My "must read" is: Swimming In The Sink
Author: Lynne Cox
Why is this a must read?: This is a fascinating story about an open water elite endurance athlete Lynne Cox, who defies science with her ability to swim in 32 degree water for 25 minutes without a wetsuit. Her record breaking talent has defied logic and made her a subject of scientific study given the unprecedented feats she's accomplished swimming the English Channel, Cook Straits (18 miles) and off Antarctica. What makes this book so very compelling aside from the obvious athletic achievement is how, after taking care of her elderly ill parents for 25+ years, who then both passed away within months of each other, followed by the passing of her steady canine companion, Cox's heart reacted to the emotional loss throwing her into an atrial fibrillation crisis where her resting heart rate was 157 beats per minute. Despite the training, she could not overcome the emotional effects on her physicality, she had to learn to process her emotions, not simply focus on her training discipline. After realizing her own potential demise, she began to slow down, fell in love after many years of forgoing romance for personal achievement and brought her heart back in to emotional and physical balance. I loved this work for its bravery and for its larger life lesson to not ignore the repressed feelings of loss, grief, sadness that well up like waves and to accept that our bodies tell us everything we need to know, only if we respect and honor them by listening.
My "must read" is from: The New Yorker
Article: Pete Wells Has His Knives Out
Author: Ian Parker
Why is this a must read?: Anyone who looks forward to Pete Wells's New York Times restaurant reviews as much as I do will appreciate this deep (nearly 9,000-word) essay on the role of New York's most prominent (and yet rather mysterious) restaurant critic. It highlights the complex relationships critics often need to navigate with their subjects, and the difficulty in remaining unbiased in the small bubble that is the food (and wine) industry. I am always fascinated with those whose job it is to consume and critique, and Ian Parker provides one of the most engrossing reads on the subject I've yet come across (while still indulging us with the juicy back stories on Wells's controversial reviews of Guy Fieri's Times Square restaurant as well as Thomas Keller's Per Se). Enjoy!
My "must read" is the manga: The Drops of God
Author: Tadashi Agi (nom de plume of brother and sister duo Yuko & Shin Kibayashi)
Why is this a must read?: I must admit, I am a nerd at heart. Growing up watching the stunning movies of Studio Ghibli, it was somewhat inevitable. So when I discovered that there was a Japanese comic that combines two of my favorite things (manga and wine), I was hooked. Despite manga's reputation for superficiality and gratuitous violence, The Drops of God has been recognized by The New York Times and Decanter. In fact, the series was such a hit in Japan that it has since been translated to French and English, and has profoundly affected wine sales the world over. The series tells the story of a child prodigy who eschews his wine critic father's intensive sensory training and aspirations to continue the family legacy, only to be lured back into the world of wine. It presents wine 101 in an approachable and entertaining way so that the reader learns alongside the young novice. As I said, I'm a nerd so if I can learn while enjoying a comic...well, cheers to that!
My "must read" is from: The Huffington Post - Queer Voices
Article: This Incredible Mom Has Held The Same Sign At Pride For Over 30 Years
Author: John Michael Nichols
Why is this a must read?: When I came across this article, it hit me straight to the heart right away. Ever since I moved here in the US four years ago, I make it to a point to celebrate Pride with the LGBT community; twice in New York when I used to live there, and twice here in San Francisco, which I consider my home. Back in the Philippines where I grew up, it was really hard being gay. The whole country is not accepting of the community I am part of as people are here. Fortunately, my family was very supportive and accepting when I came out, especially my mom. She has shown nothing but unconditional love and support to the person I am today. Hopefully in the next Pride, I can bring my mom to San Francisco so she can celebrate with me and the entire LGBT community that I consider as family in the US.
All the Swirl is a collection of thoughts and opinions assembled by the staff and industry friends of Charles Communications Associates, a marketing communications firm with its headquarters in San Francisco, California. We invite you to explore more about our company and clients by visiting www.charlescomm.com.