My Phone and My Books

I always write lots of blog posts in December. I like looking-back and summing-up, especially when I think how beneficial it will be in the future, to jog my presently deteriorating memory. I thought before December rolled around I’d have a nice, picture-filled update of our bathroom remodel. I wanted to show dramatic befores and afters, but as we’re still middling with it, things have been rather quiet on the blog front.

For reasons that will probably seem obvious to any American, no matter how you voted, I disconnected from news and decided to make more time for reading. I wanted to read old things or new things, just so long as I wasn’t reading news things. Also, just as a general, apropos-of-nothing-else fact, I like myself better when I read books, instead of squinting at my phone. The phone that chimes at me every time I enter Target, pushing me to use discounts for products I don’t even want. The phone that knows when I’m at Jack in the Box and threatens to post a picture of it, as if trying to shame me into making better choices. The phone that, when tossed on to the passenger seat of my car by itself, causes the seatbelt warning light to go off, a feat no other inanimate object has accomplished – not my purse or my backpack or bags of ill-advised, overpriced purchases. The phones are so close to sentient beings that the cars want to protect them in the event of a crash. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

When I read on my phone, I feel sucked into a black abyss, possibly never to return if I can’t remember to look up. When I read books, I engage with them. We have little conversations. I pause to contemplate, if necessary, and I keep track of the best bits. So with nothing better to do or say, I decided to share a few of the best bits of what I’ve come across in the past couple of weeks/books.

The first quote is from a collection of essays by F. Scott Fitzgerald, called, “A Short Autobiography.”

Only one thing can I be sure of about the world in which he will live – it will not be as cheerful a world as the world into which I was born. Never had faith in the destiny of man reached such a height as during the nineties – seldom has it ebbed so low as it has now. When we see around us a great decay in ideals of conduct there is some fundamental cause behind it. It is impossible to be vicious in a vacuum. Something serious (which only professional evangelists, cheap novelists, and corrupt politicians profess to understand) is the matter with the world. It will be a strong heart that can fight its way upstream in these troubled waters and not be, like my generation, a bit cynical, a bit weary, and a bit sad.

-F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Wait Till You Have Children of Your Own!” Excerpt from Woman’s Home Companion, July 1924


When the prefrontal cortex is overwhelmed, a person can no longer make sense of the situation. Correlation is confused with causation, and people make theories out of coincidences.

from “How We Decide,” by Jonah Lehrer


The brain always learns the same way, accumulating wisdom through error. There are no shortcuts to this time consuming process; becoming an expert just takes time and practice.

from “How We Decide,” by Jonah Lehrer


I fell in love with London while I was at school there and have never fallen out. I love their being as bound up in their history as they are, preserving their buildings instead of razing them to the ground to make way for another big beige building with lots of windows to throw yourself screaming from. I love its accents, its exchange rates, its idiosyncratic friendly behavior, its museums, its parks you need keys for, and its colas without ice. If I can forgive a place for not making ice a priority as part of their lifestyle, that’s true love.

from “The Princess Diarist” by Carrie Fisher


She: One of us is boring.
He: Why do you say that?
She: Because…well, we’re just sitting here, not talking.
He: What’s wrong with that?
She: Well, I don’t know. Probably nothing – it’s just that we don’t need each other for it.
He: For what?
She: Being quiet.

from “The Princess Diarist” by Carrie Fisher





About suitejen

Writer. Video Editor. Mama.
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