Say there was a novel in which Holden Caulfield was an alcoholic and Lolita was a photographer’s assistant and, somehow, they met in Bright Lights, Big City. He’s blinded by love. She by ambition. Diary of an Oxygen Thief is an honest, hilarious, and heartrending novel, but above all, a very realistic account of what we do to each other and what we allow to have done to us.
Ironically, the trouble with me and you and the rest of humanity is not a lack of self-confidence but that we have far too much self-importance. To live and die unnoticed would seem a grave injustice to many. It's all too easy to think we're somebody if our portfolio is strong, there are a few letters after our name, or we're well-known at work, church, or school.
As pride creeps in, we are tempted to want more: more recognition, more admiration, more influence, more, more, more. Few have ever given thought to wanting less. That's why we need Embracing Obscurity.
Putting the premise into immediate action, an established Christian author electing to remain anonymous writes about living and dying in simplicity, contending that true success, as modeled by Jesus, starts with humility, service, sacrifice, and surrender. Such a life involves mystery and banks on the hope that today is just a dress rehearsal for eternity.
When we stop imitating the world and instead choose to embrace obscurity, real life -- chock full of significance, purpose, and renewed passion -- begins.
How far will she go to revoke her membership?
This is a short story confession based on a true events though names, places, and some situations have been changed or embellished. Mature situations for a more mature teen audience. Contains a young adult romance with sex situations and LBGT themes. Considered PG 13.
For eight weeks in 1945, as Berlin fell to the Russian army, a young woman kept a daily record of life in her apartment building and among its residents. "With bald honesty and brutal lyricism" (Elle), the anonymous author depicts her fellow Berliners in all their humanity, as well as their cravenness, corrupted first by hunger and then by the Russians. "Spare and unpredictable, minutely observed and utterly free of self-pity" (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland), A Woman in Berlin tells of the complex relationship between civilians and an occupying army and the shameful indignities to which women in a conquered city are always subject--the mass rape suffered by all, regardless of age or infirmity.
A Woman in Berlin stands as "one of the essential books for understanding war and life" (A. S. Byatt, author of Possession).
With its privately-printed, anonymously-produced 140-copy first printing, Iterating Grace became the talk of summer 2015 in the tech world. From Buzzfeed to Tumblr to Fusion, people were puzzled and enthralled by the story of Koons Crooks, a young man who took the Twittered musings of the Silicon Valley elite to heart-and ended up on a profoundly unexpected path, leaving behind only the lovingly hand-calligraphed tweets that had meant so much to him. His story struck an immediate chord.
There were competing efforts to identify the author of Iterating Grace; blog posts and lengthy comment threads pointed finger at writers all over the country, from Robin Sloan to Susan Orlean to Dave Eggers. Other early theories supposed it was the tip of an elaborate marketing scheme, and soon all would be revealed. But gradually it became clear that it was simply this: a small piece of literary art, perfectly pitched and driven by a Twain-like bemused outrage, by a creator who did not want to be identified, and would not explain anything beyond what the satirical fable said for itself.
Disruptive innovators whose tweets are illustrated in Iterating Grace include: Austen Allred, cofounder of Grasswire; Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator; Marc Andreessen, coauthor of Mosaic, cofounder of Netscape and Andreessen Horowitz; Jeff Bussgang, VC at Flybrige Capital; Tony Conrad, cofounder and CEO of about.me; Benedict Evans, VC at Andreessen Horowitz; Brad Feld, VC at Foundry Group-and many more.
First published in 1608 as Ise–monogatori, the work is a product of court life in which the romantic assignations, intrigues, and social standards of aristocratic society in ancient Japan are vividly revealed. Each of the 125 episodes in the book consists of a story plus poetry in the uta form (five lines totaling thirty–one syllables) following the life of a nameless hero, who embodies the social ideals of the era, from his "coming of age" to his death.
Arihara no Narihira, a ninth–century cavalier poet known for his individualism and elegance, is considered to be the author of a third of the poems, and it has been suggested that The Tales of Ise developed from his journal. The text is accompanied by an introduction by the translator, explanations of the cultural, literary, and historical material relevant to each episode, and several diagrams of the capital city and the Imperial Palace. The book is further enhanced by sixteen black and white woodblock prints by an unknown artist of the Tosa school.
One day, on the same foot-path, I picked up what I believed to be her manuscript book, and looking curiously at the contents, was surprised to find it was a tale of the grossest kind, scenes of love and lust depicted in the most realistic manner, and other things mentioned in the plainest language.
I sat down on the bank to enjoy this unexpected voluptuous treat, when suddenly I was startled by a breathless exclamation of: "That's my book! Oh, give it me back, Sir; I must have dropped it as I passed along here, a short time ago, and ran back to find it."
"Your book, Miss. I was just looking to see if there was any address in it, when I saw what it was about. Excuse my looking, it was done quite innocently, and your secret is safe with me."
Realising at once the shame of the thing, she gasped for breath, flushed crimson, and then turning pale as death, fell fainting at my feet, before I could catch her in my arms.
Reclining her against the mossy bank upon which I had been sitting, I rubbed and chafed her hands, squeezing her fingers quite painfully, in order to bring her to herself, but for several minutes without success, as there was no chance to obtain either water or brandy in such a place.
Presently she murmured! Shove in into me! I want it all—I must have it now;" and a succession of bawdy expressions, quite shocking from the lips of such a young girl, as she could not be more than seventeen, at most.
It was incredible she could be so depraved, but it seemed a striking confirmation of what a doctor once told me, viz, that even the most virtuous girls often use frightfully obscene words, when recovering from a fainting fit.
Anyhow, I resolved not to take advantage of her, and behave honourably to her.
As she came round a little she opened her eyes with the question: "Oh! where am I?" And catching sight of me holding her hands so tightly, all her shame returned to her in quite an overwhelming sense, and bursting into tears, she cried so bitterly, it was a long time before I could reassure her.
Promising to keep the secret of her book, I only asked one thing, and that was that she would not avoid me, and allow me to see her again.
This of course led to a close friendship between us; I lent her a variety of voluptuous books, and she let me have the manuscript to copy for my printer, but would not impart to me how she came by it, saying: "Some day, perhaps, after I am married, and tell you all; it will not be long, my wedding is fixed to come off in two months time; I'm a virgin and mean to be so till I have my husband, but have to thank your forbearance that dreadful day when, you found my book, and did not take advantage of the situation. I both respect and love you for it."