I fell in love with Everything Beautiful Began After after having just read the Prologue and the rest of the book did not disappoint. Simon Van Booy’s beautiful poetic language is stunning and his descriptions require the reader to pause and take a deep breath to take them in. The characters are so well developed that one cannot help but love and care deeply for them. It is fascinating to watch as they argue over the existence of fate while we quietly witness fate take its toll on each of them. There is a sense of unpredictability, an unknowing that keeps the pages turning. Van Booy’s use of different points of view also adds depth to this novel. It was a genius way to create various space and distance between the reader and the characters. The cover and deckle-edged paper provides the perfect package for such a beautiful and tragic love story.
The ending felt a bit rushed to me and things seemed to be tied up a little too perfectly in the end. This may be that I just didn’t want the book to end. I was invested in these characters and wanted to spend more time with them. However, at over 400 pages, I understand Van Booy had to end the book at some point. Maybe he will write a sequel! If you want to be swept away into a beautiful love story with writing that literally takes you there as a silent witness to the unfolding lives of the characters, this book is definitely for you. I wanted to continue inside the world Van Booy created with this novel so much that I actually got up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and continued reading until it was finished.
Other posts on Simon Van Booy:
Simon Van Booy
Why Our Decisions Don’t Matter
Read Full Post »
Posted in Book suggestion/review, tagged amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, Everything Beautiful Began After, Fiction, Google Books, Harper Perennial, Love Begins in Winter, new book release, Simon Van Booy on June 25, 2011 |
2 Comments »
Simon Van Booy has a new novel, Everything Beautiful Began After , being released on July 5, 2011, and from what I’ve read so far, it is a MUST READ! His use of beautiful, poetic language has a way of drawing you in and not letting go. In celebration of Van Booy’s upcoming release Harper Perennial has reduced the price of all his short stories in electronic format to $1.99 each through Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and Google Books. If you want the best introduction to Van Booy’s writing, Harper Perennial suggests you start with Love Begins in Winter. I know that you will enjoy his writing as much as I do!
Come back soon for my review of Everything Beautiful Began After…
My Review of Why Our Decisions Don’t Matter by Simon Van Booy
Read Full Post »
Posted in Book suggestion/review, tagged Book Review, Dani Shapiro, Devotion, Devotion: A Memoir, God, Harper Perennial, Judaism, life meaning, memoir, Religion and Spirituality, yoga on March 27, 2011 |
1 Comment »
Cover of Devotion: A Memoir
I read Devotion in two days/two sittings. The structure of the book – chapters starting right where the last ended – made it difficult to find a place to stop reading and I loved it. Dani Shapiro’s narrative was so personal and spoke to me on such a deep level and that structure gave me permission to keep reading…just one more chapter. What Shapiro wrote about: Is this all there is to life? If so, why do I feel like something’s missing?, and the spiritual quest that she began, is something universal to many of us these days as we watch the ground we once thought was impenetrable disintegrating before our eyes. Shapiro has what seems a charmed life, but at the root of her quest are a lot of loss, deep loneliness, and an inability to relinquish control of the uncontrollable. For those who have experienced great loss and tragedy or have come through a “near miss” it is very difficult to trust that everything will be okay. Instead, they spend most of their time thinking about what bad thing might happen next and how they can avoid it. Shapiro addresses how “…we’re all complicated by the way we were raised” as she tries to come to terms with her strict religious upbringing and the guilt she feels for seeking other ways to find God and meaning in her life other than just the Judaism in which she was raised.
I loved the interweaving of samskara (our knots of energy that each tells a story) throughout Shapiro’s narrative. She says, “Release a samskara and you release that story. Release your stories, and suddenly there is more room to breathe, to feel, to experience the world” which is what she is doing by writing this book. We are all a compilation of these stories. Some we share. Some we cannot bare to acknowledge. I equally loved Sylvia Boorstein’s metta meditation chants (the condensed version). I believe it is a wonderful way to begin a meditation routine and is something so simple that we can bring it with us wherever we go. There is also a practice Shapiro discovers at a California yoga studio that she incorporates into the end of her yoga routine that is again so simple, yet extremely powerful.
There are so many stunning moments that pierced right through me, so many questions that I have asked myself sitting right there on the page. Shapiro writes in such an accessible way you feel like you are taking the journey with her, discovering what she is discovering right there with her, and equally feeling her frustration at the lack of solid answers to the existential questions that haunt us. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is unsettled and is searching for that elusive something that will help them feel more grounded. Keeping an open mind and reading about others’ experiences are the best ways to move towards that more peaceful state of being even if we find that there are no answers and we must just “live inside the questions.”
Read Full Post »
Posted in Book suggestion/review, tagged Beckett, Blake, Book Review, Borges, Camus, Dickinson, Harper Perennial, Homer, Horace, Kerouac, Rembrandt, Rilke, Sartre, Shakespeare, Simon Van Booy, Sophocles, Twain, Voltaire, Why Our Decisions Don't Matter on September 7, 2010 |
2 Comments »
Why Our Decisions Don’t Matter is a compilation of excerpts, quotes, passages, and paintings from philosophers, writers, and artists that all address the same theme of fate, predestination, and why the decisions we make don’t matter. Included are works from Homer, Sophocles, Voltaire, Dickinson, Twain, Rilke, Sartre, and many others. Simon Van Booy gives a brief introduction of the author/artist and the piece which is often as intriguing as the piece itself. Each presentation is small and easy to understand and provides a jumping off point for further research and contemplation. Some of my favorites are Colin McGinn’s Shakespeare’s Philosophy; Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer; and Janet Frame’s The Carpathians. Both Henry Miller’s and Janet Frame’s introductions were so interesting I found I must learn more about their lives and their writings. I loved the inclusion of paintings in this book, but they were very difficult to see clearly which is important to understanding them. Dialogue and screen shots from film would have been a great addition as well. The book is small enough to carry with you and structured so you can read a small portion while waiting or even before bed. I recommend this book to anyone wanting to know a little more about philosophy and the existential question we all grapple with or those who want a quick introduction to philosophy so they can identify those they may want to research further. Still others may find this book provides all the information they need on why our decisions don’t matter.
Other books in this collection edited by Simon Van Booy are: Why We Fight and Why We Need Love.
Read Full Post »