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  • Ross Johnson 4:00 pm on 2019/05/24 Permalink
    Tags: , , d-day, , normandy landings, ,   

    5 Monumental Works to Honor the 75th Anniversary of D-Day 


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    Though the final Allied victory was almost a year away, the Normandy landings on June 6, 1944 are often seen as the beginning of the end of World War II in Europe. The largest seaborne invasion in human history saw over 150,000 American, Canadian, and British troops, backed up by French resistance fighters, take the beaches by land or by sea, setting the stage for the liberation of Paris and then of Western Europe. 2019 marks 75 years since D-Day, and as the events of that longest day pass from living memory, it’s more important than ever that the stories of those who were there remain with us.

    There are some major new works out in time for the anniversary, each of which puts the lives and times of those who lived through the war in a unique perspective.

    The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (Liberation Trilogy, Volume 3), by Rick Atkinson
    In the final volume of Rick Atkinson’s sprawling trilogy documenting Allied efforts to liberate Europe from the Nazis, D-Day is just the beginning—though his account of the campaign is riveting. Having already covered the Allied push through North Africa and Italy in earlier volumes, the author here turns his attention to the battle for Western Europe. This final stage of the war saw the Normandy landings, the liberation of Paris, the disastrous Operation Market Garden, the Battle of the Bulge, and the final move into Germany itself—each of those representing powerful and traumatic moments in history. Atkinson utilizes extensive research and never-before-available source materials to tell the story of the final months World War II.

    Soldier, Sailor, Frogman, Spy, Airman, Gangster, Kill or Die: How the Allies Won on D-Day, by Giles Milton
    There are those books that offer a wide-ranging, high-level view of World War II, and then there are those that zero in on a particular, often peculiar, aspect of the conflict. In this book, Giles Milton focuses his eye on one 24 hour period: June 6, 1944, one of the war’s most momentous days—the launch of the D-Day invasion that saw the beginning of the end of the war in Western Europe. What’s more, he allows the people who lived through the longest day to guide the telling of the events: a teenaged Allied conscript, a German gunner, a French resistance fighter, a Panzer Commander’s wife. For Milton, the ultimate significance of D-Day can be glimpsed in the raw and unvarnished stories of individuals who stared death in the face on that date.

    D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II, by Sarah Rose
    In much of our written history, accounts of the roles played by women during World War II emphasize “Rosie the Riveter” tales, limiting themselves to situations women face in life and work on the homefront. Those stories are valuable, but not nearly the whole truth. Some more recent works have brought back to light remarkable, hidden corners of the past, including this book about the women recruited as spies by Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive. With so many men on the front lines, the 39 women who signed up to become saboteurs in France were essential to the war effort. Sarah Rose focuses on three of them: streetwise Andrée Borrel, who served as a courier and blew up power lines in defiance of the Gestapo before her luck ran out; suburban housewife Odette Sansom, who became the war’s most decorated spy of any gender; and Lise de Baissac, a member of the upper crust who managed to stay just one step ahead of the Nazis while helping to reconnoiter D-Day landing sites. This is a fascinating history of spycraft, narrow escapes, and of a side of the war worth rediscovering.

    The Third Reich at War: 1939-1945, by Richard J. Evans
    The third and final volume of Richard J. Evans’ sweeping trilogy covering the history of Hitler’s Germany, Third Reich at War sees the regime at its most powerful, dangerous and, ultimately, doomed. While other books here take an Allied perspective, Evans history turns a mirror on Germany during the war, exploring great battles, military strategies, and political maneuvering of the German leadership, as well as the home lives of ordinary Germans. This was also the era during which the Holocaust became a central horror, and Evans doesn’t shy away from it. Together with the other volumes in the trilogy, Evans has produced a definitive account of rise and fall of the most infamous regime of the 20th century.

    D-Day: The Battle for Normandy, by Antony Beevor
    Though many brilliant works cover D-Day’s impact on the ulatimate outcome of WWII, the exhaustively researched work by military historian Antony Beevor represented, at the time of its publication in 2009, the first comprehensive look at the campaign, beginning to end, to be published in over twenty years. Relying on the archives of six countries as well as contemporaneous accounts and interviews conducted just following the action, Beevor describes the experiences of Allied and German soldiers, as well as of the French people caught in the fighting. It’s a monumental history of the Normandy landings and the liberation of Paris.

