I meant to post this review a few weeks ago when it was a little more relevant, but the time got away from me. My True Love Gave to Me is a collection of twelve holiday themed short stories curated by author Stephanie Perkins. This is the “cup of hot cocoa and a warm blanket” of books. Each story is a tale of romance, written by some of the most delightful writers out there, including Perkins herself, Rainbow Rowell, Kelly Link, Holly Black, and more!
It’s no secret I am a fan of the holiday love story. (Love Actually, get at me.) And I am a huge Stephanie Perkins fan, so it was with great excitement and anticipation that I sat down to read this anthology. Neil gave it to me for Christmas (<3) and I started reading it a few days before Christmas. It felt very appropriate. The stories were well written and also just nice to read. It’s the kind of book that just makes you feel good, something one might need during the holiday season or any season for that matter. I enjoyed it immensely.
I’ve been grappling with what it means to be 25 in the weeks leading up to my birthday tomorrow. I feel silly that I even have feelings about it. I’ve gone around the sun one more time. I’ve done it this many times! Hooray! Nonetheless, I’ve got all the telltale signs of a self-diagnosed quarter life crisis. It’s hard to feel like turning 25 isn’t a big deal. I’m smack in the middle of my twenties and what do I have to show for it except all the preconceived expectations and notions I weigh myself down with? I usually love birthdays. Birthdays are about celebrating the year I’ve had, looking forward to whatever is ahead, going to dinner with my family, and feeding my friends chips, cupcakes, and my undying adoration/love.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a little more introspective about my day of birth. With each advancing year, there is a nagging voice in the back of my head that keeps asking, “What are you doing? Where are you going? Why are you here? And why don’t you even know the answers to any of these questions? Shouldn’t you be doing something?”
I think it’s fair to say that I’m doing pretty okay as far as being a human person goes. I’m going into my fourth year in a job that I think I’m pretty good at and treats me very well. I’ve got a great, very engaged family as well as the most magnificent and glorious friends a girl could ask for. Neil is an amazingly supportive partner and one of the best people I know. I’m getting more creative work done now than I have since I was in college. I’m happy with most aspects of my life, but I still have this itch for more, but I don’t know exactly what that “more” entails.
Kurt Vonnegut is a bizarre, wonderful madman. His novels often read like fever dreams, something touching on reality, resembling it, but only just. It never quite gets all the way there. There is always something in the story that makes the reader stop and go, but wait! Something is not right here. And sometimes that something is subtle as hell. So it goes in Cat’s Cradle.
This novel is one of those books where I was tempted to look everything up to see what was true and what was fiction. It’s written in a memoir style, which lends the story an authoritativeness and plausible credibility that nicely juxtaposes the utter incredulity of the story.
The novel follows our protagonist and narrator John, who calls himself Jonah, and the ways in which his life gets tangled up with a little island called San Lorenzo and with the Hoenikker family, a very strange bunch indeed. While unusual, the book is very compelling, drawing you along despite its meandering, posits, and musings. Though I had a few guesses about where things were heading, I nevertheless still found myself routinely surprised by the actions of those John interacted with. A series of vignettes and conversations push the action on, leading to its ultimate and inevitable end.
There are, relatively, about a kajillion books out there. Each of these lovelies are constructed in different ways. Some tell new stories, some revisit old ones, but all of them are tales I either have or have not absorbed. In short, I get weird about rereading. I love to re-read. There’s nothing quite like revisiting a story you love. It feels warm, comforting, and familiar. It’s like a warm bath or a hug from someone you know really cares about you. Books you’ve loved feel a lot like home.
However, whenever I am indulging in a little re-reading (I’m looking at you Harry Potter), I always start to worry a bit about all those kajillion of books. In my short 24 (nearly 25) years on this planet, I know I’ve only put a tiny, baby fist sized−dent in the thousands upon thousands of reading options out there. When I linger on something I’ve already read I get this little pang of guilt. A voice says, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? YOU’VE ALREADY BEEN HERE! MOVE ON!”
But I’ve started to become annoyed with that voice. I love reading as many new stories as I can. I learn so much from new authors and their styles. They have much to offer and it is my ambition to absorb as much literature in my lifetime as is humanly possible, but I also don’t want to feel bad when I revisit stories that have been important to me. Studying those tales is just as rich and vital. So that is my goal this year: I am going to restructure my reading life a little and just read whatever I want, whenever I want, including but not limited to books I have read in the past. Saying that out loud sounds silly. Of course, you should be able to do that. You are a grown ass adult Jordan. But sometimes one needs a little reminding.
Here’s to 2016 and stories of all kinds: past, present, and future!