Sunday, August 30, 2009

Personal Post

Goals.

I think it's good to have them. It gets you to strive for something and it makes you try to get it done and get it done right. I'm always making goals for myself, even more so since I graduated college.

See, I went to school from the age of 4 until I was 21. Pre-school, elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. I'm a happy owner of a spiffy Bachelor's Degree in English but I still want to learn. I still feel a horrible lack in life because I have not attended a class for school in a year. Today many of my friends are moving back into the dorms to start their school year and for the second August in a row I will not be joining them. I miss college- definitely my most favorite educational experience I've ever had in my life- and I miss feeling like I am learning.
That's why most of my goals are nerdish ones. I decided to make a list of my current goals:

  • To read 60 books by the end of the year. *1
  • To read every play written by Shakespeare *2
  • To read a list of books by February of next year that I have owned and never read.
  • To read all of the books in my house at least once.
  • To read all of Edgar Allen Poe's short stories *3
  • To participate and win NaNoWriMo this year, for the third year in a row.
*1 My original goal was to read 50 books in a year. I've already read 50 so I upped my number by ten. Currently, I have read 57 books. I only have three to go to reach my goal and then I'll probably up my number again.
*2 I have read all of Shakespeare's work except for every play.. I've already read a number of his plays due to a Shakespeare course I took in college (which was fantastic). But there is still a number left to be read.
*3 I've already read all of Poe's poetry, now all that's left are his short stories.

I'll truly feel accomplished to say "I have read everything Shakespeare/Poe ever wrote". One year, I'd love to make a goal to read 100 books in a year, or a book every week. But I'm working up to that.

So what are your goals, literary and otherwise, dear readers?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies


The hype for this book... is huge.


Everyone is talking about how creative and clever it is. How hilariously funny. Oh you must read this book, it's the newest cool thing to do, it's definitely something you should pick up. Forget Pride and Prejudice. That's so old and boring. Let's read this book because it's all anyone has talked about and look at the cover! There is a cool half decayed evil looking Austen era lady on it!

I did not like this book. For weeks I tried to read it. For weeks I tried to find the absolute humor in it. For weeks I tried to see how this was such a creative endeavor and for weeks I tried to get into the minds of those who thought it was just so cool. Nothing worked. I tried and tried and it just didn't catch on.

It's pretty rare that I get a book and don't read it straight through and with ease. This book fell into the rarity column.

I felt the author came across incredibly cocky in just his author biography alone. Jane Austen, a world renown author whose written beautiful stories that are loved even still, years after her death. And he Seth Grahame-Smith who just happened to take one class in Literature. Just think, you too can destroy a beloved piece of literature with little to no education in Literature!

The quirky drawings in the book, the constant talk about zombies and ninja training, it all left me feeling as if I were reading a book that was meant to actually be the script for a D-rated horror film.

I don't feel much creativity or thought goes into taking a book which has already been written and tweeking it to fit in different characters that boys tend to fan over. I think much of the hype of this book is based off of gossip and 'what's popular'.

Maybe I'm just a cranky English major. Maybe I have some hidden grudge against Grahame-Smith. But I really disliked this book. I would've rather been eaten by a zombie then continue reading it. Apparently he is writing two other books now: Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I do not intend on reading either.
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Peter Pan


How many of you have seen the Disney adaptation of Peter Pan?

How about Hook?
The new version of Peter Pan?
Finding Neverland?

Now how many of you have actually read the book?

Awhile back J. M. Barrie's house went up for sale in England. I can say that if I were a millionaire I would've bought it immediately.

The Peter Pan copy I own is actually my mothers. She received it when she was a little kid for Christmas in the year of 1959. In fact, the header photo of this blog is an actual photo of my mother's book. It's old and has a faint dusky smell to it. When you open it up to a page it remains on that page with little effort.

All my life I've had Peter Pan around me. I was always the opposite of Peter, I always wanted to grow up, the majority of my play times were where I was a mother or I was going to school at a much higher grade then what I was actually in. Despite that Neverland is full of children who do not age they still have Wendy who is eagerly playing a grown up role.

