February 29, 2012

Ahead



Today I watched both The Vow and Suddenly 30. (No shame, guys). They had a particular thing in common, aside from obviously being chick flicks. They depict characters that for some reason or another find themselves at a point in their life where they attain no memory of part of their previous selves. They jumped part of their life and had to make sense of whom they now were.

Sometimes I really wish I knew who I’d be in ten years. Last week was one of those weeks when the present seems a little too hard. In those moments I found myself thinking that it would be nice to know where I’d be in ten years. To know whom I’m married to, what my job is, who my friends are. Not every single detail that occurs in my whole life, but just a simple knowledge of a few key things. Not to go back and change anything, but to give me a comfort that I’m hopefully going in the right direction. I feel that if I knew these things now it would take away a lot of the stress and the worry that those things may sometimes cause me.

While that sounds appealing in some regards, the other side of the spectrum is that knowing those things would take the fun out of life. Yes it may minimise worry now, but it would enable me to completely miss the joy of some of my future life experiences. If I can fast forward to my wedding and know whom I’m going to marry, that will ruin the whole experience of discovering them and falling in love. If I knew now the exact job I will have, it gives me no chance to be excited in the unknown and to learn to do what I love. If I already know exactly who my friends will be in ten years, it leaves nothing to chance and everything to plans.

Life is meant to be unknown. That’s why it’s called the future and not the past. Shit happens, but so does a hell of a lot of good stuff. And that’s the fun of it. I’m excited to live my life and to see what happens, day by day.


February 13, 2012

the fault in our stars

 
My signed copy

Have you ever read a book that was just so incredibly good that as soon as you finish reading it you hurry to tell everyone you know about it? And then tell complete strangers? And even then you wouldn't have anything against shouting it from the rooftops?

A perfect example of this is how I feel about Harry Potter. I am rather known to scoff and then argue with people who have not read it. And if they continue to disagree with me, I do not hesitate to yell.

I finished a book recently that was nothing like that. Not a 'rooftop' book at all. It was better.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green is a book I had been anticipating long before it's release on January 10th. I have read John's other books and followed his (and his brother Hank's) videos on their YouTube channel Vlogbrothers for quite some time. I did not know a lot about The Fault in Our Stars except for two things: John signed every single copy of the first printing (150,000) and it is about a girl named Hazel who has cancer.

When my copy finally arrived in the mail on January 25th I was so incredibly excited I may have engaged in some form of a happy dance. And it did not disappoint.

I am not going to disclose any detail from the plot because one of the things I loved about the book was that I was going in blind. I really had no idea what the story was about (except the one detail I mentioned above) and it was incredibly refreshing starting the story like that. Often I read books when all has already been wrecked for me so reading this indifferently made an excellent and somewhat organic reading experience. And that's how I want everyone else to feel while reading it.

What I will tell you is how the book made me feel. I mentioned that it was better than a rooftop book, and that is because it is a story that hugs close to the heart. It hit so intimately that it almost became sacrosanct. Almost like telling others about it would take away the affinity I felt with the story. It left me pondering it for a good three hours and then even after that I kept replaying scenes and moments in my head. There are so many themes and contexts that intertwine with the plot and characterisation in an incredibly clever way.

But despite feeling like this I want to share of The Fault in Our Stars because it is that damn excellent it deserves to be read. And others agree with me. TIME magazine called it "damn near genius", it has been on the New York Times bestseller list for four consecutive weeks in a row following it's release, the rights have been optioned for a movie adaption and it is currently selling more copies than Twilight.

Most of all, The Fault in Our Stars really inspired me as a writer. It made me want to sit there and begin my own book straight away. It is named after a quote of Shakespeare which says, "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars / But in ourselves, that we are underlings." I find that incredibly fitting, as the novel contained so many quotes that just tickled me with their beauty, of which I will finish with one. But first, promise me you'll read it.

"My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations."

You can buy it here for $16 (with free shipping)!