    The post 5 Monumental Works to Honor the 75th Anniversary of D-Day appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Jeff Somers 7:00 pm on 2019/05/21 Permalink
    Tags: , , , firestarter, , , pet semetery, , suffer the little children, , , the institute, , , the waste lands   

    12 Unforgettable Young Protagonists in Stephen King Books 


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    Any list of the scariest horror stories likely includes at least a few on your list featuring young protagonists. Children and teenagers are well-represented in horror for a few reasons: They represent powerlessness, as most kids lack the freedoms adults enjoy, making them especially vulnerable to supernatural terror, and not especially well-equipped to deal with it. Kids themselves can be a little spooky to adults who have lost their connection to that imagination-fueled, morally simple time in their lives. And kids generally embody innocence, making them ideal prey for the monsters under their beds. For teenagers, on the other hand, the parallels between the loss of that childlike innocence and exposure to the often troubling realities of adulthood make for potent fuel for storytelling.

    No one knows all of this better than Stephen King, the master of modern horror. If you compile a list of his best-loved novels, a large proportion of them will feature kids as primary protagonists. Below, find 12 young King lead characters for whom “suffer the little children” isn’t just an old saying.

    Luke Ellis in The Institute
    Luke is a special kid, with special abilities. One night his parents are brutally murdered during an apparent home invasion that turns out to be something more. Luke is kidnapped by the killers and forced into the titular Institute, where Luke and other children are overseen by a sinister staff led by Mrs. Sigsby, who hopes to extract their powers, which range from telekinesis to telepathy. Luke soon discovers that eventually all the kids in the Institute graduate to the “Back Half,” from which point they are never seen again. In announcing this novel earlier this year, King specifically invoked past favorites like Firestarter and It (prompting me to imagine what would have happened if pyromancer Charlie had the benefit of a Loser’s Club of her own, one full of similarly superpowered kids). Dark powers forcing a vulnerable, orphaned child with powers beyond understanding to grow up too soon? This one covers all the “young horror protagonist” bases.

    Carrie White in Carrie
    Carrie’s not just a kid—she’s actually very obviously a sheltered one, her development stunted by her mother’s fanaticism and cruelty. King’s debut novel can be seen as a metaphor for adolescence and the loss of innocence, as Carrie’s abilities are directly connected to her physical maturation and sexual awakening. King has said he intended to write a feminist story, and that still scans, despite some dated elements. Certainly Carrie’s rage after seeing her life turn into a series of one humiliation after another will resonate with girls raised in an era of cyber bullying and social media, as she is shamed and deprecated for her power at every turn. In some ways, Carrie is the ultimate young King protagonist, stepping cautiously into the adult world and being revolted and disappointed by what she finds. She is a tragic hero—but a hero nonetheless.

    Danny Torrance in The Shining
    Danny Torrance is a victim of child abuse, and the lingering trauma from his father’s violent acts infect the whole story. Danny also suffers because of his “shine,” the mental powers he exhibits, which expose him to a darkness no young kid should have to face. No sooner has the Torrance family’s snowbound isolation in the remote, otherwise empty Overlook Hotel begun than does Jack Torrance’s mental breakdown and recruitment by supernatural forces into murderous rampage begin. And all of it is really just illustrating the subtext of Danny’s life, which is marked by post-traumatic stress disorder (he copes with the help of an invisible friend Tony who lives in his mouth) and sheer terror, made text. It’s remarkable how much of a kid Danny remains despite his suffering, including the way he clings to the idea that his father still loves him. That’s part of the psychological richness of the book, as is the masterful way King brings Danny’s terrifying experiences to visceral life.

