Sunday, November 25, 2007

HC: Two Book Recommendations

Title

Eat Pray Love

The Post-Birthday World

Author

Elizabeth Gilbert

Lionel Shriver

How I found out about it

Recommended by Debra Weiner (years ago, actually!)

Read a review in Entertainment Weekly

Type

memoir

fiction

Form

Paperback, purchased at an airport on my way to Europe

Hardback. I took it out of the library, read two chapters, returned it to the library, went out and bought it

Teeny synopsis

A woman’s major depression due to life matters (mostly a divorce) leads her to seek happiness through trips to Italy (Eat), India (Pray), and Indonesia (Love)

A parallel-universe book: The first Chapter 2 is about what would’ve happened if the heroine DID do something at the end of Chapter 1, and the other Chapter 2 is about what would’ve happened if the heroine DIDN’T do something at the end of Chapter 1. So the book goes from Chapter 1, to Chapter 2, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 3, etc, you get it!

Why I loved this book

Life affirming, funny, great descriptions of food, locations, life’s up and downs. Made me want to travel, eat, learn Italian, meditate, explore.

Oh the beautiful writing! Elegant, delicate, a sumptuous meal of words. That’s why I ended up buying the book. It was a 14-day library book, and that wouldn't have given me enough time to just leisurely read it.

Life since reading the book

I bought the book for my friend’s 70th birthday present and she loved it. I recommended it to my friend Kathy and she loved it. I tell everyone to read it, because it’s delightful. Go read it!

I recommended the book to my sister who read it and loved it. I gave the book to my mother to read, too…but she couldn’t read it because it weighed too much!

Writing sample

“I wish Giovanni would kiss me. Oh, but there are so many reasons why this would be a terrible idea. To begin with, Giovanni is ten years younger than I am, and—like most Italian guys in their twenties—he still lives with his mother. These facts alone make him an unlikely romantic partner for me, given that I am a professional American woman in my mid-thirties, who has just come through a failed marriage and a devastating, interminable divorce, followed immediately by a passionate love affair that ended in a sickening heartbreak.”

“A reserved woman of moderate inclinations to all appearances, Irina expressed an insidious attraction to extremes through decorative matters like seasoning, and few diners at her table suspected that her flair in the kitchen owed largely to a better-than-average mastery of the multiplication table.”

Final thoughts

I’ll read this book again in the future. It’s a great airplane book in that it makes you examine your own reasons for traveling, and gives you the desire to explore your insides while your outsides are on vacation.

I’ll read Shriver’s other book, We Have to Talk About Kevin, when I have the strength. Oh, Post-Birthday made me cry and think and love words. I didn’t find this book easy, but I did find it totally worthwhile and just excellent.

Websites

www.elizabethgilbert.com/eatpraylove.htm

http://www.harpercollins.com/authors/27687/Lionel_Shriver/index.aspx

3 comments:

jazz bird said...

I second the recommendation for "Eat, Pray, Love". I read it a couple of months ago (thankfully before Oprah added it to her book club, which I usually find a turn off from the hype) and savored each page.

craftoki said...

I didn't want to like this book, darn it. Of course if I would have looked beyond the too cute cover graphics to see the comment by Annie Lamont I might have at least considered it as a possible read. I received it as a gift, felt obligated to read it, and savored every bit of the writing. Go figure!

The Write Bunch said...

SS: I'll admit I was fearful of Eat Pray Love because it looked like one of those yuppie Bildungsromans where the protagonist finds the true meaning of life by restoring a villa in Italy. But if you say it's good, I'll take another look! I trust your very selective taste!