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Goodbye, Again: Essays, Reflections, and Illustrations

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The wonderfully original author of Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too gives us a collection of touching and hilarious personal essays, stories, poems—accompanied by his trademark illustrations—covering topics such as mental health, happiness, and what it means to belong. Jonny Sun is back with a collection of essays and other writings in his unique, funny, and heartfe The wonderfully original author of Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too gives us a collection of touching and hilarious personal essays, stories, poems—accompanied by his trademark illustrations—covering topics such as mental health, happiness, and what it means to belong. Jonny Sun is back with a collection of essays and other writings in his unique, funny, and heartfelt style. The pieces range from long meditations on topics like loneliness and being an outsider, to short humor pieces, conversations, and memorable one-liners. Jonny's honest writings about his struggles with feeling productive, as well as his difficulties with anxiety and depression will connect deeply with his fans as well as anyone attempting to create in our chaotic world. It also features a recipe for scrambled eggs that might make you cry.


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The wonderfully original author of Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too gives us a collection of touching and hilarious personal essays, stories, poems—accompanied by his trademark illustrations—covering topics such as mental health, happiness, and what it means to belong. Jonny Sun is back with a collection of essays and other writings in his unique, funny, and heartfe The wonderfully original author of Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too gives us a collection of touching and hilarious personal essays, stories, poems—accompanied by his trademark illustrations—covering topics such as mental health, happiness, and what it means to belong. Jonny Sun is back with a collection of essays and other writings in his unique, funny, and heartfelt style. The pieces range from long meditations on topics like loneliness and being an outsider, to short humor pieces, conversations, and memorable one-liners. Jonny's honest writings about his struggles with feeling productive, as well as his difficulties with anxiety and depression will connect deeply with his fans as well as anyone attempting to create in our chaotic world. It also features a recipe for scrambled eggs that might make you cry.

30 review for Goodbye, Again: Essays, Reflections, and Illustrations

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jonny Sun

    uh, am i allowed to say that i like this book

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    “When my plants grow, it feels like they are teaching me to experience my own happiness in slow motion, not over the course of a few seconds, a few moments, but over the course of weeks, months. And when my plants die, when they start to dry out, or wilt, or rot at the root, they die slowly, too. Even in sadness, I have come to appreciate that there is something peaceful about how slowly that panic and hopelessness and frustration and guilt unfurls, every morning and every night, over and ove “When my plants grow, it feels like they are teaching me to experience my own happiness in slow motion, not over the course of a few seconds, a few moments, but over the course of weeks, months. And when my plants die, when they start to dry out, or wilt, or rot at the root, they die slowly, too. Even in sadness, I have come to appreciate that there is something peaceful about how slowly that panic and hopelessness and frustration and guilt unfurls, every morning and every night, over and over again, and how slowly the plant teaches me to feel it, to accept it, until one day it cannot teach me anything, anymore.” Like a very generous, steaming mug of camomile tea – this was such a chill/feel-good read. It’s hard to review a collection of essays that are so personal to the writer. I feel like creative non-fiction can only go either way of the rating spectrum. One can either like the writing a lot or think it’s a completely waste of time. I read the book and listened to the audiobook at the same time – which made for such a brilliant experience. I enjoyed the illustrations very much as well. And as a plant parent (albeit a rather half-arsed one), I love, love, love the plant references and of the way Sun had talked/wrote about plants in his life. Surely, this is the most ‘soothing’ audiobook I’ve ever listened to. “Is it not enough to see someone once a year when we live in different cities and one of us is passing through the other’s? Or get coffee once a year with a friend who lives in the same city when we are both overwhelmed and underwater with the rest of our lives? I’m not sure what friendship is but sometimes I worry, shouldn’t it be more than this? Are friends supposed to be people I see often in person?” Other than the parts of the book where Sun talked/wrote about plant, I also like the endearing egg stories/recipes (I want to learn how to make tea eggs; it feels like such a therapeutic activity); and also the bit where Sun went on nostalgically about MSN messenger. It reminded me of before ‘Tinder’ existed, ICQ was the shit. Like Sun, I wish that we could still save text messages into a txt file like before. ‘Modern’ forms of texting/communication just feel so disposable and replaceable almost. I still handwrite letters, and I hope I’ll never ever stop. And I hope that the people I exchange letters with never get tired of it too. After all, it really does take more than one to keep it going. “This is nice, except that what follows this closeness of staying with friends is the inevitable act of leaving them, leaving their home, leaving their city, as one must after they are done visiting. And I will leave them the same way they leave their home every day, this being the last feeling of closeness I feel to them for a little while, because then we won’t speak to each other for months, sometimes even years, knowing that we are always one message away from each other but the ease of that connection means we can talk at any time, and so we put it off, and we put it off, and we put it off.” This was a much shorter read than I’d expected, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Listened to it and read it all in one go. I think that this would’ve been such a perfect book/audiobook to bring on a long-haul train journey. It’s only about 3-hours long. But somehow – I feel like it took away some of my stale, sticky feelings of anxiety that I just didn’t feel like dealing with (and was just allowing it to linger like a gross stain). It’s basically Xanax in the form of a book, but without any sort of side effects. “I used to think that plants were static, pointless things. But once I started bringing them into my home and started taking care of them, watering them the way they like, giving them the right soil, placing them in the right light, I began to notice that they would move… I started seeing them slowly will new leaves into existence and will old leaves out of existence.”