    Gage Creed in Pet Sematary
    Gage is just three years old when he’s hit by a truck and killed. A sweet, loving little boy, his death is a powerful moment in the novel, despite coming so early in the story. The sweetness King establishes in him before that point magnifies the horror when Gage is brought back by the animating force of the Sematary but it no longer Gage at all. Interpretations of the character usually focus on imagining the horror of your own child returning from the dead not-quite-right, but there’s so much going on psychologically in this novel—from the fear of your children changing into people you don’t recognize, to the way we can be blind to problems when it comes to our loved ones (even when they’ve turned into murderous, undead demons). King’s weaponization of hope and love is almost cruel, and makes this one of his most terrifying books.

    The Losers Club in It
    King returns to childhood over and over again, exploring is the idea that all kids are tormented or damaged in some way large or small. (In his novel’s, the torments are usually… not small.) It’s inevitable: life isn’t safe, and the moment we can start making our own decisions, we’re in danger (of course, the real horror comes in the realization that we are always in danger). That understanding informs all of King’s work, but never more effectively than as embodied by the Loser’s Club. All the kids in this gangly gathering of like-aged friends is struggling with a different sort of damage, but together, they find the strength to not only survive their own traumas but to resist an immense evil terrorizing their home town (which, not coincidentally, preys on children, using their innocent imaginations as a weapon against them).

    Jack Sawyer in The Talisman
    Jack, the hero of King’s foray into portal fantasy, co-written with fellow ’80s horror master Peter Straub, faces truly nightmarish circumstances in his quest to save his dying mother, but remains a stalwart hero throughout, battling epic forces of evil as her travels through the otherworldly alternate world known as the Territories. Jack is introduced as an independent, intelligent, and cynical 12 year-old, older that his years thanks to his mother’s illness. But his fierce dedication to her, and his lack of hesitation when it comes to risking his life to track down the mystical Talisman that might cure her, demonstrate the best aspects of childhood—loyalty, innocence,  a stubborn persistence of hope, and an unflagging ability to adapt (even to the realization that you’ve traveled to a parallel universe).

    Jake Chambers in The Waste Lands
    It’s not a spoiler to say Jake Chambers dies more than once before the end of Stephen King’s epic, seven-volume Dark Tower series. The first time he’s pushed in front of a car in New York City and wakes up in another world—that of Roland Deschain, Mid-World’s last gunslinger. In short order, Roland chooses his obsession with the Man in Black over saving Jake’s life, and is haunted by the decision. Later, a bit of time travel magic gives him a chance to undo Jake’s first death, but the decision has disastrous consequences for them both. In the third novel of the series, The Waste Lands, Jake becomes a second lead of sorts, spending the first portion of the book trying to make sense of his fractured memories and find his way back to Roland’s world. As he grows and matures across the remainder of Roland’s quest for the Dark Tower, Jake becomes one of King’s most well-rounded young creations—sensitive and smart, funny and faithful, and very good in a fight.

    Ray Garraty in The Long Walk
    King was just a kid himself—only 18—when he wrote this novel (though it wasn’t published until years later, under his onetime pseudonym Richard Bachman), so it’s not hard to imagine 16 year-old Ray as a stand-in for King himself, placed within a story that tests him to his very limits. Every year in its dystopian alternate America, 100 teenage boys are selected via lottery to simply start walking, and continue doing so until only one of them is left alive. Considering the time in which it was first written, it seems a clear allegory for thefates of all those boys who went off to die in the Vietnam War—the draft making it a real world example of a death lottery for the young. Ray is a very normal kid, but King skillfully positions him as a bit of an outsider—he’s not athletic, and his passions include dancing and cooking. Ray’s motivations for winning are prosaic and universal: the prize is basically anything he wants (including not dying, I suppose), but his true goals are left open to interpretation.

    Arnie Cunningham in Christine
    King skillfully builds this surprisingly down-to-earth killer car story around a villainous protagonist. Arnie Cunningham is 17 and a stereotypical nerd when the story begins.He has just one true friend and nothing but a life of bullying and misery to look forward to every day. When he acquires a 1958 Plymouth Fury from a creepy old man, he begins to be possessed by a malevolent spirit that unleashes his inner demons, leading to vehicular mayhem. King transposes the sort of adolescent play-acting kids go through when they’re trying to figure out how to adult, transforming it into full-blown horror. Arnie slowly evolves into a cartoonish caricature of what a teenager thinks being a grown man is supposed to look like, all surly cynicism and superficial cool. The story likely hits home for any parent who goes to bed one night with a sensitive, caring kid in the other room and wakes up the next morning to a monosyllabic, sex-obsessed monster. King also injects a careful optimism into the book as, amid terrible events, Arnie actively struggles to remember who he really is.

