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It has never lasted, and it never will. We may be seeing the dawn of that reality right now in the stock market, in oil prices, in jobs, in cost of living, in the national infrastructure. From where I stand, it looks to me as if these monastics from another world may have as much a message for us as we ever did for everyone else. Hopefully we'll be as able to hear their message now as the rest of the world did ours and learn from others as they clearly have from us.

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Heaven knows, by anyone's geometry and symbols, we have mighty need for the "wisdom and compassion" they're trying to preserve. Tap here to turn on desktop notifications to get the news sent straight to you. This Buddhist missionary message is clear. Help us tell more of the stories that matter from voices that too often remain unheard. Join HuffPost Plus.

2. Bill Gates watched his first company crumble.

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It's Only Temporary: The Good News and the Bad News of Being Alive

Queer Voices. Black Voices. Latino Voices. I don't know why he does this, perhaps he feels a duty to offer some prospect of human continuation, but my own feeling is that it weakens the book and shouldn't be there. In real life it would surely change people's perception of the looming event — we would all doggedly cling to a one-in-a-million chance if it was offered — though in the book it seems to make little difference.

Xavier Dolan on his Cannes prizewinning family drama It's Only the End of the World

This is also a 'road' book: most of the action takes place on a journey across America, and most of the characters are people the narrator Sean meets on this Odyssey. In the high tradition of the genre the hero is also pursuing a goal, which is to reach his estranged college girlfriend in time to have sex with her before the world comes to an end.

Each time he gets diverted into some act of minor heroism or caught up in the lives and problems of people he meets along the way, we find ourselves worrying that time is going to run out before he can make his dream come true. Naturally I'm not going to spoil it for you by telling you the ending. It's easy to raise quibbles about the details of Shapiro's vision of the earth's final hours — for example I thought that especially in America crank religion would have played a far bigger part, and I wasn't sure about the way the suicide thread was introduced and explained — but overall the emotions rang true and, speaking for myself, while I was reading this brief tale my involvement was absolute.

Considering the desolate nature of the theme, the feeling that the book leaves you with is a surprisingly good one. There are no Videos in your queue. See Latest Videos. There are no Articles in your queue.

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