“We live in a world of banal miracles.”

I’ve just finished Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. Spanning half a century, as well as the Earth, this story is beautiful: the imagery, the emotionality, the aching sadnesses and warm joys throughout. A lesson in purpose, aspiration and appearance is brewed heavily between the covers, despite the lightness of the read. Walter spruced up my commute, but I’d recommend taking this for a vacation by the water.

“Who cares? If he is good to you? None of us ever find enough

  kindness in the world, do we?”

              – Boris, The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch

NYT headerHilary!!!! I love her. I love her. I love her.

A continuous example of a strong, educated, substantive woman, here is an excellent and fun article on Hilary Rodham Clinton from The New York Times Sunday:

Any Thoughts, Mrs. Clinton, on the Year After Next?

Image Source: Reuters

Hillary Rodham Clinton is accustomed to hearing The Question. So if you have a chance to ask it, make it count.

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Review: Divergent

divergent graphic

Image Source: IMDB Wikipedia LA Times

Veronica Roth’s Divergent, starring Shailene Woodley, comes to theaters next month. I just finished the book, and I am glad I was able to squeeze it in

Not surprisingly, Divergent sits somewhere between Harry Potter and the Hunger Games, with its version of a sorting hat and a divisive societal structure. It’s a simple story, that both teens and their parents can get into, and here’s why:

HP and HG have these themes. There are classes cropping up all over the world in response to the Christ-like sacrifice Harry’s mother made, and the political inequality reaped in the Capitol. But Divergent takes it one step further, explicitly, dividing “the people” into factions characterized by temperament, or values.

There are five: abnegation, amity, candor, erudite and dauntless. In layman’s terms, it’s generosity, peace, honesty, intellect and courage. The strengths and weaknesses of each are examined from all angles, and the “harmonius” coexistence is ultimately threatened by an outlier sense of individualism. Known as Divergent, it combines qualities of multiple factions, therefore shaking up the natural state of things when opposing values come into question.

Roth incorporates technology, not far off from Eggers’ Circle projection, but set ironically in a primitive world where citizens are simply expected to fulfill their designated roles in order to survive and maintain order.

Obviously, things go awry, and as I start the second novel in the series, I couldn’t tell you what I think will happen. There’s love, there’s loss and there’s a major statement on culture and identity, making Divergent a worthy fiction read.

Image Source: NPR

“One good thing about New York is that most people function daily while in a low-grade depression…In New York, even in your misery, you feel like you belong. But it was still hard to fail, so consistently, at everything I had once been Camilla Parker Bowles-level good at.”