for january's (yes, january, even though we're 3 weeks into february and i'm only posting it now...#oops) book i read the goldfinch by donna tartt. i didn't know much about the plot of this book before reading it, but i had really wanted to read it based on the recommendation of other people, aaaand the cover art. i really liked it. and am fully guilty of judging books by their cover. aaalso, fun fact, one of the guys i work with knows/used to work with the person who designed it! so that was cool. 

aaaanyways, after reading it, i kind of realized why i didn't know much about the plot. it's a hard one to explain without giving anything away. so all i'll say is that it follows the life of a boy from new york city and tells his coming of age story, with some major heartbreaks and set backs along the way. the characters are all flawed in their own ways, which i liked. it makes it feel real. and you still fall in love with these people despite their imperfections and you find yourself rooting for them.

another thing that made it an interesting read was the protagonist's naturally pessimistic disposition. i think i find it interesting to read books from this perspective, because i'm a naturally positive, glass-half-full person for the most part, but those pessimistic parts of me still exist. i just work to not let them drive my mental state. and for some reason, that i'm now realizing i'm really bad at explaining, i like putting my shoes in other's people's (or fictional character's) minds and learning how they battle their demons.

i have no clue if these ramblings will make sense to anyone else out there and/or my future self, but just know that i liked this book. there is some heavy, uncomfortable material in there, and it's not exactly a thrilling page-turner for the most part. but it's an interesting and thought-provoking one.

and, as usual, here are a few favorite quotes from this book:

"and as much as i'd like to believe there's a truth beyond illusion, i've come to believe that there's no truth beyond illusion. because, between 'reality' on the one hand, and the point where the mind strikes reality, there's a middle zone, a rainbow edge where beauty comes into being, where two very different surfaces mingle and blur to provide what life does not: and this is the space where all art exists, and all magic."

"sometimes it's about playing a poor hand well."

"sometimes we want what we want even if we know it's going to kill us."

"whatever teaches us to talk to ourselves is important: whatever teaches us to sing ourselves out of despair. but the painting has also taught me that we can speak to each other across time."

"we looked at each other. and it occurred to me that despite his faults, which were numerous and spectacular, the reason i'd liked boris and felt happy around him from almost the moment i'd met him was that he was never afraid. you didn't meet many people who moved freely through the world with such a vigorous contempt for it and at the same time such oddball and unthwartable faith in what, in childhood, he had liked to call 'the planet of earth.'"

"we are so customed to disguise ourselves to others that, in the end, we become disguised to ourselves."

"caring too much for objects can destroy you. onlyif you care for a thing enough, it takes on a life of its own, doesn't it? and isn't the whole point of thingsbeautiful thingsthat they connect you to some larger beauty?"