The Sea

The SeaThe Sea by John Banville
Published: 2005
Narrated by: John Lee
Length: 06:54 (200 pages)

Max Morden is a middle-aged man who has just recently lost his wife to illness, and in his grief has returned to the Irish seaside town where his family used to holiday in his youth. During his time there reflecting on his relationship with his wife, and those awkward final days, his mind goes back to his first childhood relationship that took place in that town many years ago.

This is a beautifully written novel, and I do enjoy a despicable and depressed protagonist, so the combination of the rich descriptions, morose attitude, and nasty internal dialogue really worked for me. Unfortunately, at times, his descriptions became a bit too vivid when he used “warm cheesy smell” to describe the natural musk of multiple characters. I would like that phrase wiped from my mind, please.

Before Anna’s illness I had held my physical self in no more than fond disgust, as most people do – hold their selves, I mean, not mine – tolerant, necessarily of the products of my sadly inescapable humanity, the various effluvia, the eructations fore and aft, the gleet, the scurf, the sweat and other common leakages, and even what the Bard of Hartford quaintly calls the particles of nether-do. However, when Anna’s body betrayed her and she became afraid of it and its alien possibilities, I developed, by a mysterious process of transference, a crawling repugnance of my own flesh.

I found his relationship with his daughter interesting in this. He is awful to her, seemingly forgetting completely that she is hurting too, and it’s a glimpse into that strange moment in life when the child begins to take on responsibility for the parent. This time from the point of view of the parent, a man who considers himself, and is portrayed as being, incredibly self-aware, and yet he doesn’t even seem to notice this happening. He’s depressed and grieving, subscribing to the false idea that the more you suffer the more you cared, and that will make you act and perceive the world in ways you normally wouldn’t, but from the flashbacks to earlier in his life, it seems like he never was the most considerate person.

At times, in the beginning of a scene, it was hard to tell whether we were in the current time or a memory, which is something that would normally bother me, but it worked really well here. The muddiness of the scene transitions really helped past and current events bleed together in a way that made it feel like a single narrative rather than jumping between times.

The past beats inside me like a second heart.

The novel is basically a retelling of the relationships in his life through memories, but it doesn’t really have a plot beyond that. The little motion there is happens in the last 20 or 30 pages. That’s fine, but I think the fact that it was awarded the 2005 Man Booker Prize, one of the most prestigious literary prizes we have, made me think it would be spectacular on every level, plot included. You would think that the prize would indicate an entire package, but Max Morden is essentially the same man at the beginning of the book that he was at the end. I suppose that was maybe the point. An incident in his youth has kept him from entering the sea his entire life since, and his failure to enter the sea at the end of the novel may be an indication of his lack of growth, but I really don’t know.

Ignoring the anemic plot, the occasional cliché (twins with a mysterious connection?), and the few strained similes, this was still a pleasure to read. Something I read compared his prose to Nabokov’s, and I do get that. I don’t think Nabokov tried quite as hard to be clever, but I can understand the comparison – every word feels considered. And he can actually write about sex in a way that doesn’t make me want to turn celibate (apart from the warm cheesy smell thing). I do wish I had actually read it, rather than listened to the audiobook, despite John Lee’s fantastic narration. There were many words in this that were unfamiliar to me. I’m fairly certain some of these words had been lost to the modern English language for decades before John Banville decided to bring them back. It would have been nice to look up a few of them as I read.

Despite my few grievances, I really enjoyed this and may have a look at his other novels. He’s written seventeen fictional novels, as well as a seven additional crime novels under a pseudonym, and I’m curious to see how his other novels are structured.

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Double Cup Love

Double Cup LoveDouble Cup Love by Eddie Huang
Published: 2016
Narrated by: Eddie Huang
Length: 05:48 (240 pages)

I really enjoyed parts of Eddie’s first book, Fresh Off the Boat, but it annoyed me quite a bit in places as well. He’s a gifted writer when he’s writing about food, and he has some great insights into culture identity and self-discovery, but I really lost interest when he started bragging about his rebellious youth. His early life story was interesting, but I just couldn’t stand the way he decided to tell it.

