Free-For-All Newsletter #7

In case you missed the meeting last night, here is a list of some of the books, quotes, ideas, and fun facts that we discussed.

Enjoy! :)

Books:
Such a Fun Age

A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story about race and privilege, set around a young black babysitter, her well-intentioned employer, and a surprising connection that threatens to undo them both.

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration

From 1915 to 1970, this exodus of almost six million people changed the face of America. Wilkerson compares this epic migration to the migrations of other peoples in history. She interviewed more than a thousand people, and gained access to new data and official records, to write this definitive and vividly dramatic account of how these American journeys unfolded, altering our cities, our country, and ourselves.

The Laws of Human Nature

Our very lives depend on relationships. Knowing why people do what they do is the most important tool we can possess, without which our other talents can only take us so far. Drawing from the ideas and examples of Pericles, Queen Elizabeth I, Martin Luther King Jr, and many others, Greene teaches us how to detach ourselves from our own emotions and master self-control, how to develop the empathy that leads to insight, how to look behind people's masks, and how to resist conformity to develop your singular sense of purpose.

Troubled Blood

Private Detective Cormoran Strike is visiting his family in Cornwall when he is approached by a woman asking for help finding her mother, Margot Bamborough - who went missing in mysterious circumstances in 1974.

Country Brides: A Little Bit Country

Rorie Campbell has a pleasant, predictable life in San Francisco, where she's seeing a pleasant, predictable man. Then, one vacation, her car breaks down on an Oregon country road and horse rancher Clay Franklin comes to her rescue. Rorie soon discovers that a city girl can fall in love with a country man. But Clay has no right to return her feelings—because he's engaged to another woman.

Gaits of Heaven

Praised for its eccentric and quirky characters, Susan Conant's hilarious series now finds dedicated dog trainer Holly Winter following the tracks of an odd breed of pup to an even stranger breed of human- when she's enlisted to rein in a dysfunctional New Age couple's over-spirited Aussie huskapoo. But when the wife succumbs to an accidental overdose of mixed meds, Holly becomes embroiled in the family's dirty little secrets, especially when the victim's daughter convinces Holly that it was murder.

And the Band Played on: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic

An international bestseller, a nominee for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and made into a critically acclaimed movie, Shilts' expose revealed why AIDS was allowed to spread unchecked during the early '80s while the most trusted institutions ignored or denied the threat. One of the few true modern classics, it changed and framed how AIDS was discussed in the following years.

A Woman of No Importance

A Woman of No Importance is a play by Irish playwright Oscar Wilde. The play premièred on 19 April 1893 at London's Haymarket Theatre. Like Wilde's other society plays, it satirizes English upper-class society. It has been performed on stages in Europe and North America since his death in 1900.

Death on the Nile

The tranquility of a luxury cruise along the Nile was shattered by the discovery that Linnet Ridgeway had been shot through the head. She was young, stylish, and beautiful. A girl who had everything . . . until she lost her life. Hercule Poirot recalled an earlier outburst by a fellow passenger: "I'd like to put my dear little pistol against her head and just press the trigger." Yet under the searing heat of the Egyptian sun, nothing is ever quite what it seems.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

The Conquest of Bread

One of the founding Classics of Anarchist literature, Peter Kropotkin's book is a thoughtful, humane, and detailed critique of capitalism, a system which allows a small, rich elite to hold the majority of the population in poverty and servitude, despite there being enough globally to satisfy the needs (and even the luxuries) of everyone.

The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature

Pinker explores human nature and its moral, emotional, and political colorings. With characteristic wit, lucidity, and insight, Pinker argues that the dogma that the mind has no innate traits — a doctrine held by many intellectuals during the past century — denies our common humanity and our individual preferences, replaces objective analyses of social problems with feel-good slogans, and distorts our understanding of politics, violence, parenting, and the arts.

