Mighty Life List
Aug 27 2012

The Best Parts of Modest Gifts by Norman Mailer

I read this book for you, so that you need not. Allow me to do you this service, as a token of my love. There were the only two things in 263 pages that didn’t anger me in their self-indulgence, and I’m a blogger you guys.

Anyway, here you go:

Read more

Aug 22 2012

Library Portraits Project: Mission Bay

As part of my Life List, I’m photographing all the public libraries in San Francisco.

Library Portraits Project: Mission Bay | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project: Mission Bay | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project: Mission Bay | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project: Mission Bay | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project: Mission Bay | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project: Mission Bay | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project: Mission Bay | Mighty Girl

Right now, the California Library Association is trying to restore $15.2 million in State funding in hopes of preventing the loss of $16 million in Federal funding. I know how much all of us love books, so please take a minute to write a letter or two in support of restoring funding. All the information you need is here. Let’s do this thing.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

Library Portraits Project: Main Branch
Library Portraits Project: Golden Gate Valley Branch
Library Portraits Project: Potrero Branch
Library Images from Around the World
Eight Books that Changed Things for Me
Life Lessons in Literature

Aug 20 2012

The Best Parts of Blue Nights by Joan Didion

The Best Parts of Blue Nights by Joan Didion | Mighty Girl

My favorite parts of Blue Nights, Joan Didion’s memoir on her daughter Quintana’s death.

Do not whine, I write on an index card. Do not complain. Work harder. Spend more time alone.

I have watched tears flood the eyes of grown women, loved women, women of talent and accomplishment, for no reason other than that a small child in the room, more often than not an adored niece or newphew, as just described them as “wrinkly,” or asked how old they are.

It was a time of my life during which I actually believed that somewhere between frying the chicken to serve on Sara Mankiewicz’s Minton dinner plates and buying the Porthault parasol to shade the beautiful baby girl in Saigon I had covered the main “motherhood” points.

The very definition of success as a parent has undergone a telling transformation: we used to define success as the ability to encourage the child to grow into independent (which is to say into adult) life, to “raise” the child, to let the child go.

A doctor to whom I occasionally talk suggests that I have made an inadequate adjustment to aging.
Wrong, I want to say.
In fact I have made no adjustment whatsoever to aging.

My mother’s name was already on the marble wall at St. John the Divine.
John’s name was already on it.
There had been two spaces remaining, the names not yet engraved.
Now there was one.

Vocabulary
baffle (n.) Something that balks, checks, or deflects.

Aug 15 2012

Mighty Happy Giveaway Winners

Mighty Happy Giveaway Winners | Mighty Girl

Remember the Mighty Happy Giveaway Contest? Where we asked readers to share three things that made them happy for a chance to win a copy of Gretchen Rubin’s book Happier at Home (which hits shelves September 4), plus gift bags from Bliss and Anthropologie?

After smiling, nodding, and tearing up through nearly 800 short lists of your happies, we’ve settled on five winners. (Click on the images to enlarge.)

Three Things That Make You Happy | Mighty Girl

Finding Magnolia (comment #692)

Three Things That Make You Happy | Mighty Girl

Hope (comment #542)

Three Things That Make You Happy | Mighty Girl

Annette (comment #406)

Three Things That Make You Happy | Mighty Girl

Mette (comment #666)

Three Things That Make You Happy | Mighty Girl

Vivian (comment #405)

Big thanks to everyone who entered. The contest is over, but feel free to keep adding your happy things. As one of you guys said, “Thanks for asking about happiness. There are like 500 responses, and I don’t think they are for the prize. It’s nice to have a minute to be thankful. It’s a good sentence to complete.” Truth.

Aug 8 2012

Library Portraits Project: Main Branch

As part of my Life List, I’m photographing all the public libraries in San Francisco.

Library Portraits Project: Main Branch | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project: Main Branch | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project: Main Branch | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project Main Branch | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project: Main Branch | Mighty Girl
San Francisco is your home.

Library Portraits Project: Main Branch | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project: Main Branch | Mighty Girl
Dashiell Hammet‘s typewriter.

Library Portraits Project: Main Branch | Mighty Girl

Library Portraits Project: Main Branch | Mighty Girl
Bust of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California.

Hello, fellow book lovers. Right now, the California Library Association is trying to restore $15.2 million in State funding in hopes of preventing the loss of $16 million in Federal funding. Please take a minute to write a letter or two in support of restoring funding. All the information you need is here, so go get yourself a pen.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

Library Portraits Project: Potrero Branch
Library Portraits Project: Golden Gate Valley Branch
Library Images from Around the World
The Best Parts of Bossy Pants by Tina Fey
The Best Parts of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Jul 31 2012

Books + Bathing Suits

Matchbook by Kate Imbach matches book covers to bathing suits. My joy over this is so frenzied that it almost circles back around to fury.

