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Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? | Jeanette Winterson
Jeanette Wintersons novels have establishing her as a major figure in world literature. She has written some of the most admired books of the past few decades, including her internationally bestselling first novel, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, the story of a young girl adopted by Pentecostal parents that is now often required reading in contemporary fiction. Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a memoir about a lifes work to find happiness. It's a book full of stories: about a girl locked out of her home, sitting on the doorstep all night; about a religious zealot disguised as a mother who has two sets of false teeth and a revolver in the dresser, waiting for Armageddon; about growing up in an north England industrial town now changed beyond recognition; about the Universe as Cosmic Dustbin.It is the story of how a painful past that Jeanette thought she'd written over and repainted rose to haunt her, sending her on a journey into madness and out again, in search of her biological mother. Witty, acute, fierce, and celebratory, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? is a tough-minded search for belongingfor love, identity, home, and a mother.
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Kalalalatja
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I haven‘t read this, but it has been on my tbr for so long. In my profession I see clearly, that “#EverybodysHappyNowadays” is no where near the truth. People got issues, trauma, thoughts and emotions they don‘t know how to deal with, and from what I have heard, that‘s exactly what Winterson deals with in this memoir

#RedRoseSeptember

arlenefinnigan I love this book! 1mo
quirkyreader This was a great book. 1mo
Cinfhen On my TBR too!! It was a recent #KindleDeal that I couldn‘t pass up 1mo
Kalalalatja @arlenefinnigan @quirkyreader now I‘m even more eager to read it! @Cinfhen I still need to buy/borrow it, but I think it has to be soon! 1mo
ephemeralwaltz I'm going to hear her talk next month! Yay! 1w
96 likes5 stack adds5 comments
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Cinfhen
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#RedRoseSeptember Another book from my #TBR 🙃Writer Jeanette Winterson is best known for her uniquely original & strange novels but it‘s her sad childhood that‘s most unbelievable. I‘m told this is a difficult but important book to get through. Explaining mental illness, early childhood trauma and the process of recovery. #EverybodysHappyNowadays

arlenefinnigan Accrington's finest 🌹 I LOVED this. 1mo
gradcat Yaaasss! Love, love, love Jeanette Winterson! (edited) 1mo
vivastory Good choice! 1mo
Cinfhen Thanks, friends ♥️ @vivastory @gradcat @arlenefinnigan looks like another book I need to bump up my TBR (edited) 1mo
97 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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AllenTStClair
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Finally getting to do some reading. This passage was a punch to the gut. I wasn‘t sure about this book...but now I‘m hooked.

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Cinfhen
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#KindleDailyDeal $1.99 today❣️❣️❣️so that‘s another book I bought @TrishB 🤪🥳

TrishB I got this one as you reviewed it and said it was ok! Good enough for #99ponkindle. I love Winterson 😁 4mo
Cinfhen Yes @TrishB worth your 99p 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 4mo
Theaelizabet Oooh! Thanks for the heads up! 4mo
Cinfhen Glad to share @Theaelizabet ☺️ 4mo
69 likes4 comments
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Fridameetslucy
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Finishing up this book. She brings BIG wide expansive questions about early childhood trauma, mental illness, “ love, loss and longing “ and her process of writing. I feel simultaneously bruised by witnessing what happened to her and glad I got through it. #readnsubway

Theaelizabet Love Winterson. 6mo
7 likes1 comment
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Fridameetslucy
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Stunning account of growing through early childhood trauma. She is the queen of staccato poignancy but I am now a third into the book and find myself asking if it‘s possible to write about so much trauma without the sense of detachment I hear in her voice. It ends up sort of normalizing the abnormal.

