26 Nov Thankfully Speaking
Happy shorter work week (if you are off for the Thanksgiving holiday)!
If not, Happy Tuesday.
This week I’m posting books as part of the:
reading challenge put together by a bunch of fun book bloggers. If you are like me, then you don’t read a lot non-fiction. I’m not necessarily trying to read tons of non-fiction (vs. fiction) but rather, I want to find and read books that capture and hold my attention. Non-fiction often grabs my attention, but doesn’t hold it for the length of the book (the way fiction does). Good books are good books and bad books are, well, bad books—fiction or non-fiction.
The non-fiction books I plan to post this week are centered around a person and/or subject that I find interesting. Keeping my fingers crossed that they are as good as they sound 🤞
I first heard about The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominque Bauby several years ago. It’s a slim book, (coming in at around 130 pages) that I think will pack a big punch.
Random side note: I have a small stack of three (including this book) small (all under 200 pages) books sitting neatly on my counter. This wasn’t a planned thing, but looking at them all together I want to wake up this Friday (after Thanksgiving) and read them back-to-back while drinking way too much coffee. Their tidy slimness makes this pipe dream feel like it could be a reality.
Back to the book. TDBATB follows Bauby, who was the editor of the french Elle magazine and a father of two. He was in his early forties when he experienced a rare type of stroke. This stroke put him in a coma and when he awoke he was literally a prisoner inside his own body, left only with the function of his left eye.
Bauby was able to not only communicate, but figured out a way to write this book (one word at a time) using only the function of his left eye.
After this debilitating stroke, he was determined to live as much through his mind as he had formally done through his body. He writes of the sadness and also the joy of watching his children, listening to his father’s voice over the phone, and imagining lying next to the woman he loves. Fed intravenously, he thinks of food he can no longer prepare or taste, simply out of determination to enjoy what he is left with.
Jean-Dominque Bauby died two days after the publication of his book.
When I selected non-fiction books for this week’s posts I didn’t think much about Thanksgiving falling smack in the middle of it.
Thinking a bit more deeply about it, I cannot imagine a better book to serve as a reminder of how much I have to be thankful for.
Hug all of your people, tell them you love them. Forget about perfect place settings (not that I cared about them in the first place, unless Chinets count!)or the turkey coming out just right. None of that stuff matters and no one is thinking about it at the end of the day or even after the first bite is taken.
The word, perfection is found no where in the phrase, “eat, drink, and be merry.” If you keep that in mind, your holiday might just be a little magical.
“I need to feel strongly, to love and admire, just as desperately as I need to breathe.” -Jean-Dominque Bauby, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly 🦋
“The soul that gives thanks can find comfort in everything; the soul that complains can find comfort in nothing.” -Hannah Whithall Smith