Monday, August 15, 2016

[Book Review] Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover


On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

Part 2: Recommendation

I was motivated to read this book because I didn't want to see the movie without having read the book first (I still have not seen the movie and I'm not sure if I ever will). For a thriller, the pacing is slower than I had anticipated, both Nick and Amy are not to my liking and Amy is definitely psychotic and very dark. Gone Girl is so dark and twisted, it's brilliant in that sense. I just wish that the book ended with justice served but it didn't.

If you like dark fiction at a slow pace with a sad ending, this book should be on your list. If not, you can just watch the movie (or not) and move on.

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Monday, August 8, 2016

[Book Review] Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond FearBig Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

The instant #1 NEW YORK TIMES Bestseller

Named a Hot Fall Read by USA Today, Vanity Fair, Newsday, O Magazine, the Seattle Times, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Mashable, Pop Sugar, and the San Antonio Express-News

Named a Best Book of the Year by Brainpickings and Book Riot

"A must read for anyone hoping to live a creative life... I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious.” —PopSugar

From the worldwide bestselling author of Eat Pray Love: the path to the vibrant, fulfilling life you’ve dreamed of.

Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

Part 2: Recommendation

I was curious about Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and decided to read it when I read a quoted text from another non-fiction book called The Successful Author Mindset: A Handbook for Surviving the Writer's Journey by Joanna Penn.

Continuing on with the mindset, self-help category, and after the disappointment of Committed, I needed to read something from Elizabeth Gilbert that will hopefully make me like her work again — that and I was curious about what she meant by Big Magic and how exactly does one live creatively beyond fear?

It's not so much as becoming fearless but more on being able to move forward despite the fear, anxiety and doubts that plague any creative pursuit. Big Magic also talks about mindset, the types of fear that a person needs, how ideas come and go, giving yourself permission to be creative, persistence, trust, and a few other topics important for pursuing and embracing a person's creative side.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is truly amazing and inspiring. Definitely worth a read if you want to move forward with any creative pursuit but are having doubts and fears.

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Monday, August 1, 2016

[Book Review] Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert

Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with MarriageCommitted: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage by Elizabeth Gilbert
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

At the end of her bestselling memoir Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love with Felipe, a Brazilian-born man of Australian citizenship who'd been living in Indonesia when they met. Resettling in America, the couple swore eternal fidelity to each other, but also swore to never, ever, under any circumstances get legally married. (Both were survivors of previous bad divorces. Enough said.) But providence intervened one day in the form of the United States government, which-after unexpectedly detaining Felipe at an American border crossing-gave the couple a choice: they could either get married, or Felipe would never be allowed to enter the country again. Having been effectively sentenced to wed, Gilbert tackled her fears of marriage by delving into this topic completely, trying with all her might to discover through historical research, interviews, and much personal reflection what this stubbornly enduring old institution actually is. Told with Gilbert's trademark wit, intelligence and compassion, Committed attempts to "turn on all the lights" when it comes to matrimony, frankly examining questions of compatibility, infatuation, fidelity, family tradition, social expectations, divorce risks and humbling responsibilities. Gilbert's memoir is ultimately a clear-eyed celebration of love with all the complexity and consequence that real love, in the real world, actually entails.

Part 2: Recommendation

I read and enjoyed Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert back in July 8, 2014 and it was such a great experience, that I decided to follow-up on the story with Felipe and thus read Committed. While it was not as great as Eat, Pray, Love and it was not meant to be an exact sequel but designed to be ramblings on what marriage truly means, why is she so skeptic about the whole thing, her fears surrounding marriage and everything she discovered about marriage through research and talking to the married people she met throughout her travels with Felipe.

I was a bit disappointed with this book in the sense that there was very little mentioned about the relationship (struggles and growth or lack of growth) between Liz and Felipe. This book really was more focused on marriage and divorce statistics, historical research data on the reasons why people get married, (which, by the way, you can easily have figured out by reading a couple of historical romance novels) and transcripts of her interviews with married women. I realize that Committed is Ms. Gilbert's attempt at understanding marriage and her way of coming to terms with it and as her way of preparing herself for her own marriage to Felipe and she succeeded in delivering that, it's just that I felt cheated in the sense that I didn't pick up this book to read someone else's [diary] ramblings on marriage and relationships when it is quite obvious she is not the marrying type and should probably never have gotten married. In light of recent events in Ms. Gilbert's personal life, I feel sad and pained for her and Felipe as all this could've been avoided by finding another way or another country to live in. I mean, writers can work literally everywhere in the world so why couldn't Ms. Gilbert settle in Bali (or anywhere else) with Felipe and never have to get legally married and would probably have avoided all the trouble they went through in this book.

In conclusion, Committed served only to solidify my belief that if a person truly doesn't feel like getting married, then don't get married. Some people are meant for marriage and some aren't. If you are someone who is thinking about getting married and/or engaged but is having a tough time deciding whether to go for it or not, then this book might give you some perspective and statistical data that may or may not scare you off. If it scares you off, then maybe the person you're planning to marry is not the right one after all.

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