Tag Archives: new book

Let My People Go Surfing

Hi, Hart Beat. After last week’s visit to the cold world of Upstate New York, let’s go for a change of pace and talk about… surfing. I feel like surfing is one activity that many people want to try at least once in their lives. But until we go on holiday or depending on where you live, this goal doesn’t get ticked off the bucket list. Before I read this book, a friend of mine was telling me how she was planning a trip to Australia and one of her activities was to go surfing. She even looked into sites like www.annscottage.com to find all the equipment and clothing for her trip. This was how serious she was about fulfilling this dream. I even recommended this book to her to read on her trip.

One of the things on the top of my Christmas list this year was the autobiography Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard. If you haven’t heard of Yvon before that’s okay, I hadn’t either. What I did hear was that the book was a great place to start for someone interested in business but not wanting a hard core in depth business book.

Yvon Chouinard, the author of Let My People Go Surfing, is the founder of Patagonia and in the book he talks about founding the company and how it became to be the powerhouse that it is now. What I love about this book is the way that Yvon talks about the early years of Patagonia and how he founded it with friends just because he was so passionate about climbing gear. I love that idea.

Reading Let My People Go Surfing is such an amazing experience and it gives me so much respect for this amazing company and the outdoors in general. Between this and seeing Wild I wouldn’t be surprised if next thing I did was take to the country. Just kidding, Pedro.

How should a person be?

Hey Hart Beat. Happy Saturday! What are you doing on this overcast day? I had been hoping on going to the beach with C. but this foggy weather has me instead hanging out in Greenpoint doing yoga and reading this amazing book (seriously can’t put it down). I’ll tell you about it when I finish but today I want to recommend another boot that I loved reading this summer.

I flew through Sheila Heti’s How Should a Person Be? this month and am still thinking about it since finishing the last page. This review from Bookforum couldn’t describe the novel better, “A raw, startling, genre-defying novel of friendship, sex, and love in the new millennium — a compulsive read that’s like spending a day with your new best friend.” The story is told through the point of view of Sheila, a young woman living in Toronto, navigating her romantic life, artistic inspiration, and above all, a relationship with her best friend.

At its heart, How Should a Person Be? is an ode to female friendship. The real love story of the novel is between the Sheila, the narrator, and Margaux, another artist living in Toronto. The two meet at the beginning of the novel and find commonalities in their struggles as female artists and navigating their early 20s in a modern city. I could relate so much to the characters and was struck especially in the way that Sheila talks about her admiration and inspiration she finds in Margaux while trying to find her own place in the world. She is constantly questioning how her friends live and how she can adopt these ways. At one point the narrator asks, “Responsibility looks so good on Misha, and irresponsibility looks so good on Margaux. How could I know which would look best on me?

Another reason that I loved the book so much was that it was lent to me by my best friend and current roommate. Samantha and I have known each other since the day I was born and grew up next to each other until we left for college. Now we live together in Brooklyn and it feels like full circle, like coming to live with a sister. Sammy recommended the book to me and I loved reading her copy. On the first page was an inscription from another one of Samantha’s closest friends, Margo, gifting the book for Christmas back in 2011. Then, every so often in the novel there are liner notes from Samantha about her college roommate Viv. Vivian is a painter and the two of them lived in an apartment in Los Angeles through college. I love the idea of all these close female friends sharing this one book. I can’t wait to pass it along to someone else.

Beautiful ruins

A couple of weeks ago I finished the amazing book Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. For anyone looking for an engrossing read for this last of summer weather I couldn’t recommend it more. I picked up the book at one of my favorite book stores in the city and I couldn’t put it down once I started it. The book weaves in and out of the Hollywood scene of present day with rural costal Italy of the 60’s. Jess Walter’s writing style is so beautifully particular, and he makes reading his prose so vivid that I felt like I was watching a movie of the book the entire time I was reading it. 
I’ve put some of my favorite quotes down here for you to get a sampling and if you want a more comprehensive summary, The New York Times wrote a great review that you can read here. Since finishing it I’ve moved on to a couple new books and I’ll share those with you soon too, Hart Beat.