This was much more up my alley. After the success of his first book, the restaurant, and the various food travel shows he hosts, he decided to travel to China to experiment with cooking his food for locals, to see how the Taiwanese dishes he grew up with and adapted for his restaurant worked with China-born palates. Would it be unrecognizable? If so, would they still like it? The main dish he was cooking for people was his red pork belly that he uses as a filling for the bao he serves in his restaurant, Baohaus.

It was also interesting to see how he fit in, as an American-born Taiwanese man, which was being tested in much the same way as his food. Like in his television shows, he uses food as a way to break in to a culture, to really learn about people. It’s a very common combination these days, the travel and food documentary or memoir, and it’s something that never bores me when it’s done well.

He framed the memoir with his relationship to his girlfriend. He begins the book explaining how they met, sharing the double cup from the title, and he ends the book with the plan to propose to her in China. It allowed for an interesting mix of culture comparison – the differences between his childhood life in a Chinese immigrant family and visiting her white family home, the differences between him as an American and the Chinese and what his life could have been had his parents remained in the country, and the differences in perception once his girlfriend joins him in China at the end of his trip.

Eddie Huang is very much an acquired taste. In some ways, he’s still a teenager at heart, in the most annoying ways, but there’s something about him that I really like. He’s passionate about investigating cultural divides through food, and he’s good at it. I sometimes disagree with what he’s says and does, but he always feels authentic in a way that makes me want to keep reading. His food writing is brilliant, as well. He can describe the local red pork belly from four different restaurants and you can almost taste the differences between them.

This novel did feel scattered at points, but overall I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to whatever his next book may be.

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We Stand On Guard

We Stand On GuardWe Stand On Guard by Brian K. Vaughan
Format: Deluxe Edition Hardcover
Illustrated by: Steve Skroce, Matt Hollingsworth
Series: We Stand On Guard #1-6
Publisher: Image Comics
Published: 2015
Length: 160 pages

Brian K. Vaughan, author of many loved comics, including Saga, tackles the often joked about idea of the US invading Canada in this six issue limited series. Vaughan lives in Canada with his Canadian wife, but was born and raised in Cleveland, so even though Americans do get painted as the baddies in this, it is one of your own doing it at least.

we_stand_guard_issue_1_vaughan_skroce_image_comics_04

It’s the year 2124, and major droughts have left the Americans without water, which is now the resource that drives conflict between countries rather than oil. In a desperate act, they invade the north to take control of the great lakes. They’re more technologically advanced, with more funding having gone to their military over the years, and Canada basically gets steamrolled. This series follows a team of Canadian civilians who have banded together as freedom fighters to try to resist America’s continued expansion through the country.

This definitely has a lot of Vaughan’s typically jokey dialogue, which I always enjoy, but it’s quite dark and bleak as well. I think the fact that it’s a miniseries allowed him to not hold back, to keep it fast-paced and surprising, but it also limited how much depth the story could have. It didn’t really allow for much of a connection to be made with most of the characters, so some of the emotional climaxes fell a bit short. The characters were interesting, but they were the sort to grow on you. Normally a good thing, but tricky to pull off in a short work.

Part of what I loved about this, and it may be a superficial thing to admit, was just having Canada in the limelight. We’re a country that has a steady incoming stream of American and British media, so it’s not often that I come across something so Canadian. Vaughan filled the book with Canadiana references – the freedom fighters call themselves the Two-Fours, there’s the old “Regina, the city that rhymes with fun” joke, there’s a future television series called The Littlest Robo. Even just seeing random city names or brand names that you normally wouldn’t come across, or a Terry Fox reference, is just a fun bonus. I wouldn’t want to regularly be pandered to in such a way, but it was a fun change of pace.

Steve Skroce’s art is really great. I wouldn’t say it’s pretty, as in I wouldn’t want this style of illustration hanging on my wall, but it’s very detailed and really captured each scene perfectly – from snowy vistas to green farmlands. The characters were very emotive and you really felt the scale of the technology (did I mention there are giant robots?).

we-stand-on-guard-amber

I found this to be really entertaining, particularly for those of us up north. I’m quite happy he managed to give no mention of Tim Hortons as well, which is something we Canadians desperately need to get over. Although, having just written that sentence, I find it nearly impossible that he’d have the will power to leave that out, so I wonder if I’m just being forgetful.

