All About Love by Bell Hooks

I am extremely excited about having finished the third book from Emma Watson‘s feminist book club «Our Shared Shelf» All About Love. New Visions by Bell Hooks; I mean I finished it, and it‘s still March! Yuss! I‘m on schedule!
Sorry. That‘s not why we‘re here.IMG_20160322_233624I never read the blurb because if Emma Watson gives you a book to read you don‘t go questioning it, all right? But I‘m not Emma, so I might as well give you the blurb:

«The word „love“ is most often defined as a noun, yet… we would all love better if we used it as a verb,» writes bell hooks as she comes out fighting and on fire in All About Love. Here, at her most provocative and intensely personal, the renowned scholar, cultural critic, and feminist skewers our view of love as romance. In its place she offers a proactive new ethic for a people and a society bereft with lovelessness.
As bell hooks uses her incisive mind and razor-sharp pen to explore the question „What is love?“ her answers strike at both the mind and heart. In thirteen concise chapters, hooks examines her own search for emotional connection and society‘s failure to provide a model for learning to love. Razing the cultural paradigm that the ideal love is infused with with sex and desire, she provides a new path to love that is sacred, redemptive, and healing for individuals and for a nation. The Utne Reader declared bell hooks one of the „100 Visionaries Who Could Change Your Life.“ All About Love is a powerful affirmation of just how profoundly she can.

To be honest, I had some trouble getting into the book, and at times also to keep reading. For one thing, the autho‘s big on generalisations. Right from the beginning she declares that love means something inherently different for men than it does for women. I generally disagree with feminists who claim that the difference between men and women is purely in the testicles because obviously testosterone does to a certain degree define how prone someone is to violence and other traits we claim as «manly.» Still, to say that «men» see love as such and such and that this would contradict any woman‘s point of view I found difficult to accept. She doesn‘t really leave any window open for cultural norms (I‘m sure that my male Honduran friends have a different idea of love than my male friends from New Zealand), nor does she really mention that her theories could apply to both genders.

Bell Hooks is also quite quick in drawing conclusions based on her own subjective opinion on the matter. For instance, in one chaper, she states without any lead-up:Bild 28I would have liked a little more information or reasoning as to how she came to this conclusion.

There were a number of other things that I‘m not going to go into detail about; such as the fact that she continuously contradicts herself or the beforementioned subjectivity. I still rated it four out of five stars, because from 20,000 ft viewpoint I agree with her overall message. In fact, many of the things she says can be life changing if applied in day to day life.

One of the things I‘m finding most inspiring is the notion that love is a choice. If we want to be able to love we have to let ourselves be loved. I feel she‘s sort of going into what we learned from Stephen Chbowski that «We accept the love we think we deserbe.» Well, actually, what we deserve and what we don‘t is our own decision. We can decide that we deserve the best ever treatment from our friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, teachers, parents, etc. Or we can accept abuse as a norm. What is important is that it might be a bad idea to value romantic love over friendship.Bild 29Abuse is not love, the author stresses. It‘s just that sometimes we confuse it for love, especially at a young age. But I completely agree on the fact that if somebody makes you unhappy in any way it is okay for you to leave the realms of this relationship.

Over all the book tries to lay the groundwork for a more loving society. And love appears in so many different aspects of our daily lives; honesty, justice, care, nurturing, forgiveness, selflessnes… the list goes on. Essentially, these are also the foundation of peace.

I hope the sun is shining where you are and I hope you have a lunch date, as I do right now, and I also hope that you know you‘re totally and completely worthy of love, you sexy noodle!

Lots of love from the roots of my heart!
xxx

My Bucket List

I have recently developed a liking for lists. I‘m listing everything now. From daily routines over groceries to the number of pages I want to read in a day. Of course I also I have a Bucket List. The intention behind this particular list is not essentially getting everything done before I die – although not being dead would be a great advantage! – but rather valuing the little things more. I saw this on Megan‘s blog and really loved the idea; it also went hand in hand with this gorgeous little note that I found on Pinterest:

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Isn‘t this wonderful?! Not very ecological, sure, but it‘s so sweet! Let‘s not care about the big things, let‘s do all the things that don‘t matter because in the end they‘re the ones that matter most!