    Marty Coslaw in The Cycle of the Werewolf
    Marty is ten years old and a paraplegic—a double-down on the perceived vulnerability of a child. Marty is attacked by a werewolf and manages to survive, only to find that no one—not one adult—believes him. It’s left to him to investigate, identify, and oppose the creature. The idea that children are receptive to concepts that adults are closed off to is a pretty classic trope, and King twists it by making them party to insights more horrifying than magical:  Marty isn’t living in a world of pure imagination that gives him special perspective and powers, he’s struggling to survive against a predator. In the end, it is brains and determination that win the day, not physical prowess—showing kids can sometimes be the strongest among us.

    Trisha McFarland in The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
    While the horror bonafides of this short, strange novel can be argued, King leaves the door cracked open just enough to allow you to believe all the supernaturally tinged weirdness Trisha McFarland experiences after she becomes lost in the woods really happens, and can’t be chalked up to a hallucination brought on by exposure, hunger, and dehydration. King plays with very straightforward young protagonist tropes—as she searches for a way home, Trisha is both completely vulnerable and extremely resourceful, forced to deal with her own fears (both literal and metaphorical) without any help from parents, friends, or even society (but a little help from a vision of her hero, a baseball player for the Boston Red Sox). Childhood can be dark and full of terrors, and King makes the struggle to get through it visceral by placing Trisha all alone in the middle of nature. The fact that her inner strength—coupled with the emotional scars inflicted upon her by a tumultuous home life—is what enables her to survive her ordeal is a celebration of the resiliency of children.

    Charlie McGee in Firestarter
    Mentioned above, the telekinetic Charlie is in many ways a typical eight-year-old girl, although we never get to see her living a normal life. Her mental abilities, which manifest mainly as the ability to non-spoiler alert, start fires, are as awesome as they are deadly, but she actually only uses them purposefully to hurt someone once in the story, and only then when her father’s life is threatened. Otherwise, she’s a pretty cheerful and friendly kid whose abilities only slip out of her control unintentionally, causing damage. Just like any other kid that age, Charlie struggles with emotional control and proper social behavior—only her tantrums result in things near her being burned to a cinder. An interesting element in narrative is the fact that she inherits her powers from her parents, who gained their own abilities through a drug experiment, a bit of mad science that underscores a primal fear experienced by many parents: not only are they incapable of protecting them from the evil in the world, they may have also doomed their offspring to suffer their same mistakes.

    Who’s your favorite young protagonist in a horror novel?

    The post 12 Unforgettable Young Protagonists in Stephen King Books appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Cristina Merrill 4:00 pm on 2019/05/21 Permalink
    Tags: , cliff's edge, , , , , , luck of the draw, , , , the summoning, to tame a wild cowboy,   

    Romance Roundup: Small-Town Romances, Bakery Owners, and Protective Cowboys 


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    This week’s Romance Roundup includes a woman who inherits a haunted property, a bakery owner who ends up house sitting with an actor, and a sexy cowboy who finds out he’s a father.

    Cooper’s Charm, by Lori Foster
    Two sisters are about to get some much-need R&R in the lovely town that is Cooper’s Charm. Phoenix Rose’s life was going swimmingly until a break-in at her home left her feeling devastated and insecure. She lost her fiance, her business—you get the picture. (Phoenix, we are SO taking you out for a nice dinner!) She decides to hightail it to Cooper’s Charm, a peaceful town filled with some very nice people, including a hunky widower who is quite possibly the nicest man she’s ever met. (You go, girl!) She’s soon joined by her sister, Ridley Rose, who finds some romance of her own with a scuba instructor. Ridley soon realizes that peeling his wetsuit away from his six-pack abs would be SO much fun. A story that involves two sisters and a beautiful town and two hunky guys to help said sisters take their minds off of things? Yes, please! (Available in paperback on May 21.)