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Holiday Book Haul

Lee-Ann and I just returned from a week and a half in Seattle and Portland. We started in Seattle, which is just a couple of hours on a ferry for us, and spent the weekend attending Pax West, a huge video game conference. We met up with some friends we haven’t seen in ages, and it was a great weekend.

Afterwards we took the train to Portland. We wanted to see the city, but I’d be lying if I said Powell’s Books wasn’t a big draw. We had a fantastic week, full of good food and city wandering, and we bought an awful lot of books.

I’ll go more into the trip in the month’s wrap-up, but for now the books:

Seattle haul! Comics from the @onipress booth at #paxwest2016.

A photo posted by Rob McMillan (@mcmillan) on

  • The Death of Bunny Munro by Nick Cave
  • I Was the Cat by Paul Tobin
  • Kaijumax, Season 1 by Zander Cannon
  • The Sixth Gun, Vol. 1: Cold Dead Fingers by Cullen Bunn

This first picture is what I bought in Seattle. The guy working the Oni Press booth at Pax was great and walked us through what they had to offer. I loved the premise of I Was the Cat, and I’ve heard a lot of good things about The Sixth Gun, so those were easy choices. I asked him what comic he’d buy if he could only read one, and he recommended Kaijumax because it’s so unique and hilarious.

I have never read a Nick Cave novel, and I haven’t really heard much about them, but I like the lyrics in his music, so that’s a start. I picked up The Death of Bunny Munro at Left Bank Books Collective, which is a book store near Pike Place Market with a really cool and unusual selection.

  • Something to Remember You By by Gene Wilder
  • Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb
  • Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
  • Authority by Jeff VanderMeer
  • The Vegetarian by Han Kang
  • The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie Lovett
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino
  • French Milk by Lucy Knisley
  • Facing Unpleasant Facts: Narrative Essays by George Orwell
  • On Writing by Charles Bukowski
  • Ballistics: Poems by Billy Collins
  • Laughter in the Dark by Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
  • How to Read Literature by Terry Eagleton
  • Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose
  • Exploration Fawcett: Journey to the Lost City of Z by Percy Harrison Fawcett
  • Saga, Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughan

All of this, I bought at Powell’s Books in Portland. What a great store! It’s the size of a city block, with multiple floors and different rooms for different genres, new and used books interspersed, and there’s even a cafe where you can thumb through your unpurchased items before heading to the cashier. We decided, instead of doing one huge afternoon there, we would drop in for a short visit daily, as it’s open until 11:00pm and easy to fit in. This made for a fun week of book shopping, but it was a bit hard on the wallet and luggage.

My excuse is that I had a gift certificate. Not for the amount you see above, but you know, it contributed.

Spent the grey part of the afternoon book shopping.

A photo posted by Rob McMillan (@mcmillan) on

 

The dream of the 90's is alive in Portland!

A photo posted by Rob McMillan (@mcmillan) on

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Bedecked

This was Billy Collins’ choice in Poems That Make Grown Men Cry, and I thought it was fantastic. I really love Redel’s anger and the acceptance she has for her son. Allowing a girl to grow up a tomboy may be acceptable now, but turning the tables on that does take some courage.

Bedecked
by Victoria Redel

Tell me it’s wrong the scarlet nails my son sports or the toy
store rings he clusters four jewels to each finger.

He’s bedecked. I see the other mothers looking at the star
choker, the rhinestone strand he fastens over a sock.
Sometimes I help him find sparkle clip-ons when he says
sticker earrings look too fake.

Tell me I should teach him it’s wrong to love the glitter that a
boy’s only a boy who’d love a truck with a remote that revs,
battery slamming into corners or Hot Wheels loop-de-looping
off tracks into the tub.

Then tell me it’s fine – really – maybe even a good thing – a boy
who’s got some girl to him,
and I’m right for the days he wears a pink shirt on the seesaw in
the park.

Tell me what you need to tell me but keep far away from my son
who still loves a beautiful thing not for what it means –
this way or that – but for the way facets set off prisms and
prisms spin up everywhere
and from his own jeweled body he’s cast rainbows – made every
shining true color.

