Shannon Thompson – novel and poetry writer

Shannon Thompson is an author who has written in the longest and shortest forms and her affinity for cats may only be topped by the love of coffee.  These are her good things.

Good things to read.

The Stranger by Albert Camus. It’s a classic novel which defines existentialism. Our emotions are challenged, and the writing reminds us of what we find normal and connecting within society. It’s a perfect example of confronting a norm, while also bringing out understanding and sympathy from the other side.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer–a novel told from nine-year-old Oskar who loses his father in 9/11. The story follows him as he tries to solve the mystery behind what it all means, while also using history (from his grandparents) to compare present day to. Very challenging and emotional read. The novel, not only has words, but pictures that will become a part of the soul.

Poetry (specifically Edgar Allen Poe, Sylvia Plath, and/or Billy Collins) I think it’s important to read both fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, because every genre brings something new into the light, and these three poets always bring me comfort, content sadness, and understanding, even if I have a moment of ambiguity towards why.

Good things to watch.

Casablanca.  It’s not only a classic; it’s honestly my favorite movie of all time. I’m a HUGE fan of older movies, because I find the writing and the story to be the most important part (rather than the graphics) and I’m always astounded by the subtle genius behind it all. Pay attention to everything Bogart says, or you might miss a beautiful instance.

A Little Princess. A little girl is dropped off at a boarding school after her father is enlisted in WWI. She’s from India, and she brings mystical stories to the others, while reflecting the reality of her life. It will return your childhood to your present-day life.

Big Fish. A reminder of the exaggeration of stories being an art form of love.

Good things to use.

Journals. I believe journaling can be one of the most important activities people can take part in. Write down what you’re feeling and learn why you feel this way. I have a strict rule of never returning until one year has passed, but that’s my personal preference.

Coffee. I need it to survive. Honestly. But it’s also comforting, energizing, and has recently had many health benefits discovered.

Kittens (Pets)- Cuddle up with that fuzzy one and make your day that much better.

Shannon is on Twitter and Facebook where you can keep up with new about her new book – Minutes Before Sunset – which comes out in May.

Bill Clinton – former president

These are Bill Clinton’s favorite things.

What are some good things you’ve read?

Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.  Clinton says “It’s short.”

Lincoln by David Herbert Donald.

Portrait of a Spy by Daniel Silva.

What are some good things you’ve watched?

High Noon.  “I bet I’ve seen it 25 or 30 times.I liked it because it wasn’t your standard macho western.”

“The only other movie like that in my life that I just see over and over and over again and never get tired of is Casablanca.”

Clinton hasn’t commented on his favorite television shows lately but has said he enjoys these season – which you can catch all of on DVD – Grey’s Anatomy, Boston Legal and 24.

What are some good things you’ve used?

His iPod.  Some of Clinton’s favorite songs are “Take my Hand, Precious Lord” by Mahalia Jackson and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon and Garfunkel.  His full list of 20 songs is here.

According to Clinton’s Facebook page he enjoys playing Oh, Hell – a card game “Steven Spielberg taught it to me in the White House days. Close second: Hearts.”

Hillary Clinton – Secretary of State

This is Hillary Clinton and these are, and were, her good things.

What are some good things you’ve read?

The Return of the Prodigal Son by Nouwen.  In a 2000 interview with Oprah Clinton said:

“This book struck a responsive chord, because the story is such a moving and constructive parable about what matters in life.   The Reverend Henri J.M. Nouwen, a Catholic priest, analyzes the story of the prodigal son as told by Jesus in the New Testament. Nouwen offers the perspectives of the father and of his sons, the one who returns home after squandering his fortune and the dutiful older son who never left. One sentence hit me like a lightning bolt: “The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.”

Little Women by Alcott.  In the same interview Clinton said “Like many women of my generation who read this novel growing up, I really felt like I lived in Jo’s family. This book was one of the first literary explorations of how women balance the demands of their daily lives, from raising families to pursuing outside goals. The book was written more than a century ago, but its message resonates today.”

The Clan of the Cave Bear by Auel.  Clinton continued “I’ve been interested for a long time in archeology and anthropology, and this novel about life in prehistoric times is a rich blend of imagination and information about everything from plants that were used for medicine to the rituals and taboos of Neanderthal man.”

What are some good things you’ve watched?

The Wizard of Oz. “When I was much younger it was my favorite movie.  I just loved imagining myself being there with Dorothy and being part of the great adventure she had.”

Casablanca. “When I was in college and law school I watched it, I don’t know how many times.  It was always so much fun.  By the time we watching it over and over again, we were actually reciting the dialogue.”

Anything involving Meryl Streep.  “I love just about anything she is in, particularly ‘Out of Africa,’ with Robert Redford.”

What are some good things you’ve used?

It may not be a definitive use but Clinton is sure fond of her burgers.  In 2007 she said the Oliveburger, a 6oz grilled beef sirloin with a plentiful topping of green olives, was her choice for what reminded her of home. But former White House chef Walter Scheib said Clinton would snack on soy-based Boca Burgers.

Conde Nast Traveler found that Clinton always packs a Tabasco Sauce for adding spice to her meals. Along with Sharpies and Advil.

And what to carry all that in?  “I do love a good handbag. I have this Ferragamo hot-pink bag that I adore. My view was that I would carry it around only in spring, but it makes me so happy, I’m even now lugging it around in January. I mean, how can you be unhappy if you pick up a big pink bag?”