So I’m a couple of months late with my Big Magic review but I think I have a pretty good excuse!!
And of course, before we get into the book discussion, I’ll announce the next book –
We haven’t read a murder mystery yet and the Robert Galbraith series featuring Private Detective Cormoran Strike has been very popular…especially since Robert Galbraith was revealed to be a nom de plume of none other than JK Rowling!
Set in current day London, ex army man Strike is employed by the brother of a supermodel to investigate her apparent suicide three months earlier. Excesses of fame and beauty, family dysfunction, jealousy and addiction are themes woven through the plot of this novel, the first in the Cormoran Strike series.
I love a good whodunit and I haven’t read one in a while. I suspect I’ll end up reading the whole series!
Review – Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
When I said in my last book club post that this book was of the ‘self help’ genre, many people gave it a huge thumbs down.
Honestly I’ve always avoided books of the ‘self help’ variety because it smacks of Get Rich Quick schemes, late night evangelical TV and bad 1980s talk shows.
But since reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin (if you haven’t you should) I’m a convert, but I’d also say that ‘self help’ is the wrong term. Some book shops are starting to call these types of non fiction titles “motivation” which is think is much more appropriate. “Self help” makes the reader feel like there is something wrong with them! Hence why I’ve avoided it for my whole reading life.
So Big Magic itself was an unusual reading experience and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it…until my friend Susie said to me “It was like reading a series of blog posts.” Exactly right. The book had a natural flow but was compiled in lots of quick short chapters.
The tagline is “Creative Living Beyond Fear” so that theme wasn’t very necessary for me as I’m already very active as a creative person and I don’t feel fearful about that side of my life. I suspect many of you feel the same. That said, the book was full of interesting anecdotes and stories and had lots of great ideas for fitting creativity into your life.
There was also a few stories that had me rolling my eyes…there is certainly an aspect of the mythical and ‘trusting in the universe’ sort of stuff that can leave me a bit cold at times. Gilbert seems to devote an almost religious fervour to her creative pursuits which is what she calls the “Big Magic”. Different people will have different feelings about that aspect of the book, which is minimal.
She mentions many times some of the challenges that presented in her own creative life, particularly related to Eat Pray Love, her international best seller, and how she deals with the notoriety, the negative reviews, and how she has been able to get back into her writing while feeling the pressure of having to create another book of equal or better success.
I also loved her perspective on the cliche of the tortured artist (we all know someone with those attributes) and I agreed so much of what she wrote in those chapters.
In summary – great book, particularly to get motivated. A book I’d read again if I was in a creative slump. I’ve shipped it over to China so I’m sure I’ll pick it up again sometime this year.
Three and a half stars!
What did you think of it?
Everything I read now is on Kindle because it’s hard to find bookshops that stock english language books and of course, I can’t use the library anymore. Waaaahhh! As a result, I’m always checking out the deals! Here are some goodies.
The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck –
A woman getting married struggles to find the perfect dress…until she finds a vintage beauty in an old trunk. She embarks on a journey to find out the history of the dress and uncovers the stories of brides that came before her. More details here.
Dear Mr Knightley by Katherine Reay –
For all of you who love Jane Austen, the orphaned Samantha is a modern day heroine, inspired by her literary heroes must rebuild her life with the help of a mystery benefactor known only as Mr Knightley. Katherine Reay has written several novels inspired by the works of Austen and this was her debut. Great reviews on Amazon. Get it here.
Upstairs at The White House by J.B. West & Mary Lynn Kotz
In this election year, this book gives a peek behind the doors of one of the most intriguing addresses in the world – Pennsylvania Avenue. J.B. West was the Chief Usher at the White House and shares the experiences of working for six of America’s First Families. Buy it here.
Happy reading fellow book worms!