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“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby, the world itself is a bad dream.”

The Bell Jar has been on my mind ever since I finished it. I've been trying to gather my thoughts about it, to make sense of what it made me feel... and honestly I don't know.

I'm not good at writing something meaningful about the deepness of classical books. I try, but making my scattered ideas sense to others is nearly impossible, so just bear with me. I'm vomiting words here.
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I've been feeling... down lately. I don't really know why... there's a lot of crazy stuff going on with my life and I've just been finding myself kind of depressed at times. Don't worry about me, I'm starting to feel better. I say this because that was one of the reasons why I decided to pick this book up.

Esther Greenwood is brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. In her acclaimed and enduring masterwork, Sylvia Plath brilliantly draws the reader into Esther's breakdown with such intensity that her insanity becomes palpably real, even rational—as accessible an experience as going to the movies. A deep penetration into the darkest and most harrowing corners of the human psyche, The Bell Jar is an extraordinary accomplishment and a haunting American classic. 
I don't know what my logic was. "Hey, I've been feeling not-so-great, how about I read a book about a depressed, insane person to make me feel better! Yeah!" I don't even know... But, despite all that, I found this to be one of the most interesting and beautiful little books I have ever read in my life!

It's very extremely dark. I absolutely love darkness in literature. I found it so interesting to be able to go into the mind of Esther. When I told my Mom that this book was told in first person from an insane person's point of view, she couldn't understand why in the world I would ever want to read it.

Crazy people fascinate me. I wonder what it is that makes them crazy, what do they think, how do they feel. (But, they also completely terrify me, which is why I shall never be a psychiatrist.) And I found, quite surprisingly, that the mind of someone who is insane isn't all that strange. Many of the thoughts that Esther had about things and life I also have thought. (Obviously not the thoughts she has about killing herself.) We were very much a like. Just look!
“I am sure there are things that can't be cured by a good bath but I can't think of one.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
“When they asked me what I wanted to be I said I didn't know.
"Oh, sure you know," the photographer said.
"She wants," said Jay Cee wittily, "to be everything.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
"I'm not sure why it is, but I love food more than just about anything else. No matter how much I eat, I never put on weight. With one exception I've been the same weight for ten years." -- Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar (story of my life!)
Knowing what I do about Sylvia Plath (I just had to do some research on her, of course) made me appreciate this book much more. Seeing how she weaved in the tale of her own tragic life and struggles through her absolutely gorgeous writing was both inspiring and heartbreaking. There are so many amazing quotes I could fill this post with.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. It deals with very mature topics at times, and it could be hard for people to swallow it. Esther has absolutely no hope that she will ever feel better, that her life will ever go back to normal, and it's difficult to get through, especially at the end there.  But I feel like it is a very raw and important book that everyone should at least try to read in their lifetime.It made me appreciate the hope I have that my life will turn out okay in the end, no matter how crazy or down I might feel.
“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, "This is what it is to be happy.” 
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Permelia

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All she's ever known is the ticking of her heart. It is constant. It is what keeps her awake. It is what keeps her alive. She dreams of stopping it. If only she could dig through her chest and rip it out, stop the ticking so that she can sleep at last.
-from entry #10
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I haven't written anything in over six months. Half a year without a single word of my story scribbled down. I haven't forgotten my book, it's just been sitting in the back of my brain collecting dust.

I've never been able to stick with a story idea before, and in all honesty, when I started brainstorming for this crazy little book at the end of my Freshman year, I didn't think it would last as long as it has. 

I've kept the flame burning for almost two years now... but yet, I have still barely gotten past the first couple chapters of the first draft. Every time I sit down to write it just won't come. I stare at the blank document, trying to squeeze the words out of me, but I'm like an empty tube of toothpaste. I know I have this story in me, I know it's ready to come spilling out onto the pages of a book, but perfect words are nowhere to be found. I feel dried up.

I wrote a journal entry about one of my favorite characters in my book, Permelia. I was feeling her for a moment, and I had to write it down. She all of a sudden came alive to me and I got excited. Here were words that had been stuck inside of me for six months, finally coming out.

