Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Book Review: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

I love reading. Books are amazing. They are a form of escapism, yes, but they are also inspiration, joy, and... well. Goodness. I think in some ways I have used my appetite for reading to define parts of my personality, so it made sense for me to review some of what I read! Here we go...


Title: Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Publication Date: September 22nd 2015

Synopsis: "Readers of all ages and walks of life have drawn inspiration from Elizabeth Gilbert's books for years. Now, this beloved author shares her wisdom and unique understanding of creativity, shattering the perceptions of mystery and suffering that surround the process - and reminding us all just how easy it can be.

By sharing stories from her own life, as well as those from her friends and the people who have inspired her, Elizabeth Gilbert challenges us to embrace our curiosity, tackle what we most love and face down what we most fear."

My thoughts: I was a little apprehensive upon picking this book up - I am a huge fan of some of Gilbert's other work - Eat, Pray, Love, of course, and Signature of All Things in particular - but my experience with her nonfiction (basic at best - I have only read Committed of her nonfiction works) was a little lackluster. Interesting and relatively engrossing, but not something I connected to very much.

However, Big Magic was such a wonderful read that it became one of those experiences where you just want to send everyone away to do their own thing for a little while so you can enjoy some genuine connection time with your book. I kept trying to read this in snatches of time between other things, and eventually discovered that that wasn't working, because it was making me want more and more, and I was beginning to get a little snappish with my loved ones if they interrupted my reading time (something that is wont to happen at any time, but I usually keep it under control...).

I adore Gilbert's tone in this book. Having heard her speak (on audiobooks, in speeches, on podcasts) I felt like I could hear her reading her book to me in my mind as I read each sentence. You find yourself feeling like you actually know her and she is just explaining her book to you, using research she has done and stories she has collected. It feels extremely intimate and so touching.

The topic itself is fascinating, and I will admit to having many different realisations during the course of reading this book. For those who follow this blog regularly, you may notice that I have starting posting my own writing and poetry once more, and that is because of this book and the way Gilbert addresses the need for things like Courage, Permission, and Trust in a life of creative drive. Reading about her story and also her thoughts on the topic of fear, in particular, made me question why I was holding back so much of myself when all I've ever really wanted to do was share my work, and improve upon it.

So, yes, this book review is rather more personally engaged than usual, but my own context has provided me with a very deep connection to what Gilbert says here. And I love that. I think this is a book that anyone, particularly people living a creative life and producing creative work, could read and get something from. I may go read it again soon. Maybe now.


I received a review copy of this book from Bloomsbury in exchange for an honest review. (thank you!)

You would like this book if: you like Elizabeth Gilbert's writing; you feel you need a deeper connection with your creativity, or want to understand it a little better.

Tea to drink while reading this book: something creative and colourful, like cranberry and elderflower, or something similar!

Rating:  10/10

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