Let's Get Links: This Week's Top 5

 

An Addict's Guide to Overcoming the Distraction Habit— This is exactly perfect for my focus on mindfulness this month. It's so true that distraction often comes from a fear of failure— the kind that may happen when you actually focus on your goals instead of biding your time. I love the list of ways to make your day more focused and his emphasis on considering what's important. ["What are the most important things in your life? Pick 3-4, or 5 at the most. How much of your time is devoted to these things? Can you cut out other things to focus on these?"] If you're committing to mindfulness this month too, this article is a must-read for added inspiration. 

How to Uni-Task to Meet Your Goals— More good inspiration to be mindful. This talks about the harms and realities of multi-tasking. Spoiler alert: we can't really multi-task anyway. Our brains just don't do it that well. Even if we think we're giving two things attention at once, we're doing a poor job focusing on one or both of those things. 

30 Books To Read This Spring— I love a good, thorough book list. Especially looking forward to The First Bad Man by Miranda July, The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty (because our society's standards of beauty need helpful critics), and God Help the Child… because if Toni Morrison writes a book, I am so there. 

Emma Watson: Why gender equality isn't just about women— Emma Watson is having a conversation about #HeForShe and why we should look at gender on a spectrum, not as a set of opposing qualities, tomorrow [3/8]. You can follow it live on Facebook! 

30 Books By Women To Read During Women’s History Month— Even more reading inspiration from Refinery29! Beloved by Toni Morrison and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood are two of my favorites form this list. 

 

Book Club: Reading Hemingway in Paris

 

One of the greatest perks of being on vacation— all the free time and mental space to read like crazy! I knew I wanted to take two books with me to Paris (one to read fully and one to start). I decided on a Hemingway theme because, of course, I'm cheesy like that. A Movable Feast was the first obvious choice because it's about the Paris years. Then I chose The Paris Wife: A Novel, by Paula McLain. It's fiction, but written in the style of a memoir by Hemmingway's first wife, Hadley.

Having already read some Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea), I cracked open The Paris Wife first, which turned out to be very engaging. Having some idea of how it would end (yes, it follows their timeline accurately) actually informed my experience in a positive way. Kind of like reading Romeo & Juliet, having that initial sense of tragedy makes moments of intimacy all the more significant. 

Getting croissant crumbs in between all the pages of your book? Worth it. 

Getting croissant crumbs in between all the pages of your book? Worth it. 

I enjoyed getting a more substantial perspective from one of Hemingway's female counterparts— not something he usually provides in his novels. McLain depicts Hadley's upbringing, which is dampened by a severe disconnect in her parent's marriage and a crippling sense of her own paralysis. Hadley subtly blames her suffrage-minded mother for her father's depression and overtly blames her for undermining her attempts for independence in her adult life. 

On the surface, it's easy to dismiss Hadley as naive, attempting to live out her romantic fantasies despite obvious pitfalls in her marriage to Hemingway. She throws her effort into nurturing his literary career, absorbing his fear and self-doubt until her identity almost disappears into his. Hadley does this despite her struggle with loneliness and displacement and Hemingway's prioritization of his writing over their marriage. 

However, it seems like there are more complex motivations than romance and naiveté at work here. Jumping into a relationship with Hemingway that is more traditionally structured (she supports his career and doesn't have her own) may be Hadley's way of rejecting the type of relationship her parents modeled. Furthermore, the support role she plays for Hemingway allows her to disprove her mother's idea that she is somehow weak or incapable. 

While I don't really think that Hadley is an empowered character, by any means, I would argue that her choices have some intention behind them— and I really enjoyed getting to know a Hemingway heroine well enough to think about her motivations in the first place!

Did you read The Paris Wife or a movable feast? what did you think? if you read both, did either of them inform your experience of the other?