StillLookingForCarmenSanDiego Welcome to Litsy 📖💖 6mo
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Fridameetslucy
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Reading this at same time I‘m doing a close read of David copperfield - I think that there‘s equally “a gap” that the reader brings to the story. Different but still a place where we can bring our silences #dickens #winterson

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TheBee
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Readingismyescape Wow. 🙁💔 14mo
TheBee @Readingismyescape I know! 😔 What a story! Heartbreaking. To me Winterson is invincible. 13mo
65 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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TheBee
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My next read! From one of my favorite authors. 2012.
#jeanettewinterson
#childhood
#memoir
#autobiography
#britishauthor

TheBee So honest, definitely a pick 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (edited) 13mo
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Librarian199509

I had a sense of myself as a haunted house. I never knew when the invisible thing would strike - and it was like a blow, a kind of winding in the chest or stomach. When I felt it I would cry out at the force of it.

Sometimes I lay curled up on the floor. Sometimes I kneeled and gripped a piece of furniture.

This is one moment...know that another...

Hold on, hold on, hold on.

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Librarian199509

"And it wasn't the end of books rescuing me. If poetry was a rope, then books themselves were rafts. At my most precarious I balanced on a book, and the books rafted me over the tides of feelings that left me soaked and shattered.

Feelings. I didn't want to feel."

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Librarian199509

"Male pride, I think the teacher called it. I thought it was the stupidest thing I had ever heard; a flat earth theory of social relations."

I love this book.

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Librarian199509

"'He hates what women become,' said the wildman. 'That's different. He loves women until they become what they become.'"

Yeah fuck you too mate.

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Librarian199509

I realised my behavior wasn't ideal but my mother believed I was demon possessed and the headmistress was in mourning for Scotland. It was hard to be normal.

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NotYourHandmaid
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I needed words because unhappy families are conspiracies of silence. The one who breaks the silence is never forgiven. He or she has to learn to forgive him or herself.

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arlenefinnigan
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Jessicaswebster
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„Creativity is on the side of health — it isn‘t the thing that drives us mad; it is the capacity in us that tries to save us from madness.“

10 likes1 stack add
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arlenefinnigan
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#sandstorm #GetMovin
Cos she's on a beach, and her life's been quite stormy.....cut me some slack, I travelled to Northampton to watch Oldham get relegated yesterday and drank twice my own body weight in wine and vodka to drown my considerable sorrows and I didn't get up til 6pm and I'm in the pub retoxing. @Cinfhen @eanderson

TrishB I was thinking about you 😔😔 1y
Cinfhen Awwww, sorry 😖at least your handling it the best way possible 🍺 1y
emilyhaldi Bottoms up!! 🥂🍷🍾🍹🍸🥃🍺 1y
31 likes1 stack add3 comments
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scripturient
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Book and kitchen bathed in sunlight. 😂

GatheringBooks i have a feeling you are not in germany? 2y
scripturient @GatheringBooks No, we‘re in Holland till Saturday. The sun is misleading though. It‘s still freezing outside. 😨😂😂 2y
GatheringBooks @scripturient enjoy the netherlands! one of the elusive places for me, even though i visited a number of european cities now. :) 2y
julesG @GatheringBooks Bright sunshine in the western part of Germany, too. And freezing cold. 2y
GatheringBooks @julesG oh gosh! it‘s 30 degrees here in singapore! sending you both some heat and humidity ☀️ 2y
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scripturient
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My London book haul so far, including my very first Folio edition. 😍 #foliofreaks #icavedineventually #alltheprettybooks

Moray_Reads I don't have this Folio but the illustrations are stunning 2y
Sarah83 Ohhhhhhhh 😍 2y
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Heideschrampf
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Jaenette is such a terribly nice person. Just stopping by to chat to guests in the audience. I wanna be her when i grow up!

