Category Archives: Books and Literature

Of Course

“I wanted to write so that I would have something interesting to read, for while everything I read was quite good, some of it wonderful, I believed that I would write better, and so of course it turned out to be.”  ~William Saroyan There are people in this world who suffer from low self-esteem.  William …

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Just Sitting and Being Alive

Excerpted from The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, the autobiography of William Saroyan, © 1952: Water to an Armenian is a holy thing, like fire. A farmer watering his plants, trees, or vines is taking part in a rite which has profound meaning and satisfaction for him. The farmers of Fresno went to the headgates …

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The anxiety and fear that was plainly showing

In this excerpt from his memoir The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, William Saroyan relates a memory of his mother’s from when his family crossed the Atlantic to America, c. 1888: My mother also remembered an Assyrian woman on the boat from Havre to New York, in steerage. This woman helped my mother take care …

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But He Is Also

Excerpted from The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, the autobiography of Armenian writer William Saroyan, © 1952: It is necessary to remember and necessary to forget, but it is better for a writer to remember.  It is necessary for him to live purposely, which is to say to live and to remember having done so.  …

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Morning Has Broken

Excerpted from The Bicycle Rider in Beverly Hills, the autobiography of William Saroyan, © 1952: Morning is best when it begins with the last hours of night. For years I have known midday mornings. There is something to be said for them. There is a quality of confusion and overlapping in them which is sometimes …

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Diligent and Unprotesting

Excerpted from the essay The Oz Books by Gore Vidal, ©1976: Essentially, our educators are Puritans who want to uphold the Puritan work ethic.  This is done by bringing up American children in such a way that they will take their place in society as diligent workers and unprotesting consumers.  Any sort of literature that …

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Furniture and Ornaments and Games

Excerpted from The Emerald City by L. Frank Baum, ©1910: Altogether there were more than half a million people in the Land of Oz– although some of them, as you will soon learn, were not made of flesh and blood as we are– and every inhabitant of that favored country was happy and prosperous. There …

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Dreamers

“Show us a dreaming boy (or girl) at home with a book, and we will show you a potential troublemaker.”  ~Gore Vidal

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Subtly Censoring Content

“Let us consider two authors (Edgar Rice Burroughs and L. Frank Baum) whose works were burned in our American society during the past seventy years.  Librarians and teachers did the burning very subtly by not buying.  And not buying is as good as burning.  Yet, the authors survived.”  ~Ray Bradbury All of L. Frank Baum’s …

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We Will Surely Meet the Monkey

Excerpted from Turning Confusion into Clarity: A Guide to the Foundation Practices of Tibetan Buddhism by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, ©2014: In private interviews, I hear about problems with family members, partners, and employers. When you listen, the problems sound so small. But if you think about that problem again and again, it gets bigger and …

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A Mechanical and Communal Art

“I saw that the novel, which at my maturity was the strongest and supplest medium for conveying thought and emotion from one human being to another, was becoming subordinated to a mechanical and communal art that, whether in the hands of Hollywood merchants or Russian idealists, was capable of reflecting only the tritest of thought, …

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Decision Making Strategy

Excerpted from The Power of Persuasion:  How We’re Bought and Sold by Robert V. Levine, ©2003: You might try an eight-step decision-making strategy developed by cognitive psychologists known by the acronym of PROACT (problem, objectives, alternatives, consequences, and trade-offs): Clearly define your problem. What is it you’re trying to decide? Be sure you’re addressing what’s …

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