Crystal Sloan
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Name: Crystal Sloan

Age: 49

Occupation: Administrative assistant at a nonprofit

Neighborhood: College Area

WHERE INTERVIEWED: Barnes & Noble, Grossmont Center

What are you reading?

Rational Recovery: The New Cure for Substance Addiction, by Jack Trimpey. It’s about a way to recover from addictions that’s an alternative to 12-step programs.”

How is the process different?

“It claims that your addiction is not a disease. The way he puts it is that the pleasure center of your brain is one part of you, and he calls that part ‘The Beast.’ And your rational brain is another part of you. Once you realize that, and once you realize you can separate the two of them, you can control your decisions. You can say, ‘I am not going to smoke again,’ or ‘I am not going to drink again,’ or ‘I am not going to take drugs again.’”

Tell me about the style.

“It’s definitely not written in a scientific kind of way. It’s definitely readable by anyone — the people he’s trying to reach.

What else are you reading?

“I just finished Jimmy Carter’s new book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, Violence, and Power. It’s about women and their lack of power in the world. It runs the gamut from the glass ceiling in this country to female cutting in other countries. And it tells about the work his center in Georgia is doing here in this country and around the world to help women empower themselves. It’s really to educate people about what’s going on with women around the world. It was really good. I bought it in hardback, and when I finished it — I didn’t make creases in it or anything — I gave it to my niece who just graduated from Brown.”

Do you remember any particular stories from it?

“He’s very good at explaining what his enter is doing, and he helps guide you through the history of whatever subject he’s talking about. ‘I remember years ago when I met the leader of such and such a country, and here’s the process...’”

Excerpt from A Call to Action: “I am a member of The Elders, a group of former political leaders, peace activists, and human rights advocates who were brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007.... After The Elders agreed to adopt the eradication of gender abuse as a priority project in 2008, it soon became obvious that the greatest opportunity for our group to make a direct and immediate contribution was by concentrating on child marriage. The Elders formed a global partnership with about three hundred nongovernmental organizations from more than fifty countries...We named this coalition Girls Not Brides...”

What book has been most life-changing for you?

“It’s a book that I still need to buy for myself because I don’t have it: The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. You know the story: there’s a tree, and a little boy comes to the tree because he wants something to swing on, or he’s hungry and wants an apple. And the tree is continually giving him what the tree has to offer. Even when he’s an old man and the tree is just a stump, she has something to give him, because he can sit down on her.”

How was it life-changing?

“I don’t think anyone in real life can be that giving. Although Mother Teresa, and a very, very few people are like that. Just the fact that the tree got a lot out of it. She loved him so much.”

Do you have a favorite author?

“I don’t read enough to have a favorite author.”

Do you read any magazines or newspapers?

“No. I get most of my news from the internet, bbc.com.”

But if you’re in a dentist’s office and you pick up a magazine, which one is it?

[Whispers] “People.”

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