Take Me Away

“And, after boasting this way of my tolerance, I come to the admission that it has a limit. Conduct may be founded on the hard rock or the wet marshes but after a certain point I don’t care what it’s founded on. When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted the world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart.” from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The more the world is crazy, divided, and shouting hatred at the top of their lungs… The more those who are supposed to be leaders are caught up in partisanship to the point of losing sight of their oaths to work for the ideals of our country… The more we see government agencies battling each other and the American people… Well, the more I see of all of this, the more I want to be an ostrich and stick my head in the sand!

I’ve already admitted in an earlier blog post that I like fluff in my entertainment sometimes. It’s gotten worse. It isn’t just that at times I like to simply enjoy something light and fun, it is that I am now avoiding topics that make me think too much about what is happening in the world right now. Mass shootings. Terrorism. Political divisiveness. Rapes. Racism. Sexism. White supremacy. Murders. Corruption. I feel like the old Calgon commercial,

I was completely in love with NCIS – couldn’t live without my weekly Gibbs fix, had to see Abby, Ducky, Ziva, Tony, and Tim. Then came NCIS LA and NCIS New Orleans. I loved them too. I quit on LA and New Orleans. And even the original may not need to be on my DVR anymore. I’m tired of watching the good guys battling against people who are supposed to also be the good guys. I’m tired of conspiracies against our NCIS good guys, back-stabbing, and hate.

I keep telling everyone that I love HGTV because the worst that can go wrong is that they go over budget or have to modify a plan. If I want to see two people going all out to beat each other, I watch Beat Bobby Flay. Nobody gets hurt. Nobody dies. And regardless of who wins, our lives and country aren’t diminished. I have read some books that I enjoyed but also felt more enraged by. I loved reading We Fed an Island by José Andrés. The work he did in the aftermath of Maria in Puerto Rico is inspiring! But I kept having to put it down because it raised my blood pressure as I got angrier and angrier at FEMA and the charitable organizations who were not not only failing in doing what they should have been doing, but were fighting his efforts that were succeeding. I absolutely loved Laurie Halse Anderson’s Shout, but how can you read a book about what being raped does to a woman and not be angry, especially with all that is in the news lately? I was taken in by Educated by Tara Westover. It surely involved a whole lot of crazy, but her story is a story of triumph.

I’m reading biographies. I’m reading inspirational books. And I’m reading fiction that makes me have some hope in human nature (not much to find unless you read children’s books). But as I went to make a recommended list for you, I discovered that the truth is I’m not reading much! A quick look at my goodreads.com account reflects what is happening in my ostrich days. I’m marking books I want to read. A ton of them! Another glance at my nightstand, coffee table, and book shelves show I’ve still been bringing books home. And the various pieces of paper sticking out of them bear testament to the fact that I’m just not able to concentrate on much if it hits the kind of conflicts we see in the news! The truth is that I’m reading more magazines and online articles than books, and I’m streaming a bit more video than normal. If you’re with me and looking for a little escapism, here is a sampling of what I’ve been reading lately.

  • Art Matters by Neil Gaiman
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama
  • Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown (anything by her!)
  • Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff by Chip Gaines  (and The Magnolia Story that I read when it was first published.)
  • The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
  • Everybody, Always:  Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People by Bob Goff
  • For Every One by Jason Reynolds
  • Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis
  • The Heart Mender: A Story of Second Chances by Andy Andrews
  • Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
  • My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman
  • The Ragamuffin Gospel:  Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out by Brennan Manning
  • Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

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