Buy it on Amazon.
MY BOOK: Everything you could possibly want to know about JFK and Mary Meyer: A Love Story. But wait— there is news. Last week Chris Dickey wrote a huge piece about Mary Meyer in the Daily Beast. And Next Tribe, which has never published anything by a man, ran a generous excerpt.
THE BIG GOODBYE: A day after I gushed about it here, the Times gushed about it. From the Times review: “Sam Wasson’s deep dig into the making of the film, is a work of exquisite precision. It’s about much more than a movie… Wasson is one of the great chroniclers of Hollywood lore. And he has truly outdone himself this time.”
I usually treat Valentine’s Day with ironic detachment — I believe if you don’t show up 364 days a year, lavish gestures on one day won’t do much for your romance. I’m not ironic this year: The news is bad, and the commentary is worse, dancing around the terrifying possibility that we’re about to live in a banana republic. Yes, you ‘ll feel better if you give money to candidates who can tip the Senate. Yes, you may want to volunteer. But you also have to feed your soul, jumpstart your heart, do right by your libido, reinvigorate your imagination. Here are a very few suggestions.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s story takes the idea of postponed romance to an astonishing extreme. As the novel begins, Dr. Juvenal Urbino, now 81, has been married to Fermina Daza, 72, for more than half a century. He tries to rescue a bird in a tree, falls and dies. His wife feels “an irresistible longing to begin life with him all over again so they could say what they had left unsaid and do everything right that they had done badly.” Among the mourners is Florentino Ariza. He is the last to leave. And he has a shocking announcement — an announcement he has waited half a century to make: “a vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love.”
FOR THE DESK
Louise Fili’s box of a dozen note cards and envelopes that are just as distinctive. “Quattro Parole Italiane” is the idea. Four Italian words: ciao (hello), auguri (greetings), grazie (thank you) and prego (with pleasure). Why are these cards so striking? It’s not the words, which are refreshingly ordinary, but the typography, which is dramatic and different and, at the same time, nostalgic and familiar, taking you back to visits to small towns in Italy.
Pema Chodron tells a story: A poor family had one son. They loved him beyond measure. He was thrown from a horse and crippled. Two weeks later, the army came to the village and took every able-bodied man to fight in the war. The young man was allowed to stay behind with his family.
The moral: “Life is like that. We call something bad; we call it good. But really we just don’t know.”
One thing she says we do know: “To stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge — that is the path of true awakening.”
A celibate monk. What can he know of love? This:
Understanding someone’s suffering is the best gift you can give another person. Understanding is love’s other name. If you don’t understand, you can’t love.
Often, we get crushes on others not because we truly love and understand them, but to distract ourselves from our suffering. When we learn to love and understand ourselves and have true compassion for ourselves, then we can truly love and understand another person.
In true love, there’s no more separation or discrimination. His happiness is your happiness. Your suffering is his suffering. You can no longer say, “That’s your problem.”
To love without knowing how to love wounds the person we love. To know how to love someone, we have to understand them. To understand, we need to listen.
FOR THE HOME
Janis Joplin said, “What you settle for is who you are.” Her implicit point: Don’t settle. The Diptyque candle, though not cheap, lasts much longer than most other candles — between 50-60 hours. Once it fills a room with scent, you can blow it out and the room will continue to be gently perfumed for hours. And when it’s burned out, you’ve got a vase for short-stemmed flowers.
Burr Coffee Grinder
Not romantic? If you’re serious about coffee, this is a Tiffany ring. Because it runs at a slower speed, it generates less heat. The burrs create uniform grounds. You get a better brew. Not a small thing.
This is one of the greatest jazz soundtracks in film — some say the greatest. The trumpet couldn’t be more evocative: mostly slow and breathy, thoughtful and tender, lonely and okay about it. Think: wet streets on a warm Paris night, around midnight.
Lust and longing are so intense here they redline into love. Obsessive love. Love on two bottles of Krug and maybe a puff of Mendocino’s best. Love that jets you out of this vale of struggle and anxiety into elegance and glory.
This music is sexy sexy sexy. Indeed, if you were trying to explain sex to an alien and could only use sound, this is the CD you’d play; in essence, it is sex. Not wholehearted Barry White sex. Not popper-fueled KC and the Sunshine Band sex. But slow, dreamy sex; deep, underwater sex; dark, midnight sex. Above all, sex so powerful it passes for love, sex that might as well be love.
Imagine if Al Green were female, and you have Ann Peebles. Just about every song on “I Can’t Stand the Rain” is a classic — for other singers. Her career was so under the radio that she barely has a cult.
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