  3. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    While reading this book, I felt like Jonny Sun was speaking both directly to and from my soul, and with every page I thought, "Wow, he gets it." Yes, while many of these essays are short, they are so deeply impactful. In Goodbye, Again, Sun touches on his experiences with anxiety, depression, and surviving with the mindset that productivity equals value in a world where taking a break from the grind feels like failure. This is the book for the people that want to matter, make a difference and le While reading this book, I felt like Jonny Sun was speaking both directly to and from my soul, and with every page I thought, "Wow, he gets it." Yes, while many of these essays are short, they are so deeply impactful. In Goodbye, Again, Sun touches on his experiences with anxiety, depression, and surviving with the mindset that productivity equals value in a world where taking a break from the grind feels like failure. This is the book for the people that want to matter, make a difference and leave a mark, but at the same time don't feel like they've achieved enough to deserve it. Jonny's love of plants comes into metaphor often, revealing there's a lot we can learn from them-- growing takes time, rest is a necessity, and sometimes things truly just are the way that they are. Goodbye, Again is without a doubt a book worth revisiting again and again-- Simply and wonderfully healing, a blooming treasure.

  4. 4 out of 5

    chantel nouseforaname

    One of the most thoughtful, calm & relatable books I’ve ever read. It’s one of those books that lifts up the veil on our current insecure “if we’re not productive, we’re lazy” self-punishing, always-on, always-hustling realities and shifts the focus back to the truth of the matter which is that: You’re only human. We’re not perfect and that’s okay. We need to spend more time and care more about that which we love, whether it be our plants, our friends or our families. This is a wonder of a book. One of the most thoughtful, calm & relatable books I’ve ever read. It’s one of those books that lifts up the veil on our current insecure “if we’re not productive, we’re lazy” self-punishing, always-on, always-hustling realities and shifts the focus back to the truth of the matter which is that: You’re only human. We’re not perfect and that’s okay. We need to spend more time and care more about that which we love, whether it be our plants, our friends or our families. This is a wonder of a book. So many metaphors. Jonny Sun highlights that there is so much to be learned about life if you slow down and take a look around you at all the things that you are blessed to have. Also, he’s a plant god, killing and saving plants, bringing plant lives back from the brink of expiry. Inspiring. I loved it. Highly recommend.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Julian

    A unique, heartfelt, and at times beautiful book, that maybe overstates its case. The opening chapters of this book struck me very directly at this point in my life; Jonny writes about a combination of loneliness, desire, and alienation that is both vulnerable and relatable. You can sense the catharsis that he must've felt writing it in every page, and it's a great companion book for anyone going through a similar experience. The wall between narrator and author feels very thin in these pages. As A unique, heartfelt, and at times beautiful book, that maybe overstates its case. The opening chapters of this book struck me very directly at this point in my life; Jonny writes about a combination of loneliness, desire, and alienation that is both vulnerable and relatable. You can sense the catharsis that he must've felt writing it in every page, and it's a great companion book for anyone going through a similar experience. The wall between narrator and author feels very thin in these pages. As an actual book, it falls a little flat (I do feel pretty awful for saying that because of the palpable vulnerability and openness here). While the book is easy to sink into, halfway through I felt like I had read most of the ideas the book wanted to articulate, and the carousel of anecdotes and reflections started to feel like many similar horses painted slightly differently. I found myself skimming yet another section with a metaphor about plants for these themes, yet another anecdote about the difficulties of fitting in, another reflection on how an apartment is and is not a reflection of oneself. If this book is half as long, is it a more effective one for the reader, though perhaps less therapeutic for the author? This may be more of a coffee-table/flip-through-at-your leisure book rather than one you want to read, in order, during a set period of time. There's an arc here, but it's loose. While you certainly can't fault the honesty within, I was left wanting more. The narrator doesn't grow/change as much as he accepts (fitting for the themes, I'll concede), and his many detailed descriptions about anxiety and meaninglessness are at times a bit suffocating. His writing is soulful and at times beautiful, but lacking sentence variance to keep me fully engaged. To borrow Jonny's metaphor and infuse with plant-based puns, I'd say buy this book, keep it out in the open where there's plenty of air, and leaf through it; let it nurture you when you need it to; and if there's a moment where you're wondering if you're over-attentive to it, maybe you've given it all that you can for the time being, and it's OK to set it aside.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Zander Kim

    It feels rude to rate this any less than five stars. A collection of honest essays on living through the pandemic, toxic work culture, and being able to navigate a world that constantly pressures us to be something “more.” Really appreciated the essay that ranks and goes through the hypothetical last 15 minutes of your life before the end of the world. I will also attempt to cook many forms of eggs thanks to Jonny’s detailed instructions. Last but not least, I am here for all of the plant content!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Armstrong

    Screw good or bad. For me, personally, this is an all-timer and one of the most meaningful reading experiences I've had in years. There are like 50 sentences that say things about me that I've never been able to articulate, even to myself. I'm shook. Will be revisiting many times over the years, and I have TONS of new writing prompts and projects for class from Jonny's craft. Screw good or bad. For me, personally, this is an all-timer and one of the most meaningful reading experiences I've had in years. There are like 50 sentences that say things about me that I've never been able to articulate, even to myself. I'm shook. Will be revisiting many times over the years, and I have TONS of new writing prompts and projects for class from Jonny's craft.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle | musingsbymichelle

