Review// Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche

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Author: Friedrich Nietzche
Series: Standalone
Genre: Classic
Release Date: 1883
Book Length:  343 pages 
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Review: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Nietzsche was one of the most revolutionary and subversive thinkers in Western philosophy, and Thus Spoke Zarathustra remains his most famous and influential work. It describes how the ancient Persian prophet Zarathustra descends from his solitude in the mountains to tell the world that God is dead and that the Superman, the human embodiment of divinity, is his successor. With blazing intensity and poetic brilliance, Nietzsche argues that the meaning of existence is not to be found in religious pieties or meek submission, but in an all-powerful life force: passionate, chaotic and free.

My Review:

The best way that I can describe this book is as a religious experience, which is kind of paradoxical because the main idea of the book is that “God is dead.” When Zarathustra, the ancient Persian prophet, emerges from his 10-year solitude and says that God has died, he doesn’t mean that literally. Rather, he means that the concept of God as a gateway to finding meaning in life is dead and that the meaning of life should be found not in religious worship but within the self as an exemplar of true humanity–the ‘Superman’.

The Superman represents the highest state of man in which he creates his own values and is therefore a powerful master of himself. According to Zarathustra, this version of man has yet to exist, but he speaks of how it can be bred in future generations. The book follows Zarathustra not only as he preaches to his disciples ways in which to reach the Superman state, but also his journey in reaching it himself.

The most interesting part of this was Zarathustra’s discourse of the phases of spiritual metamorphosis represented by the camel, the lion, and the child. The first stage, the camel, represents the carrying of burdens of human existence that are necessary for a person to accept in order to strengthen them for the next phase—it is the weight bearing spirit that pushes itself beyond every limit possible. Upon bearing the weight of existence and in essence outcasting themselves in the desert, the camel realizes that it wants freedom from the traditional virtues it has known; this is where the lion phase comes into play. At this point, the camel has two choices. It can either take the path of nihilism, or the path of creating its own values and meaning in life now that is has rejected traditional values of religion. In order to reach the Superman state, the individual must reject nihilism and in doing so, the lion is realized. In the last phase, the child, the spirt is truly free. This occurs when the lion has elected to start a new life as the master of himself—thus the Superman is attained. I thought that whole analogy was so interesting, and it serves as the basis of the entire story.

Although very dense, the allegorical nature is what really drew me in. I liked that this was something extremely different from anything else I have ever read and it allowed me to see certain ideas in a new light, regardless of whether or not I agreed with them all. I would definitely give other Nietzsche works a read, but I’m sure until then I will be pondering about this one for a very long time.


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Review// The Stranger by Albert Camus

 

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Author: Albert Camus
Series: Standalone
Genre: Classic
Release Date: 1942
Book Length:  123 pages 
Publisher: Vintage International
Review: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Through the story of an ordinary man unwittingly drawn into a senseless murder on an Algerian beach, Camus explored what he termed “the nakedness of man faced with the absurd.”

My Review:

You know that scene in How the Grinch Stole Christmas where he puts the x-ray over his heart and it’s virtually non-existent? One could argue that’s what the main character Meursault’s heart looks like.

Meursault is a believer of absurdism—the philosophical view that life has nothing in it from which to derive meaning, and therefore the human quest for meaning is useless. As a result, he expresses indifference in pretty much everything, often using phrases like, “I really didn’t care much one way or the other.”

In the beginning, Meursault is merely going through the motions of mundane life and it can feel like you are too as you’re nodding along waiting to see where the story goes. I now understand that there may have been a purpose to that. Told in first person, you really get to dig deep inside Meursault’s head and see what he is all about. By having the story flow through the most mundane aspects of everyday life in that narrative, it is actually more impactful than having a bunch of theatrical events happen because although you can tell that he’s kind of “heartless”, some of the things he says almost resonate as things you may have thought once or twice yourself in your everyday life.

