Tag Archives: The Fault In Our Stars

The books that saved me.

2 Oct

Due to Cassie’s most recent post, Dear Fear and Judgement:, I’ve been inspired to discuss the books that have changed my life. I’ve been reading for as long as I have had the ability to hold a book in one hand and a flashlight in the other. After all, all of us who love books know that even when darkness falls, we don’t necessarily put down the books that have grabbed us so strongly out of our reality. Sometimes the arrival of darkness forces us to grab a flashlight, get under the covers and escape into a world that seems just as real as the world in which we are living.

Pippi Longstocking is one of the first books I remember reading from cover to cover countless times. I don’t know if it was the independence Pippi portrayed due to being a nine year-old girl who lived without the constraints of adults or her red hair that she always wore in pigtails that caused me to be so drawn to her. Either way, I remember a particular summer in which Pippi went everywhere that I did. Even when I went on a week-long trip to Edisto beach with my family, Pippi came along for the trip. Though I didn’t take the book with me everywhere, it sat patiently on my nightstand every day, waiting for night to come so that the pages could be turned once more, causing Pippi’s world and my own to collide through something as simple as words.

 

Even though Halfway to the Sky was introduced to me much later than Pippi Longstocking, it was yet another book that became very well-worn in a relatively quick amount of time. Halfway to the Sky tells the story of Dani, a 13-year-old girl who runs away from home in order to escape the recent death of her brother and the break-up of her parents’ marriage. However, Dani doesn’t run just anywhere. She runs to a place that she believes her parents will never find her to do something amazing: hike the entire Appalachian Trail. Even now, I know why I loved this book so much. It involved hiking, which I did a lot of with my family growing up, and it involved the Blue Ridge Mountains, which is a place that I haven’t been able to fully appreciate until coming to live in Asheville last fall. However, Halfway to the Sky created the strong connection I’ve had to the mountains for so long. Even though I have been coming to the mountains ever since I was little, I definitely think that Halfway to the Sky is one of the main reasons that I have felt the desire to fully experience the mountains. There are days that I find myself driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway looking at the overlooks or hiking up to Max Patch Summit, which is an hour above Asheville, just to simply feel the mountain air in my lungs, and ultimately, feel alive.

 

It may seem strange that I’ve included The Bell Jar in the books that have saved me due to the fact that it is a very dark and depressing novel. However, I believe that it saved me in the sense of helping me realize that we all have our own inner struggles that we are battling, and therefore we shouldn’t be quick to judge others because we don’t know what they have to face on a daily basis. Also, since The Bell Jar is essentially the autobiography of Sylvia Plath’s plunge into madness, I think this book may have been one of the first examples of my desire to be a counselor. Even though I may not have realized how much I wanted to be a counselor during the time that I was reading The Bell Jar, I know that if I were to read it again now, it would most likely affect me in a completely different way due to my new-found passion for psychology and counseling.

 

John Green’s newest book, The Fault In Our Stars, came out in January of this year, so it is probably the most recent book that has deeply affected me. It is the story of Hazel, a 16 year-old cancer patient, who is forced to attend a support group where she meets and falls in love with 17 year-old Augustus Waters. Even though it would be easiest to say that this book saved me because the writing is simply amazing, that only scratches the surface of how this book has impacted my life. Through reading The Fault In Our Stars, I have learned what it means to love. However, more than that, I have begun to realize that a huge part of allowing yourself to be loved by someone else is by placing yourself in a vulnerable position. The concept of vulnerability has scared me my entire life because in my mind, it places you in a prime position to be emotionally hurt. However, over the past few months, I’ve realized that the road to love involves being vulnerable. It’s scary, but it’s the only way to truly let someone love you fully. The concept of vulnerability also applies to writing as well because the truest and most raw pieces of writing are those in which the writer is completely 100% vulnerable.

Even though these books may not have necessarily saved me, they each have helped me realize something new about myself that has helped me get closer to who I truly am. For as long as I can remember, books have been the one place where I can go to escape. However, I never realized that they’d end up helping me find myself. Yes, I’m the girl who reads all the time, the girl who always has a book with her no matter where she is, the girl who would rather curl up in bed with a book instead of going to a party. Words have taught me about love, strength, hope, pain, and adversity. However, they have also been the way that I have expressed all of those emotions as well, giving me a way to be as authentic as possible. They are something so simple. And yet, for me, words have always been enough.

 

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If you could choose any book character to be real, which one would you pick?

