney Island boardwalk freak show. Born with a “deformity” herself, webbed fingers, Coralie’s father conditions his daughter to become an exceptional swimmer and ultimately a mermaid in his side show. Coralie’s father shelters her from the real world however he exposes her to some harsh reality. One night Coralie stumbles upon a young man taking pictures of moonlit trees in the woods off the Hudson River and from there their lives intertwine. Ezekiel Cohen (Eddie), a Russian immigrant, came to America with his father and they find themselves at odds with each other and Eddie runs away from his father’s Lower East Side Orthodox community and becomes a photographer. When Eddie photographs the devastation on the streets of New York following the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, he becomes embroiled in the suspicious mystery behind a young woman’s disappearance and ignites the heart of Coralie.

I liked the way the author tied the characters together through the two separate story lines of the two fires. However I felt at times there was too many characters that may have not been necessary, the hermit and Juliet Block are a few. I would have like to see more depth to the main characters such as Maureen and Sardie himself. (I must admit was confused about the trout I the bucket! LOL)

I didn’t the “love at first sight” between Eddie and Coralie – it was too easy. I never truly felt connected with the characters. While I found myself routing for Coralie and Eddie and some of the other minor characters, I never really felt that I knew them as well as I should have. I thought some of the antagonists, Sardie and the factory owners – came across as too one dimensional. If the characters had drawn me in more I probably would have rated the book higher!

I loved all the history in this novel, the descriptions of the sights of the boardwalk, Coney Island, the freak shows. Not being American, I had little knowledge of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and the Dreamland Fire in Coney Island, however this book has made me want to learn and read more about those events (that is was best thing about this book.)