Reviews

5 Essential, Inspiring Quotes From J.K. Rowling’s ‘Very Good Lives’

lives

When I found out J.K. Rowling had a new book coming out, you know I immediately had to pre-order it. I had my “confirm order” finger so ready to go, that I didn’t notice that I was ordering a copy of Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement speech. I was expecting something more along the line of The Happiness Project. I hadn’t read the speech before, so it wasn’t a problem, I was just surprised when the package that came in the mail was so small. 

But inside the tiny box was something only J.K. Rowling could make so magical. As tiny as the book was, it was filled with so many inspiring words about the future, and life and making your imagination do everything it can.

The illustrations going along with each page just brought it to life, and I highly recommend giving this a read, even if you just listen to the address or find a copy online! If you do decide to purchase it yourself though, proceeds go to the Lumos Foundation, which J.K. Rowling founded.

On Taking Control: “There is an expiration date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.”

On Living On Your Own Terms: “Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it.”

On Failure: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

On Moving Forward: “The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”

On Life: Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.

Have you read J.K. Rowling’s speech? What’s some of the best advice you’ve ever received?

5 Relatable Moments From Nora Ephron’s ‘I Feel Bad About My Neck’

8765Hi, and happy weekend! If you haven’t heard of her before, Nora Ephron is the writer of two of my favorite movies of all time: You’ve Got Mail and Sleepless in Seattle. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks being adorable, basically. I’d looked at some of her books before, but had never gotten around to actually, ya know, reading them. But since I’ve had next to no time to read lately, I thought a super short, funny collection of essays could be just the thing for me.

It was completely the thing I needed. She made me laugh, she made me think, and she made me nod my head in complete agreement. I will say though, that I didn’t know I Feel Bad About My Neck was about getting old, going in, but even that ended up being fine. Sure, I don’t have a flabby neck or kids, but that doesn’t mean I won’t some day!

So, without further ado, the five most relatable and funny moments from this collection:

“I Hate My Purse:” “This is for women who hate their purses, who are bad at purses, who understand that their purses are reflections of negligent house-keeping, hopeless organization, a chronic inability to throw anything away, and an ongoing failure to handle the obligations of a demanding and difficult accessory. This is for women whose purses are a morass of loose Tic Tacs, solitary Advils, lipsticks without tops, Chapsticks of unknown vintage…”

“On Rapture:”“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”

“On Maintenance:” “…the amount of maintenance involving hair is genuinely overwhelming. Sometimes I think that not having to worry about your hair anymore is the secret upside of death.”

“Consider the Alternative:” “Here are some questions I am constantly noodling over: Do you splurge or do you hoard? Do you live every day as if it’s your last, or do you save your money on the chance you’ll live twenty more years? Is life too short, or is it going to be too long? Do you work as hard as you can, or do you slow down to smell the roses? And where do carbohydrates fit into all this? Are we really all going to spend our last years avoiding bread, especially now that bread in American is so unbelievable delicious? And what about chocolate?”

What I Wish I’d Known:” “Write everything down. Keep a journal. Take More pictures. Whenever someone says the words ‘our friendship is more important than this,’ watch out, because it almost never is.”

What have you been reading lately?