It's fun to read the book then watch all of the movie adaptations. J.M. Barrie made it so easy for film makers in that he describes everyones outfits, what Neverland is like, even the details as to how we on the 'main land' can spot it- if only briefly. There is definitely a narrator in this story making written decisions between telling of one adventure or another. In the first chapter where the pirates are introduced he (the narrator) even declares that now was a good time to kill one of the pirates and so one of the pirates is killed. The narrator holds the power of the story despite that Peter has such a strong presence.


If there is such a thing as a perfect 'growing up' tale then this must be it. To grow up watching the films and reading the books. To play pretend and wish yourself that you could fly to Neverland. But you grow up none the less and then, years later, when you see a commercial for Peter Pan you know that that book, that film, was your childhood.

I cannot tell you the number of times I tried to jump off my bed, chairs, the porch steps, my swing set in pursuit of thinking happy thoughts and taking off to the stars. I would constantly look for fairies, hoping they liked me much better then Tink would, and never saw one directly.

The book is lovely and I do believe something that can never be forgotten. The language in the book could be somewhat confusing for a child to hear or read because it's language of a time where language was much more proper then it is now. But the story remains enchanting and full of imagination. The movies also (I simply ADORE Finding Neverland and I grew up with Hook... Rufio! Rufio!)

As I said, Barrie made it very easy for filmmakers to make a nearly exact scripted version of the book, but there is one thing that lacks from all of the films compared to the book.

Each scene, each magical moment, the descriptions of the lagoon, the anger of the pirates, they are displayed on a screen and passed on but when you read those words you can linger on it for a moment longer or a moment shorter- whichever you like. And you can allow yourself to do a cannonball into the lagoon. You can hide from the pirates. You can smell the scents of flowers and hear the tinkling bells of the fairies. The book let's the mind imagine so much more, it brings Peter Pan even more to life, and when you are done with the book and placing it on the shelf you can find yourself questioning... did I know Peter Pan when I was a child too?

I adore this book. Forever and ever it will be a favorite of mine. I press all of those who have children to read this book to them and even if you are childless it doesn't matter your age; pick up the book and dive in!
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson

I haven't much to say about Emily Dickinson and her poems... only that I feel she stands out as a great poet and also as one of the most famous authors (and female authors) of America.

Her poems are beautiful and eloquent and have existed for so many years that I doubt they will ever be forgotten. Reading her poetry was a joy and something I did on occasion when the mood felt right. I would pick up the book, open to the page I was on, and read a page of poems before setting it back on my hope chest.

With that I am going to share with you a friends blog. She and I are mutual friends on my private journal over on livejournal and she started this site a few months back. Her goal was to pair a photo (which she herself took) with a poem by Emily each day.

If you aren't exactly into poetry I still say you take a look to simply see glimmers of her life in photographic form! I love her pictures.

Check it all out here. And if you really like the site and want to follow it, say that I sent you!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Howl's Moving Castle

My general opinion of movies that are based on books is that I will read the book first before seeing the movie. I feel like that's staying more true to everything. I don't want to be running around going, "Now it didn't happen like that!" when I read the book. Because after all, the novelist is the person who created this idea that was obviously good enough to be made into film. It's only respectful.

However, Howl's Moving Castle dodged under my radar and I watched the film before ever even knowing that a book existed. And I loved the film. This is dangerous territory. Loving the film means that I'll judge the book on my already existing opinion, surely, but I wanted to read the book. I felt so guilty for having not done it before seeing the film. Thanks to half.com I found the book for 75 cents and ordered it. After my diving into The Vampire Diaries I was finally able to resurface and pick up on Howl.



It's taken me a bit of time to actually read the entire book which I was surprised at. Usually something like this I read in a blink of an eye and then I'm done with it but this book was different. I took my time reading each chapter and only finished it today.

On goodreads I only gave the book three out of five stars and usually I tend to give four stars to books I enjoy. Let me explain why... the book I found to be a slow read at different points. I kept wanting to rush it to get to parts of the movie which I loved. See? This is my problem with seeing the film before reading the book. I know what to expect and I have favorite scenes so I rush to get to those points.