I'm not giving up on this story. I can't. It's my baby, and I won't rest until I've seen it grow into adulthood. I might not find the right words now, but someday soon they will come.

when we went to turkey run


It was a year ago. I woke up early on a Sunday morning, ready to go to church, when Mom stopped me and said that we were skipping church that day. My mom never likes it when we skip church, so I knew there had to be a good reason, but when she said we were going to go to Turkey Run instead I knew she must be joking!

Turkey Run is a state park. A thick forest that is absolutely gorgeous in the middle of October. Or, at least, that's what I was always told. I hadn't ever been able to go myself to know for sure. The thought of going to a park on a Sunday morning instead of church sounded like the most ridiculous thing. But I didn't ask any questions, I just zipped up my jacket, grabbed my camera, and followed my family out the door.

We arrived after about an hour long drive, and we immediately started our adventure. Over muddy trails, under the tree limbs, covered in autumn leaves that would fall slowly around us like fiery rain. Pushing the baby stroller over the steep hills, and walking across the long wooden bridge.

We stopped at an especially beautiful place in the park, right next to the river, and took a moment to just pray and appreciate the absolute beauty of God's creation. 

I remember this time last year being a particularly difficult time for me and my whole family. It was a time of confusion and change. Dad was looking for a job, and there was a very large chance that we would be moving, but where we were supposed to go, we didn't know. I didn't know how I felt about anything, I was sort of numbing my heart to everything that was going on, hoping that I would wake up and it would all be a dream.

As we stood there in the middle of the woods praying, oblivious to the joggers and hikers that passed us by, I knew that everything would be okay. In the end we would still have each other, and God was in control.

I still can't believe it's been a year already!

We're still where we were a year ago. Shortly after our day at Turkey Run, Dad got a job offer completely out of the blue, and it was even closer to home than where he had been working before. Whenever I think about how that all worked I'm just amazed!

I'm still unsure about a whole lot of things in my life. So much has changed, I've changed, and I think it's for the better. Sometimes I wonder what will happen before next October, but I'm not as scared as I used to be. 

Life's an adventure, like a hike through Turkey Run, and I'm going to take it one step at a time, trusting whatever God has in store for me.

Fairytale Survey

I adore fairytales. I received a giant book full of Grimm's fairytales as an Easter present a year or so ago. I just cannot get enough of them!

I found this fairytale survey at Feed Me Books Now forever ago, and I have been absolutely dying to do it myself ever since.

As you will see, it's pretty genius.
Part I :: Classic Characters
Pinocchio- the boy whose nose grows when he lies
Is there a book you lie about because you feel ashamed for liking it?
I don't usually lie about books. If I love a book I will shout it from the top of the Eiffel Tower! But I'd have to say the only books I would maybe lie about are all the books in The Luxe series. The whole series is full of plot holes and all sorts of things that people hate. I don't really know why I loved them as much as I did. They are sort of my guilty pleasure. 

Beauty and the Beast- the girl who fell in love with personality
Which book do you love that has a hideous cover?
Before I read The Book Thief I thought that the cover was the most hideous thing! But now that I understand it, it is my most favorite cover of all the books in the world!

Snow White- hunted down for her beauty
Do you ever buy a book based on the cover alone? And if so, what is the last one?
I do this all the time, and it is not good. Pretty covers are my weakness. The last book I bought based on it's cover was probably Dorothy Must Die. The cover is just too cool I couldn't resist.

Sleeping Beauty- cursed to sleep, awakened by true love's kiss
What is your favorite book couple?
This is the most difficult question ever! I ship every couple in the whole book world, but I just have to go with Cress and Thorne from Cress by Marissa Meyer. They are the most adorable couple ever, and they make the little helpless romantic inside of me sigh with happiness. 

Little Mermaid- gave up her old life for love
Do you ever branch out to new genres or do you like to stick to the ones you know and love? If you try new things out, what is the latest book?
I love trying out new genres and different kind of books, but one genre that I haven't read much of is Paranormal. It's just really creepy and I've never wanted to read any books in the genre. But I gave it a try with The Diviners by Libba Bray. Oh, I loved it! The writing was beautiful, and Naughty John was the most satisfyingly scary/creepy villain I have ever read! It gave me nightmares. It was great. Why they decided to wait three years to release the sequel, I don't know! 

