Monday, December 30, 2013

Eat, Pray, Love

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Pages: 331
Rating: PG-13 (a few scattered swear words, some brief talk about masturbation and sex, nothing extremely graphic, but I still would say this is a book for adults, no one younger.)

Summary: In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want - husband, country home, successful career - but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she felt consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and of what she found in their place. Following a divorce and a crushing depression, Gilbert set out to examine three different aspects of her nature, set against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.

My Thoughts: I read the book and then I watched the movie, and I have to say, regardless of how you felt about the movie, read the book. It was much better than the movie. I mean, you really can't tell the story of a year in 2 hours, so it's automatically more fleshed out of a story in the book. Also, the movie made everything into a love story and I didn't like that.

Ok, so enough with the movie/book comparison and on to how I felt about the book. I'm not sure if I would say it was life-changing, but it was definitely interesting. There's definitely a feministic message: Gilbert says she married with the expectation that she would someday have the desire to have babies and be a cute little housewife, but when she hit 30 she realized this desire was just not there and might not ever surface. The only thing she could do was leave her marriage and go on this journey of self-discovery. She desperately wanted to find God and balance in her life. The message is: don't sit around feeling like you have to fill a certain stereotype. Go figure out who you want to be. I think it's just a reminder that you should really know what you want from life before you go and get married.

If you want to escape the talk of sex and whatnot, just skip the Bali section. That's where Liz finally decides she's ready for love again. In Italy, she learns to just enjoy life. Let it happen, and be happy. Don't allow depression and loneliness get you down. My favorite part was the section where Liz is in India. Here is where she is determined to find God and make peace with herself, and she does it. I think that most world religions have a lot of good in them, so it was fascinating to learn about how Liz feels that she finds God through meditations Sanskrit prayers. I just really resonated with the things Liz learns in India. Very interesting stuff.

Anyway, pretty good book. Did not get a negative rating from me.

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Matter of Magic

Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Pages: 448
Rating: PG (there's a few murders, but nothing grisly or overly upsetting)

When a stranger offers her a small fortune to break into a traveling magician’s wagon, Kim doesn’t hesitate. Having grown up a waif in the dirty streets of London, Kim isn’t above a bit of breaking-and-entering. A hard life and lean times have schooled her in one lesson: steal from them before they steal from you. But when the magician catches her in the act, Kim thinks she’s done for. Until he suggests she become his apprentice; then the real trouble begins.

Kim soon finds herself entangled with murderers, thieves, and cloak-and-dagger politics, all while trying to learn how to become both a proper lady and a magician in her own right. Magic and intrigue go hand in hand in Mairelon the Magician and The Magician’s Ward, two fast-paced novels filled with mystery and romance, set against the intricate backdrop of Regency England.

My Thoughts: I decided to read this book after seeing it on my sister-in-law's Christmas wish list. And, my personal can skip this book. I don't feel like it's very well written. Like the summary says, it's really two books in one, and I felt like both books failed to draw me in. The summary makes it sound way more exciting than it really is. They both have some sort of mystery in need of being solved, and random, confusing things happen throughout the book, and then they figure it out in just a few quick pages, and everything is wonderful. I've also never been a fan of the criminal randomly confessing his entire plot when the heroes finally catch up to him. It always seemed stupid to me, and in this book, it happens not once but twice. I just felt like there wasn't enough background information, plot points just kind of randomly appear, as if the author suddenly remembered she wanted to include this random thing so she just throws it in, but it doesn't really fit with anything else going on.

You might enjoy it, and if you're bored, it's not a boring book to read. It was at least entertaining enough for me to finish it, but I don't really recommend it.