Book Review: The Signature of All Things

Title: The Signature of All Things
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 499

I promise I’m almost done with my Elizabeth Gilbert phase (in fact, this is probably the last review). I was particularly interested in this novel, because it’s one she wrote after Eat, Pray, Love. From what I’ve read about her previous writing, it was fairly masculine and kind of Western. The Signature of All Things is Elizabeth Gilbert as she appears in EPL – feminist, spiritual, world-traveling, a little sensual. It’s a novel, of course, so it’s not actually about Gilbert. But her voice (as from EPL) pervades the book.

Signature follows Alma Whittaker, the plain, curious, lonely, and brilliant daughter of a botany legend. Through family deaths, thwarted love, career changes, and a trip across the world, she struggles with who she is as a woman and scientist. Continue reading

Book Review: Committed

Committed_Book_CoverTitle: Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Page Count: 279
Genre: Memoir/Non-Fiction

I’ve been on a bit of an Elizabeth Gilbert kick since reading Eat, Pray, Love (see here and here), so my next two reviews are also Gilbert books. It is too simple to say that I’m reading more of her work because I like her. She has an interesting voice. I’m fascinated with the leap she made as an author and with the spiritual peace she has found. She puzzles me more than I like her. And she is a good writer — her stories are compelling and her prose is thoughtful and precise.

So, Committed. It’s basically a follow-up to EPL, Continue reading

Links from Lyse

I read lots (and lots and lots) during the week, absorbing articles and videos from all over the place. At the end of each week, I’ll share a few of those with you!

  • Confessions of a Seduction Addict” — Spoiler alert! This article is written by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love (and many other books!). I have to admit, I was surprised to discover she was the author, because the article comes from her younger days, not her current enlightened and matured state.  Although I never practiced seduction as destructively as she did, I will admit to enjoying the process of making someone fall in love with me. Similarly, I also like the process of learning someone’s soul, which can lead to destructive relationships.
  • What is genius? Since I’m on a Gilbert kick right now, I also watched her TED talk on genius, which I found freeing and beautiful. It’s worth watching for everyone, but especially anyone who identifies as creative.
  • Do we need Shakespeare? Having just finished a year of studying Shakespeare in university, I have pretty strong feelings about this argument. But instead of ranting here, I’ll just link to another article (which I don’t entirely agree with) and let you hash it out in the comments.
  • Just this week I discovered Gretchen Rubin’s blog and podcast (also available on SoundCloud). Rubin researches happiness and habits, which she has written about in The Happiness ProjectHappier at Home, and Better Than Before. I have read The Happiness Project and really loved it. If you’re constantly searching for ways to improve your habits, want to become happier, or wish you were more organized, check out some of her material!

What did you find this week? Love any of these links? Let me know in the comments!

Book Review: Eat, Pray, Love

Eat,_Pray,_Love_–_Elizabeth_Gilbert,_2007Title: Eat, Pray, Love

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Type: Memoir

I’m clearly ages behind on popular fiction. Eat, Pray, Love was published in 2006 and released as a film in 2010 — 5 years ago! But I just read it for the first time, so here’s a review for the rest of you like me. 

Eat, Pray, Love describes Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey to find happiness, peace, and balance in her life following a divorce and nasty break-up. She spends a year living in Italy, India, and Indonesia (Bali), writing about her experiences along the way. In Italy she dedicates her time to pleasure — taking in the sites, eating delicious food, and learning the language. India is for devotion, so she spends her entire time at an ashram, meditating and finding her way to deity. Indonesia is her key to balancing pleasure and dedication, the place where she learns to love again.

I liked the book. Initially though, I couldn’t explain why. Gilbert’s entire journey is about spiritual discovery, filled with meditation, visions from gurus, and conversations with herself. Continue reading