This is a love story, Michael Deane says.
But, really, what isn’t? Doesn’t the detective love the mystery, or the chase, or the nosy female reporter, who is even now being held against her wishes at any empty warehouse on the waterfront? Surely the serial murder loves his victims, and the spy loves his gadgets or his country or the exotic counterspy. The ice trucker is torn between his love for ice and truck, and the competing chefs go crazy for scallops, and the pawnshop guys adore their junk, just as the Housewives live for catching glimpses of their own Botoxed brows in gilded hall mirrors, and the rocked-out dude on ‘roids totally wants to shred the ass of the tramp-tatted girl on Hookbook, and because this is reality, they are all in love– madly, truly– with the body mic clipped to their back buckle, and the producer casually suggesting just one more angle, one more Jell-O shot. And the robot loves his master, alien loves his saucer, Superman loves Lois, Lex, and Lana, Luke loves Leia (till he finds out she’s his sister), and the exorcist loves the demon even as he leaps out the window with it, in full soulful embrace, as Leo loves Kate and they both love the sinking ship, and the shark– God, the shark loves to eat, which is what the mafioso loves, too– eating and money and Paulie and omertá— the way the cowboy loves his horse, loves the corseted girl behind the piano bar, and sometimes loves the other cowboy, as the vampire loves night and neck, and the zombie– don’t even start with the zombie, sentimental fool; has anyone ever been more lovesick than a zombie, that pale, dull metaphor for all love, an animal craving and lurching, outstretched arms,  his very existence a sonnet about how much he wants those brains? This, too, is a love story. 

– Jess Walter


The top picture is of Cinque Terre, one of the locations in the book.

Beautiful ruins

A couple of weeks ago I finished the amazing book Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. For anyone looking for an engrossing read for this last of summer weather I couldn’t recommend it more. I picked up the book at one of my favorite book stores in the city and I couldn’t put it down once I started it. The book weaves in and out of the Hollywood scene of present day with rural costal Italy of the 60’s. Jess Walter’s writing style is so beautifully particular, and he makes reading his prose so vivid that I felt like I was watching a movie of the book the entire time I was reading it. 
I’ve put some of my favorite quotes down here for you to get a sampling and if you want a more comprehensive summary, The New York Times wrote a great review that you can read here. Since finishing it I’ve moved on to a couple new books and I’ll share those with you soon too, Hart Beat.

This is a love story, Michael Deane says.
But, really, what isn’t? Doesn’t the detective love the mystery, or the chase, or the nosy female reporter, who is even now being held against her wishes at any empty warehouse on the waterfront? Surely the serial murder loves his victims, and the spy loves his gadgets or his country or the exotic counterspy. The ice trucker is torn between his love for ice and truck, and the competing chefs go crazy for scallops, and the pawnshop guys adore their junk, just as the Housewives live for catching glimpses of their own Botoxed brows in gilded hall mirrors, and the rocked-out dude on ‘roids totally wants to shred the ass of the tramp-tatted girl on Hookbook, and because this is reality, they are all in love– madly, truly– with the body mic clipped to their back buckle, and the producer casually suggesting just one more angle, one more Jell-O shot. And the robot loves his master, alien loves his saucer, Superman loves Lois, Lex, and Lana, Luke loves Leia (till he finds out she’s his sister), and the exorcist loves the demon even as he leaps out the window with it, in full soulful embrace, as Leo loves Kate and they both love the sinking ship, and the shark– God, the shark loves to eat, which is what the mafioso loves, too– eating and money and Paulie and omertá— the way the cowboy loves his horse, loves the corseted girl behind the piano bar, and sometimes loves the other cowboy, as the vampire loves night and neck, and the zombie– don’t even start with the zombie, sentimental fool; has anyone ever been more lovesick than a zombie, that pale, dull metaphor for all love, an animal craving and lurching, outstretched arms,  his very existence a sonnet about how much he wants those brains? This, too, is a love story. 

– Jess Walter


The top picture is of Cinque Terre, one of the locations in the book.