Ida's English Reading Corner · Non-Fictional

Review | ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert (2015)

“Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?” – Big Magic, p. 8

First of all, let me tell you that from now on, this non-fictional book is going to be my bible (says the one who is sceptical towards any religion). It will be in every bag, it is going wherever I am going, it is getting its own place on my nightstand for me to read before bed and I will, believe me, read this book to pieces. Literally. I will reread this until its words are engraved into my brain, my heart and my mind. I freaking loved this book so much I can hardly put it into words.

Dust-jacket text: “Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration and empowerment from Elizabeth Gilbert’s books for years. Now this beloved author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. With profound empathy and radiant generosity, she offers potent insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.”

This book has been lying on my stack of unread books for almost two and a half years now. I picked it up at the beginning of this year because I wanted something to change. And for that, I needed inspiration, motivation and new thoughts on well-known subjects. So I thought that this book might as well be the source of that. I was not disappointed: In this book, Elizabeth Gilbert tells us about the Big Magic that each and every one of us is able to experience and how we can live our life to the fullest – with the tools we already got.

Having read “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, I have to admit that I was a bit cautious about this book of hers being a bit too spiritual for my liking. But it was more magical than spiritual and I deeply, deeply enjoyed following her trail of thoughts, getting to know her mindset and feeling gifted by her choice of words. Elizabeth Gilbert has a style of writing that is so entertaining while still being honest and true, sharing how she copes with successes as well as failures and how both are crucial for her creative living.

The book is split into six parts: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust and Divinity. Each chapter introduces new ideas, new ways of thinking and somehow it made me appreciate myself and what I do. I do not want to spoiler anyone about the content because I think when the time is right and you pick up this book, you have to be open for every single word written in it. I would have never thought that this woman could speak to me on such a personal level as though we were having a cup of coffee in my kitchen, talking about life and how to live it to the fullest. Time and again I kept stumbling over sentences that made me cry out, nod my head violently or shed some tears because I felt like this was the truest thing I have ever read. This book has encouraged me to do things I am afraid of, it made me want to keep writing, just because I love it and it brings me joy. Not to please anyone, not to be liked. Just for me. And that is the most precious thing a book and its author could have ever given me.

“Sometimes I think that the difference between a tormented creative life and a tranquil creative life is nothing more than the difference between the word awful and the word interesting. Interesting outcomes, after all, are just awful outcomes with the volume of drama turned way down.” – Big Magic, p. 246-7.

 


Author:   Elizabeth Gilbert
Title:       Big Magic. Creative Living Beyond Fear
Press:      Bloomsbury
Year of publication: 2015
Pages:      273
[Genre:    Non-Fiction]


 

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