Cinderella- who lost her shoe after midnight
What is the last book that made you stay up all night?
I like sleep a lot and don't stay up for much. (yes, I'm that girl who's the first to fall asleep at sleepovers) It takes a very special book to keep me up all night, and Divergent is the only one that has succeeded. I refused to sleep until I knew how it ended!

Rapunzel- locked up in a tower
What is the worst book you read last month?
All the books I read last month were really good, but Of Poseidon by Anna Banks was the last book to disappoint me. I just didn't care for it. Which was a shame, since I was hoping it would be a very good summer-y read. 

Part II :: Mix-Match
Aladdin- the poor boy who found a genie
What is the latest book treasure/gem you've found?
This one would have to be The Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. This entire trilogy had me so hooked from the beginning. This was probably the uickest I have ever read an entire trilogy. (This is also another book I bought based on it's cover. I regret nothing.)

Alice in Wonderland- the girl who fell through a rabbit hole
Which book made you feel like you landed in another world?
The whole Lord of the Rings trilogy, for sure. Middle Earth is my all time favorite book setting ever. I shall not be moved.

East of Sun and West of Moon- where a girl embarks on a journey to save her love
Who is one of your favorite kick-butt heroines?
I have many, many favorite heroines who are very strong. Like Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles, and Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings. But for now, I'm going to go with Julie from Code Name Verity. She was the best character ever. She made me laugh, she made cry. She had such a strong personality, and was able to give her captors a really hard time.

The Frog Prince- where an enchanted prince becomes human again
What is a book you thought you would hate, but ended up loving?
Wuthering Heights! Hands down! I had heard so many mixed things about this book, but I hesitantly read it anyway, and it blew me away! It is now one of my top three favorite books of all time. In fact, I should go re-read it right now!

Hansel and Gretel- left alone in the woods and captured by a witch
Which duo (brother/sister, sister/sister) is your favorite and why?
I have realized hat there is a stunning lack of awesome siblings in my reading... I should fix that. Why are all the good characters an only child? They need siblings to make their lies more exciting! (and less lonely) The only one I can think of is Will and Cecily from The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare. But yeah, they were great. I wish I had a big brother like Will. 

Little Red Riding Hood- almost eaten by a wolf dressed as her grandmother
What book disappointed you after falling in love with the cover and blurb?
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder. I was so excited for this book! It sounded like a really epic fantasy that I would love, but it was just... meh. 

Rumpelstiltskin- nobody knows his name
Which book do you love that doesn't get enough attention?
Oh, most definitely Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen. This is one of my most favorite books, and it's sequel is just as great. More people need to read it! It's Robin Hood!
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If you decide to do this survey as well, please leave the link to your post in the comments, I'd love to read it. :)

on reading

My reading has been suffering.

Like I've mentioned before I'm in the midst of a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad reading slump. I'm slowly pushing myself out of it, but still.

I've been thinking a lot about book reviewing. I do enjoy reviewing books. I do. I like sharing with people the amazing books I've read. I like it when someone comes back and thanks me for recommending a book to them. It makes me feel like I've actually done something useful. But with school starting and all, I started thinking, especially since I'm a Junior (Wha!?), I want to start branching out with my reading more.

I've always been the type of person who could read anything, but I want to round out my reading. I want to step out of the young adult bubble that the whole world seems to be in and read other things. I want to read classics (oh yes! Classics!), more adult books and children books, as well as YA.

But most importantly, I don't want to just review books anymore. I want my reading to make me think about the world. I want to have thought provoking discussions, and I want to learn something from the text in the books I read.

Reviewing is great and all. And I shall probably always continue reviewing, either on here or just on Goodreads or something. But I don't really want to have a book review blog. I have no real interest in authors sending me their work for review (it just sounds stressful, especially in this reading slump), I want to be free in my reading and thinking. Not that book reviewers aren't, I just don't like it when people force books upon me to read within a week. I would simply detest the book by the end, and it wouldn't be good for the author of the book or me.

I'm still playing around with the idea. We'll see what happens. But I'd love to hear what you think of branching out.
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