Book recommendations

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

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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?

Stock Your Shelves: April Book Releases

Happy April! Here’s hoping this is the last time I write one of these posts with my fingers crossed in the hopes that the cold weather is finally gone. J.K. Rowling has a new book out this month, it’s non-fiction, it’s been pre-ordered, and nothing else matters. Goodnight and good luck. Okay and yeah, some other things are coming out, too!

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The Folded Clock: A Diary by Heidi Julavits: Like many young girls, Heidi Julavits wrote in her diary every day. Years later, she found her old diaries, hoping to find proof that she was always destined to be a writer. The entries are daily chronicles of anxieties about grades, looks, boys, and popularity. “I want to good-naturedly laugh at this person. I want to but I can’t. What she wanted then is scarcely different from what I want today.” Thus was born a desire to try again, to chronicle her daily life as a forty-something woman, wife, mother, and writer. (April 7)

Inside the O’Brien’s by Lisa Genova: Joe O’Brien is a forty-four-year-old police officer from the Irish Catholic neighborhood of Charlestown, Massachusetts. A devoted husband, proud father of four children in their twenties, and respected officer, Joe begins experiencing bouts of disorganized thinking, uncharacteristic temper outbursts, and strange, involuntary movements. He initially attributes these episodes to the stress of his job, but as these symptoms worsen, he agrees to see a neurologist and is handed a diagnosis that will change his and his family’s lives forever: Huntington’s Disease. (April 7)

The Children’s Crusade by Ann Packer: Bill Blair and Penny Greenway marry and have a family of four. Yet Penny is a mercurial housewife, at a time when women chafed at the conventions imposed on them. She finds salvation in art, but the cost is high. Thirty years later, the three oldest Blair children, adults now and still living near the family home, are disrupted by the return of the youngest, whose sudden presence and all-too-familiar troubles force a reckoning with who they are, separately and together, and set off a struggle over the family’s future. (April 7)

God Help the Child by Toni Morrison. At the center: a young woman who calls herself Bride, whose stunning blue-black skin is only one element of her beauty, her boldness and confidence, her success in life, but which caused her light-skinned mother to deny her even the simplest forms of love. There is Booker, the man Bride loves, and loses to anger. Rain, the mysterious white child with whom she crosses paths. And finally, Bride’s mother herself, Sweetness, who takes a lifetime to come to understand that “what you do to children matters. And they might never forget. (April 21)

Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling: Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world famous author addresses some of life’s most important questions with acuity and emotional force. (April 21)

What are you excited for this month? NEW J.K ROWLING? Something else?