I am constantly looking for excuses to recommend readings here, the previous one was for cold winter days, today it’s for rainy days. And, it’s been raining since morning here in New York.
If staying inside to you means aloneness and boredom, it doesn’t always have to. Let me tell you how, there are two books and one magazine on this list- we start with cursing (sh•t and fu•k ) to let some steam off, then we transition to lamentation, finally we end with some good old hemp (that’s right, cannabis).
According to Emma Byrne, swearing makes people work better together and reduces violent behaviors. There are interesting studies in this book that’d make you almost believe the f-word could just be the magic word. For instance, while observing a group of volunteers who plunged their hands in ice-cold water, those that cursed incessantly kept their hands in the water longer than ones that remained silent. At one point, the author claims that humans have become most evolved compared to other primates is because we know how to swear.
Byrne’s book studies social-psychology in the swearing framework, not only the acutal act of swearing but also the words we use. As she argues how swearing can refrain one from acts of physical violence, the book begins to lose some of its scientific value to me. Despite not all of her claims are convincing, nonetheless it is a fu*king amusing read.
Written with an intimate voice as a letter to a friend recently committed suicide, The Friend meditates on grief, loss, love and is a celebration of human-canine devotion. What I like about the novel is that it isn’t overly sentimental considering its subject matter. Sigrid Nunez’s artful treatment taking readers onto a poignant personal journey with her character. Along the way, the character finds herself in care of a Great Dane left behind by the friend. Despite the rough start of their relationship, in the Great Dane she finds solace and a window out to the world that she’s avoided for too long.
Sigrid Nunez has published 7 novels, including a memoir of Susan Sontag. Being a big fan of Susan Sontag’s essays and personal journals (published posthumously by her son), I wish I had discovered Nunez’s work earlier.
p.s. on page 4 of The Friend, there is a brief mention about being a “flâneuse,” whether it is even possible- and just so it happens, my last reading list includes Flâneuse: Women Walking the City in Paris, New York, Venice and London by Lauren Elkin.
Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, an international magazine created by and for women who love cannabis, and it’s named after a vegetable- Broccoli, (maybe because it resembles dried marijuana, but you should ask them to confirm.) This publication offers a space to showcase cannabis as a form of art and culture. Defying all conventional perceptions, cannabis can cultivate both beauty and insight. Their first issue presented a wide range of topics. For example, “Seeking Arrangement,” a photo-essay on Ikebana, Japanese art of flower-arrangement (see cover photo), an interview and essay about a designer and an ice-cream maker.
Broccoli is published 3 times a year and their subscription is free. Unfortunately, the first issue is out of stock, but still not too late to get your second issue.