Giving your city a break

MINDFULNESS & THE ART OF URBAN LIVING: DISCOVERING THE GOOD LIFE IN THE CITY

BY ADAM FORD

This is a wonderful short book that I read in just a couple of hours. Like many of us city dwellers, I regularly find myself falling out of love with my surroundings. The traffic, noise, pollution, neighbours, anti-social behaviour – the list goes on, if we let it. Adam Ford’s book tackles breaking this cycle of negative thoughts about the city we live in and embracing our urban lives instead.

“Mindfulness,” he says, “is a way of living, a way of knowing oneself and the world. It involves taking stock regularly of the way things are, living consciously, becoming more aware and realistic about life.”

He encourages us to apply this approach to the way we live our lives in cities throughout the world by making time to think about ourselves in the here and now and to notice more, to look for the peace and for the beauty when moving around our neighbourhoods. Ford explores creative uses of small spaces in cities with inspiring ideas for urban gardens, allotments and even bee-keeping. He asks the reader to look around again at the wealth of parks, gardens, galleries, buildings and vistas that we may have taken for granted or been too busy rushing past to have ever really observed properly. Continue reading

Advertisements

Captivating and intense epic

THE INTERESTINGS BY MEG WOLITZER

In short, I couldn’t leave this book alone. From the first page I was drawn deeply into the world of the Interestings – perhaps even a little too much! For the week that I was reading this exhilarating novel I felt completely absorbed in its unfolding drama to the point that I lay awake worrying about some of the characters and their actions. Sad, I know!

In the summer of 1974, six talented teenagers sit together at summer camp drinking vodka, smoking weed, being ironic and vowing to always be interesting. From there we follow the lives of Jules, Jonah, Ethan, Ash, Cathy and Goodman over the next few decades as the hopes and dreams they had that summer unravel, some slowly, some spectacularly.

Envy, depression, talent, loss, disappearance and disappointment put their friendships under intense strain.

Wolitzer’s writing is as compelling as I’ve ever read. This really is a “one more chapter then bed” kind of book. It feels massive – like it tackles everything that happens in life. The themes are big, epic and sprawling but it’s the real human moments, the touching scenes that stay with you more than the major events. Continue reading