Many parts of the movie and book were exactly the same but a lot of the book was not included in the film. Same goes for a number of characters. But the book was interesting and threw in an assortment of new details, unfamiliar to the movie, that made the story more complex.

I feel that this book would be a great read if I were to have read it during the winter months. When the sun is barely in the sky and the cold snowy wind blows I could have curled up with tea and read this from cover to cover. I definitely go through different tastes between book genres depending on the season.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. I won't say I disliked it. It just was a little too slow for what I was looking for. But it is a good book and I do think it speaks volumes about how your opinion of yourself can curse or bless you. I do suggest people looking for a good magical story to take up reading this and for those looking to watch a movie rent this film. It's wonderful and enjoyable.
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And now that I'm done with that book we'll move onto something else.
Happy Reading.

Friday, August 14, 2009

An Aquarian Exposition

Forty years ago this weekend thousands of people flooded the roadways of what would be my home (once I was born). The traffic was backed up for miles and people began to offer their front yards as parking lots so that these crowds of people could continue on with their journey.

Rooms were rented out and tents pitched. People were drinking water from hoses and traveling barefoot. Friends and neighbors all gathering for three days of peace and love.

The farm where they traveled was on a gentle yet steep hill nestled in the mountains. Trees outlining the cleared land and at the very base of the hill a large wooden structure was formed. A stage.

Crowding the field more and more people came. Eventually so many people had arrived that the lines of where the attendees were and ended had disappeared. All that one could see were people. The flood of people were triple the amount of citizens who lived in the town.

Music played for three days straight through lightning and thunder. The fields became mud covered as did the people and yet they stayed to dazzle to the music. To be 'grooving to the sounds'.

This was Woodstock. The 1969 concert that occurred only mere
miles from where I called home for the first 21 years of my life. I grew up in the aftershock of that concert. Hippies who had attended Woodstock stayed behind, making homes, or frequenting the concert site to tell visitors about 'the big concert' that had occurred there. Still they would jam out to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Santana, Sweetwater, Joe Cocker, and The Grateful Dead.

Today the crowds taking over Route 17 aren't there anymore. T
he 'unwashed hippies' that the town were worried about are... mainly... departed. But there is still an energy at that site. A buzz in the air as if the very land itself knows that something huge went down there. Something historical.

You can still find peace signs in some front yards. Murals of Janis and Jimi on the side of a barn and the 'Woodstock bird' sits merrily on the light poles.

If it's possible to have former lives then I think I was at Woodstock. I have always been fascinated with the music and clothing of that period. I have always found it to seem comforting. So on this, the 40th anniversary of Woodstock, I thank that time period because without it I wouldn't have so many albums and artists that I love today.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Vampire Diaries: Dark Reunion

This book was... odd.

I'm torn between thinking it was the best of the series and thinking that its left a bad taste in my mouth. Maybe it's because it was the most different of the four books. Maybe because this was a separate story all on it's own while the other three followed into one and then the other. At the very least this fourth book definitely had a lot more differences and new elements thrown in then the previous three.

SPOILERS TO FOLLOW READ IF YOU'RE WILLING.

First off, the majority of point of view in this is from Bonnie- Elena's best friend. Occasionally it changes to other characters but mainly it's Bonnie's perspective, Bonnie who writes journal entries, Bonnie who has the majority of control.

Really, this flaky, romantic, little girl has grown and matured and now she's taking charge and with the help of her psychic powers it's all a success.

We're back to there being something evil in the town. Something which is mutilating people and harming Elena's friends. Let's remember that Elena is dead so all we're left with are the mortal friends since the vampires Damon and Stefan have left the town of Fell's Church behind.

(First off, there is a town called Fall's Church in Virginia. I've been there many times and have family there. But Fells instead of Falls? Coincidence? I think not.)

Anyway back on track... there are vampires in this book, of course, but there is also the presence of other supernatural ideas. Werewolves suddenly come out of no where- not something which I had ever suspected until it happened. And Bonnie's powers become stronger and she begins to use them more often. Spells are cast, premonitions made, the list goes on.

Again, all of the characters develop. I give LJ Smith an A+ for this. I have never read a teenager vampire (or other) series where the characters have developed so much and in a way that didn't seem forced.