    *Thank you NetGalley and HarperAudio for this book in exchange for an honest review. Jonny Sun is a delight and this book is delightful. Through what I can only describe as musings, Sun describes the world in his careful and descriptive way– filtering from quick snippets of interactions with friends and advice from loved ones to stories of his family through recipes and restaurants to taking care of various plants throughout his life and the lessons those plants have taught him. In addition, and *Thank you NetGalley and HarperAudio for this book in exchange for an honest review. Jonny Sun is a delight and this book is delightful. Through what I can only describe as musings, Sun describes the world in his careful and descriptive way– filtering from quick snippets of interactions with friends and advice from loved ones to stories of his family through recipes and restaurants to taking care of various plants throughout his life and the lessons those plants have taught him. In addition, and what, perhaps, makes this book easier to connect with, is his invitation to how his mind works, anxiety included. I listened to the audiobook and it is narrated by Sun. I plan to buy the physical copy to see the illustrations, but highly recommend the audiobook! Although some sections made my heart speed up as I felt my anxiety get triggered, Sun’s voice is incredibly soothing and it’s nice to hear his thoughts in his voice.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sean

    Favorite pieces: -On peace -Is it living or is it alive? "I am trying to catch myself more whenever I think about work as something that's alive. When work is 'pressuring' someone, or 'growing,' or 'needs attention,' what does that mean? I am all for giving life to inanimate objects, but to anthropomorphize work feels different, more dangerous to me. I think that maybe I imbue or I have learned to imbue work with this idea of life because I need to work to survive. And if I have to work instead of Favorite pieces: -On peace -Is it living or is it alive? "I am trying to catch myself more whenever I think about work as something that's alive. When work is 'pressuring' someone, or 'growing,' or 'needs attention,' what does that mean? I am all for giving life to inanimate objects, but to anthropomorphize work feels different, more dangerous to me. I think that maybe I imbue or I have learned to imbue work with this idea of life because I need to work to survive. And if I have to work instead of live, the work itself might as well live, since I apparently cannot" (40). -"Go slow" -Farm game "Many of my friends have fantasies of quitting their jobs and owning an actual, real-life, physical farm--which is to say that most of my friends are city people, who don't know anything about actual farms. If the fantasy isn't a farm, it's a flower shop, or a garden, or a greenhouse, or, in one case, an arboretum (a fancy name for 'tree museum'). So many of my friends are fixated on something to do with nature, involving something that grows, or more accurately, something that *they* can grow, based on the belief that it will be relaxing, and straightforward, and linear, and predictable. I find it curious that these dreams aren't about simply living in and among nature, but they are dreams in which nature is the project we work on. We cannot seem to escape the desire to feel productive with our time. I'm not sure if that's by choice or by trauma, that this pressure to produce has been so engrained in us that our deepest fantasies are still tied to some idea of working on something" (78). -Wave fact -Playlist for a funeral -Your last 15 minutes before the end of the world, ranked from worst to best ^probably my favorite "2. Minute one: Reaching a state of calm and accepting that all you've done with your time on earth is enough, because it must be enough, because it is all that will ever be" (202). "Goodbye, again" "Every goodbye after our first should remind us that we've done this before. Instead of Goodbye, I'd like to start saying Goodbye, again. See you later cannot be promised, but Goodbye, again reminds us that we've done this before. And after the last time, at least, we both came back" (208).

  10. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    this book warms my heart and speaks to my soul....with every turning page, i feel like some of the things that were buried in me were being expressed through words & it comforts me to know that these feelings are shared by others as well. somehow, the book provides me with a sense of warmth, positivity and hope. “you have your entire life to worry about the rest of your life. just get through today. don’t tell yourself ‘don’t worry’ but just....worry smaller.” (didn’t know how much i needed this this book warms my heart and speaks to my soul....with every turning page, i feel like some of the things that were buried in me were being expressed through words & it comforts me to know that these feelings are shared by others as well. somehow, the book provides me with a sense of warmth, positivity and hope. “you have your entire life to worry about the rest of your life. just get through today. don’t tell yourself ‘don’t worry’ but just....worry smaller.” (didn’t know how much i needed this until i saw it)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Madeleine

    id like everyone to know that jonny sun has the same sun, moon, mercury and venus placement as me so basically what im saying is that this book was written for me specifically