    The Summoning, by Heather Graham
    Kristi Stewart has just inherited a Savannah property, one with a rich ghost-y history. (Sadly, not the Patrick Swayze Let’s-Make-Pottery kind of ghost.) Our gal doesn’t believe in ghosts, which makes it all the more freaky when some weird stuff starts to happen. Things get especially crazy one night, which causes Kristi to run into the manly embrace of Dallas Wicker. Dallas has his own weird stuff to face. He’s investigating the death of a colleague, and it soon becomes clear that that colleague’s death and the odd things happening on Kristi’s property might be linked. (Dallas has a big brain and a big heart to go with his…big biceps!) Anyway, Kristi and Dallas will need to work together if they’re going to solve the mystery of these disappearances and move on to bigger and better things. Hang in there, you two! This is the latest book in Graham’s extensive Krewe of Hunters series. (Available in hardcover, paperback, and audiobook on May 21.)

    Undefeated, by Helen Hardt
    The sexy, vampire-ific drama continues between human lady Erin Hamilton and Not-Your-Grandmother’s-Vampire Dante Gabriel! In this installment, Dante and Erin venture together into the underground place where a very evil woman used to hold Dante captive. (She held him for 10 years, so yes, there are grudges.) Dante needs to make this evil person think she has control over him. He is totally willing to play the game, but he’s also on high alert to make sure none of his loved ones are hurt in the process. This is especially true when it comes to Erin, because she’s HIS woman. (Such is the strength of Dante’s, ahem, carnal desires for her.) Here’s hoping that Dante gets what he needs from this morbid underworld setting, that the nasty piece of work is finished off, and that Dante and Erin then proceed to take a peaceful, drama-free vacation when it’s all over! This is the fifth volume in Hardt’s Blood Bond series. (Available in paperback on May 21.)

    Cliff’s Edge, by Meg Tilly
    Eve Harris is the Sister of the Year. Not only does she agree to run the bakery she co-owns with her sister while said sister is on her honeymoon, she also offers to housesit. Trouble is, actor Rhys Thomas is also going to be at the house. He’s friends with Eve’s brother-in-law, who offered him a place to stay while he gets some peace and quiet after wrapping a film. One look is all it takes to realize why Rhys is doing the actor thing. His face and abs alone give the world hope for another Magic Mike film. (This might be a shout into the void BUT WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE THIS HAPPEN?!) What starts off as a fluffy-sounding spell together, however, soon turns into something more sinister. Someone just might be out to get Eve. Fortunately, Rhys is much more than a pretty face and smoking body, and he sure isn’t going to just sit around on his camera-ready tush while his new lady love gets all of the threats. You go, Rhys! This is the second book in Tilly’s Solace Island series. (Available in paperback and NOOK on May 21.)

    Luck of the Draw, by B.J. Daniels
    All Garrett Sterling wanted to do was have a little bit of Me Time and ride his horse around his family’s Montana property. (Totally understandable, Garrett! We all want a bit of You Time, too!) Then something awful happens, and it involves a dead person. If that wasn’t bad enough, a lady who has always been very special to Garrett becomes the prime suspect. Garrett is ready to do whatever it takes to keep her safe, even if she is reluctant to give him any useful information. (Sister, you can trust Garrett any day of the week!) Is this woman truly to blame for anything? What exactly is her relationship history with Garrett? And, when the time is right, will Garrett surprise her by reclining on his side on a bearskin rug in front of a working fireplace wearing nothing but an easily-removable bandana and holding a red rose between his teeth? This is the second book in Daniels’ Sterling’s Montana series. (Available in paperback, audiobook, and NOOK on May 21.)