Of course Stefan and Damon come back into the picture and the most commendable 'growth' in a character just has to go to Damon. Despite all of his bad ways, all of the negative things he's done, the character surprises all with the simple statement of, "Get away from my brother." From that moment on I really enjoyed his character. He really proved himself to me (and the rest of the characters).

And Elena makes a few appearances as well. Oh yes, dead Elena is back and better then ever. I'm not entirely sure if I enjoyed this whole scenario. I mean, if I were to die and had the power from 'beyond the grave' to help my loved ones if they were in danger- I'd do it. So that I can understand. But the very ending of the book where she utterly returns to earth? I am not so sure about it. It's kind of a 'too good to be true' point of it all. I felt like saying to the author, either you kill her off or you keep her here, make up your mind.

This book had a happy ending and yet I still wanted more. I want to know, yet again, what happens next to all of the characters. There is a fifth book and a sixth coming out in the near future. And I think a seventh after that. (these three books I did not read, I believe, are slightly separate from the first four. To my understanding they are a trilogy on their own but still apart of The Vampire Diaries).

I eagerly await the tv show and will undoubtedly read the follow books of this series. They're perfect and fun, something to pass the time, and they definitely grab your attention!
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The Vampire Diaries: The Fury

WARNING THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS TO THE BOOK IMMEDIATELY.

This book starts off exactly where the second book had ended. Elena, the fair haired ice queen of the story, is now changed. She's just the same as Stefan and Damon and immediately shows hatred to her beloved Stefan and actually tries to kill him.

This in itself was a shock to me when I began the book. I didn't know exactly what to make of it because I truly enjoyed Elena and Stefan as a couple.

Just as quickly as Elena became a vampire the other characters grow and change too. Elena's mortal friends believe she's dead, Damon shows a softer more caring side, and Stefan seems more quiet. He is the one out of the group that doesn't seem to entirely change.

We're quickly brought into the confusion and business of Elena's new life and her attempts to contact her mortal friends. They realize with great horror that Damon wasn't the evil that was disrupting the town before. He wasn't the one who was murdering and confusing so many people. And they also realize that this evil is still out there and still attempting to cause destruction.

Quickly the group of friends, vampires included, all join forces once more and this time with determination to discover whatever it might be that is causing the town to turn upside down. They quickly discover who they can and cannot trust. Working together as a team, however, the group finally makes the discovery of who it is that has caused this destruction.

And the surprise shocks all. Including myself.

Following that the book hops from points of view and two different scenes. Damon surprises yet again and one of our three favorite vampires meets his or her fate. The book ends with Bonnie's point of view as she takes up writing in a journal much like Elena used to do. It almost seems complete. Very easily this could have been the last of the series. But I felt as if there was something lingering, something that was missing, I wanted to know more about what was happening to the characters after the last page was turned.

I feel that LJ Smith must have felt the same way because she continued on with a fourth book whose review will be up next.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle

First off, this was the 50th book I've read this year! Huzzah! I have now completed my goal of reading 50 books each year and I still have four more months of the year. So I'm hoping I can get up to 60 books read this year. =)


"You've tried everything else, and nothing has satisfied you. You're the girl who has everything, but there's always been something just out of reach, something you need desperately and can't have."
Damon spoke this to Elena in the opening pages of The Struggle and I gasped and shouted "A-Ha!" into my empty house. I feel that this describes Elena perfectly. And there you go boys and girls, a two sentence description of the character Elena.

This, the second book of The Vampire Diaries, hopped directly into the action that was left off at the end of the first book. If all the books continue in this fashion then I would highly advise those of you intending on reading the books not to read them out of order.

The adventure was constant in this book. I feel, as a writer, it's always so much easier to just dive right into the story line after you have the first introductory book out of the way where relationships and characters are introduced. Who really wants a recap of every character at the start of every book you read in a series anyway?

The evil character Damon is much more present in this book. He truly is made to be hated and you know he really doesn't care if you dislike him anyway. Every time he would come into a scene I'd try to read through it as quickly as possible. He makes my blood boil just that much. Stefan is still there, I have a soft spot for caring sweet characters, but the injustice of the end of the book made me even more angry.

