On Being Awestruck

AwestruckFrom filmmaker Jason Silva video

The Biological Advantage of Being Awestruck

According to a study by Stanford psychology students, Trinica Sampson reports at Utne, experiencing a sense of awe can offset stress, sleep disorders, diminished satisfaction with life, and other adverse effects that often accompany the feeling of having too much to do and not enough time.

Filmmaker Jason Silva elicits the awe that is so vital to the human experience while discussing the Stanford study, Nicholas Humphrey’s research on the biological advantage of being awestruck, and Ross Andersen’s response to the Hubble Space Telescope.

Watch video

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The Strange Triumph of “The Little Prince”

Of all the books written in French over the past century, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “Le Petit Prince” is surely the best loved in the most tongues, Adam Gopnik tells us at The New Yorker.

Little PrinceThis is very strange, because the book’s meanings—its purpose and intent and moral—still seem far from transparent, even seventy-five-plus years after its first appearance. Indeed, the startling thing, looking again at the first reviews of the book, is that, far from being welcomed as a necessary and beautiful parable, it bewildered and puzzled its readers.

Among the early reviewers, only P. L. Travers—who had, with a symmetry that makes the nonbeliever shiver, written an equivalent myth for England in her Mary Poppins books—really grasped the book’s dimensions, or its importance.

Triumph of “The Little Prince”

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25 Essential Books About Americans in Paris

Americans have been traveling to Paris to be appreciated for their poetic struggle for years, Elisabeth Donnelly writes on Flavorwire, and a whole Seine’s worth of books have come along to share the story of Americans in Paris, from the Lost Generation to Henry James to James Baldwin.

In this list we’re looking at some of the best and most crucial memoirs and biographies of some of (North) America’s best artists and most interesting expats.

Paris in Love

 

Paris In Love by Eloisa James

A romance author and professor survives a bout of cancer, decides to live life to the fullest, and takes a sabbatical year in Paris, where life can slow down and be lived moment by moment.

 

 

Americans in Paris

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Berliners in literature

West Berlin, 1961Tales of the city … west Berlin in 1961. Photograph: Sergio Del Grande/Mondadori via Getty Images

To me Berlin is as much a conceit as a reality,” Rory MacLean says in The Guardian.

“Why? Because the city is forever in the process of becoming, never being, and so lives more powerfully in the imagination. Long before setting eyes on it, the outsider feels its absences as much as its presence: the sense of lives lived, dreams realised and evils executed with an intensity so shocking that they shook its fabric.”

From Sally Bowles in Goodbye to Berlin to Alec Leamas in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Berlin’s literary inhabitants bring the city alive.

Klaus Uhltzscht in Heroes Like Us by Thomas Brussig

Across that heinous divide, Klaus Uhltzscht is the aspiring teenage Nobel laureate of East Berlin. He claims to be German history’s “missing link”, who will come to breach the Berlin Wall. In this bold and hilarious comedy of terrors, Thomas Brussig writes of the absurd iniquity of the death strip that cut through Berlin’s heart, of the U-Bahn trains running beneath it, of a child spying on the Stasi, and of the penis responsible for reuniting the divided city. After encountering Uhltzscht, no male reader will look at the end of the cold war (or his member) in the same way.

Berliners in literature

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15 best classics books of all time

The ancient classics can still teach us about love, politics, history and legend. The Telegraph picks the must-reads

The AncientsBest antiquity books of all time (clockwise from top left): Homer, The Last Days of Socrates, Pindar, The Politics by Aristotle

Best classics of all time

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The slow, tragic death of the LGBT publishing industry

Boys KissingThe closure of the oldest LGBT bookstore in the country is a grim sign for the future of an invaluable industry, Steve Berman reports in Salon.

Death of an industry?

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Quote of the Day

When an old man dies~~~~~
Alma Alexander
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2 thoughts on “On Being Awestruck

  1. Hola Duchess,
    I love the Awestruck Clip!. And the “When an Old Man Dies, a Library Burns to the Ground” is poignantly true. Reminds me of one of my favorite books. THE WAYFINDERS: Why Indigenous Wisdom Matters in a Modern World” by Wade Davis.
    Love your blog! Georgeann

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