The Key to Rebecca

A brilliant and ruthless Nazi master agent is on the loose in Cairo. His mission is to send Rommel's advancing army the secrets that will unlock the city's doors. In all of Cairo, only two people can stop him. One is a down-on-his-luck English officer no one will listen to. The other is a vulnerable young Jewish girl...

The Practicing Stoic: A Philosophical User's Manual

See more clearly, live more wisely, and bear the burdens of this life with greater ease--here are the greatest insights of the Stoics, in their own words. Presented in twelve lessons, Ward Farnsworth systematically presents the heart of Stoic philosophy accompanied by commentary that is clear and concise.

In the Dust of This Planet

The world is increasingly unthinkable, a world of planetary disasters, emerging pandemics, and the looming threat of extinction. In this book, Eugene Thacker suggests that we look to the genre of horror as offering a way of thinking about the unthinkable world. To confront this idea is to confront the limit of our ability to understand the world in which we live - a central motif of the horror genre.

The Perfect Nanny

When Myriam decides to return to work as a lawyer after having children, she and her husband look for the perfect nanny for their son and daughter. They never dreamed they would find Louise: a quiet, polite, devoted woman who sings to the children, cleans the family's chic Paris apartment, stays late without complaint, and hosts enviable kiddie parties. But as the couple and the nanny become more dependent on one another, jealousy, resentment, and suspicions mount, shattering the idyllic tableau.

The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window Into Human Nature

Bestselling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude and verbal eloquence that enables him to provide lucid explanations of deep and powerful ideas. In The Stuff of Thought, Pinker presents a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature.

Quotes:

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I?"

-Rabbi Hillel

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

"I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you any different.”

-Kurt Vonnegut

Fun Facts:

#1. Nicolas Flamel, a character featured in Harry Potter, was actually a real person — a French scribe and manuscript-seller who lived from 1330 to 1418. It was only after his death that Flamel developed a reputation as an alchemist, believed to have discovered the philosopher's stone and to have thereby achieved immortality.

#2. Fifty Shades of Grey was first a Twilight fan fiction called "Master Of The Universe,” written under the pseudonym “Snowqueens Icedragon.”

Ideas + Concepts:

#1. The Lindy Effect

In Nassim Taleb's book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder he for the first time explicitly referred to his idea as the Lindy Effect:

“If a book has been in print for forty years, I can expect it to be in print for another forty years. But, and that is the main difference, if it survives another decade, then it will be expected to be in print another fifty years. This, simply, as a rule, tells you why things that have been around for a long time are not "aging" like persons, but "aging" in reverse. Every year that passes without extinction doubles the additional life expectancy. This is an indicator of some robustness. The robustness of an item is proportional to its life!”

#2. The Shadow Self

In Jungian psychology, the shadow (also known as id, shadow aspect, or shadow archetype) is either an unconscious aspect of the personality that the conscious ego does not identify in itself; or the entirety of the unconscious, i.e., everything of which a person is not fully conscious. In short, the shadow is the unknown side.

Talking about this led to a conversation about alter egos and how they can be used to channel and control certain aspects of the shadow self.

One member, Tammy, said she already had an alter ego — a stripper name, actually — that she got by combining the name of the first pet she ever had with the name of the first street she grew up on: Fifi Gardenia.

If you had an alter ego/stripper name, what would it be?

Other Recommendations:
What the Day Owes the Night

What the Day Owes the Night is a 2012 French romantic drama film based on the novel of the same name by Yasmina Khadra.

His Dark Materials

HBO and BBC present an original series based on the global bestsellers by Phillip Pullman.

That's all, folks! 

To everyone who came to the meeting last night, thanks for coming, and we hope to see you again next week!

To everyone who didn't show up, you are dead to us now. Lol, jk. Excited to connect with you soon! :)

Hakuna Matata,

May the Force be with you,

To infinity and beyond,

Live long and prosper,

May the odds be ever in your favor,

Roll credits,

Love, 

Trace & Caitlyn

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The Free-For-All Book Club

921 N Woodbridge Drive

Bloomington, IN, 47408

United States


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