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Sure, it sounds dramatic. Anything that “changes your life” is going to sound dramatic, honestly, because it is dramatic. You’re changing your life. Everything is different now.

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From the second you picked it up, you knew it was different. It flowed differently, it read to you. You couldn’t read fast enough, and as the pages flew by, you didn’t have a choice. You read it with feverish excitement, fierce engagement, and ferocity. You couldn’t wait to get to the end, but you can’t imagine it ending. And what happens after? The story just worked, and whether you were reading from a downtown subway car or under your bedsheets ’til dawn, it didn’t matter. You read breathlessly, with fervour, hanging off of each syllable, using the chapter breaks to catch your breath. You are a slave to this novel, mind, body, and soul, and there’s no use fighting it. It will steal your time, money, and brainpower, and you will accept it wholeheartedly.

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The story envelops you as no story has since you were a child. The author knows exactly what you need; but how can they know you so well? This book will become a filter on your life, affecting everything you think and feel for all of time. You will feverishly seek out everything the author has ever written. The book came at the time that you needed it most. It’s not like it was the first book you’ve ever read, but this one had something different. Something memorable. Like your first pet, you feel a sense of commitment and maternal fondness that only grew with time. Like your first love, you feel an overwhelming sense of adoration and intimacy that takes you by surprise. Like your first time having GOOD sex, you can’t believe what you’ve been missing. Like your first time living on your own, the freedom is astonishing. You’ll wonder how you lived with so many rules for so long, and how you never noticed.

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Books don’t talk back. They won’t use up all of your internet bandwidth, and they want nothing more than to be enjoyed. They seek no electricity, no nourishment, and they will never, ever ask you for your Wi-Fi password. They’ll never run out of batteries, and never ask of anything in return.

“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”
-Mark Twain

I’ve always felt that everything written is co-related. A major part of writing as a youth and young adult comes from what you write in school. We’re taught essay structure and planning. We’re taught to balance arguments and lead strong, life lessons that passed most of us by because we were too busy hating high school English (compulsory English means 80% of the kids don’t want to be there, and the other 20% weren’t ballsy enough to fuel a decent academic environment). State your point, elaborate with your three arguments, and restate your point by the end. If the essay is good, you’ll understand their points. If the essay is great, those points will affect your course of thought. A great novel does the same. It changes your perception. It takes you out of your world and into another, one with ideas and frivolities and dangers that open your mind.

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You will remember this book more than 99% of your high school, 80% of your first year of post-sec, and much of your childhood. It will find times to make you laugh, cry, and ironically show up when you need it most. It will torture you, punch you in the face, and throw you down an elevator shaft, only to meet you at the bottom with another swift kick in the teeth. And when you’re finished, it’s like the first day of summer. Where do you start next?

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“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”
-George R.R. Martin

If you’re lucky, this book will start an inevitable change in your life, and you will unleash upon yourself the mind-blowing abilities of what it’s like to really be a lover of books. You will read so many stories of different places and people and times that your memories and your books will become entwined. You will become overcome with historical wanderlust, and you will begin to judge people on their taste in books (or lack thereof). As the digital revolution progresses, there will always be a small, nagging fear in the back of your mind that they will stop printing books altogether, but you quell that thought with another stockpile purchase from Chapters whenever it arises. You will learn that there is a right timing for everything in life, especially books. You will catch yourself buying a second copy of your favourite book so you can freely wear out the first one without guilt. You will fall in love with books in a way that changes everything else in your life and makes falling in real love even more extraordinary. Welcome to Crazy, we love it here.

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“Do not pity the dead, pity the living, and above all those who respond “I don’t read,” to the question “What’s your favorite book?”

This post is both spoiler- and gluten-free.

1. “It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard-drinking people.”

“You can hold your tongue, and, moreover, you can time any little irregularity of your own so that everybody else is so blind that they don’t see or care.” -The Great Gatsby, page 77.

ADVICE FOR THE AGES. Seriously. It can be just as entertaining, and less messy.

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2. It teaches you something about language.