The reason I put heartless in quotations is because I’m not sure he was heartless so much as he was just being honest with himself. People don’t take very well to others going against societal norms, and although I think that some of what Meursault said and did was a bit extreme, I don’t think that he was an entirely bad character. For example, when he didn’t cry at his mother’s funeral, people automatically assumed him to be insensitive and soulless—an observation that came back to haunt him later on in the book. Although I would agree that someone not crying at their mother’s funeral would be a bit surprising, that event was one of many that put his belief of absurdism into reality. To Meursault, his mother died just as everyone will one day so why should he waste time being sad about death when he can enjoy his present moment being alive, and why be sad just because everyone else says he should? There are many other moments like this in the book where Meursault says or does something out of the norm, and sometimes it takes a little bit of reflection to understand from his point of view the reasoning behind it.

I highly recommend this if you are into philosophy. This book leaves a lot to think about, and it’s a pretty good one to have discussions about with other people as I’m sure different people interpret it in many different ways


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Bookish Merch Review: Drink Coffee & Read Books on Etsy

Hi everyone! A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Jade over at Drink Coffee and Read Books who has a lovely Australian-based Etsy shop where she sells bookish items like handmade bookmarks, candles, and wax melts. Jade was kind enough to send me some bookmarks that she made so that I may review them for you. All opinions expressed in this post are my own and are true and honest.

CUSTOMER SERVICE & DELIVERY

So before I get into the bookmarks themselves, I just want to touch upon customer service and delivery because those things occur before actually seeing the items and I think it is an important part of business. Throughout the whole process, Jade was extremely kind, attentive, and quick to respond to me; I couldn’t have dealt with a more professional person. I live in Canada, and from the time she sent them out, the items shipped to me in about a week. I was honestly expecting it to take longer due to our distance (which I would have been okay with) but it came before I knew it. Inside the package were my products and also a little card detailing the items I got, which I thought was great as it showed utmost organization and attention to detail. Just on these things alone, I already felt really good about the shop and I was excited to open my package!

PRODUCTS

The first bookmark that Jade made for me was from her Author Series which features different authors and some of their famous quotes. Since The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favourite books, I got one from the Oscar Wilde collection. However, she also has Virginia Woolf, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Edgar Allan Poe collections. All bookmarks in the Author Series are $2.68. My bookmark is double-sided with Oscar Wilde’s photo and quote on one side and his name on the other. I am very pleased with the quality and durability of this bookmark; it is laminated and very sturdy and I think it is worth the price.

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The next bookmark that I got was from the Unique Bookmarks collection. This one is $3.45+, one-sided, and printed on card stock paper which is quite thick. Again, I got one with an Oscar Wilde quote but there are other options as well. I thought that the design and writing were really pretty and look just like the picture on the website. I can’t wait to use this one and admire that quote all the time.

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The last one that I got is one of the Unique Butterfly Magnetic Bookmarks. This is the one I was most excited for as I have never had a magnetic bookmark before. These ones are $3.83+ and come in blue, silver, or white and are laminated with two magnets attached to either side of the bookmark. At first, even though I was excited, I was also a bit scared because I wasn’t sure how strong the magnet would be and I worried about it possibly being too strong and ruining the page of my book. However, upon trying it out, it is literally so delicate with the perfect strength to hold the page while not causing damage to it. It’s also pretty cool because you can fan it out straight and use it as a regular bookmark if you want.

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I highly recommend checking out and purchasing from Drink Coffee and Read Books. The products are excellent quality for your money and Jade is extremely professional. In addition, 10% of the profits each month go to organizations like Sea Turtle Foundation, PETA, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) to help protect Port River Dolphins in Adelaide, Australia. 

Thank you to Jade for sending me these products; I would highly recommend her shop to anyone looking for some cute bookish merch.

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(Do you want me to review some of your bookish merch? If so, send me an email at thisisoneforthebooks@gmail.com)

Catherine 🙂


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Blogger Aesthetics Tag

I saw this tag over at Book Orbit and decided to give it a go. I have created a mood board for characters before which you can find here, so I thought why not do one for myself!?

