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Book review: The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity by Esther Perel

Iconic couples’ therapist and bestselling author of Mating in Captivity Esther Perel returns with a provocative look at relationships through the lens of infidelity.

An affair: it can rob a couple of their relationship, their happiness, their very identity. And yet, this extremely common human experience is so poorly understood. What are we to make of this time-honored taboo—universally forbidden yet universally practiced? Why do people cheat—even those in happy marriages? Why does an affair hurt so much?

Infidelity isn’t the most easy subject to read about. At least for me it isn’t. 
25bookperel2-articlelargeOne of the reasons I picked up this book is the fact that I myself have been cheated on. Back in the day, I did not even remotely understand how deeply that betrayal scarred me and how almost 8 years after that, it still affected my relationships with men.
Another reason was my insatiable desire to understand, without attempting to judge. I know people who cheated, I’ve known people who were cheated on, I know people whose marriages broke down, and who lived through it all and attempted to glue things back together…
Esther Perel’s study of infidelity is extremely well-written, bold, non-judgemental and extremely insightful. The author treats the subject from all sorts of angles imaginable, relating the stories of affairs not only from the points of view of the cheaters and their significant others, but also from the point of view of the OTHER women. What motivates the cheater? How do the victims of infidelity react and how should they react? Why do happy couples encounter infidelity? These are some of the many many question Esther Perel discusses in the State of the Affairs.

Book review: Six-word memoirs on Love and Heartbreak

51gmtdjnt9l-_ac_ul320_sr228320_Six-word memoirs on Love and Heartbreak is an extremely short, and yet infinitely meaningful collection of stories that will evoke an echo in anyone that has truly lived. Lovers lost, loves gained, hopes forgotten, secrets, memories… Six words can say so little, and sometimes so much.

Coffee, my vice. So was he.

– Alessandra Rizzotti

Book Review: The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell

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Newly married, newly widowed Elsie is sent to see out her pregnancy at her late husband’s crumbling country estate, The Bridge.

With her new servants resentful and the local villagers actively hostile, Elsie only has her husband’s awkward cousin for company. Or so she thinks. But inside her new home lies a locked room, and beyond that door lies a two-hundred-year-old diary and a deeply unsettling painted wooden figure – a Silent Companion – that bears a striking resemblance to Elsie herself.

The book opens with the main character Elsie “Elizabeth” Bainbridge as an amnesiac, numb and mentally-tortured patient of an insane asylum. The doctor – a young new face highly enthusiastic about the prospect of helping Elsie return her memories reveals that she is suspected of arson and potentially murder. Elsie was severely injured in a fire, the incident also robbed her of her voice. Two people were registered to have died at the Bridge, the ancestral home of her late husband. Four bodies were later found in the mansion.  In an attempt to remember what happened, Elsie slowly begins to recount her tale in writing.

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Book Review: Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster

41w6h6oy-rl-_sx324_bo1204203200_There is no justifiable reason for stockpiling four books on the to-be-reviewed list, especially if the first one was finished close to a month ago. Deluxe by Dana Thomas became a sort of a trip down the memory lane, especially since half, or maybe a third of the volume is essentially about the brands that still are owned by the boss of my former boss of my former boss. My brief tenure at LVMH may still be the highlight of my life (or maybe just the professional side of it). The good old Parisian days…
 
Anyway, revenons a nos moutons. Even though the book is going to be 10 years old next year – and 10 years is an extremely long time for pretty much any business organization out there, it still is an essential read for anyone interested in learning the basics about the brands and the industries that form modern luxury. Dana Thomas covers a wide range of topics – handbags, silks, luxury perfumes, histories of such luxury monoliths as Louis Vuitton and Hermes, rise of the luxury conglomerates like LVMH, Japan’s obsession with luxury and the expansion of brands in the US. The author also devotes a large segment of the book to the impact of going mass-market – the rise of the fake mass-produced goods and the loss of the unique luxury identity that happened to some of the brands and is slowly like a disease towards the others.
Deluxe is an essential read for anyone willing to learn the basics of the industry and it truly gives a comprehensive guide to all things luxury.

The year that changed my reading habits

Delete, delete, delete.  I wipe one unfinished book after another off my Goodreads currently reading list, some of these books were on that list since about 2015 and the number kept growing and growing.

This year’s challenge does not look too promising either. Eleven out of 30 thus far, there are less than two months to go till the end of the year. Most likely, I will not even make it half-way. Two years ago I pledged to read 45 books, the year ended with 52. Only two books on this year’s read list are works of fiction. The change is also striking, but I suppose these changes only reflect the turbulent reality of 2017. 

Fiction used to be a refuge in the darkest of days, but fact is that the imaginary worlds also drew me in because they were a form of escapism. I do credit imaginary worlds of fiction for keeping me sane, for safekeeping a light at the end of the tunnel, but what this year has shown is that I started to live differently. Some days are still dark, some are also full of terror. This year has been one of, no, THE most emotionally charged of my life and it has taught me a great many lessons about my self. I have realized that I have changed, and so have my reading habits. I no longer intend to put frames, I do not intend to erase, rewind and press play. This is a new start on a blank page.