Now try to tell me – man or woman – your heart was ever once
that brave.

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The Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the AmazonThe Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon by David Grann
Published: 2009
Narrated by: Mark Deakins
Length: 10:06 (352 pages)

Still on my adventure kick, I decided to turn to non-fiction this time. This is the story of a rumoured lost city, deep in the Amazon jungle, that captured the minds of explorers for years. Up to a hundred people have disappeared or been killed while searching for Z. I think this was described somewhere as a true to life Indiana Jones tale, which meant I was immediately on board. You can get me to do anything if you hint at the slightest similarity to Indiana Jones.

percy-fawcett

In 1925, British explorer and archaeologist Percy Fawcett went missing with his son during their search through the Brazilian jungle for this hidden city. I was unfamiliar with Percy Fawcett, but he must be the closest we’ve come to the classic explorer featured in so many books and movies. He was a member of the Royal Geographical Society, which was essentially an explorer’s guild. They trained members in cartography and survival and sent them on expeditions to expand the United Kingdom’s knowledge and maps of foreign lands. I believe they funded Fawcett’s first seven expeditions throughout South America after he joined.

Fawcett was also friends with both H. Rider Haggard and Arthur Conan Doyle, and his field notes from the Amazon directly inspired The Lost World. He’s basically the coolest.

He had to take a break from his search for the Lost City of Z to fight in WWI with the Royal Artillery, but went on his eighth and final expedition with his son soon after returning from the war. He had to get external funding this time, as the members of his seventh expedition nearly all starved to death in the jungle. You would think being in a lush jungle, full of life, would offer plenty of opportunity to gather and scavenge enough food to stay alive, but it’s apparently incredibly difficult to feed oneself in that environment, with most of the jungle’s wildlife out of reach in the canopy.

The book covers the history of Fawcett’s search and mirrors it with similar expeditions that came later and met the same fate. The author, David Grann, tells all of this while planning his own expedition in an attempt to discover what actually happened to Fawcett and his son and to see if there is any evidence of this fabled secret city.

I thought this was great. It reads like those classic adventure novels but has the bonus of actually being true. Percy Fawcett feels like a character straight out of fiction, someone I would have obsessed over in my youth. The journals from his earlier expeditions were published by his son, so I’m going to pick those up at some point. A first-person account of his travels could potentially be really fun to read through.

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August in Review

Books Acquired:
Last Chance to See by Douglas Adams

Books Read:
Double Cup Love by Eddie Huang
The Sea by John Banville
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling by Tony Cliff

I’m still on the book-buying ban until our pilgrimage to Powell’s Books is completed and our luggage is filled with goodies, but someone left Last Chance to See in our lobby earlier in the month, which I always meant to read, so I hungrily snatched that up. I’m on holiday already, leaving for Seattle today, so the ban will be over before we know it. We’ll also be at PAX West for the next few days before we head for Portland.

I turned another year older this month. My girlfriend took me out for a great dinner, and I got a gift certificate that will go towards books this week. I’m not a birthday fan, so we kept it low key, which was perfect for me.

Movies watched:
What We Do In The Shadows (2014) – This was hilarious and everyone should watch it. We waited way too long to get to it. Looking forward to watching Taika Waititi’s latest, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, as well.

The Irish Pub (2013) – Documentary that interviews the owners and regulars of various Irish pubs. Really enjoyed this, although it’s sad to see that culture fading away a bit.

I Am Road Comic (2014) – I love comedian documentaries. This wasn’t amazing, but it was good. By the same guy who did I Am Comic in 2010.

The Book of Eli (2010) – Strong cast with an interesting story. Very different from what I’d pictured in my head, having not really seen anything on it.

TV watched:
Stranger Things (2016) – Just as amazing as everyone says it is and a great homage to the movies of my childhood.

Wallander: Season 4 (2016) – Very sorry to see this series end. It’s been one of my favourites. Great last few episodes.

Rick Stein’s Long Weekends (2016) – Great cooking/travel series. My girlfriend is a new fan of Rick Stein now.

Games played:
Hook (2015) (PC) – Very short and relaxing puzzle game. Well worth the dollar it costs.

