I just finished reading The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I really liked it, I’d definitely recommend it. I really had no idea what the book was about before I started it, so I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen.
Isn’t it funny how when you read a book that someone recommends to you, or go to see a movie, one of the first questions people ask is “what’s it about?”. As if we only want to see a movie or read a book if we already know what’s going to happen.
The book takes places across several decades, and in many different places, so it’s very unpredictable, and I thought the ending was perfect, which is not something that I say about endings very often.
Especially towards the end of the book, everything is very tense and you are sure everything can only end in complete catastrophe, but then there is a deliciously simple but completely unforeseen twist.
This excerpt was on of my favourites:
“Because here’s the truth: life is catastrophe. The basic fact of existence– of walking around trying to feed ourselves and find friends and whatever else we do– is catastrophe. Forget all this ridiculous ‘Our Town’ nonsense everyone talks: the miracle of a newborn babe, the joy of one simple blossom, Life You Are Too Wonderful To Grasp, &c. For me– and I’ll keep repeating it doggedly till I die, till I fall over on my ungrateful nihilistic face and am too weak to say it: better never born, than born into this cesspool. Sinkhole of hospital beds, coffins and broken hearts. No release, no appeal, no “do-overs” to employ a favored phrase of Xandra’s, no way forward but age and loss, and no way out but death….And maybe it’s ridiculous to go on in this vein, although it doesn’t matter since no one’s ever going to see this– but does it make any sense at all to know that it ends badly for all of us, even the happiest of us, and that we all lose everything that matters in the end–and yet to know as well, despite all this, as cruelly as the game is stacked, that it’s possible to play it with a kind of joy?”
The Goldfinch plot centers around a famous painting. The story contained a lot of discussion about art history, and different artists and painting styles, which was really interesting to me.
I had been wanting to check out Khan Academy for awhile, so I went on there once I finished the book, and saw that one of their courses in an intro to basic art history, so I’ve been working my way through that in my spare time.
They also have math, history, and science courses, and courses on taking test like the SAT’s, LSAT’s, and GMAT. Definitely check it out if you feel like doing some book learnin’.