It is now close to two years that I have been away from the blogging even though I have read great many books during this time. Now I have decided to resume writing once again and hopefully I will be more regular this time. Starting now with “The Signature of all Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert that I read sometime back. Even though the book said that it is work of fiction, I did search Internet a few times to find if indeed there was such a character of Alma Whittaker or known by some other name in history that has inspired the author here. It is due to the fact that the book feels so close to reality owing to its details
The main character Alma is bold and brilliant in her field of study and spends her entire life in study of Moss. Her story not only gives us glimpse of botanical research in that time but also the life in general for people and specifically for women of that century. The story takes a dramatic turn with her marriage at late age where emotions take over rational mind of Alma. Her husband is seeking spiritual union where Alma is looking forward to physical intimacy along with cerebral union that attracted her in the first place.
The story follows Alma to Tahiti where she goes to search for answers of life. I found this part of the story most interesting. It is raw, provocative and extremely appealing. I would have really liked the book to end in Tahiti.
I was left wondering whether the game played by Tahitian women is precursor to American football in any way but did not find any link during my search on Internet. Her use of language and words that were in use during that time provide authenticity to the narrative. I find the comparison to Darwin a bit stretched out but the author manages to make it plausible as well.
I read this book few years ago and I had written about it during my earlier days of blogging. But I wanted to go back and read “Eat, pray, love” once again. Somehow I felt that this book had helped me in making some decisions about my life back then and I was again at crossroads and reading this book helped me once again. I have found a definite connection between myself and author Elizabeth Gilbert and that is a source of great inspiration for me. The way she handled her life and came out as winner after all the trials is amazing as well as motivating.
I also found incidents that I had not noticed during my first reading or not written about them during my earlier blog post. She manages to be funny even while writing most difficult phases of her life. The idea of writing a letter to God and getting it signed by all her well wishers in imagination is great. The way she is able to make friends everywhere in the world while travelling gives me something to think about. I have never been able to do anything like that. She celebrates thanksgiving dinner with her friends in Italy and it gets emotional for everybody present even though many of them are strangers.
I can go on writing about each chapter and how it made me think. It requires guts for somebody to give up everything and go on such a journey and then make millions of dollars and fans by writing about it. I wonder whether I will be able to take up this kind of journey in my life. You really need to be passionate about things and willing to give up pleasures of life and seek pleasure in simple and different things. I have to also make those butter fried potatoes some day that she made one night to satisfy her physical hunger but in the end she had to think about her Brazilian friend in the bed to satisfy herself.
Elizabeth Gilbert became famous with her book “Eat, Pray, Love”. This book “The Last American Man” was written before that and it was not such a famous book. I also went to this book after reading Eat, Pray, Love. The idea of the story looked good to me and I was curious about what she was writing before her famous book. This book is a biography of Eustace Conway, who left his home at the age of 17 to live in the nature and more importantly to live off the nature.
When I first started reading the book, I did not realize that it was a real character but then I figured out that the story is real and Eustace Conway does exist and his Turtle Island is also a reality. Eustace had always been attracted to nature from childhood and moved out of his comfortable existence to live in the jungle or whatever existed in US at that time. He has done grueling hiking across Appalachian Trail, has travelled from coast to coast on horse and many other adventures. He has created a nature preserve of 1000 acres where he invites people to stay with him and learn to live with nature.
It is a fantastic story of a person who attracts so much attention and people want to be like him. At the same time, once people get in contact with him and start working with him, they find it extremely difficult to cope with him. The author has done an excellent job of bringing out different facets of his life, his relationships and has given a commentary on the lifestyle of americans in today’s time vis-a-vis hundred years ago when american man was still discovering the frontier.
It is so true that today’s generation has forgotten their connection with the nature and their own body. We know more about TV then the grass or plant in our backyard.
This is probably one of those books on which so many things have already been written. I am not sure if I can add anything new to that, but if I were to write about books and not mention this then it will not be fair. I came across Elizabeth Gilbert through one of her talks on TED.com. I was impressed as well as intrigued by her presentation and it was then that I decided to read this book.
What I liked best about the book was the style in which it was written. It is like a daily journal of a woman who must have gone through some difficult times. I read it last year when my state of mind was also similar to hers. There is a sense of integrity in the book which I like very much. Since she mentioned so much about 108 beads, I actually counted the beads on the “Prayer Mala” of the photograph on the cover of the book and was surprised to find the number correct.
One of the most important impact of the book on me was to my approach to meditation. I had tried meditation sometimes and always I had found myself drifting in thoughts after few moments. I had known that it is not easy thing to do. When I read about her trials with meditation in Indian Ashram, it somehow motivated me towards meditation. I could understand the struggle that I go through while trying meditation and I felt that it is part of journey and it is ok to feel that way. Still it is important to continue trying.
I found the book to be a very interesting story and at the same time it is one of the best self-help books that I have come across in recent times. But I still wonder why it is kept in travel section in most of the book shops.