Dreamfall Chapters: Book Five (2016) (PC) – The final, and one of the strongest, chapters in this game. There are no plans for more games set in this universe, which is a bummer, especially since this installment overall was quite disappointing.

ABZÛ (2016) (PS4) – Beautiful little Journey-esque game in which you swim around in the ocean interacting with sea life. They did a great job researching the specific species. It was fun to play with my girlfriend as she was a scuba instructor for a decade and could call everything out before the game did.

What have you been reading/watching/playing this month?

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Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

Poems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move ThemPoems That Make Grown Men Cry: 100 Men on the Words That Move Them by Anthony Holden
Published: 2014
Length: 336 pages

This hyperbolic title reads a bit like Internet clickbait, but Anthony Holden explains in the introduction that the idea grew from discussions with his male friends of poems they couldn’t recite without choking up. Whether all of the men in this book wept at their choices, I cannot say, but I feel like some of them may have just chosen their favourite sentimental poem. Poems That Grown Men Quite Like doesn’t have that same punch, however.

It’s an interesting project, with the taboo of men showing emotion tackled head-on. I’m not a very emotive person in public. Leave me with sad film or song (though rarely books oddly) when I’m on my own, and I’ll whimper all night, but if there is anyone near me I will toss myself out the nearest window before they see the slightest quiver from my bottom lip. I’m not sure why I’m like this. I don’t look down on any other male for being emotional, and I wasn’t raised in a household that discouraged such things, but there you have it.

They choose 100 well-known men from around the world, though mostly British and white, to provide a poem that moves them to tears and a short explanation behind their choice. Some of the contributors include John le Carré, Sebastian Faulks, Stephen Fry, James Earl Jones, Kenneth Branagh, Christopher Hitchens, Patrick Stewart, Jeremy Irons, Salmon Rushdie, Daniel Radcliffe, Nick Cave, Colin Firth, Mark Haddon, and Ian McEwan. It’s an interesting mix of people, and after each entry it provides a small biographical paragraph in case you’re unfamiliar with the celebrity, which I needed quite a few times.

I’m not well-versed in poetry. Since starting this weblog five years ago, I think I’ve only read a few poetry collections, two of which were Bukowski. I love his poems, but he feels a bit Poetry 101, so I’ve been meaning to start reading more and branching out a bit. This felt like a perfect launching pad for that, with a good mix of poets and styles to try. Having the introductions made each poem feel like a personal recommendation.

I’ve marked my favourites from this collection, which I’ll return to, and I’ll maybe post some of them here in the next couple of months. Three poets I’ll definitely be reading more from are W.H. Auden, Tony Harrison, and Billy Collins, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for some poetry when we’re at Powell’s Books at the beginning of September. Recommendations are welcome!

I really enjoyed this collection. I just read a poem or two each night for a few months before reading my regular book, and I felt like that was a great way to consume poetry. It let me mull over what I’d read before moving on, whereas in the past I would occasionally fly through a collection without considering each poem. Some of these poems I loved, while others I couldn’t really connect with, but overall I really liked the format of the book.

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #1)The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Published: 1979
Narrated by: Stephen Fry
Length: 05:51 (216 pages)

It’s been two decades since I first read this, and I think I enjoyed it even more the second time. I thought I’d listen to the audiobook despite having the hard copy on my shelf, just because it was narrated by Stephen Fry. Anything Fry narrates is fantastic, and since he was such good friends with Adams, you can feel a little of the love in his performance. The Random House production does have some quirks, with weirdly abrupt chapter transitions, but I still really enjoyed listening to this.

Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.

This is a story where the humour and ideas are king rather than the overall plot, which is serviceable but really just there to get to the next joke or satirical situation. The characters are also quite static throughout the novel, with very little development. I can’t remember if that changes in the later books, I actually think I only ever read the first two, but they still serve their purpose just fine. His humour completely overshadows any weaknesses that might come up.

Douglas Adams was an environmentalist, dedicating much of his time towards campaigning for endangered species, and this is apparent even in his first novel. It begins with essentially an entire species being wiped out as an afterthought of a more advanced species’ expansion. He also turned the tables on our superiority over the animal kingdom by giving lab-tested animals power. It’s nice to see his success as a writer let him pursue that cause, although his case for the Black rhinoceros seemed to go largely unheard.

