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The Futilitarians
The Futilitarians: Our Year of Thinking, Drinking, Grieving, and Reading | Anne Gisleson
11 posts | 7 read | 25 to read
A memoir of friendship and literature chronicling a search for meaning and comfort in great books, and a beautiful path out of grief Anne Gisleson had lost her twin sisters, had been forced to flee her home during Hurricane Katrina, and had witnessed cancer take her beloved father. Before she met her husband, Brad, he had suffered his own trauma, losing his partner and the mother of his son to cancer in her young thirties. "How do we keep moving forward," Anne asks, "amid all this loss and threat?" The answer: "We do it together." Anne and Brad, in the midst of forging their happiness, found that their friends had been suffering their own losses and crises as well: loved ones gone, rocky marriages, tricky childrearing, jobs lost or gained, financial insecurities or unexpected windfalls. Together these resilient New Orleanians formed what they called the Existential Crisis Reading Group, jokingly dubbed "The Futilitarians." From Epicurus to Tolstoy, from Cheever to Amis to Lispector, each month they read and talked about identity, parenting, love, mortality, and life in post-Katrina New Orleans, gatherings that increasingly fortified Anne and helped her blaze a trail out of her well-worn grief. Written with wisdom, soul, and a playful sense of humor, The Futilitarians is a guide to living curiously and fully, and a testament to the way that even from the toughest soil of sorrow, beauty and wonder can bloom.
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arubabookwoman
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Pickpick

This memoir is organized around a year of the Existential Crisis Reading Group, which gathers monthly in New Orleans to discuss readings, books, and the various existential crises of its members. The author is from a New Orleans Catholic family, and suffers through major events like Katrina, the suicides of twin sisters and the death of her father. While sometimes a bit pretentious, I loved reliving the places, food and ambience of New Orleans.

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HardcoverHearts
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I am so glad this was the book to get me over the hump in my reading challenge! I have had this ARC for too long, but I resisted picking it. I think the book universe put this back in my hands at the right time as it‘s been a hard year for me after the loss of my dad this summer. I‘m glad I had some time to sit with the ramifications of grief because it helped my comprehension of the concepts. Lovely written, thoughtful book.

ReadingEnvy I was in that exact same place last summer and in the end, books with grief were a balm. But they didn't start out that way. How have the holidays been? The biggest surprise to me last year was how hard Christmas was, like woah nostalgia. ♥️ 9mo
sprainedbrain Congratulations!! 🎉🎉🎉 9mo
HardcoverHearts @ReadingEnvy - ❤️I couldn‘t go straight to the grief books but now, with some distance, they are helping! I have an odd situation where the birthdays of my husband, dad & mom are all back to back in early November. That was shockingly hard, having to celebrate my husband‘s day, then not knowing how to honor my father & then immediately celebrate my mother. I was lost. We are taking mom to London for Xmas so I am hoping for Dickens magic. 9mo
ReadingEnvy @HardcoverHearts I'll cross fingers for you! 9mo
HardcoverHearts @sprainedbrain 🥰Thank you! 9mo
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nosferatoos
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#birthday #bookhaul 🎉🎂🍾

4thhouseontheleft Happy Birthday!🎂🎁🎈 2y
Caterina Ahhh I read What It Means when it first came out and I still feel like it's the most underrated new release of last year, I loved it!! If you have a thing for short stories, I think you will too! 2y
nosferatoos @Caterina I LOVE short stories and I‘ve been excited about this since the first time I heard about it but it was never in stock when I went to my bookstore. I got lucky on my birthday 🙌 2y
28 likes4 comments
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MeganGranger
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One of the dangers of working for a publisher is this thing called a holiday book sale....

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BornReadChicago
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Pickpick

Thankful for one more day to break out the hammock before the Seattle rain returns! I'm also thankful for amazing books gifted to me for review as a Little Brown ambassador. The Futilitarians is not one I would seek out, figuring the existential talk would be over my head! Yet it is a beautiful and raw ode to Anne Gisleson's suicidal sisters, her father, and New Orleans. I haven't been back since Katrina, but it has me itching to return.

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LauraBytheBook
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What a perfect excerpt to read this morning as I'm dealing with a job that didn't turn out as I'd hoped. Looking at a trying situation as an opportunity for change. I love when reading collides with my real life.

Lindy I love it when that happens too. 😊 2y
4 likes1 comment
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LauraBytheBook
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So this morning I went to the library. This week the non-fiction shelf spoke to me.

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Lissa00
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I haven't been on Litsy much lately because I recently started a new job. I have been doing a little reading, though, including this book. The author and her friends start a reading club in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and various other personal tragedies in order to cope. This is a good book, even if it goes pretty "high-brow" at times???

Suet624 I hope you're enjoying your new job. ❤️ 2y
WarpedSweetness Congratulations on the new job! 2y
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BookHermit
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Pickpick

Gisleson's memoir centres on her year-long Existential Reading Group experiment but really about the author coming to terms with the suicides of her twin sisters in her 20s and the death of her father from leukaemia as she approaches middle age. The Futilitarians is beautifully written and Gliessen's insights gave me much to brood over as I stared down the pointless task of painting my kitchen cabinets. ⬆️ = Sartre, bien sur 😉

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Liberty
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Morning reading. ☀️📖🌿

WarpedSweetness That's an interesting tattoo. I like it! 2y
Liberty @WarpedSweetness It's from a t-shirt I had for The National. 😊 2y
JulAnna ❤️the hammock! Awesome reading place! 2y
BookHermit Started this one on audiobook today because of the podcast and, you know, existential angst. You gals are dangerous...to my pocketbook 😂 Keep up the good work of telling the world about awesomeness! 👏🏻 2y
124 likes9 stack adds4 comments
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Rhondareads

A book club to read literature to heal from life's traumas&sadness.A year in the life of this special book club,Sounds perfect for me,

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