Matchbook: Crime and Punishment + Bikini | Mighty Girl

Matchbook: About a Mountain | Mighty Girl

Matchbook: Infinite Jest + Bikini | Mighty Girl

Aug 29 2011

Democracy by Joan Didion

Read this, please. So many of the best parts are dependent on character development and context, so these are the best parts of Democracy by Joan Didion that make sense in this format and don’t give everything away:

You did all right.
You filled your dance card, you saw the show.
Interesting times.

Water under the bridge and dynamite it behind you.

Many people are intolerant of the accidental, but this was something more: Jack Lovett did not believe that accidents happen. In Jack Lovett’s system all behavior was purposeful, and the purpose could be divined by whoever attracted the best information and read it most correctly.

In fact Carla Lovett made a convincing army wife… indifferent to her surroundings, passive in bad climates.

…she resolved to reconstruct the details of occasions on which she recalled being happy. As she considered such occasions she was struck by their insignificance, their absence of application to the main events of her life. In retrospect she seemed to have been most happy in borrowed houses, and at lunch.

“‘Those to whom evil is done do evil in return.’ W.H. Auden. But I don’t have to tell you that.” He paused. “The English poet.”

In fact they did run into each other.
Here or there.
Often enough, during those twenty-some years during which Inez Victor and Jack Lovett refrained from touching each other, refrained from exhibiting undue pleasure in each other’s presence or untoward interest in each other’s activities, refrained most specifically from even being alone together, to keep the idea of it quick.
Quick, alive.
Something to think about late at night.
Something private.

“There was a sound in the autopsy room like an electric saw.”
“Right.”
“What was it.”
“It was an electric saw.” Billy Dillon shuffled and cut the cards. “Don’t dwell on it.”
Inez said nothing.

“Why air family linen?”
“Exactly,” Dwight Christian said. “Why accentuate the goddamn negative?”

The click of her heels struck her as unsynchronized with her walk.

“Listen, Inez said. “It’s too late for the correct thing. Forget the correct thing.”

When novelists speak of the unpredictability of human behavior they usually mean not unpredictability at all but a higher predictability, a more complex pattern discernible only after the fact.

“Anyway, we were together,” she said. “We were together all our lives. If you count thinking about it.”

Vocabulary:

balletomane – a devotee of ballet

casuarina – is a genus of 17 species in the family Casuarinaceae, native to Australasia, southeast Asia, and islands of the western Pacific Ocean:

codel – Abbreviation of congressional delegation, government-paid trips abroad, designed to give lawmakers first-hand knowledge of matters relevant to their legislation.

crazy eight – A wild card

D.S.C. – Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Army, for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force.

guard hairs – The longest, coarsest hairs in a mammal’s coat, forming the topcoat (or outer coat). They taper to a point and protect the undercoat from the elements. They are often water repellent and stick out above the rest of the coat. Guard hairs add the sheen to the coat of an animal.

hemotoxins – toxins that destroy red blood cells (that is, cause hemolysis), disrupt blood clotting, and/or cause organ degeneration and generalized tissue damage.

kapu – refers to the ancient Hawaiian code of conduct of laws and regulations. The Hawaiian word kapu is usually translated to English as “forbidden”, though it also carries the means of “sacred”, “consecrated”, or “holy”.

liana – A liana is any of various long-stemmed, woody vines that are rooted in the soil at ground level and use trees, as well as other means of vertical support, to climb up to the canopy to get access to well-lit areas of the forest:

merc – mercenary

moue -a little grimace

Nisei – a Japanese language term used in countries in North America, South America and Australia to specify the children born to Japanese people in the new country.

quarter mastering – In land armies, especially US units, it is a term referring to either an individual soldier or a unit who specializes in distributing supplies and provisions to troops. The senior unit, post or base supply officer is customarily referred to as “the quartermaster”. Often the quartermaster serves as the S-4 in US Army, US Marine Corps units and NATO units. In many navies it is a non-commissioned officer (petty officer) rank for personnel responsible for their ship’s navigation. In the US Navy, the quartermaster is a position responsible for the ship’s navigation and maintenance of nautical charts and maps.

schitzy – slang for schizophrenic or exhibiting the effects of hallucinogenic drugs

Silver Star – awarded for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States not justifying one of the two higher awards – the service crosses (Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, or the Air Force Cross), the second-highest military decoration, or the Medal of Honor, the highest decoration.