Not going to lie, I’m finding it incredible that I am already right on track with my new year’s resolution to read one fiction and one non-fiction book per month. It was difficult for me to read in Fall 2018. I feel like there was so much I wanted to read, but at the same time I was shifting my reading priorities. I completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge a few months early last year, so I didn’t know what was motivating to me to read or what to prioritize.
I guess I’m still coming to terms with the fact that I am a mood reader.
This year I want to really enjoy reading, so I’ve decided to take a break from Goodreads. I used to love tracking my reading progress and using the mobile app as a bookmark. But I ultimately have begun to feel like sharing my reading progress is giving me undue stress to read more quickly. I also feel the review system is a little broken. My feed is always cluttered by the same people and updates.
I do not I feel like I’m benefiting from a community either. I don’t engage in any conversations on Goodreads. In fact my only joy from the app has been when complete strangers find my old reviews and interact with them! That’s the only thing I’ll miss, beyond the ability to organize books by shelves.
All that said, I plan to continue these “Thoughts on…” posts throughout the year to talk about what I’ve been reading. Breakfast at Tiffany’s was my first full read of the year, but in this post I also want to talk about what I’ve been reading since my last blog post (see: Thoughts on AART + Heist Society).
I started two books in December that I did not finish, but I still consider myself to be “currently reading.” They are Disrupt You by Jay Samit and Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas. My reasons for putting both these books down are different. Disrupt You was not turning out the way I hoped it would. It’s turned out to be very anecdotal and argumentative in ways I do not want or need.
I put down Kingdom of Ash because I realized I wanted to take a step back to 1) start the blog post for the review because I was afraid I might forget the beginning, and 2) refresh myself on character names and relationship dynamics so I could fully appreciate the story without feeling like I’m missing why certain things are significant.
At the beginning of January I felt like picking up The Democratic Surround by Fred Turner. I’m about two chapters in and really like it, but I’ve had to set it aside while getting back into the swing of things at work. I wanted to read something fictional, so I picked up The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick.
Over the holidays I finally got around to watching the third season of the Amazon Prime original show. While I wasn’t as captivated by it as much as I was the first two seasons, I am still eager to find how the story will wrap up. Since it took two years for the third season to arrive, I’m not holding my breath for the fourth and have decided it’s a great time to read the book the show was based on! About thirty pages in, I’m already surprised by some of the character differences. I don’t know what to expect now!
• ⟡ • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote • ⟡ •
I finally decided to pick up this novella after starting to read The Democratic Surround, just because the time period in which the novella is set is the same more or less as the time period discussed in the academic text. I felt these texts would compliment each other, and I do think fiction is a great way to become immersed in places and times long past.
I really love Truman Capote’s writing style. It’s so clear and concise, yet still so evocative in its simple descriptions of place and people. There’s also a fair amount of humor subtly weaved into the story from dialogue to situations. It’s not at all surprising so much of the dialogue from the movie starring Audrey Hepburn was directly lifted from the book.
On the topic of the movie, after having now read the book, I think the movie is an excellent adaptation. It keeps Holly Golightly’s spirit alive. While the movie does paint her a little bit nicer and give her a more hopeful ending, I think the more important aspects of her character and strife are preserved. She is often manipulative and just plain mean, but there’s something I really respect about her self-awareness and how she lives her life by her own moral code.
I feel like this novella is absolutely a must-read for anyone who loves the movie beyond its superficial façade. You get to see how truly clever and bold Holly is. Additionally, the novella really helps to illuminate certain parts of the story and lines from the movie that have long stuck with me, including how she can still be so fond of the man who she married as a child (although, I’m still horrified) and how she justifies her scandalous lifestyle.
…good things only happen to you if you’re good. Good? Honest is more what I mean. Not law-type honest…but unto-thyself-type honest. Be anything but a coward, a pretender, an emotional crook, a whore: I’d rather have cancer than a dishonest heart…
One thing I found myself thinking about after finishing the novella is how much Holly Golightly reminds me of Jay Gatsby. They are both models of self-improvement and ambition. Both characters are extremely charming despite humble (and mysterious) backstories. They both work hard to advance in life, but ultimately fail to live their lives to their fullest because they are haunted by great loves they are unable to leave in the past.
I’m not sure what I can take away with me from this book. I’m no Holly Golightly, nor do I wish to be. For me Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a love letter to people who refuse to accept the lot they are given in life and are shameless enough to strive for more. They’re dreamers who actually do something to pursue their dreams, which is more than can be said for a lot of people (myself included). I think that is why I was first so moved by the movie and now by the novella.
☙ ❧ End Note ❧ ☙
I was feeling really optimistic with my reading at the beginning of the month but it has since dissipated a bit. I don’t really mind, though! I’m glad I’m reading at all. I hope to finish The Man in the High Castle this weekend as I have three days off. I would also like to reread Truly Devious immediately after as the sequel, The Vanishing Stair, is coming out soon! Ideally I would like to read both that and King of Scars. I’ve pre-ordered both and can’t wait to finally hold them in my hands.