Sunday, August 4, 2013

the book review: scarlet letter & anthem

Pretty much my only resolution this year was to read 12 books & I've done a spectacular job failing at it. I love reading, I really do. But I've become so picky & so dang busy that I often find myself either not having time to read, or not making time. But I miss it. Desperately so. I just want to snuggle up in bed on Sunday mornings and read for hours. So with that in mind, I reread my two favorite books as a way to help me jump-start back into reading. (I don't care if  it's cheating! tehe) 
First I chose Anthem by Ayn Rand. This is probably my favorite book ever. It's a lot like 1984 by Mr. Orwell, if any of you are familiar with it. It's a wonderful "what-if" book reminding you to pay attention to what's happening in gov't, etc. But honestly, to me, it went far deeper than that. This book celebrates the discovery of self, of passion & the rediscovery of "I". I was so inspired by this book that I incorporated the main character's number (Equality 7-2521) onto my first tattoo when I was 18. 
I also snagged the centennial edition, which is packed with excerpts from documents by Ayn Rand, letters, interviews & journal notes discussing Anthem. Which, honestly is one of the most fascinating things I've ever seen. & It even has her own hand-writing in it! AH! But anyway, 

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is simply put one of those books that changed my life. I first read it my junior year in highschool & it was just so eye-opening and moving for me. Many of my classmates were put off by the language, but to me, it adds to it. And the imagery! "...her beauty shone out, and made a halo of the misfortune and ignominy in which she was enveloped." Or... "like an uprooted weed that lies wilting in the sun."
Maybe out of context, to someone who doesn't yet love this book, those phrases may mean nothing, but I promise, when you allow yourself to sink into the book, it's actually quite heartbreaking & in the best possible way. 
And while we are here, I can already hear people gasping at me, "ZIE! You wrote & scribbled in your book!" Yes, yes. That really started with this book, and if you could hold my copy, you'd see how worn & well-loved it is. But as for the writing, I was encouraged by the same professor who assigned this all those years ago, to write notes in books. She told us to circle words we didn't understand and to write the definition in the margins, to write our reaction at the closing of a chapter, to underline our favorite phrases, etc. She said when, years later, we looked back on our books we'd be able to be consumed right back into the story. And I can honestly say that she was right. 
But what about you, dear ones? What are you reading? What's your favorite book? I'm on the hunt for new ones, so please share & I'll try and do the same :} 

See what else I've read on Goodreads
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  1. It's been AGES since I've read Anthem, but I do remember enjoying it. I'd be interested to read it again later in life and not for school and see if and how my thoughts have changed :) Currently, I'm continuing my Hemingway kick!

  2. I love Anthem. It was one of the first "grown up" books I read when I was 11. I didn't read The Scarlet Letter until I was 50. I was so surprised that it was so good and not really what I thought it would be like. I am very fond of "This Perfect Day" by Ira Levin if you like futuristic books. Thanks for reminding me of Anthem

  3. I am currently reading three books. One is supposed to be a haunted hose story called Shadow of Echos. It's decent, simple, not my favorite, finishable.

    Second, I finally found a copy of Chariots of the Gods? By Erich Von Danikan. I love thinking about the theory that our past and present gods and religions were actually real visitors from other planets or galaxies.

    The third book is Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. I am from Tennessee and have never read this book. I am not sure why it took me so long to do so. I came across a copy in a thrift store for $0.75 and dove in. It is very well written and Mitchell draws you right into the story, almost as though you were walking up to the house as the events were happening and became a silent observer. By today's standards, it is terribly offensive, but worth reading, in my opinion.

    I am happy to have found your blog, via and her scavenger hunt. It is always good to see what others are reading and what they think about those reads. Thanks for sharing!


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Have a darling day!