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bijuri

    This was so beautiful. Jonny Sun took so many of our racing thoughts, slowed them down to 0.5x speed, and wrote them down. The essays were so soothing to read. And gods, the plant metaphors were stunning.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ashley Xu

    super cute and peaceful and the sweetest anecdotes!!! feels super homey (especially the how to make tea egg section). sometimes bittersweet and just LOVELY. A calming and warm read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I've been following Jonny Sun since I was in college. I don't remember how I came across him. Perhaps it was a funny tweet, or insta post a friend shared. I remember diving into his social media accounts filled with cartoons and thoughtful statements about everyday life and related so SO much. Even then, Jonny captured the beauty and banality of life so well, and he was particularly good at putting into words the thoughts that are felt deeply but left unsaid. Below are some quotes and thoughts - I've been following Jonny Sun since I was in college. I don't remember how I came across him. Perhaps it was a funny tweet, or insta post a friend shared. I remember diving into his social media accounts filled with cartoons and thoughtful statements about everyday life and related so SO much. Even then, Jonny captured the beauty and banality of life so well, and he was particularly good at putting into words the thoughts that are felt deeply but left unsaid. Below are some quotes and thoughts - less of a literary review and more how I relate to them: Foreword: A little hello "I was learning to take breaks and to get rest- not the type of rest that actually just builds more pressure because you feel like you are putting off something you should be doing, but actual, true, healing rest" (vii) "I set out trying to be less trapped by the pressure to be constantly productive, and as soon as I started finding those moments where I allowed myself to stop working or thinking about working for a second, to find ways to relax, to recover, to let my mind meander for the sake of it, I decided that I needed to write about the, that I had to document them and collect them or else I would forget them and lose them. Otherwise, I told myself, all this break-taking, this intentionally unproductive time, would not be "worth it." Somewhere, that desire to have some sort of *proof* that I was taking time off turned into the idea that this needed to be a project, that my time spent not being "productive" had to have a product in order to be worth doing." (viii) Reading this during a break in my own life - between finishing work at my ever first job as a consultant and starting grad school in the fall - I relate a lot to feeling the pressure to use my time productively. In the first couple of months after ending work, I was in Hawaii spending my time hiking, sleeping, traveling, swimming, reading, and enjoying not having responsibilities at all. To me, being in nature is both true rest and a productive kind of rest - I can say I've been to these places and hiked these mountains. After spending a couple of months on resting, I soon felt a pressure to be productive, to DO something with my time besides rest, to figure out how I can spend the summer productively. So I got my drivers license, a motorcycle license, and now am off to Taiwan to learn Chinese and do part time work. Like Jonny, filling my life with some kind of work or project fills it with purpose. Filling the blankness "I don't enjoy having time that's been unaccounted for because it immediately makes me feel like I should be doing something with it, and then I can't think of anything that I could possibly be doing that would be worthwhile enough to live up to the raw potential of any amount of available time" (8) A lot of my reflections are probably going to be about productivity and work, as I'm reading this in a time of my own life where I am in charge of my own time, and feeling pressure - some external but mostly internal - to make the most of it. But I also think the push to be productive, and in particular to be creative, is very human and not something we should try to escape or learn to not feel, but something we should embrace. Succulent "Sometimes, when something falls away naturally, it forms roots of its own" (12). I'm about to go away to Taiwan and China for a year and a half, possibly more. Part of me will miss home immensely but another part of me is looking forward to falling away and form roots of my own. On yearning "Even knowing that "most productive" should not be the goal of my years to begin with, I have still learned to be more comfortable with being isolated than being unproductive" (18) On his relationship to work: "If I were talking about a person, I suppose that might be called love" (18) Cactus On his parents taking care of a cactus he left behind: "I felt guilty for forgetting about it, then felt guilty that my parents had taken care of this thing I had so easily forgotten about. Then, this guilt gave way to a flooding of this feeling of appreciation for them, and for their attention (which I then felt guilty about for not feeling sooner)" (20). How many things has my mom done for me that I have never noticed or forgotten about? I am feeling guilty too, now. "During my visit, I tell my parents about this exciting new idea I came up with where I one day plan on taking a cutting from their jade plant and growing a new jade plant from it in my own apartment, so that something they took care of every day could beget something that I would take care of every day, which feels like a small and distant way for me to care for them by keeping a piece of their care alive" (23). This makes me think of my grandparents' plants that they used to have in Harbin, on their balcony. How many of them carried small pieces of their friends' lives, and so on? On nostalgia "Or maybe nostalgia is to feel a happiness about something that is over because it is over. That in order to feel happy about it, it must be something that you can't go back to and affect, that you can't mess up from where you are now, but also, that you can't really feel at all" (31) On peace "Having a deadline looming is almost a peaceful thing because it feels as if the deadline simplifies all the variables of living. It forces everything not deadline-related to blur out of focus" (35) How to cook scrambled eggs I'm not going to quote this entire passage, but in summary it's a reflection on life told through egg recipes. There were so many parts of this book that I wanted to take photos of and share with my friends - and I did for a socially acceptable amount, to send things that I think they would find interesting or relatable but not send too many things that it would be overwhelming for them - and I sent the egg passages to a friend whose favorite food is eggs. I hope she liked it. A place to visit without being a visitor On his parents taking him to restaurants that they know the owners of: "But I think there is also a part of them that is also showing themselves off to me - "Look, your parents are people of the town. We are people who people know! And people like us!"" (63). When does this turning point in life happen? When your parents start wanting to impress you, and for you to regard them highly? Somewhere, I think it happened between me and my mom. "To be Asian in (North) America is to keep a short running list of places where you know you will be given the gift of being seen as more than a visitor" (63). Is this why I feel so comfortable in Asian restaurants, why when traveling around the world for pleasure or work I seek out Chinatowns when I want to feel comfortable? Farm game This one's about Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing! A social media post that Jonny made at some point last year, that particularly resonated with me - and makes another appearance as this more fully thought out essay in "Goodbye, Again" - was