Wednesday, February 22, 2012


"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars. But in ourselves." 
Easy to say when you're a Roman nobleman 
(or Shakespeare!),
but there is no shortage of fault
to be found amid our stars.

Hazel is 16 and she has terminal cancer. I knew she and I were cut from the same cloth when she was asked why she was a vegetarian... "I want to minimize the number of deaths I am responsible for," she said. And when she talks about her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction... "Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book. And then there are books like An Imperial Affliction, which you can't tell people about, books so special and rare and yours that advertising your affection feels like betrayal." I loved Hazel.

John Green writes a beautiful book about how, in an ordinary life, there are not many opportunities for epic heroism... throwing ourselves on grenades for others, if you will. 

I loved the bit Hazel's dad said... "You are not a grenade, not to us. Thinking about you dying makes us sad, Hazel, but you are not a grenade. You are amazing. You can't know, sweetie, because you've never had a baby become a brilliant young reader with a side interest in horrible television shows, but the joy you bring us is so much greater than the sadness we feel about your illness."

Great thoughts from the book:
Pain demands to be felt.
The world is not a wish-granting factory.
The universe wants to be noticed.
Any word can mean love... okay.

I have a favorite quote from the author, John Green:
"Forever is an incorrect concept wrongly based on the idea that the sun isn't going to explode. We are temporary. This is temporary, and our responsibility as humans within this temporary -- this weirdly temporary but still sort of, in some ways, infinite -- life that we have, with our gift of consciousness, is to find a way to live as well as we can live, to take the best care that we can of each other and of ourselves, and organize our lives in a way that reflects our values and our hopes for the people who'll come after us, as well as honoring the people who came before us -- that's a very, very complicated thing to do."

He writes wonderful books, and this one should not be missed.

In the acknowledgments in the back of the book, John Green thanks everyone who helped with the book. One of the friends he mentions is Vi Hart... Vi Hart! John Green and Vi Hart are friends... amazing, it's a small world. 
But this begs the question after yesterday's post... is there some cool club where brilliant, amazing, smart people hang out? Are John Green, Vi Hart, & Ransom Riggs shooting pool together - while discussing F. Scott Fitzgerald and Quantum Physics as Salman Khan and Markus Zusak look on? I'm just wondering... and if you know, could you get me a one day guest pass?


  1. I want a pass too! Did you notice in the bookshelf video credits that "encyclopedia of an ordinary life" is acknowledged? I bet the couple who made the video and Amy would be there too. And Peter Reynolds. And RJ Palacio. And Natalie Merchant. :) x

    1. perhaps I'll just imagine I am part of that club... we meet quarterly... our next discussion topic, as you probably know, is fast Fourier transforms... see you there?!

  2. Oh...and now I see what you have been reading the last few days - please may I be added into the book's circulation as I am sure there is already a line up for this one!