Tag Archives: empathy

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

The Rabbit ListenedTitle: The Rabbit Listened
Author and Illustrator: Cori Doerrfeld
Publisher: Dial Books
ISBN: 978-0735229358
Genre: Picture Books, Children’s Books
Pages: 32
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

What do we need in times such as these? Someone who will listen without any bias or judgement? Someone who will be there for you, and wouldn’t need to prove that time and again? The Rabbit Listened is a book to soothe the heart, the mind, and perhaps even the soul. It just made me smile, and be thankful for what exists. Even if it doesn’t. Even if it did at some point. And by it, I mean relationships.

The Rabbit Listened is a book for all of us. It is about empathy. It is about empathy that we do not action, even though we tend to speak volumes of it on the Internet, and specifically on social media. The Rabbit Listened is about a boy who has something he loves destroyed, and all sorts of animals come to advise him about how he should move on, till the rabbit just sits and listens. A listening ear is all we need, perhaps most of the time.

We all need that rabbit in our lives. Someone who will listen, and just be there. This book somehow strangely reassures us about people in our lives, about the love, the kindness, and why do we hold them dear and close to us. We need to understand empathy and how to action it more now than ever. The Rabbit Listened is for people of all ages, and not just for children. We all need to listen, and be there.

The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit

The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit Title: The Faraway Nearby
Author: Rebecca Solnit
Publisher: Viking
ISBN: 9780670025961
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 272
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

When you read Rebecca Solnit, you are in effect reading a world. I don’t say this flippantly mind you. I say this with utmost earnestness because this is what her writing does to you. It makes you consider the world and what it is made of, what it is not and what it should be. It makes you think, feel and perhaps at some point change your life. I started my Rebecca Solnit journey when I read “A Field Guide to Getting Lost” which I highly recommend to one and all. This book that is “The Faraway Nearby” is all about storytelling and empathy in various forms and emotions as we live along the years.

“The Faraway Nearby” is a meditation of sorts – it quietly urges you to sometimes be alone and sometimes just observe the world as it goes by. I know maybe I am being too philosophical, but trust me when I say that this book makes you think logically and emotionally at the same time, which is a rare feat in itself.

So what is this book about?

It is about Solnit’s mother’s Alzheimer’s and the stories that weave through her childhood and adulthood, step by step as the disease unfolds itself and how those stories have helped her shape her life and destiny. It is also book the far-reaching impact of stories in our lives and how they make us who we are and stay with us right till the very end.

The book uncovers failed and successful relationships. It speaks of illness, mortality and its limitations, and of having an identity which is so prone to change and how to actually make it more stable. Solnit introspects all of this through a legacy of an abundant crop of apricots from a tree at her mother’s former home. The chapters are intertwined with memories, harsh realities and so many consolations in being alive and all of this is linked to the way those apricots are rotting and what she does with them.

“The Faraway Nearby” is an exploration, it is also a kaleidoscope, and it could also very well be just a manifesto on how to live (at least for me). It is not a self-help book. It does not preach. It does not sermonize. It just reflects and speaks of the world we live in and how stories and empathy are heavily dependent on each other.

Here are some quotes from the book to give you an idea of what the book is like:

“A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another.”

“Books are solitudes in which we meet.”

“The present rearranges the past. We never tell the story whole because a life isn’t a story; it’s a whole Milky Way of events and we are forever picking out constellations from it to fit who and where we are.”

“The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is in the head of the reader, where the symphony resounds, the seed germinates.A book is a heart that beats in the chest of another.”

“Pain serves a purpose. Without it you are in danger. What you cannot feel you cannot take care of.”

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The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc Title: The Lion and the Bird
Author: Marianne Dubuc
Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books
ISBN: 978-1592701513
Genre: Children’s Books
Pages: 64
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

There are very few books that come along and change your life. You do not know in what way, but after reading them you are not the same and you can feel it so strongly that it takes your breath away. This happened to me when I read the most astonishing and enchanting picture book I have in a very long time. French Canadian graphic designer and illustrator Marianne Dubuc gives us this little piece of joy and ecstasy called, “The Lion and the Bird”. I had a problem procuring my copy since it is not easily available in India, but when I did receive it, I knew that I would love and cherish it forever.

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc - Image 1

As the title suggests, the book is about a lion and a bird. That is what it is. A lion finds a wounded bird one autumn day and his life changes in so many ways. He takes the bird in, heals it, and throughout autumn and winter the bird stays with the lion. They build a beautiful friendship and bond, which must come to an end because the bird will soon heal and fly and the lion will be left alone, as he was before the bird came into his life.

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc - Image 2

“The Lion and the Bird” is an ode to childhood and in so many ways an ode to adulthood as well. We all need to learn so many lessons as we go along – that of empathy, of being selfless sometimes, of understanding another’s sorrow and pain, and what life is truly about.

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc - Image 3

Marianne’s illustrations and use of space are breathtaking. The loneliness of the lion is depicted tenderly as he shrinks after the bird’s departure. The use of space is marvelously done and with great minimalistic effort.

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc - Image 5

This book is so appropriate for both adults and children. The eloquent pictures and story (almost wordless) go hand in hand and the words just become unnecessary. This is this beautiful rhythm to the book and though it is short, it just stays with you forever.