about Stardew Valley. He described farming games as providing a reachable goal and escape from the murky paths and goals of real life. I saw this post during the COVID-19 lockdown in New York, after my grandpa had passed away, when I was suffering from boredom and burnout from my job, a time when life seemed frustrating and stagnant and so I simply wanted to escape - and so I escaped into Stardew Valley. I used this kind of sentiment to understand why I enjoyed some of my other hobbies so much, like summitting mountains and completing thru-hikes; they provided clear and reachable goals. "Many of my friends have fantasies of quitting their jobs and owning an actual, real-life, physical farm - which is to say that most of my friends are city people, who don't know anything about actual farms [...] I find it curious that these dreams aren't about simply living in and among nature, but they are dreams in which nature is the project we work on. We cannot seem to escape the desire to feel productive with our time" (78-79). For me, I dream about simply being in nature rather than making into a project to work on. But my productivity comes less about working ON nature and more from experiencing the nature as productivity itself - e.g., summitting mountains as a reachable and accomplishable goal. Sunlight "Taking the time to be around nature is helping me understand that things can just exist, being what they are, and it's just each of us that gives them some sort of meaning" (122) Prayer plant "But even in the slow sadness of a dying plant, I have now come to appreciate that there is something peaceful about how slowly that panic and hopelessness and frustration and guilt unfurls, every morning and every night, over and over again, and how slowly the plant teaches me to feel it, to accept it, until one day it cannot teach me anything, anymore" (129). My grandpa's death, too, taught me a lot. It's something that I know, but can't put into words yet. Maybe one day. On proof "I knew that ending a message with a period meant something different than ending it with a single exclamation mark or multiple exclamation marks or an ellipsis or no punctuation at all" (140). This passage made me think about someone very special to me who uses periods in very meaningful and powerful ways over text. Just one period from him has the power to make me feel an intense yearning and love. On texting instead of talking: "And I loved knowing that in some folder, the act of talking to a friend was filling a .txt document with thousands and thousands of words. That by talking, we were writing a novel, or a script, or something even more. And that made it feel like what we were doing was much more than just talking. In writing all these words together, over years and years, it felt like we were collaborating, like we had written a friendship into being" (141). This speaks to my need, right now, to record everything that happens to me. I record the places I've been in Google maps. I record interesting moments as vignettes in my journal and notes. And I also got frustrated at my grandma for deleting my grandpa's final wechat messages to her, even though they are just words, even though she's already kept them in her heart, even though the experience of the last 60 years together is so much more than just a few texts. A waste of time and energy On making music with his friends, just for the sake of it: "And I think about the promise of turning this into an album. And I feel confident, and maybe encouraged, by the fact that it will probably never happen, partly because we are each so busy with our own lives that we don't have the time to sort through all of this, but mainly, I think, because the joy that comes from doing this is in actively throwing away - and in celebrating the throwing away of - the work. In letting it disappear back into the air. Or, because I am not brave enough to actually fully do that, to record everything on my phone just as proof that it happened, but to never do anything with it at all" (148). On finding ways to remember His mom taking pictures of him: "Even though I complain, the truth is that I am comforted by the fact that there is proof that I came home to visit, too. Because I will be gone again before I know it" (156). How many times have I walked down the stairs of my mom's apartment, or down the hallway of my grandma's toward the elevator, holding back tears but not looking back because I know my mom will be in the doorway looking at my leave, that my grandma will be walking in the hallway toward the elevator toward me, still in the process of walking when I get into the elevator and go downstairs without looking back. Removing On leaving a place: "When I leave, it becomes something that simply happens. People will go on with their lives. That place you were a part of, that you are now just some visitor to, will continue operating in your absence, will continue picking up more visitors, will continue to continue. It must" (157). How I feel as I am about to leave New York for perhaps over a year, for the longest time since I moved here in 3rd grade. On the emptiness created by people you barely know The restaurant his parents used to take him to closed, and the owners moved away, and there's no way to get in touch with them "Then I ask my mom if that makes her sad, and she pauses for a second and then says, "That's just how things go"" (160). I need to be better at letting things go. On mourning "You can mourn your own changes, too. That you are no longer the person you used to be is, in my opinion, a good reason for mourning, IT ay be a cause for celebration, sometimes, too. But you can always give who you once were a send-off, a memorial, before you move on from them" (161) Pieces "The more you grow as a person, the more homes you find, the more homes you make, the more homes you share. Each return to a home you once left becomes a realization that it takes up a smaller and smaller place among all the homes you know know. It's only natural to feel like you're being torn into pieces" (165). Wow. My grandfather's plant "Sometimes, a plant is just a plant, but sometimes, caring for a plant feels like some way to do something when you don't know what else to do. Sometimes, caring for a plant feels like a way to remember someone, a way to, in some way, continue caring for them. Sometimes, you keep caring for the plant, and the plant keeps growing, discovering new corners to inhabit, new walls to climb" (167). I miss you, grandpa. On remembering through others From time to time, you will hear their voice in someone else's words. This is how they tell you, "I was part of the world and the world is still here"" (168). I will never forget you, grandpa. I see you in all the places we experienced together, and all the places I want to show you but won't get the chance to. Your last 15 minutes before the end of the world, ranked form worst to best 10. Minute five: Being on a group FaceTime with your entire family, being grateful that at least, in this small way, you are together, even though you are not saying anything at all, even though you are all just crying, and you are just watching your mom take screenshot after screenshot of her own screen, even though there is no reason to save any more screenshots any longer" (200). I took so, so many screenshots of facetime when grandpa was in the hospital. Someone else's room "I stand in my old bedroom and try to remember what it felt like to be a younger me living here, instead of being a visitor to the memory of what 'here' even is. Here, all my stuff has stayed exactly the same as I remember from that time. It is frozen - a memorial, in a way, to some past version of me who is gone now, who I no longer am. And it doesn't feel like home anymore [...] I suppose sometimes the things in the room don't need to be different for a place to feel unfamiliar. Sometimes you are the thing that has changed" (207)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beth M.