Marvin was humming ironically because he hated humans so much

This novel permeated popular culture like few things ever do. I knew what a Babel fish was before I knew of the Tower of Babel. This has to be one of the most reference novels ever written, at least in geek culture. I’d forgotten how many classics came from this first book of the series, and it’s still just as clever and funny now, even after years of people constantly making Thursday and towel jokes. I’d forgotten a lot of the details, and even some of the major scenes – the sperm whale had completely slipped my mind, for example – so it was a real pleasure to return to this after so many years.

If you haven’t read this, obviously read it. If you haven’t read it in a while, trying picking it up again. It won’t be another 20 years before I come back to this.

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Quiet

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
Published: 2012
Narrated by: Kathe Mazur
Length: 10:39 (352 pages)

A lot of people seem to assume that introversion is a synonym for shyness and extroversion for sociability, which is an oversimplification. It’s more about how sensitive they are to being overstimulated by their environment. Introverts are easily overstimulated, by socializing and noise and light, and extroverts are less sensitive to that. As a result, introverts tend to withdraw from that stimulation. Extroverts, on the other hand, can easily become bored without it.

Someone can be introverted and still enjoy speaking publicly or having a night out, but they may find a high level of social interaction will eventually leave them drained of energy. They may do fine in large groups but prefer to be alone or spend time with one or two close friends. They may want to talk for hours on topics that interest them but cower in fear at the thought of small talk.

Don’t think of introversion as something that needs to be cured.

Most people fall somewhere between the two extremes. I consider myself to be quite introverted. I can have a great night out, but I am not leaving my condo the next night and you can’t make me. When I am out with friends I tend to always have a blast, but I have to admit I’m much more a fan of a quiet night in. When I was younger, I was constantly out and would feel terrible guilt if I declined an invitation without having a valid excuse, like I was doing something wrong. That’s silly, obviously, but we do live in a society that tends to value extroversion and look down on introversion, and it’s easy to let that sink into your psyche.

You would never write that you work better alone than in groups on a job application. If a child is shy at school or doesn’t thrive in groups, it’s not that the method of teaching isn’t conductive to their personality, it’s that there’s something wrong with them and they need to ‘come out of their shell’. Harvard Business School, a school that produces U.S. presidents and Fortune 500 CEOs, prizes sociability and confidence over academic achievements when accepting students, and gives advice such as “Speak with conviction. Even if you believe something only 55 percent, say it as if you believe it 100 percent”. In those classrooms, the most important lesson is to participate in class discussions, even if your contribution is incorrect or adds nothing of value.

Extroversion is often synonymous with strong leadership and success, but Cain reminds us, through examples, that introverts can and do make great leaders, that their passion and focus often makes them natural leaders when they find themselves in that position.

There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.

Workplaces are becoming much more team-focused as well, tossing offices or even cubicles aside for open-floor plans. Sticking groups of people in a room together to brainstorm on a whiteboard instead of allowing them to work on their own ideas is a very common practice, even though research has shown at many points that this isn’t necessarily the more productive approach. In a study Cain quotes, employees of a company were placed into random groups and asked to brainstorm ideas. They also asked the same number of people to brainstorm alone. In 23 out of 24 cases, the ideas people came up individually were more numerous and of a higher quality.

It’s not that these approaches are wrong. The problem is that we treat everyone the same – either you’re extroverted or you need to fake it – rather than acknowledging that different conditions suite different people. Cain provides recommendations for how to get the most of introverted employees, how to support your introverted child as they go through school, and how to deal with relationships between introverts and extroverts. My girlfriend really gets it, despite being fairly extroverted herself, so I thankfully don’t have to deal with the pitfalls Cain describes in the book.

Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.

If nothing else, this book is a big ego boost for introverts, which is nice for a group that maybe grew up feeling a bit weird. John Cleese recommended it in a couple of interviews I listened to, so I eventually broke down and read it. Recommended for both introverts and those wanting to understand them, although she is such a cheerleader for introversion that extroverts may start to feel a bit picked on by the end.

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