So here goes:

  • Eat Yeast Dumplings at Brasserie
  • Feed the elephants and giraffes at Hagenbeck‘s zoo in Hamburg
  • Write a book
  • Publish a book
  • Guide tourists around in Bern
  • Go to a Passenger concert
  • Visit Disneyland with Anastasia
  • Kiss someone in the rain
  • Do a cupcake decorating class in London
  • Make vanilla cookies with Samantha
  • Spend a weekend in Lübeck
  • Go diving in Utila
  • Found a bookstore
  • Travel around in Iceland
  • Visit Doctor Who Experience in Cardiff
  • Hear The Bookshop Band live
  • Learn Dutch
  • Visit Disneyworld
  • Make my own teddy bear
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  • Crochet a unicorn
  • Live vegan for a month
  • Learn Polish
  • Move out
  • Donate my hair for charity
  • Spend a day on a bus
  • Learn Czech
  • Watch Three Gifts for Cinderella in Czech
  • Read all Jane Austen novels
  • Eat cake with Kerstin Gier
  • Read Anna Karenina
  • Visit Cologne Cathedral
  • Learn the Roman numbers
  • Eat an entire jar of Nutella
  • Get on a random train and just see where it takes me
  • Visit the Frankfurt Book Fair
  • Learn how to play the O.R.E.O. song on the ukulele
  • Find the Loch-Ness monster
  • Visit Liechtenstein with Samantha
  • Buy a Samovar
  • Have coffee at Sala 33 with Sloany & Kely
  • Visit Pemberly
  • Have my hair cut by someone who doesn‘t speak my language
  • Try Butterbeer
  • Eat scones at Café Martha
  • Watch baby turtles hatch
  • Swim with dolphins
  • Visit Ojojona with Sloany
  • Read The Unlikely Pilgramage of Harald Fry
  • Create a brownie cemetery with Samantha
  • See the Lion King musical
  • Adopt a koala

There will probably be added more lovely points! 🙂 If any of you have a bucket list I’ll be very interested in reading them!

Lots of love!
xxx

Wadd’s Up At The Wadden Sea!

So, I spent six months in a country that borders the carribean sea, and not once did I go swimming in it. Now I‘m back in Switzerland, and you can say whatever you want about it, but we have mountains not beaches! And yes, the mountains are just as beautiful and stunning, but have I mentioned that it‘s also raining? We‘re not even getting warm weather!

The Wadden Sea at low tide
The Wadden Sea at low tide

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It‘s a good thing, I suppose, that I spent the first week of August at the Wadden Sea in St. Peter-Ording in Germany. Now, that‘s something to look at. Miles and miles of sandy ground, the beach seems to go on for ages. Swimming is only fun when the tide is high, but low tide brings its own pleasures. Crabs, alive and dead, cockles, worms… the mud is very much alive. I realize of course that you wouldn‘t necessarily call a cockle a vivid and exciting creature – but if you put it in the sand somewhere in a sunny spot it starts to spin around and bury itself in the ground where it is safe from birds and other predators.
And then there was the most beautiful thing when we went for a walk late one night and the floor around our feet began to glow. Wikipedia calls this phenomenon the „Milky seas effect“, and it‘s basically just alga that, well, glows in the dark.

Lighthouse of Westerhever and salt meadow
Lighthouse of Westerhever and salt meadow

But ever so often, beautiful things are threatened – and so is the Wadden Sea. Its main enemy, climate change, is making the sea level rise drastically, giving the Wadden Sea‘s inhabitants not much of a chance to adapt. If the beaches are constantly flooded, where will all the cockle eating birds get their food? If the seals can‘t use the sandbanks for reprodction where they are safe from natural predators – how are we going to get more seal babies?

Seal-Safari
Seal-Safari
Walrus baby with moustache! (source: www.mittelbayrische.de)
Walrus baby with moustache! (source: www.mittelbayrische.de)

Oh, talking of babies (no, I‘m not getting one!), one of the things we regretted not being able to do was visiting the zoo in Hamburg. Their current highlight is the recently born walrus baby. It has a moustache – we all had to agree that this is one of the coolest things!
We had a pretty cool time, though. I got a tan (at last), we found kangaroos and when we went for a biking trip, only six of the twenty-five hired bikes broke. Holidays are fun!