7 Aug

Those who know me really well know that Jodi Picoult is my favorite author. Therefore, it’s relatively surprising that it took me this long to finally go out and buy Between The Lines, a YA novel that Picoult co-wrote with her daughter, Samantha Van Leer. Here’s a synopsis of the book written by Picoult herself (from jodipicoult.com):

Between the Lines was Sammy’s idea, and frankly, she’s got a better imagination than I ever did at her age. It’s called Between the Lines, and it’s about what happens when happily ever after…isn’t. Delilah, a loner hates school as much as she loves books—one book in particular. In fact if anyone knew how many times she has read and reread the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially her cooler than cool classmates, she’d be sent to social Siberia . . . forever.To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there’s a handsome (well, okay, incredibly handsome) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there’s something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is not just a one-dimensional character in a book. He’s real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they’re from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

It’s an absolutely STUNNING book – with the coolest illustrations that remind of Arthur Rackham’s work from the turn of the century and silhouettes that take my breath away — in other words, it’s a book you want to keep on your shelves and just look at because it’s so pretty. But it’s also sweet, and funny, and charming, and it was a delight to have the experience of writing it with my own daughter! I’m incredibly excited for its publication and we’ll be on tour this summer to promote it!

Even though I just started the book, I can already tell I’m going to love it. I mean, the basic plot involves a girl who finds out that the Prince Charming of the fairy tale that she’s read cover to cover multiple times isn’t just a character inside of a book. This simple idea got me thinking…if I could live inside of a book or if I could choose characters in a book to be real…which book/characters would I pick?

Though normally this question would take quite a bit of thought from me, I know without a doubt which character and book I would choose to be real: Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. It’s the best book I’ve read this summer and probably one of my favorite books now (not counting older literature like Crime and Punishment by Dostoyevsky and other popular fiction like any book by Barbara Kingsolver). Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars is my fictional dream guy. He’s intelligent, he reads a lot, he tells things how they are without sugar-coating them (but it’s an attractive quality and not something that’s ever hurtful to the girl in the story, Hazel), and he’s romantic without being overly mushy-gushy. As I was reading The Fault In Our Stars, on practically every page I’d think to myself: Why can’t Augustus Waters be real? I think at one time or another, everyone has imagined the possibility of their favorite fictional character being real. For me, at the moment, it’s Augustus Waters. However, a year ago it could have been a completely different character, such as Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Come on though, what woman doesn’t want Mr. Darcy to be real? I know that I definitely went through a Mr. Darcy lovesick phase myself.

So, now it’s your turn, if you could choose any character from any book to be real, which one would you pick and why?

Favorite quotes from The Fault In Our Stars.

2 Aug

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green is probably one of my favorite books that I read this summer. I thought I’d include some of my favorite quotes from the book. 🙂

  1. “I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, then all at once.”
  2. “Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” 
  3. “I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”
  4. “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.” 
  5. “Some people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them,” I said.

    “Right, of course. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.” 

  6. “The marks humans leave are too often scars.” 
  7. “Oh, I wouldn’t mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.” 
  8. “May I see you again?” he asked. There was an endearing nervousness in his voice.

    I smiled. “Sure.”

    “Tomorrow?” he asked.

    “Patience, grasshopper,” I counseled. “You don’t want to seem overeager.

    “Right, that’s why I said tomorrow,” he said. “I want to see you again tonight. But I’m willing to wait all night and much of tomorrow.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m serious,” he said. 

  9. “You are so busy being YOU that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.” 
  10. “The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we’d done were less real and important than they had been hours before.” 
  11. “You realize that trying to keep your distance from me will not lessen my affection for you. All efforts to save me from you will fail.” 
  12. “Maybe ‘okay’ will be our ‘always” 
  13. “You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I’m grateful.” 
  14. “And then the line was quite but not dead. I almost felt like he was there in my room with me, but in a way it was better, like I was not in my room and he was not in his, but instead we were together in some invisible and tenuous third space that could only be visited on the phone.” 
  15. “That’s the good thing about pain. It demands to be felt.”

Three words: Best. Book. Ever. Seriously, go read it. It’s amazing!

 

Snippet From The Fault In Our Stars By John Green.

31 May

Yesterday I went to Barnes & Noble and finally bought The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. Though it’s a teen book, I read Looking For Alaska (also by John Green) seven years ago and absolutely loved it. Even though I’m not very far into the book, I’ve already come across some great quotes. I have a feeling that this book will be full of words that I’ll want to refer back to again and again. Here’s the synopsis of the book (according to Amazon.com):

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

Anyway, I’d like to share one of my favorite quotes so far. It rung so true with me that I read it 3 or 4 times just because it was so honest, true, and applicable to so many books that I’ve read in the past. 

Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.

Thoughts? Isn’t this just so perfect? Even though I’m not done with this book yet, I highly recommend it, as well as Looking For Alaska (which captured my heart the first time I read it seven years ago).