The Rules

  1. Collect any number of images that you feel represent you as a person—your personality, aspirations, favourite things, anything at all that makes you you.
  2. Put your chosen images together into a collage of whatever size and shape you find pleasing.
  3. Share your masterpiece with everyone, in all the places.
  4. Maybe nominate other bloggers as a way to tell them, “Hey, you, I think you’re awesome, and we should celebrate that awesome being”.

FINISHEDCOLLAGE

Bookshops– If I could, I would live in a bookshop. I can’t ever pass one by without going into it to browse, even if I never end up buying anything. There’s just something about being there that makes me feel so at peace.

Art– I love going to art galleries and museums to look at the exhibits. To me, art is someone’s heart on display. Is there anything more beautiful than that?

Travelling– I love to travel but I enjoy going on road trips especially! I find it so fun to watch from the window as city and nature pass you by.

Friends– Of course I love my friends, but this image represents my favourite TV show as well. I am really bad with keeping up with shows, so the fact that I got through it all tells you a lot. I live and breathe for Rachel’s outfit choices in the earlier seasons!

Flowers– Spring is my favourite season and I always wear floral- not just in spring (I’m looking at you, Meryl Streep). Also, flowers represent growth to me. Just when you think you’re merely a seed, with a little time and nourishment, you will bloom just like a flower 🙂

Sunsets– I have always been a sunset over sunrise kind of girl. Definitely a night owl through and through, so I appreciate the sunsets a lot more. Plus, how can you not love all those pretty colours?

I Tag

Amanda @ The Beewitched Reader

Kelly @ Struggling Bookaholic

Amy @ Bookish Heights

Bree @ Bookishly Bree

Cassandra @ The Bibliophagist

+ Anyone else who wants to do it!

Thank you for reading and I hope you got to know a little more about me through this tag. Happy reading!

-Catherine


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Review// The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

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Author: Sally Thorne
Series: Standalone
Genre: Romance
Release Date: August 9, 2016 
Book Length:  363 pages 
Publisher: William Morrow
Review: 5/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Nemesis (n.)
1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome; 2) A person’s undoing; 3) Joshua Templeman.

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

My Review:

I thoroughly enjoyed everything about this: the hate to love trope, the office setting, Lucy’s sarcasm, Joshua, Joshua… oh and did I mention Joshua? From the very first line of this book, which was, “I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them” I knew she didn’t hate Josh so much as she hated that she was in love with him when she was sure he didn’t even like her. It didn’t help that they had been playing enemies for months—they were in too deep for her to stop playing The Hating Game.

Now back to Josh, the book boyfriend you didn’t know you needed. I can’t pinpoint what exactly it was, but there was something about Josh that I adored. Maybe it was the fact that he was able to hold an element of mystery while also being so outwardly nerdy and predictable—I mean, the fact that he wore his dress shirts in a specific sequence throughout the week is a little weird, but hey I could look past that for Josh. Probably says a lot more about Lucy that she took the time to memorize them all.

Sometimes I find the romance genre a tad annoying because I think it inaccurately portrays the average male that all women want as tall, dark, and handsome with a very ‘bad boy’ personality and if you swoon over that, that’s great, but I need a little more substance to remain hooked on a love interest. Yeah Josh was tall, dark, and handsome, but even if he weren’t, he still had a lot of little quirks that took him beyond lust territory. Sally Thorne got it right—a weirdo nerd could also be pretty swoony sometimes without it being mutually exclusive from them being attractive… and just because they are a weirdo nerd, doesn’t mean they are an actual weirdo who girls are automatically creeped out by. I liked Josh because you didn’t want to just stare at him from the next cubicle over and fantasize about him; you actually wanted to get to know him and force a smile out of that stupid poker face of his.

The banter between the two main characters was also unparalleled. The sarcasm levels were real, and I basically survive off oxygen and sarcasm so I was living for it. Both of these people had a sort of firecracker in them that would be unleashed after being provoked by the other, but it was never really malicious. I found the comebacks hilarious, and it made me fly through the book.

I loved this a lot and I couldn’t recommend it enough! If you are looking for a good romance, keep this on your radar.

Catherine 🙂


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