    Sun’s writing is powerful and touching, and I really enjoyed the mixture of brief essays and illustrations in this collection. I was hoping for a bit more range in the content, though. To me, the pieces became repetitive over time, with the majority focusing on different aspects of his near-obsessive focus on productivity. Sun is insightful in dissecting his anxiety and depression, as well as how these issues fuel his need to always be generating something productive; however, I would have prefe Sun’s writing is powerful and touching, and I really enjoyed the mixture of brief essays and illustrations in this collection. I was hoping for a bit more range in the content, though. To me, the pieces became repetitive over time, with the majority focusing on different aspects of his near-obsessive focus on productivity. Sun is insightful in dissecting his anxiety and depression, as well as how these issues fuel his need to always be generating something productive; however, I would have preferred to read a few pieces centered on this, rather than an entire collection.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alanna

    This is one of those books where you can’t get close enough to the words and a book you want to live inside you forever. It was so profound, relatable and kind. I can’t wait to read it over and over again and mark up my favorite essays. I’m honestly at a loss because I will never write anything as beautiful as this book is. I cried, I laughed, and at the end of each essay I let out a little sigh because I felt Sun’s words in my bones.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Al Qassimi

    A book that hugged me and comforted me. So heartening to know that I am not alone in this.

  18. 5 out of 5

    amanda

    this was so very wholesome and i loved it!!! reading this book, and especially listening to the audiobook, is just so comforting and nice. it leaves you feeling a little more understood and a little less alone. so good!!!!!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    this was SO GOOD i recommend it to everyone. i don’t even know how to review this, it just made me feel like it’s okay if life is a mess and i’m sad. and it’s also ok if life is a mess and i’m happy.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Roslyn Sundset

    I received an ALC (Advanced listener copy) of this book from NetGalley and Harper Audio. Just so you readers know, I will always give an honest review. If I can't be honest, I simply won't do it. This book is supposed to be out April 20, 2021. I listened to the audiobook version. This was narrated by the author, Jonny Sun. I want to start by talking about this author. I love this author. I know this person doesn't know me, but I feel like I know them. I read their book about the aliebn and wanted I received an ALC (Advanced listener copy) of this book from NetGalley and Harper Audio. Just so you readers know, I will always give an honest review. If I can't be honest, I simply won't do it. This book is supposed to be out April 20, 2021. I listened to the audiobook version. This was narrated by the author, Jonny Sun. I want to start by talking about this author. I love this author. I know this person doesn't know me, but I feel like I know them. I read their book about the aliebn and wanted everyone I know to read that book. I was in love. I follow this person on twitter too and feel joy when a new tweet pops up. So I had high hopes for this book right off the bat. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I felt like the almost 4 hours was not nearly long enough for this book. I really wanted to hear more because I felt like I connected with Jonny and their experiences and outlook on life. I mean, the one criticism I really have is that I felt the narration itself was a little slow. easy fix though, I ended up listening to the book on x1.25 speed and it was perfect for me. It did make the 4 hours go by even faster (well duh) but I still loved every moment of listening. Jonny's experiences are extremely specific yet somehow appropriately relatable. They use humor throughout which is a nice contrast to the "realness" that is felt deep within his words. There is one part of the book where I felt like Jonny was in my head. They were in a grocery store and the running commentary in their head felt exactly like my head and I just wanted to scream, "get out of my head!" But also, I felt less alone, which was comforting. This book felt like a warm understanding blanket, wrapped around me so I become a burrito. I wish I had the physical book because listening to the audiobook, I feel like I really missed out on the illustrations. I may get a physical copy once the book comes out to see what I missed. I want to buy this book for everyone I know.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This is a collection of essays, reflections, and illustrations on mental health, happiness, productivity, connections, loneliness, friendship, and more. It’s a good read for when you’re in a contemplative mood or for when you want to be in that mood. Each piece is short, so it’s easy to fit into a busy schedule or savor over time. The words captivated me and compelled to keep reading, but I’d love to reread it and take my time ruminating over each idea. Jonny Sun writes about the meaning he finds This is a collection of essays, reflections, and illustrations on mental health, happiness, productivity, connections, loneliness, friendship, and more. It’s a good read for when you’re in a contemplative mood or for when you want to be in that mood. Each piece is short, so it’s easy to fit into a busy schedule or savor over time. The words captivated me and compelled to keep reading, but I’d love to reread it and take my time ruminating over each idea. Jonny Sun writes about the meaning he finds in caring for plants, in cooking eggs, in conversations and time spent with friends. He writes candidly about his anxiety and depression and the relationships in his life. And he writes about the pressure society puts on us to always be working towards something, succeeding, achieving, producing. I think everyone will probably get something different from this book, which is true with all books but even more so with this one since his reflections invite your reflections. One of the essays that stuck out to me was called Farm Game. In these games, there is comfort in knowing that there are goals to hit and rewards to reap and that everything is guaranteed if you do the right things, which lies in contrast with real life where actions do not always lead to results and nothing is guaranteed. “Perhaps after a life of working to no end with no promised outcomes, what we think we want more than anything is to escape into this fantasy that something reliable will happen when we put our time into it. Plant a crops tend to it, and something will grow.”

