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why I love long books

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Inspired// I watch a lot of book related videos on youtube. It's my guilty pleasure. One of my favorite Booktube creators is Ariel Bissett. Even though I disagree with some things she's talked about and discussed, I still love her videos because they really make me think deeply about literature and writing in ways I never would have before. 
A week or so ago, Ariel made a video entitled Why I Love Short Books. I've watched the video through multiple times, and the more I watch it, the more I've reflected on my own reading habits. I do agree with what Ariel says in her video, but I've noticed that I am naturally drawn to long books for many many reasons.
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For as long as I can remember I've wanted to read long books. I would check out ginormous classics from the library that I knew I had no chance of finishing in the two weeks before it was due back. But for some reason I kept attempting to finish them. There was something inside of me that needed to prove to myself that I was committed enough to read books that were over 500 pages long.
I'm still like that to a degree. I felt the greatest sense of accomplishment when I turned the last page in Les Miserables. And I still look at big books as a fun challenge. As I've grown older, though, there are many more factors that feed my love of long books. 

I have found that I simply enjoy long books more than short books, typically. My shelf of favorite-books-of-all-time is crowded with large, thick volumes. I think that this is because as I read books that are longer I grow more attached to the characters, the story, and the way the author writes. I become invested in the plot, and it's always bittersweet to finish because I become so attached. I don't get that feeling often with books that are shorter in length.

I do have a very huge appreciation for short books. As someone who can become unnecessarily wordy in my own writing a lot of the time, I understand the importance and skill it takes to be concise. Books such as The Great Gatsby and The Bell Jar have left a significant impact on my life, and it amazes me when an author can deliver such a punch in just a couple hundred words, or even less. But there are some ideas that are just too big to contain in a small book. Some have to overflow beyond a reasonable length for a book. 

I do know people who are intimidated by large tomes, and that is something I totally understand. It does take more time and commitment to finish a book that is very long, but I find that, for me at least, it's always a rewarding experience. Whether it's long, short, or just right, don't let the length of a book turn you away from what you could potentially learn from it.

What is your personal preference in your own reading? Long books or short books?

more than passion

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"On n'est point toujours une bête pour l'avoir été quelquefois."

translation//
"Being a fool sometimes does not make one a fool all the time." (quote from Denis Diderot, French philosopher)
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I've always been a believer in the impossible. I always thought that if you were to dream something, and want something, and be passionate enough about something that it would be bound to come true. This optimistic, sickly sweet, Disney-princess perspective I had came to define my worldview.

It's amazing how we are challenged and tested as we grow older. I love to look back on my life and see how my thoughts and opinions have evolved and matured over time.
God has thrown curve balls at me, and I've discovered the hard way that there is much more than just passion that you need in order to achieve something.

It's a discouraging thing to walk into a room and meet twenty other people with the exact same dream as you. You no longer feel special. You question whether or not the world really needs you when there are hundreds of others who are more qualified.
Comparison has always been my bane, and has caused me to give up many aspirations, despite how passionate I thought I was.

I have found my own passion to be a flighty thing, jumping from one goal to another. It's so easy to go after whatever sounds most appealing or achievable at the time, instead of focusing on one thing. There is a sort of drive, commitment, and persistence that one needs. Something that will cause you to go after what you want, even when your passion is questioned. I always admire people who are able to stick with what they started, and it is something that I am forever learning myself.

I still believe adamantly that passion is an important trait to have. If you're going to be doing something for the rest of your life, you should be passionate about it, or at least enjoy doing it. It is the glue that holds dreams together. But there are more ingredients that go into succeeding.

My goals, dreams, thoughts, and opinions will continue to change as I face new obstacles and triumphs. But I'm learning that that's a good thing. I'm glad that I've had to learn these things the hard way, and I feel like my passions have been strengthened through it. I'm excited for wherever life takes me.

Book Review | The Secret History

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The Secret History by Donna Tartt is not a typical murder mystery novel. Honestly, after reading it, I found it barely seemed to fit the genre at all. You know from the very beginning who will die. The author lays out the whole murder scene in the prologue. So instead of trying to figure out who committed the murder and how, the reader is trying to piece together the why. What was it that drove the killer to murder?

I picked up this book on a whim, but mostly because for some reason the synopsis reminded me of Dead Poets Society, which is one of my favorite movies. However the story turned out to be darker and very very different than what I expected. Not necessarily in a bad way, though.

The reader follows the narration of the main character, Richard as he joins a mysterious community made up of the five other kids in his Classics class. Richard was a somewhat dull character. There was nothing interesting about him or his voice in telling the story, but I found it to be nice. Richard, to me, represented an average, everyday person, someone with whom the reader can relate to. It makes the other characters seem much more interesting and different in contrast.

The five students who make up the strange club are all very unique, but equally untrustworthy. Even when they seemed like great people, I had a hard time believing everything they said, but I felt like that was how they were supposed to be written, especially Henry. Henry Winter was the most fascinating out of the group. His past remains very secretive throughout the whole book, the author only revealing bits of who he is every once in a while. I still am uncertain how I really feel about him.

I also really enjoyed learning a little bit about Classics as I was reading. Classics and the ancient would are very interesting to me, and reading a book with Classics as a theme was great.

However, there were some trivial problems I found while I was reading. The amount of information the reader receives is unproportional. Some of this probably has to do with Richard's narration, you can only know what he knows or what he finds out, but some was not. There were certain, unimportant things that would be explained and described in tedious detail, while other, way more important things would be somewhat skimmed over in a way that made it hard for me to understand.