Honestly, I cannot state too much about this book. Not really unless you have yourself read the first book. I can leave my opinion as follows:
  1. I intend on going out and buying the next book tomorrow, considered even going out today, but I am waiting for an important phone call. That's the only reason I have not flown to the bookstore to grab the next book already.
  2. I'm intrigued in what happens next, even if the situation made me cry out 'not fair!'
  3. The characters are intense, every one of them, and to experience real emotion because of the actions of a character who only exists within the inked letters printed on white pages? That is something special.
  4. I urge everyone who reads the first book to be prepared- you will want the second book. You will want to read it immediately.
  5. What's great about this series is that it's already written so you don't have to wait for the next book to be written and published.
Really, go out and read it. Go read the first book first. My review on that one is the entry prior to this. And look forward to my entries (although they'll likely be brief) for the next books! Also, I applied to three bookstores in the area- fingers crossed I get a job at one of them!
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The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening

I became curious with this series after the CW displayed their first ever 'teaser trailer' for the tv show (seen below) and there were outcries of a rip-off of Twilight. First off, Twilight was released in the year 2005.... The Vampire Diaries were released in 1991, fourteen years before Twilight was released and nearly twenty years ago from today! So for those who are saying The Vampire Diaries are ripping off Twilight they are very wrong. If there was any ripping off going on (which I am not saying there is) it would have been the other way around. Now that this little controversy is cleared let's move along to the opinionated portion of this post.



***Mild Spoiler Warning!***
Now I was introduced to The Vampire Diaries because of the CW trailer and have that first impression when I dove into the first book. However, after reading this first book I can already tell by the (only) 5 minute long trailer that the show, it's sub plots, and the characters are going to be completely different from the novel. But that's something I'll write about when I've actually seen the first episode of the series. Moving along...

This is has a classic type of plot. A love triangle. Two guys loving the same girl, whose gonna get the girl? Only this scenario is different because the two guys are vampires. But is it so different? Vampires have been in the main stream for years. This current phase of vampire lovers is nothing new because they were very popular back in the 90's and even before that. And many times the plots of books, tv shows, and movies turn to the basic idea of this helpless little mortal girl who is so breakable and clutzy falling in love with a dark and dashing vampire man.

What I do enjoy about this book is that unlike the majority of these types Elena (the breakable mortal girl) isn't a clutz. She makes a few stupid mistakes and does silly things like most high school girls would do but she doesn't seem to trip over nothing and find herself continuously in unlucky situations. She's also very headstrong, determined, and not entirely likeable. She's not the quiet girl who isn't seeking attention from anyone. She's not that girl who is being treated poorly by the popular kids. Oh no, she is the popular kid. Actually, the 'queen', so to speak, of her high school. She hops from guy to guy and admits she has never had one turn her down. The very idea is unfathomable. People who are overly confident tend to annoy me very quickly and Elena is one of them. But in what is needed in most books there is character development in which Elena slowly moves away from just stalking her pray (no pun intended) to get her way but she becomes someone who is more caring and loving.

The vampires in question are Stefan, Damon, and in memories Katherine. I cannot tell you how many movies and books I've read where the angry 'evil' characters name is Damon or Damian. It's getting old and unoriginal now. Just sayin'.

And of course Stefan is the brooding emo vampire who is just trying to find a way to deal with his existence, etc etc. Another 'vampire' character I've read and seen over and over again. And yet, there is something different about Stefan. He seems slightly human, at least in his emotions and some of his actions, and when it comes to the point of view breaking away from Elena and turning to him you see he isn't as completely tortured as he looks from an outsiders prospective. I like that, I like that there is a clear difference between what the other characters see of Stefan and how he acts and thinks from his own pov.

I read the book in one night, it was just what I was looking for. Something entertaining, not hard to read, quick and easy and left me wanting more.

With the television show coming out I'm sure that these books are going to become very popular if they are not becoming that already. I was able to buy the first and second book all in one hefty collection. I appreciate buying two books all in one, it's like a goal of mine. At Barnes and Noble it was only $9.99 plus tax. There are more to the series and I have a feeling that after I read the next book- The Struggle- I'll want to know what happens next. Well then I'll be off to the bookstore again!