  22. 4 out of 5

    Roxana

    I've followed Jonny Sun on Twitter for many, many years now, and come to be a big fan of his work and his viewpoint, in all the ways and forms he's shared these with his ever-growing audience. I say audience, but it's not hard not to feel like 'friends' would be nearer the mark - as willing as he is to share and be vulnerable and authentic online, it's hard not to feel like you know him better than you really do. Goodbye, Again, his new collection of personal essays, reflections, and illustration I've followed Jonny Sun on Twitter for many, many years now, and come to be a big fan of his work and his viewpoint, in all the ways and forms he's shared these with his ever-growing audience. I say audience, but it's not hard not to feel like 'friends' would be nearer the mark - as willing as he is to share and be vulnerable and authentic online, it's hard not to feel like you know him better than you really do. Goodbye, Again, his new collection of personal essays, reflections, and illustrations, is a perfect example of that feeling. Sun speaks as though to a friend, in what often reads like an expanded version of some tweets or Twitter threads, exploring topics like mental health, productivity, happiness, home, houseplants, and creativity in his customarily gentle, open style. Because the book is pretty short, and many of the pieces within it especially brief, even when some of them didn't really land for me - and there were a number of those, I admit - it was always a quick read 'til the next thought. On the other hand, I wish Sun had gone more in depth with some of these issues, as a lot of it just felt like dipping a toe into the idea, shrugging at it in passing, and moving on again. Still, many readers, whether they've been following Jonny for years or are new to his work, will find plenty to relate to in his struggles and meditations, his musings, his meanderings, his recipes. (Oh, did I not mention there's a recipe or two in here? Enjoy those scrambled eggs, friends.) I listened to the audiobook, which Jonny Sun reads himself, and while normally I'm not a fan of authors reading their own work, in this case Jonny has a voice that is so soothing and easy to listen to, it fits his writing perfectly - of course, in a book so personal - and feels, again, like having a conversation with an old friend, late at night when the party's long since died down and there's just a handful of people left, sitting around and getting philosophical. And listening to it now, a full year into not getting to do just that with my own friends...it feels somehow even more meaningful. Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Perennial for the advance review copy!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Benazir Markey

    I'm so glad I gave this book a shot. Usually, collected essays/reflections type books aren't my thing and I find them difficult to get through, but this book honestly felt like therapy. The brutal honesty of the words in this book sting slightly less because they are written so beautifully, and in a way that is easy to comprehend (i.e, not too much flowery language that you tend to see in this genre). As someone in my twenties who is maybe too hyper-aware of the capitalistic state of the world, I'm so glad I gave this book a shot. Usually, collected essays/reflections type books aren't my thing and I find them difficult to get through, but this book honestly felt like therapy. The brutal honesty of the words in this book sting slightly less because they are written so beautifully, and in a way that is easy to comprehend (i.e, not too much flowery language that you tend to see in this genre). As someone in my twenties who is maybe too hyper-aware of the capitalistic state of the world, I felt so understood and comforted that I wasn't alone in my loves and worries as I read Sun's words. This book made me reflect on things that I hadn't ever reflected on before or had been avoiding thinking about, and it also provided a new perspective on things that I hadn't considered before, which I really appreciated. My one criticism is that while this book presents so many good ideas and reflections, it does tend to get a little repetitive. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is prone to existential crisis' the way I am or is in need of some guided reflections or new perspective on things. Love, love, loved it. 4.5 Stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    Thank you to Harper Perennial for an ARC to review. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a writer who captured thoughts I’ve had as poignantly as Jonny Sun. These short essays (can you even call them essays?) remind me of thoughts I have daily. Except Sun wrote them down, refined them to their core essence, and then tore my own heat apart by hearing them repeated back to me. Why can’t I give it a 5 star review? I felt some essays were a bit repetitive. I recognize that caring for plants does provide for Thank you to Harper Perennial for an ARC to review. I don’t know if I’ve ever met a writer who captured thoughts I’ve had as poignantly as Jonny Sun. These short essays (can you even call them essays?) remind me of thoughts I have daily. Except Sun wrote them down, refined them to their core essence, and then tore my own heat apart by hearing them repeated back to me. Why can’t I give it a 5 star review? I felt some essays were a bit repetitive. I recognize that caring for plants does provide for a lot of introspection, but it felt like the balance of essay topics was off by continually coming back to this theme in particular. But this one is NOT one to miss, and definitely one of my favorite reads so far in 2021.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Colyforniaroll

