Book Review : The Picture of Dorian Gray

First of all, the picture above is of Ben Barnes, the lead actor in the film “Dorian Gray”; I thought this would be more appealing than the photo of the book.

As we all know, this book is a modern interpretation and version of the legend of Faust, a scholar who made a pact with the Devil, trading his soul in change of knowledge and pleasure. The temptation, in Dorian’s case, is timeless and ageless beauty. His portrait is painted by Basil Hallward, a man who some think was infatuated with the protagonist himself, and Dorian, influenced by a new acquaintance, Lord Henry Wotton, an aristocrat who enjoys having philosophical debates, unfortunately says that he would do anything for the picture to age instead of him. Unknowingly, in that instant, he makes a pact with the Devil. Therefore, for every year that passes, the portrait ages and for every crime he makes or sin he sins, the portrait becomes more and more horrendous. There are indeed a couple sub-plots, but the most important one is Dorian’s journey, which culminates in him thinking that the only way out of all that he has done was a full confession and I think we all know how that ends. If not, then it is time you read this book.

This was the most difficult and intricate book I have ever read, in all honesty. It was long and there were many philosophical dialogues, which voiced Oscar Wilde’s opinions. Every action and every word has a meaning. The main themes in this novel are Beauty and Pleasure, the only thing worth having and feeling. I can understand why some critics of that century disliked the book, saying that it was too hedonistic and unclean and that Wilde did not portray English moralism as it really was. But as a 21st century reader, I do think that I can agree with Lord Henry on many aspects; of course not on those that are misogynistic.

Have I liked this book? Yes, especially towards the end, since it becomes filled with action. I would give it a 7,5/10. I read it mostly because it is considered a classic of 19th century literature and because I really wanted to see what Mr. Wilde was all about.

I will leave you to some quotes and passages which I particularly enjoyed.

“You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit.”

“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.”

“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

“The world is changed because you are made of ivory and gold. The curves of your lips rewrite history.”

xx

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Birthday Haul 2016

As you may have seen, February 5th was my birthday! It went great; I like to keep things simple and classy, since I am not someone you would call a party girl. My birthday was on Friday and that evening my parents and I went out for dinner. The following day, Saturday, I had another dinner with my best friend, her sister, and their respective boyfriends. We ate a lot. I mean it. I instantly regretted wearing a tight dress.

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As far as gifts go, as I said before, I do not need anything. Any gift that was given to me was something I wanted, not needed, therefore the gifts may seem quite superficial. But oh well, I am quite superficial myself.

First, from my parents, besides something sentimental and a bouquet of red roses from my father, I got a classic eau de toilette, Opium by Yves Saint Laurent. This is the most intense fragrance I have ever owned and I am impressed it is not an eau de parfum. It has a very strong scent that lasts for a very long time, so you only need a drop or two around your neck and one on your wrists. The packaging is also very pretty.

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From my friends I got a gift card for Yamamay, which is a lingerie and underwear store here in Italy. I still have to actually go and buy something.

Also from them, I got two makeup palettes that I really wanted. They are both from ZOEVA and they are gorgeous.

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The first one is called En Taupe and, just like the name says, it is full of taupe, pink and purple colours, both matte and shimmery. This is a perfect day palette, with a twist. Less boring than the predictable brown, I think. Below you have the pictures, without and with flash.

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The second palette is Cocoa Blend and it is full of rich, warm colours. You can pick any colours and make an amazing look. I love love love it, especially the reddish shimmery colour.

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This is about it. Thank you for reading, once again.

xx

Motivation

So this is a very touchy topic. Wether we are talking about work, fitness or social life, we all need some motivation every once in a while. And that motivation rarely comes from outside sources.

I have struggled and I still struggle with being motivated. For example, I know that I could do so so much better in school if I just were more motivated to work hard. But somehow, I give myself reasons to not be motivated and then I get frustrated with myself. It all turns into a vicious circle. The key out of that circle is finding something, an idea, a goal, to cling onto; every time you think of that goal you should get motivated. For me, it’s getting a job that will pay well enough to allow my parents to stop working and live peacefully and debt-free. That is obviously a long term goal, but every great action is built by small habits.