One last thing... Twilight is a lot like this book in that there is a leading male vampire who is trying to play human. He is trying to live off of animals. He is trying not to hurt people. And he's desperately in love with a mortal girl. But I feel that this book isn't as romantic as Twilight is. I feel that the adventure of it all quickly takes place and moves along, there aren't even too many scenes where the lovers are together, unlike Twilight. They are different books and yet almost one in the same which gives me reason to believe that if you liked Twilight you will also enjoy these books.
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Happy reading!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

A question for my readers

The default photo of myself was taken nearly two years ago by an awesome professor at my college. He does a lot of work in capturing the faces of Albright College's students and special moments on campus. His work is awesome. I implore you all to go view his many photos here: http://jpfaces.zenfolio.com

Moving along. He does photo shoots on campus every Tuesday and Thursday during the school year and within three measly little weeks the new year of classes at Albright will begin. This means his photo shoots will also be back in full swing and I was thinking... I want to get some photos done of myself and books.

Books have always been a great part of my life followed closely by painting and drawing. I also think having a default photo of myself on here having to do with books would be kind of appropriate, no?

So here is the question I need answered and please, dear friends, help me out!

If I were to get photos with books, what should I do with said books? What should the poses be? The lovely thing about this professor is that he's totally okay with you coming forth with ideas. Also, what type of clothes should I wear in such a thing? Comfortable, dressy, jeans and a nice top?

You tell me!
(and thank you in advance!)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love


Have you ever had some seemingly silly situation that's left you with the feelings of despair? That bully, teacher, coworker who makes you miserable each day. Or the school, class or job which leaves you laying awake at night because you're dreading having to experience that upsetting places all over again. It just leaves you feeling sad and spent for weeks and weeks.


I am going to dive into a personal account for only a paragraph so please stay tuned, it's essential so that you understand how this book has affected me. I have felt this way for at least a month due to my job. I have been looking for a new one but the economy is rather poor so it has been very hard. I also live in the country where the closest mall is an hour away. I can't quit, although I would love to, because I have bills to pay. So I'm stuck, I'm trapped, I have to keep treading water until a life preserver is thrown.

The author of this novel chose to write of her own experience of despair. She was dealing with much heavier stuff than a job that you hate and she didn't stray away from the dirty facts. She didn't sugar coat the moments where she almost drowned from these problems which is, first of all, very strong of her. It's a very dark place that she found herself to be in but slowly she was able to create a light bright enough for her to escape.

Bright enough for her to escape to Italy, India, and Indonesia on a year long trip to more or less rediscover herself and learn how to live again. Understandably the book is made into three parts: Italy, India, and Indonesia. Each chapter is based around a lesson she learned or an experience she had in that particular place.

I loved the book in general, let's make that clear, but there were two things that were top of the list. The first is that I felt like I was educated while reading this book. Random little Italian words were thrown at me with definitions. The daily life of people who follow a famous guru. The medicine man. All of these different little facts left me feeling like I didn't have to worry that had I not enjoyed reading the book it would've been a waste of time. If I didn't like the book, I still would've gotten something from it.

My second point of awesome is that this is a book about the authors year as she traveled. It's entirely real, none of it is fiction, and yet I felt comfortable with it as if I was reading fiction. It wasn't like a journal with "Today my friend and I watched a movie. It was so much fun. Don't you like watching movies too?" There were details, emotions, characteristics of different people featured in conversations she wrote down. It's much more then an entry about her life, she made it into a full fledged story rather then a retelling and with that she successfully kept my attention.

I'll now bounce through the three lands she visited, bare with me:
Italy
I am Sicilian and have always had a fascination with Italian culture. It was the first of the many cultures I am that I identified with. Since I can remember I knew I was Italian. Then slowly I began to understand what it is to be Irish, German, Swedish (the list goes on for me). My grandfather is a first generation Italian-American. His parents both came from Sicily and despite that I never was able to meet them (I wish I had) I know of a few silly little stories about their lives before America.