    Goodbye is inevitable, but so is hello. When you take time with this book, this is the overall sentiment that will sit with you chapter after chapter. That blend of nostalgia, the hope of experiences to come, and the comfort of knowing there are others who feel this too. Jonny Sun puts these universal experiences into words so perfectly, I felt as if I were texting friends. He writes of moving on, the space we leave and the spaces we take up. Of taking care. Of savoring the time we have left. Th Goodbye is inevitable, but so is hello. When you take time with this book, this is the overall sentiment that will sit with you chapter after chapter. That blend of nostalgia, the hope of experiences to come, and the comfort of knowing there are others who feel this too. Jonny Sun puts these universal experiences into words so perfectly, I felt as if I were texting friends. He writes of moving on, the space we leave and the spaces we take up. Of taking care. Of savoring the time we have left. Throughout the book, Sun uses plant illustrations as a link to his memories/feelings. I'm not the best plant person, but I liked the choice to use them as a metaphor. They went seamlessly with the preceding or prior chapter, which gave we the reader a chance to reflect. What objects do we use to link our personal stories? This book left me exhausted only because it's an experience in itself to feel like your thoughts are being processed on paper. It's like the breath you take to center yourself after a good cry. We've been here before. We'll be here again. All of it will carry us. pg. 109 "And suddenly I understood hauntings. I was the ghost. And I didn't even have to die to become one. I just had to leave"

  26. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    This book was really comforting and I think that’s why I liked it so much. It was nice to see that there are other people out there that have some of the same anxieties and fears that I do, that struggle with the same things and feelings, and that feel just a little bit sad or lost or scared almost all of the time. But this book was also comforting in that it provided some insight into how to deal with those things. Different ways to try and think or analyze or act in an attempt to make everythi This book was really comforting and I think that’s why I liked it so much. It was nice to see that there are other people out there that have some of the same anxieties and fears that I do, that struggle with the same things and feelings, and that feel just a little bit sad or lost or scared almost all of the time. But this book was also comforting in that it provided some insight into how to deal with those things. Different ways to try and think or analyze or act in an attempt to make everything just a little more bearable. Overall, I really enjoyed every moment I spent reading this book. It was insightful, relatable, and the perfect balance of sad and uplifting.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tanner Curtis

    There were moments reading this collection of essays that I felt the author was reading my mind. The descriptions of obsessive work and productivity and deadlines really got me, which puts some of my anxieties at ease. All of the pieces are thoughtful and the weaving in of sketches and drawings is done with ease. The brevity of most essays is the strength, but some of the longer ones struggled. Still highly recommend for anyone who needs their professional anxieties reflected back in a unique wa There were moments reading this collection of essays that I felt the author was reading my mind. The descriptions of obsessive work and productivity and deadlines really got me, which puts some of my anxieties at ease. All of the pieces are thoughtful and the weaving in of sketches and drawings is done with ease. The brevity of most essays is the strength, but some of the longer ones struggled. Still highly recommend for anyone who needs their professional anxieties reflected back in a unique way. Also if you are a plant person you’ll love this.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennice Mckillop

    Just don’t like this book, due to the whining & the long sentences of circular dementia & utter junk. I’m not insensitive to persons with mental challenges bc I too need help to retain my sanity, but I don’t feel obliged to read of one’s madness. It tends to make me judgmental & unkind. & to hope I’m not that far gone. I couldn’t read straight thru so skipped to the later essays. I must say that I felt encouraged for him later on when it indicated he was in therapy. It showed in his sentence const Just don’t like this book, due to the whining & the long sentences of circular dementia & utter junk. I’m not insensitive to persons with mental challenges bc I too need help to retain my sanity, but I don’t feel obliged to read of one’s madness. It tends to make me judgmental & unkind. & to hope I’m not that far gone. I couldn’t read straight thru so skipped to the later essays. I must say that I felt encouraged for him later on when it indicated he was in therapy. It showed in his sentence construction and few one-liners. A much more hopeful outlook. Am glad for hm. His acknowledgment to the reader and hoping he’d remain alive in our heads, is not a nice wish. He was pretty messed up. I don’t want that in my consciousness. But I wish him well.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Rose (Effloress)

    I took a little time each day this month to dip my toes into this honest and heartfelt collection from Jonny Sun. It was calm and yet so raw. Much of his prose resonated with me, and I highly recommend giving this a read!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    I feel quite badly rating this at just 3 stars, as I very much enjoyed Sun's style of writing, the layout and presentation of the book, and very much appreciated the vulnerability and honesty of the stories. My issue was purely with myself; portions of this book made me anxious. I think I had expected this book to be a relatable look at mental health, however Sun's anxieties and depression present in a very different way to mine. This is no-one's fault, but led to me feeling increasingly more wo I feel quite badly rating this at just 3 stars, as I very much enjoyed Sun's style of writing, the layout and presentation of the book, and very much appreciated the vulnerability and honesty of the stories. My issue was purely with myself; portions of this book made me anxious. I think I had expected this book to be a relatable look at mental health, however Sun's anxieties and depression present in a very different way to mine. This is no-one's fault, but led to me feeling increasingly more worried by some of the things Sun was saying, especially around how he uses guilt as motivation, or how work often dominates his life to an almost obsessive level. I worried for him throughout, and as such this wasn't the sort of read I had anticipated. I wholeheartedly believe, though, that for those on the same wavelength as Sun, this will be an incredibly relatable and possibly reassuring read.

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