Also I mourned the lack of the presence of the character, Julian, the professor. Based on the synopsis, I expected Julian to be a powerful presence in the novel. I imagined him being a John Keating type of influence on the actions of the students, when in reality, he only made an appearance maybe three times in the whole book. But in those cameos, I really liked him, and desperately wished he was a bigger character. I feel like if he had been in it more, I would've been able to understand the actions of the main characters better.

Despite all of this, I did love this book. It was a very dark read, but the writing and descriptions in this book were stunning, and I definitely want to pick up more by Donna Tartt someday.
“Beauty is terror. Whatever we call beautiful, we quiver before it.” 
― Donna TarttThe Secret History

backstage

I sit quietly in the dark. I can see nothing, except for the bit of light that streams in through the bottom of the curtain and glazes over the toes of my high-heeled shoes. I can hear the impatient murmurs of the audience and I can feel my stomach tighten with both excitement and nervousness. Hundreds of people will come to the theater tonight. They will sit in the green-velvet, folding chairs, dressed in their finest clothes and watch our show. We are entertainment to them, merely something to occupy a Saturday evening. They will never know of our world backstage.

I search the faces of the tired actors and stagehands, as if I can tell by simply looking at them whether or not it is time to begin. A couple of girls stand at the side of the curtain, opening it just enough to peer through to find family and friends amongst the growing crowd. I can hear them as they laugh and whisper in hushed tones, but I don't dare breathe a word. I rub my sweaty hands on the stiff fabric of my unwashed costume. My thick stage makeup feels as if it is melting off my face in the unbearable heat.

I am ready to go on. My lines have been running through my head and haunting my dreams for the past several days. I can walk through every scene without even thinking. I know which prop goes to whom, and who says what in exact order. Yes, I am ready, but right now I lean back against the black, brick wall and try to soak in everything around me. Tonight is our last performance. It is almost hard to believe we are here already. In this past short week the theater has become a home to us, a place it doesn't matter how old we are or where we came from, we are all family backstage. I know that once we take our final bow tonight, after the curtain closes and the audience goes back home, it will be all over. We will take down the set, pack up the countless hair brushes and tubes of mascara, and go back to our old lives.

I know that over time we will probably forget our parts, what we said, and where we stood on the stage. The one thing that we will not forget, however, are the memories we made at this old theater. I will remember exploring trap doors and hiding places, sneaking candy into dressing rooms, and exchanging secrets with other actresses as I applied more layers of red lipstick. I will remember taking naps on old sofas stuffed with bobby pins, daring the stagehands to climb up the never-ending ladders that poke through the ceiling, and the strong scent of sweat and hairspray that never seemed to fade. I have made more memories at this theater than I have in my entire life. This is what the audience cannot see tonight.

Suddenly, the house lights flicker and dim. The audience goes completely silent with anticipation. I stand and brush myself off quickly as a man in a suit goes onstage to introduce the performance. My head is spinning. Everything is going so fast, but I don't really mind. The curtain opens with a heavy squeak. It's show time!
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Resurrecting an old composition because I miss this more than you can imagine.

Book Review | Rebecca

| goodreads |
You know those books that pull you in? The ones that keep you on the edge of your toes, that leave you breathless with its beautiful imagery, that chill you to the bone? Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier is one of those books.

This story follows the main character as she spontaneously finds herself becoming the second Mrs. De Winter, her experiences as she uncovers the dark secrets of her new husband's past, and the presence of his first wife, who continues to haunt them beyond the grave.

I was nervous when I started this book. So many other readers and reviewers who I greatly respect have sung the many praises of this book. Like every hyped-up book I read, I was afraid that I would get my hopes up too high and become extremely disappointed if it didn't live up to them. However, I'm very pleased to say that Rebecca most definitely lived up to every bit of the hype and then some.

I was also afraid this was going to turn out to be a ghost story. I have a hard time enjoying scary types of books, but this book surprised me. It turned out to be more of a mystery thriller than a creepy ghost story. From the moment you meet Maximilian De Winter, you're trying to piece together what truly happened to Rebecca.

I really liked the fact that the main character, the second Mrs. De Winter, remained anonymous throughout the whole book. The narration was told in her point of view, and since you never find out her real name or who she really is, it makes you feel like you are her as you're reading. You relate with her and feel what she feels as you're figuring out the mystery of Manderley with her.

The other characters were intriguing as well. You never know exactly who to trust or who to like. Some of my favorite scenes were those with Mrs. Danvers, she was shady and untrustworthy, but she was passionate. When she would get angry I could practically see her going on her tirades. Frank and Bee were some of my other favorites.

The pacing of the book was nice. Daphne Du Maurier's writing is so fluid and smooth, you don't care at all if the story goes slowly or not. However, once the ending hits and secrets start slipping out, the plot quickly becomes a speeding rollercoaster of crazy emotions. There were many plot twists I didn't even see coming, and I'm usually shockingly good at guessing plot twists.

This was truly a curl-up-with-a-cup-of-tea-and-a-mountain-of-pillows-on-a-rainy-day kind of read. It's suspenseful, and moody, and dark, and Daphne Du Maurier's descriptions of Manderley are drop dead gorgeous! It's a beautiful gothic novel that I will most definitely be picking this one up again someday soon.
I suppose sooner or later in the life of everyone comes a moment of trial. We all of us have our particular devil who rides us and torments us, and we must give battle in the end. --Daphne Du Maurier