Archive | Book Matters

The Future Is Female: Reading Women Leaders

If there’s one silver lining of this disastrous year in U.S. politics, it’s that female leaders have really stepped to the forefront – from former Attorney General Sally Yates, who refused to endorse the proposed travel ban on people from majority-Muslim countries, to Senator Kamala Harris, the only sane voice in the Session hearings, to U.S. representative Maxine Waters, one of Trump’s most vocal critics. So one of my new hobbies is reading books by and about female politicians who have beaten all kinds of odds. Here’s a breakdown of some of my favorites, including Hillary’s new (searing) memoir.

What Happened—Hillary Rodham Clinton
She may not have (officially) won the 2016 election, but the future is still female to Hillary. In this much-anticipated, admirably candid memoir, she explores why the first female U.S. presidential nominee of a major political party was defeated by a man whom even the GOP admits has a “woman problem.” From the anti-lady sentiment still holding sway – “I wish so badly we were a country where a candidate who said, ‘My story is the story of a life shaped by and devoted to the movement for women’s liberation’ would be cheered, not jeered. But that’s not who we are” – to her lambasting of press coverage – “[Trump’s actions] sucked up all the oxygen in the media” and Trump’s “dark energy” – Hillary never holds back, even when acknowledging her own blunders. (Yep, she regrets the “deplorables” comment as much as we do.) Brave, commanding, and ruefully honest, it’s hard to read this memoir of loss and not wish she’d won. Continue Reading →

Home of the Heart

Last night I had the anxiety dream about homelessness that I’ve anticipated since losing my jobs last spring.

I rarely talk about my fear of homelessness, especially with married friends. When I do, they say things like, “You won’t be homeless. You can stay with us.”

When I report their assurances to my shrink, a practical woman who knows from rough times, she raises her eyebrows. “People think they’re being supportive,” she says. “But staying on their couch would not be the same thing as having a home.”

My shrink never sweetens realities. Maybe she does with other people, but she is well-acquainted with my capacity to om-shanthi myself right into destitution. I’ve done it before.

It reminds me of a joke I tell clients. Continue Reading →

The Church of Marathons and Soup

This being rural New England in September, I fetched all the produce for this soup from farm stands within miles of where I’m perched. Now it’s simmering on the stove, hopefully to take the edge off this cold, foggy Sunday as I write through feeding the birds with my Daddy in 1978. As of today I’ve written about a quarter of this book, which feels both daunting and impressive. I’ve never run a marathon but I imagine it’s as exhilarating and impossible as this. Thanks goodness everything I’ve foraged, stewed, baked, broiled and simmered here has produced such immediate pleasures. Cooking and writing are such happily codependent activities.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy