On a dreary ‘ber’ month morning, nothing sounds better than ditching work and staying in with a good book—or five. B/BLOG puts on its lazy Sunday best and burns through a stack of the latest titles from Fully Booked. From spunky self-help (Levitt & Dubner’s Think Like a Freak) to a regulation thriller from Stephen King, books to fill one’s solitary confinement offer multiple avenues for escape. If only days like these didn’t have endings.
“Because–isn’t it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture–? From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it’s a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what’s right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: ‘Be yourself.’ ‘Follow your heart.’
Only here’s what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can’t be trusted—?”
— Donna Tartt, The Goldfinch (771 pages)
“Can the success of Takeru Kobayashi, as magnificent as it was, be applied to anything more significant than the high-speed consumption of hot dogs? We believe it can. If you think like a Freak, there are at least two broader lessons to be gleaned from his approach.
The first is about problem solving generally. Kobayashi redefined the problem he was trying to solve. What question were his competitors asking? It was essentially: How do I eat more hot dogs? Kobayashi asked a different question: How do I make hot dogs easier to eat?”
— Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner, Think Life a Freak (211 pages)
“—You loved it, though. Especially as a teenager. Young men love martyrdom. You get to be the victim and the hero at the same time. Do you remember when you said you wanted to be a priest?”
—Dave Eggers, Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? (212 pages)
“Every religion lies. Every moral precept is a delusion. Even the stars are a mirage. The truth is darkness and the only thing that matters is making a statement before one enters it. Cutting the skin of the world and leaving a scar. That’s all history is, after all: scar tissue.”
— Stephen King, Mr. Mercedes (436 pages)
“The reason writers are such fragile beings, Marcus, is that they suffer from two sorts of emotional pain, which is twice as much as a normal human being: the heartache of love and the heartache of books. Writing a book is like loving someone. It can be very painful.”
—Joël Dicker, The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair (615 pages)
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