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Christine
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Pickpick

Loved this a lot. It‘s only my second Winterson, having just read Christmas Days last month; I can‘t wait to read more and more. Her writing is the perfect mix of funny, frank, poignant, irreverent, challenging, and philosophical - so good. ❤️ (My second completed book of #24in48 - the stopwatch is at 10 hours and 48 minutes at present. :)

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Moray_Reads
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BarbaraBB Love your handwriting! 2y
Moray_Reads @BarbaraBB I wish it was mine! It's actually just an app 2y
BarbaraBB @Moray_Reads Aha, too bad! 😀 2y
BookishMe @Moray_Reads which cool app is that?? 2y
55 likes1 stack add4 comments
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arlenefinnigan
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#LoveNeedsNoDisguise
Unless your mum's a mad Christian fundamentalist. Then it might do. A little bit.
#NuYear @Cinfhen @TrishB

Bibliogeekery Love this book! 😍 2y
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thereadingwomen
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Pickpick

Jeanette‘s writing is exquisite and her nonlinear structure helps tell her life‘s story, imitating how we tell ourselves stories in real life. She was 25 when she wrote the novelization of her young life, ORANGES ARE NOT THE ONLY FRUIT. But this older and more mature Jeanette gives us insights about her life she couldn‘t when she was younger. This #memoir blew me away. Now I need to go buy my own copy so I can underline the crap out of it. ❤️ - K⠀

TheBee 👍🏻 2y
audiobooklover I'm going to read this one 2y
audiobooklover Just started reading this... I hope it gets a little better ..not catching me right now!🤔 2y
85 likes13 stack adds3 comments
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arlenefinnigan
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Velvetfur Oohh lovely nail colour - is it, by any chance, Aruba Blue by Essie? 2y
arlenefinnigan @Velvetfur no, Gel Shine from Miss Sporty. The shade doesn't appear to have a name, which is a pity. 2y
Velvetfur @arlenefinnigan Ah ok, well it looks exactly like the one I just mentioned! It's a lovely colour 😊 2y
30 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Joanne1
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Pickpick

This is a sad, touching, painful, funny memoir and I understand the praise it has received. But after reading this and Oranges are not the only Fruit in the last month I've decided Winterson's writing style is not one I love. It's too flowery, too metaphorical and too disconnected for me. Nevertheless this was still a pick.

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Joanne1
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As a budding librarian-in-training this passage gave me something to think about. It's a very utopian view of the Dewey Decimal system.

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Joanne1
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Reading on the train... slowly because I forgot my glasses. Good thing the text is quite large in this one.

valeriegeary I loved this one. Very moving. 2y
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Joanne1
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I've been on a library holds spree lately (thank goodness my current library doesn't charge for holds like my previous one did) and these four just came in. I'm looking forward to all of them, where to start though.

valeriegeary I really liked Why Be Happy.... It's on my "to read again some day" pile ? 2y
AudreyMorris Your previous library charged for holds?! That's painful to hear 🙁 Mine charges $1 if you don't pick up your hold within the 8 (10?) day window you have. I'm not sure how many days it is because I rarely make it past day 3! 2y
Joanne1 @AudreyMorris I was horrified too. They charged $1 for each hold. I sometimes put on 4-5 in one go now and use the library a lot more. 2y
AudreyMorris I live by holds! I can't imagine having to go to my main library every 3 weeks. 2y
56 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Moray_Reads
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Pickpick

Wise, raw, brutally honest, there are no easy answers in Winterson's incredible memoir but I feel privileged to be trusted with her struggles and her insights. If you've read Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit you'll recognise events and characters but some of the fictions are revealed and it has the perspective of nearly forty years distance rather than ten. Winterson's intelligence shines keenly and her prose soars and startles

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Moray_Reads
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In 1979 Jeanette Winterson voted for Margaret Thatcher. It's a long quote but it brilliantly illustrates how people can be tricked into voting against their own interests and youth and naivety as much as age and complacency can lead us to make our choices we would never make at other times and in other circumstances. This is exactly what is happening now, in 2017. Book #eleven of November #NovemberByTheNumbers

LeahBergen I like that bit about the life of the mind and measurable results. 👍🏻 2y
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Moray_Reads
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EvieBee Well said! 2y
minkyb Very true. 2y
44 likes1 stack add2 comments
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Moray_Reads
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LeahBergen ❤️❤️ 2y
batsy Yes! 2y
kathedron Thank you! 💚 2y
42 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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kdwinchester
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Pickpick

I picked up Jeanette Winterson‘s memoir, WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL?, and it was everything I had hoped it would be. Jeanette‘s writing is exquisite — beautiful, concise, meaningful — and her nonlinear structure helps tell her life‘s story, imitating how we tell ourselves stories in real life. Memories aren‘t linear.

