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)!

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