Saturday, 9 February 2013

Saturday Update: The Fault in Our Stars, Blog of the Year & Other Things

I've been a busy bee recently and blogging has ended up taking a back seat. My boyfriend, Chris, had last week off work, and loyally decided to spend it all with me. We had a week of meals out, walks around town, and hours spent in Starbucks whilst I caught up with uni reading. Sounds good, right?
My last book purchases, including the Nineteen Eighty-Four
edition I gave to Chris, centre, and my new Moleskine
journal, right

Whilst I occupied myself with Dion Boucicault plays that were better than I expected, Chris finished To Kill a Mockingbird and Animal Farm, and started Lord of the Flies. By my guidance, he also bought F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story collection, and I couldn't help buying him the recent Penguin edition of Nineteen Eighty-Four (after he enjoyed reading my copy so much a year or so ago).

This week spent alone has been equally hectic. I had a 1000 word glossary entry of the word "diaspora" to hand in (pointless, huh?), various translations to complete, and Aves sin nido by Clorinda Matto de Turner to read, alongside poetry by Robert Frost and Edward Thomas. However, yesterday I had an entire afternoon off from seminars, lectures and deadlines, and I naturally spent a few hours reading something relaxing. The book in question was the following:

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
Like 95% of those who have read it, The Fault in Our Stars really affected me. By that, I mean that it made me weep (several times). It's the story of Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two young cancer sufferers with admirably intellectual language who fall in love. I love the literary references and connections employed by John Green; you may, for instance, recognise the title as a nod to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. As Charlotte has mentioned on her lovely post about the novel, you'd have a hard time finding a teenager who actually spoke like Augustus and Hazel do. However, you'd come across a considerable amount who want to speak like them, particularly if they're John Green fans.

This is intelligent young adult fiction, which is a likely reason why so many adults read it too. The themes of young love, heartbreak and searching for identity may be typical of the genre, but, by incorporating a greater resonance of what it feels like to be human, Green makes his work so readable to so many. Also, whilst it's easy to read, you're given so much to think about. It sounds quite (or rather very) clichéd to say this, but you can't help but assess your own life upon reading this book. 

Blog of the Year 2012
I'd like to say a big thank you to Brian for choosing my blog as one of his "Blogs of the Year 2012". It's so rewarding to know that he's enjoyed reading my posts, particularly when his own blog is always so engaging. The "rules" of the award can be located here. I'm going to rebel slightly and simply mention a few blogs that I've been particularly inspired by this year. They don't have to feel obliged to post a response on their blog. Will the blogosphere police hate me for this? Oh well, here goes:

Charlotte Reads Classics - Charlotte's posts, whether on classics or modern fiction, are always so easy to read, interesting and well-presented.

Better Living through Beowulf - This man knows his literature! 

Lit. Hitchhiker - Really varied, interesting posts often with a philosophical, classical or historical resonance. 

Délaissé - The content is as great as the photography. When/if I start reading Zola novels, the relevant reviews on this blog will provide so much encouragement!

Also, to finish this post...

Currently reading:
Childhood, Boyhood, Youth - Leo Tolstoy

Up next:
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas - Gertrude Stein (for uni)
El llano en llamas - Juan Rulfo (for uni)

Soon to arrive in the post:
Strange Meetings: The Poets of the Great War - Harry Ricketts 


Lit. Hitchhiker said...

Aww, thanks! I'm really happy I discovered your blog last year too.

PS: The cover on that Moleskine! WANT.

Brian Joseph said...

Looks like you and Chris are reading some great books. Some of my favorite authors! I look forward to your future commentary!

CharReadsClassics said...

Thanks, Lucy, I love your blog too! And John Green - I particularly like the part where Hazel and her Dad are talking and he says that the universe is biased towards intelligence and wants to have its elegance observed. :D

tolstoytherapy said...

Thank you! Yes, they're great books.

tolstoytherapy said...

Thanks :) And yep, it's lovely!

tolstoytherapy said...

Thanks :)

I liked that bit too - there are a lot of thoughtful, clever moments in the novel!

Barb Riley said...

My 15 yr old daughter just finished Fault in Our Stars not too long ago, and told me I *have* to read it. Both her high praises and yours have nudged me to put it up further on my TBR pile. I also just finished To Kill a Mockingbird not too long ago. I reread it with my daughter for her freshman English class. How did your boyfriend like it?

Of course, I will love to read what your thoughts are on Tolstoy's Childhood, Boyhood, Youth. :-)

tolstoytherapy said...

Barb, thank you for the comment :)

He really enjoyed To Kill a Mockingbird! I've lucky got most of my recommendations for him right, excluding Frankl's Man Search For Meaning and Night by Elie Wiesel which he found too gloomy.

I'll certainly post on Childhood, Boyhood, Youth. I'm particularly looking forward to reading the "Youth" section in which he starts developing his famous vices!

I hope that you enjoy The Fault in Our Stars if you get round to reading it. I'm glad that your daughter enjoyed it too!

mayceegreene said...

I am so scared and excited to read this. Cancer is a very sensitive
topic for me and I'm not sure if my heart & tearducts can handle the

Maycee (Fishing Charter Skagway)

tolstoytherapy said...

Hi Maycee, thanks for the comment!

It's certainly an emotional read, especially if cancer is a sensitive topic for you. However, the novel also manages to be really heartwarming and thought-provoking, which for me made it definitely worth reading. Try to approach it slowly, don't rush through it (although I find myself flying through John Green novels), and let yourself take as much time away from it as you need. It might help you get your head around the destructive, difficult subject of cancer a little - I know for me it did.

All the best, and thanks for commenting on the blog!