    To Tame a Wild Cowboy, by Lori Wilde
    This story features cowboy Rhett Lockhart who—OH SWEET JEBUS YES! MORE COWBOYS! BRING US ALL OF THE COWBOYS! ALWAYS! Anyway, Rhett has just discovered that the baby girl recently abandoned at the local hospital is, in fact, the baby girl he fathered after a one-night stand. To his credit, he pretty much immediately realizes he wants to be a father. The only problem is that the baby’s foster mother, Tara Alzate, is a bit skeptical about Rhett’s parenting capabilities. (This is totally fair, as Rhett wasn’t exactly stable, reliable Dad material.) Rhett suggests to Tara that they enter a marriage of convenience so they can both be in the baby’s life. Rhett and Tara soon realize that they have way more in common than they ever would have thought. Can they lovingly enter a new chapter of their lives together? This is the latest book in Wilde’s Cupid, Texas series. (Available in hardcover, paperback, audiobook, and NOOK on May 21.)

    What new romance novels are you excited about this week?

    The post Romance Roundup: Small-Town Romances, Bakery Owners, and Protective Cowboys appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Heidi Fiedler 2:00 pm on 2019/05/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    10 Ways to Fight Burnout and the Patriarchy at the Same Time 


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    If you’ve ever worried you’re not doing enough while yet feeling stretched way too thin all at the same time, you are a human. If you’ve ever felt those contradictory symptoms of burnout and also felt forbidden to acknowledge it, you’re probably a woman. What makes Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle such a standout is the way the authors clearly identify the underlying cause of burnout. Our capitalist, patriarchal society is hard on everyone, especially women who are expected to give, give, give, never asking for a break or acknowledgement, all while wearing a smile and remaining calm in the face of impossible standards. (Just typing that sentence was dispiriting and exhausting!) The issue is worse for women of color and other minorities who live with a whole other set of impossible expectations and rules, along with being judged as women. The good news is that when we fight burnout, we fight the patriarchy. It goes beyond the idea that self care is radical and revolutionary. It’s a mindset shift that changes the way we see ourselves and the world. And perhaps one day it will change the way the world sees us. Below are 10 ways to get started.

    1. Resist the message that women need to “be nice, be strong, be polite” all the time and never have any feelings, by finding healthy ways to process your feelings. Exercise is the fastest way. (Picture yourself smashing the patriarchy for maximum effect.) Meditation, talking with friends, laughing, and cuddling with someone you trust also work. There’s power in being able to move fluidly between feeling unsafe or stressed, and then feeling calm again.
    2. Plan ahead. Anticipate problems, write lists, schedule, budget, anticipate, and execute. (You’re probably already doing this.) Now use those skills to manage the stress that comes from living with overwhelming and unrealistic expectations. Actually schedule time to process your feelings. (Go do it now!) It will help you be strong enough to keep going.
    3. Reframe challenges as being moments when you might grow and learn. It can help both in the moment and looking back. The idea is to redefine success on your own terms. Don’t let the man tell you whether you’re winning or not. Depending on your circumstances, this might be easier said than done. But the science says it truly works.
    4. Know you’re doing a hard thing makes it easier to keep going. It’s hard if everyone keeps telling you it’s no big deal. So at least give yourself the gift of acknowledging the rules are mindbendingly contradictory and expectations are impossibly high.
    5. Set specific, personal goals that are measurable, in your control, enjoyable, and you can achieve quickly. It helps you remember your own definition of success and ignore the expectations that can never be met.
    6. Recognize the moment when you swing between feeling like your goals are unattainable and being frustrated by the system. Then name it. The Nagoski sisters call it “foop.” It’s a silly word for those tricky thoughts like “I’m sure I can save this relationship, I just need to try harder. But no, it’s hopeless, they’ll never change, I’m not good enough at feelings to help them be a better person, but ugh, it’s not my job to change them! But ugh, I should change me!” (Can the Nagoskis see inside our heads???)
    7. Make the struggle meaningful by connecting it to something larger, whether that’s your legacy, spiritual calling, or connection to others. Finding your purpose or whatever it is that makes you feel like you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing is energizing and empowering. At the very least, it can be sustaining in the face of oppression.
    8. Fight helplessness by doing something—whatever you can. Scream. Walk. Dance. Turn your pain into art. Organize your bookshelves. Just prove to yourself that you are competent and capable.
    9. Reject the billion-dollar industry that constantly encourages us to diet in order to shrink ourselves, and to otherwise doubt our bodies. Just don’t. You are beautiful. Right. This. Very. Second.
    10. Connect with people who get you and the issues you face. That might mean a very loving husband, a true friend, or the Nagoski sisters. Their book is a welcoming place after a long day, and reading it feels like the perfect antidote to burnout and centuries of accumulated injustice.

    Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post 10 Ways to Fight Burnout and the Patriarchy at the Same Time appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
  • Heidi Fiedler 2:00 pm on 2019/05/20 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    10 Ways to Fight Burnout and the Patriarchy at the Same Time 


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    If you’ve ever worried you’re not doing enough while yet feeling stretched way too thin all at the same time, you are a human. If you’ve ever felt those contradictory symptoms of burnout and also felt forbidden to acknowledge it, you’re probably a woman. What makes Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle such a standout is the way the authors clearly identify the underlying cause of burnout. Our capitalist, patriarchal society is hard on everyone, especially women who are expected to give, give, give, never asking for a break or acknowledgement, all while wearing a smile and remaining calm in the face of impossible standards. (Just typing that sentence was dispiriting and exhausting!) The issue is worse for women of color and other minorities who live with a whole other set of impossible expectations and rules, along with being judged as women. The good news is that when we fight burnout, we fight the patriarchy. It goes beyond the idea that self care is radical and revolutionary. It’s a mindset shift that changes the way we see ourselves and the world. And perhaps one day it will change the way the world sees us. Below are 10 ways to get started.

    1. Resist the message that women need to “be nice, be strong, be polite” all the time and never have any feelings, by finding healthy ways to process your feelings. Exercise is the fastest way. (Picture yourself smashing the patriarchy for maximum effect.) Meditation, talking with friends, laughing, and cuddling with someone you trust also work. There’s power in being able to move fluidly between feeling unsafe or stressed, and then feeling calm again.
    2. Plan ahead. Anticipate problems, write lists, schedule, budget, anticipate, and execute. (You’re probably already doing this.) Now use those skills to manage the stress that comes from living with overwhelming and unrealistic expectations. Actually schedule time to process your feelings. (Go do it now!) It will help you be strong enough to keep going.
    3. Reframe challenges as being moments when you might grow and learn. It can help both in the moment and looking back. The idea is to redefine success on your own terms. Don’t let the man tell you whether you’re winning or not. Depending on your circumstances, this might be easier said than done. But the science says it truly works.
    4. Know you’re doing a hard thing makes it easier to keep going. It’s hard if everyone keeps telling you it’s no big deal. So at least give yourself the gift of acknowledging the rules are mindbendingly contradictory and expectations are impossibly high.
    5. Set specific, personal goals that are measurable, in your control, enjoyable, and you can achieve quickly. It helps you remember your own definition of success and ignore the expectations that can never be met.
    6. Recognize the moment when you swing between feeling like your goals are unattainable and being frustrated by the system. Then name it. The Nagoski sisters call it “foop.” It’s a silly word for those tricky thoughts like “I’m sure I can save this relationship, I just need to try harder. But no, it’s hopeless, they’ll never change, I’m not good enough at feelings to help them be a better person, but ugh, it’s not my job to change them! But ugh, I should change me!” (Can the Nagoskis see inside our heads???)
    7. Make the struggle meaningful by connecting it to something larger, whether that’s your legacy, spiritual calling, or connection to others. Finding your purpose or whatever it is that makes you feel like you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing is energizing and empowering. At the very least, it can be sustaining in the face of oppression.
    8. Fight helplessness by doing something—whatever you can. Scream. Walk. Dance. Turn your pain into art. Organize your bookshelves. Just prove to yourself that you are competent and capable.
    9. Reject the billion-dollar industry that constantly encourages us to diet in order to shrink ourselves, and to otherwise doubt our bodies. Just don’t. You are beautiful. Right. This. Very. Second.
    10. Connect with people who get you and the issues you face. That might mean a very loving husband, a true friend, or the Nagoski sisters. Their book is a welcoming place after a long day, and reading it feels like the perfect antidote to burnout and centuries of accumulated injustice.

    Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle is on B&N bookshelves now.

    The post 10 Ways to Fight Burnout and the Patriarchy at the Same Time appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

     
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