Life Breaks In: A Mood Almanack

Hardcover | October 21, 2016

byMary Cappello

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Some books start at point A, take you by the hand, and carefully walk you to point B, and on and on.
 
This is not one of those books. This book is about mood, and how it works in and with us as complicated, imperfectly self-knowing beings existing in a world that impinges and infringes on us, but also regularly suffuses us with beauty and joy and wonder. You don’t write that book as a linear progression—you write it as a living, breathing, richly associative, and, crucially, active, investigation. Or at least you do if you’re as smart and inventive as Mary Cappello.
 
What is a mood? How do we think about and understand and describe moods and their endless shadings? What do they do to and for us, and how can we actively generate or alter them? These are all questions Cappello takes up as she explores mood in all its manifestations: we travel with her from the childhood tables of “arts and crafts” to mood rooms and reading rooms, forgotten natural history museums and 3-D View-Master fairytale tableaux; from the shifting palette of clouds and weather to the music that defines us and the voices that carry us.  The result is a book as brilliantly unclassifiable as mood itself, blue and green and bright and beautiful, funny and sympathetic, as powerfully investigative as it is richly contemplative.
 
“I’m one of those people who mistrusts a really good mood,” Cappello writes early on. If that made you nod in recognition, well, maybe you’re one of Mary Cappello’s people; you owe it to yourself to crack Life Breaks In and see for sure.

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From the Publisher

  Some books start at point A, take you by the hand, and carefully walk you to point B, and on and on.   This is not one of those books. This book is about mood, and how it works in and with us as complicated, imperfectly self-knowing beings existing in a world that impinges and infringes on us, but also regularly suffuses us with beau...

Mary Cappello is professor of English and creative writing at the University of Rhode Island and the author of a number of books, including Awkward: A Detour and Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them.  

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Awkward: A Detour
Awkward: A Detour

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Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them
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Night Bloom: An Italian-american Life
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Format:HardcoverDimensions:408 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.3 inPublished:October 21, 2016Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022635606X

ISBN - 13:9780226356068

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

On the Street Where You Live

Elements
Mood of Perfect Kinship
Mood Modulations
Of Clouds and Moods
Gong Bath
Sonophoto: Boy Screaming

Charts
Is It Possible to Die of a Feeling?
The Flower Inclines toward Blue
They’re Playing Our Song
Mood Questionnaire
In a Studious Mood

Rooms
Life Breaks In
Mood Rooms
Miniature Verandas and Voluminous Velvet Forms
Synesthesia for Orphaned Boys
Picture Books

Vibes
Mood Telephony
The Tic-Tic-Tic of a Dime Hitting the Floor
Sounding Repetitions
The Sounds That Seals Make
The Exciting or Opiatic Effect of Certain Words
Arrangement for Voice and Interiors
Sonorous Envelopes

Acknowledgments
Notes and Sources
Playlist of Music or Sound Works (With Links to YouTube Recordings)
Photo Credits and Content Descriptions
Index
 

Editorial Reviews

"Trained as a poet, writing in the in-between state genre known as literary nonfiction, Mary Cappello has called the essay, after Gertrude Stein, 'a kind of writing that doesn't aim.'  Mary's essays tune us in to a vibrational register, to the timbre or power to touch us shared alike by things, words, places, persons, and narratives. Cappello's language grazes the circumstances of ongoing life: it echoes and echo-locates in the midst of surroundings. Just like mood, but a mood that (following Montaigne) puts our thought 'in apprenticeship and on trial,'these essays refuse to be contained."