If you are still looking for books to read for #NonfictionNovember, this def would be a great option for your TBR.

94 likes14 stack adds
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Jabberwocky
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Bookmail!! I could not be more excited to receive this letter and book! There's a certain rush to getting a letter from a pen pal. 😊📬 #litsypenpals #bookmail #letter #memoir

laurenanalepa I'm glad it got to you safely! 2y
Jabberwocky @laurennalepa it's magnificent! I'll be writing a reply this weekend!! 2y
16 likes2 comments
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monalyisha
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Pickpick

I loved JW's "Written on the Body." Her writing is gorgeous & the way she plays with gender & fucks with binary oppositions is brilliant. So I thought I'd try her memoir. Her life has been ridiculously fucked; she must've learned how to do what she does with binaries based on what the Universe has done to her. Despite her entrancing accent, I wish I'd read the book in print. I wanted to stay with the ideas & sentences longer than the audio allows.

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monalyisha
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"Planting cabbages and beans is good for you. Creative work is good for you."

(Pic from our garden. I assume planting alien pods -- er, I mean, EGGPLANT is just as good for you. ? ✌? ? ?)

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monalyisha
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"I had a sense of myself as a haunted house. I never knew when the invisible thing would strike -- and it was like a blow, a kind of winding in the chest or stomach. When I felt it, I would cry out at the force of it."

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monalyisha
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"The pursuit (of happiness) isn't all or nothing; it's all *and* nothing."

Art cred: Sam Brown (explodingdog.com)

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arlenefinnigan
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BestDogDad
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Pickpick

The book's title refers to the words spoken by Jeanette's adoptive mother as Jeanette was being kicked out of the house at the age of sixteen for being a lesbian. Earlier in her life, Jeanette was the subject of an exorcism in front of her parents' Pentecostal congregation. What?! Life was not easy in Mrs. Winterson's (as Jeanette called her) house.

This was excellent. The audiobook was read by the author whose wit and emotions came through.

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BestDogDad
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Another great moment courtesy of Connie Winterson.

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BestDogDad
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So many great quotes in this memoir!

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BestDogDad
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Wow. I'm listening to this book while reading Not My Father's Son. Bouncing back and forth between Jeanette's crazy mother and Alan's crazy father. Rather depressing.

ReadingEnvy At least we know Jeanette turned into a brilliant writer from the start 2y
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BestDogDad
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Starting on this audiobook tomorrow.

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merelybookish
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Why indeed? 🤓The title is a quotation from Winterson's mother. Says a lot about her, I think.
I still haven't read this memoir about Winterson's childhood and complicated relationship with her adoptive mother. But I will someday...
#booksaboutmothers #maybookflowers @RealLifeReading

CherylDeFranceschi Oooo. Good choice! 2y
merelybookish @CherylDeFranceschi Have you read it? Ive heard good things. 2y
ReadingEnvy It's very good. 2y
See All 6 Comments
CherylDeFranceschi Yes. It's amazing. She's such a brilliant author. 2y
merelybookish @ReadingEnvy @CherylDeFranceschi Time to bump it up the TBR! 2y
Bibliogeekery Great book!! #queerbooks 2y
68 likes6 comments
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arlenefinnigan
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#BooksAboutMothers #MayBookFlowers
Not all mothers are good mothers.
@RealLifeReading

Cinfhen 💔 2y
38 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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arlenefinnigan
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SuziQoregon
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Started listening to this last night. So glad I also have the ebook because practically every other sentence is worth writing down.