[Mini Book Review]: Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling

23731881Book Title: Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Source: Purchased
Genre: Non Fiction, Self Help
Year: 2015
Page Count: 70
ISBN: 9780316369152
Find it at: J.K. Rowling's Official Website
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My Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0

Goodreads' Blurb:
In 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered a deeply affecting commencement speech at Harvard University. Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force.

This is a mini review which does not really discuss the content, just an act of fondness toward this lovely lady whose works have been accompanying my life since I was 10 years old and some quotes I found in this book and would really like to share with you guys.

Also the sales of this book will benefit Lumos, a charity organization founded by J.K. Rowling that works to transform the lives of disadvantaged children, and university-wide financial aid at Harvard University.

"There is an expiration date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you."

 "Failure means a stripping away of the inessential."

 "Some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all-in which case, you fail by default."

"Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way."

"The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I've ever earned."

"So given a Time-Turner, I would tell my twenty-one-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone's total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive to its vicissitudes."

"Unlike any other creature on this planet, human beings can learn and understand without having experienced. They can think themselves into other people's places. One might use such an ability to manipulate or control just as much as to understand or sympathize."

"Those who choose not to empathize enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it through our own apathy."

"If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages..."

"...then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change. We do not need magic to transform our world; we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better."

"As is a tale, so is life; not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters."

One of my most favourite parts of this book is on page 48, when Ms. Rowling recounts the young man from Africa. Truly heartbreaking, yet inspiring. Thank you very much for sharing this precious wise words to the whole world. Ms. Rowling!

[Book Review]: Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Book Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Source: Purchased
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Year: 2009
Page Count: 538
ISBN: 9780804138338
Find it at: Gillian Flynn's Official Website
Warning: Contains explicit murder scenes and some vulgarity
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My Rating: 5.0 out of 5.0

Goodreads' Blurb:
Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice" of Kinnakee, Kansas.” She survived—and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, the Kill Club—a secret secret society obsessed with notorious crimes—locates Libby and pumps her for details. They hope to discover proof that may free Ben. Libby hopes to turn a profit off her tragic history: She’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club—for a fee. As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started—on the run from a killer.

After the hype of Gone Girl, I had been curious of Gillian Flynn's works. But I ruled out the mainstream and tried Dark Places first, based on reviews I read. Thriller and mystery are genres are not really my main and favorite stuffs, but I can like, appreciate and am willing to read the good ones. Robert Galbraith and Abigail Haas' works are one of them.

In my opinion, thriller and mystery books are not like contemporary or fantasy young adults which are able to put different colours and sensation in the content. Thriller and mystery books are all typical. There are criminal cases, the process of finding out the truth, the chill and thrill when you read while guessing your speculations and then finally you get the answers. But there is something for me that makes Gillian Flynn's book truly high-class and stands out among other books within the same genre. Gillian Flynn does not follow the usual plot and flow that are common in the genre. She does not cheaply give away the clues and hints. The way she wraps the case is very gentle. Thus all speculations I made, were not really that strong. All in all, Dark Places is more that just mind-wrecked.

There are great deals of main and supporting characters in this book. But each of them has strong characteristics. Take this as an example, there are four children in the Day family. As you read their childhood story, you can see that Ben is a strange and unsociable boy who has malignancy inside him which he does not even understand; Michelle is a curious, meddling girl; Debby the crybaby; and Libby, the youngest of the family, who always needs someone to lead her. One of my favourite characters in this book is Diondra. Flynn shaped her into a tremendously horrifying character, in a savage way, despite her being a seventeen year old teenager.

I've read that this book is adapted into a movie too and I can't wait to see it immediately. Even though when I read the cast list, I just could not imagine how Charlize Theron playing Libby. So what's of Gillian Flynn that I need to read next? I'm just not sure it will be Gone Girl. Sharp Objects is in line immediately once I'm recovered from Gillian Flynn's syndrome.