It seems that whenever I’m going through something difficult or about to, I read this book. Gilbert’s words give me hope. It makes me feel as if there is an end to the difficult situations I face.
This time around it’s not a difficult situation but difficult thoughts. I believe I’m suffering from a quarter-life crisis, the current trend on the internet these days. I don’t like trends much but this one seems fitting. I, like a number of 20-somethings/millennials, tend to get a bit anxious when comparing our future goals to our present situation. How will I ever get there? Will I spend the rest of my life doing the same things I’m doing now? Will I progress? When will I be successful? I had hoped that by the age of 25 I would be close to reaching my goals or at least half or quarter of the way there. But no, my dreams are slowly taking their time to come through.
The first time I read Eat, Pray, Love I was at a low moment. I was in a failing relationship. I could see it disintegrating and I had no idea of how to save it. It was also the end of my college years, the best years of my life. I could see myself heading towards a turning point and that turning point seemed to be directing me to go backwards. I realized that due to my exorbitant student loan bills, I would have to move back in with my parents—something I told myself I would never do. At that time, it seemed that I was failing at life: losing and regressing. As such, I was one sad student on graduation day. I didn’t want to leave school, didn’t want to face what would surely come, and my relationship was over. Reading Eat, Pray, Love during that tough time was a small ray of hope. It made me realize that bad situations don’t last forever if you are willing to work towards creating a happier life for yourself.
On a random day when I was off work early, I ran into a classmate from college in the bookstore. I hardly knew her and we hardly spoke when we took various English classes together in college but I walked up to say hi and ask what she was reading/looking for. Nosy me. My inquiry turned into an hours-long conversation on books during which Cassandra Clare’s name popped up. I had expressed my desire to read theCity of Bones because of the intriguing title, attractive cover, plus the movie was about to come out. But my classmate tried to dissuade me from the book. She warned that it was just a rip off of many other great works and that Clare was a horrible author with a bad temperament. Of course, I was intrigued and wanted to read the novel even more.
I did a bit of research when I got home, meaning that I hopped on Google and looked up Cassandra Clare. I came across many rants and reviews that discounted her work and, as my classmate claimed, stated she plagiarized her work. My curiosity rose and I decided to purchase the e-book to see for myself.
Quick summary: (Spoilers here and beyond)
The City of Bones is based in a world where humans and supernatural beings co-exist. The supernatural beings, mainly demons are hunted by an advanced human race called Shadowhunters or Nephilim. The novel begins with the protagonist Clary Fray and her friend Simon at a club called Pandemonium, where she witnesses a group of teen-aged Shadowhunters attacking a boy. She is confused by this and tries to stop it but then she realizes that the boy being attacked is actually a demon. No one else is able to see the teenagers and the demon. When Clary returns home, she has a tiff with her mother, who is upset at Clary staying out late. The next day Clary goes out with her friend Simon and again sees one of the teenagers from the club, Jace. She receives a strange phone call from her mother and runs home to find it in ruins and her mother Jocelyn vanished.
Who can write a novel sans dialogue but so engaging it keeps you up at night? Who can weave a story so loopy that it spins you in dizzying circles? Who can create a place so mystic that you never doubt its reality? Who?
And the book—One Hundred Years of Solitude, the first book I’ve read by García Márquez. I am amazed by García Márquez’s talent and his clarity in his observation of humanity. This novel depicts the progress of civilization. It is one of the greatest novels I have ever read and it has left a deep impression on me. One Hundred Years of Solitude was my introduction to a profound artist and I am saddened to learn that he is gone.
May his soul now rest in peace.
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez
I have always heard mention of García Márquez and his books are always recommended to me. At first I shied away from them thinking, as I always do, that since he is a literary novelist and most of his books are considered classics, his prose would be cumbersome and his plots a drag. One would think my mind would stop thinking this by now. I was pleasantly surprised, when I finally buckled down to read One Hundred Years of Solitude, that I enjoyed it and could hardly bear to tear my eyes away from the book to do other things. The story would haunt me throughout the day while I worked. I constantly wondered how the story would progress, how would it end, would I get confused by the cast of characters all bearing similar names? It was torture to be away from the book for too long.
I plucked One Hundred Years of Solitude off my bookshelf after reading a passage in Wonderbook (by Jeff VanderMeer) that states One Hundred Years of Solitude is a story written without dialogue. I found that amazing and wanted to experience such a story. I wondered if such a novel would be dreadfully boring. After all, many times dialogue is used to speed the story along or simply to give the reader a break from stacks of paragraphs or to showcase other facets of the characters. Like in Robert Jordan‘s Wheel of Time series where the characters often interject certain aphorisms and similes in their conversations that reveal who they are and where they’re from. For example, Siuan Sanche, the Amyrlin Seat, is from Tear and is the daughter of a fisherman so she often uses aphorisms and similes that include boats, nets, and fish.