As far as fitness and healthy-living goes, I get very motivated when I watch youtube videos of Crossfit, for example, because that’s what I aspire to do. I also get an adrenaline rush and I crave to go to the gym as soon as I see the Fitness section on Pinterest. I believe that that social network is extremely helpful when it comes to motivating and lifting people up. That, and fashion and beauty, are the only sections I am really interested in on Pinterest, sine I am not much of a DIY kind of person. If you want to follow me, this is the link.

So, as far as tips go, here are my 3 tips :

  • find a goal, wether it is short or long term, it does not matter, just find something to strive towards; it can be next week’s test, a possible promotion or another two pounds off
  • be that person who everyone classifies as a hard worker, someone who is obsessed. This is tightly linked to the tip above : you first set a goal and then you become obsessed with it, just like the MMA fighter, Conor McGregor (follow him, he’s amazing and confident). These two below might just be my favourite quotes of all time.

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“There’s no talent here, this is hard work. This is an obsession. Talent does not exist, we are all equal as human beings. You could be anyone if you put in the time. You will reach the top, and that [is] that. I am not talented, I am obsessed.”

  • find inspiration, wether it comes from the inside, from people you know or from websites, you should find role models and people who are above you on the ladder of success and you should not look at them with envy, but with admiration and ambition to surpass them.
    That is all I could come up with : very simple and straight to the point.

Stay obsessed.

xx

Book Review – Doctor Sleep

Disclaimer : the photo above was not shot by me, but it was taken from Wikipedia. I would have taken a photo of my book, but I threw the dustcover away. I like the feel of the actual raw book in my hands, not the plastic cover on it.

Ah, Stephen King. Where do I even start? He is the one man who can make me look under the bed twice by just writing a sentence. The way this man writes is unlike any other and it makes me want to devour his books in record time, while listening for the smallest noises in my house.

I read The Shining this summer, usually during the night. Bad choice on my part. In order to finish it and get the “happy ending” (for lack of a better term) I stayed up until 3 am. Having read a couple of his other works (It, Full Dark no Stars), which I have added in my favourite books post , I can honestly say that The Shining is the one that terrified me the most. Maybe it is because it talks about a father who turns on his family, albeit not on his own will, maybe because there is a child involved; I do not know what it is, but it is the most terrifying book I have read to date.

Fast forward to Doctor Sleep : Danny, the protagonist and one of the survivors of his father’s rage, is all grown up and he fell right in his father’s footsteps : he became an alcoholic. After a significant event which will haunt him for the rest of his life, he decides to put down roots in a small city, where he also finds a job in an hospice. His job, although his contract might disagree , is to bring comfort to dying patients, guiding them towards the end. In a nearby town, a couple of days before 9/11, a baby is born, called Abra, who shows the same abilities that Dan has, but much stronger. The two are destined to meet once they find out that a group of seemingly immortal individuals, the True Knot, that tortures and kills children like Abra in order to live longer, is after the girl herself. They, along with some other friends and family, have to defeat the Knot and its leader, Rose.

Well, let me just say that this is a 500 page book and I finished it in 4-5 days. That says a lot about this book : I could not put it down. It was full of action and turning points (one which left me literally shocked), in true King style, from start to finish. The thing I probably liked most is, besides the story and the action itself, the fact that Dan is extremely relatable : he did exactly what I thought he would not. First he was an alcoholic, then he went and got help and, even if he could have stayed out of the chaos, he was willing to risk and potentially lose his life for the little girl who, in my opinion, he saw as his young female counterpart. Dan is not your typical hero, he is not spotless, he is flawed; but despite those flaws he still made the right decision, simply because his willpower is strong.

As you can see, I did enjoy this book quite a lot. Therefore I give it a 9/10.

xx