Needless to say I immediately fell in love with this portion of the book. It's Italy after all! Better yet the author is determined to learn Italian. This I find particularly fascinating because I, unfortunately, am one of those poor lost souls who can't learn a foreign language to save my life.

I enjoyed that Gilbert described the many delicious meals she ate while in Italy while pointing out just how important food is to Italians. She also dove into random little facts about different places in Italy. A random house, a random thing the citizens do, a random quote that sums it all up so nicely.

It fascinated me and after a very long indecisive battle over what language I would like to try and teach myself (one day) I decided that Italian is the language for me. Yes, I can't learn a language, but I never said I would give up trying!

India
I know a little bit about India, enough to form an opinion, and my opinion has always been one of disinterest. I knew a family who came to my elementary school from India and I always marveled at the brightly colored saris the girls wore. I kind of wanted to go just to reenact the scene from A Little Princess with the elephant spraying water all over the kids. But past that... past all of that... I never was really interested in the history or place in general. Sure I'd go and visit the place if someone offered to take me. But I don't think it would be my first... or even my tenth... choice in overseas travel.

I began this section right when I was breaking things off with the guy I've been seeing. I was full of self loathing and anger directed towards him and just desperate for my brain to stop running a mile a minute. The majority of the India part pertains to the process and importance of meditation. Whether spiritual or just for relaxation purposes Gilbert struggles with trying to attain it (much like I struggled to keep my mind from going 'but what did I do wrong?' during those days).

Yet again I was educated, this time on meditation. It's more of a personal chapter, consisting a lot of her own thoughts and what's making her tick, and not as much about the land like Italy was. I like to think that this chapter pertained more so to religion then Italy did. It dives into opinions and ideas of what religion is, what it is to believe, and so much more. I think it's written in a way that whoever might believe in a greater being can read this section and feel some connection to it. You don't have to be worshiping in an Ashram in India or the Catskills (which was right by my old house, btw). You could be in a church or a synagogue and yet I feel the message is all the same.

Indonesia
I know nothing about Indonesia. I couldn't even locate it on a map for you. We won't even get into how little knowledge I have about the place because to say there is little knowledge would mean I had knowledge to begin with.

Needless to say this final section of the book was immensely interesting to me because I got to hear about this land and it's people which I never even had an inkling about before. The prayer rituals and the beauty of the landscape. All the fine details of family life and the way people coexist.

One chapter that particularly stood out to me was the telling of life for an Indonesian man and how September 11th affected him as he was living in the US at the time. I lived in New York when September 11th occurred and remember each event very clearly to this day. How ever, I know very little about what occurred to those 'terror suspects'- IE: regular joe's who happened not to be white bread Americans- following that tragic event. It was certainly an eye opening chapter to be read.

The entire chapter was back to it's storylike tendencies that Italy held. Certain people were featured and their lives recorded. I, as the reader, established relationships with these people and would wonder what was happening next. All and all I enjoyed it. It wasn't as tumultuous as the first section where her pain is still new, it wasn't as thoughtful as India where she was concentrating so much on religion, it was peaceful and entertaining. A nice calm way to end a book.

The end
A lot of people have a negative view of this book. They feel that it's a book filled with pages of whining. That Gilbert is being selfish in wanting to go away after her divorce. That she has no real reason to be sad because there are so many more people in the world who've experienced so much. Well, it's true. There are people experiencing illness and death, things I deem much worse then divorce. But I also feel that the situation is different for everyone. Maybe a divorce might be all she can handle, maybe it's the hardest thing she's ever known, and if that's the case then who are we to judge? So, she didn't stay put to grow and change and get over it. So? If you have reserves about running off to 'find yourself' then maybe the book is not for you. But it's been comforting to me when all I can imagine is running away from my life. It comes back to fight or flight. You're life is seemingly in shambles so do you stay and fight or do you fly away? I don't think running off to 'find yourself' is giving up. I think it's a way that you as an individual can get over some upheaval. But to me, with work causing me more and more upset every day, with my dreams to escape becoming bigger and more desperate, this book was a mini get away.

For the time that I read this book, it truly saved me.
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PS: This book is being turned into a film staring Julia Roberts and is due for release in 2011.