Big Magic, a book review

A long time ago, I bought Eat, Pray, Love for my mom as a birthday present. That was a complete fail because she hated it. She thought the narrator was patronizing and silly. Oh well, that book ended up on my bookshelf, and I enjoyed it. We recently watched the movie, and it was good too. So when I went to the library and spotted Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, I brought it home.

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This book focusses on creativity, inspiration and on how to include creativity in our lives. Great topic! I feel like often people are drawn to do things but will find themselves excuses not to go for it and will end up regretting it or not doing anything. Well, this book is the perfect cure for this “I want to, but I won’t” state of mind. Through short, funny and personal chapters, Gilbert explores the different ways in which creativity can be part of our lives and how we can let it be part of our lives.

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I have to say, I really preferred this book to Eat, Pray, Love because it feels more honest and more relatable to me. I really love that Gilbert uses personal examples from her path as a writer because it demystifies the whole thing while also bringing creativity to an everyday level. This is the perfect push in the back for anyone who has a project in mind but feels insecure or not qualified enough to embark on the “let’s do it” boat. Very inspiring and fun to read, this is a book to keep on your bedside table and to look at when you’re feeling uninspired. As the chapters are so short and independent, I feel like you could pick the book up, read a few pages, get creative and come back to it some time after for another shot of courage and inspiration. I will definitively put this one on my “To Find” list as I need to bring this copy back to the library soon.

Anyone else read this? What did you think of it?

The Forgotten Garden, a book review

When we were in San Francisco, we visited the Book Passage book store situated in the Ferry Building. There, I bought a used copy of the book The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton. It took me a while to get to this book, as my book stash is overbooked (pun intended, eheh). Once started however, it took my a week to finish it. Now,I am a little bit sad to let it go.

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The story starts with the death of a grandmother who has had a strange life as she was first found alone on an Australian wharf at four years old. As the story unravels, we learn about her mysterious family story, and about the elusive Authoress and her fairy tales (which are included in the book). Cassandra, the granddaughter, sets off to Cornwall where an unknown house awaits her…

What I really love about this piece of writing is that the story goes back and forth between the present (2005) and the past (1900’s). This helps the reader learn things as the characters set in the present do. The mystery surrounding the Moutrachet family thickens up and keeps you turning the pages to know, finally, why this child has been abandoned on a boat set for Australia with only a fairy tale book to keep her company.

This book is clearly the adult version of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, with clear references made about this author (she even makes an apparition in the story!), and the secret walled garden guarded by a dark maze playing a central role in the plot. Is it as good as the children’s book? Yes! All the elements are there: spooky manor, enchanting garden, secrets, doctors, lively cousins, friendship and family grudges.

Set both in Australia and England, this is the book for you if you like family stories, fairy tales and mysteries. I highly recommend it! Let me know if you have any recommendations or thoughts about this book!