The book isn’t super focused on character development. You don’t really get a straight-up backstory from Fitzgerald, he winds a tale of sobering language and fantastical word choice that speaks differently. The language isn’t difficult, but it’s woven together in a timeless, sophisticated manner than just flows. You can really sense the textures and feelings he writes:

“She was only extemporizing, but a stirring warmth flowed from her, as if her heart were trying to come out to you concealed in one of those breathless, thrilling words. ”

“Her face, above a spotted dress of dark blue crepe-de-chine, contained no facet or gleam of beauty, but there was an immediately perceptible vitality about her as if the nerves of her body were continually smouldering.”

“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars […] already the halls and salons and verandas are gaudy with primary colours, and hair shorn in strange new ways, and shawls beyond the dreams of Castile. The bar is in full swing, and floating rounds of cocktails permeate the garden outside, until the air is alive with chatter and laughter, and casual innuendo and introductions forgotten on the spot, and enthusiastic meetings between women who never knew each other’s names.”

His words had life and verve, and he was very familiar with Lesson #3.

3. The Twenties were sexy.

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Everyone is cheating on each other from the very beginning, and whether that’s due to their prohibition-driven lifestyle, or their boozy parties, the foundation of much of their passion comes from taboo illegalities and forbidden badassery. Without all the adultery and cheating that goes on in the novel, there would be little to no plot. Not too shabby for the old days. It’s almost a hundred years old and still reads like new. Hence, these timeless lessons!

4. And jazz was badass.

In the twenties, jazz was an unadulterated, unfiltered, unmoderated, almost underground lifestyle, and the powerful music embodied exactly that. Baz Luhrmann’s new take on the film opts for a hip-hop core to the soundtrack, produced by none other than Jay-Z. Considering hip-hop started out the same way jazz did, it’s pretty damn fitting.

Get a FULL first listen to the soundtrack HERE on NPR Radio! 

5. “Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope.”

Basically: we would love to be judgement-free as a people, but it’s a pretty damn unattainable ideal. While that doesn’t slow our love for self-improvement and attempt at impartiality, Fitzgerald knew this in 1925, and it’s gone down as one of the more famous lines from the novel.

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6. Characters do not have to be likeable for the work to be great.

One of the major reasons I hated this book in high school was because the characters just seemed ridiculous. This Daisy girl really doesn’t seem all that special, and everyone just seemed to be in this weird unreality that I didn’t get. On the surface, it’s a book of first world problems and the dissolution of the American Dream, but gaaaaah it’s so much more than that.

In this fabulous summary by John Green, he lays it out perfectly: “You’re not supposed to like Daisy Buchanan, at least not in the uncomplicated way that you like, say, cupcakes. […] She doesn’t have to be likeable to be interesting.” WITHOUT ACCEPTING THIS, YOU ARE READING WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED. YOU ARE A DEAF MAN AT A CONCERT. I want to shout it from the rooftops: ignorance is NOT bliss.

The full video is below, and is one of the best, easiest tools to simultaneously enjoy, understand, and respect this novel properly. Watch the intro if you’ve never read the book, but the rest of the video assumes you’ve read the book. So if you haven’t, get on it. Seriously, the book is less than 200 pages, and not a hard read. Just do it.

7. “You can’t repeat the past.” -Nick Carraway

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1. Jennifer Lawrence. Since her 2011 Oscar nom for the indie hit Winter’s Bone (readily available on Netflix, just saying), it’s only been a matter of time til every person on the planet loves J.Law as much as I do. Not only did she take to The Hunger Games perfectly, but her solid roles in the X-Men franchise, romantic chops demonstrated in Like Crazy (also on Netflix, a beautiful, relatable, engrossing mush-fest of a love story with Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones), and general approachable girl-next-door image have propelled her to the forefront of magazines all over the world.

JLAW covers FLAWLESS

2. Bradley Cooper. The Hangover, Limitless, Wedding Crashers, a dozen other awesome roles, and he’s People’s Sexiest Man Alive. Seriously. ‘Nuff said.

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Also, his character is really into working out. Which, you know, bodes well for people who like watching Bradley Cooper get all sweaty, and, yeah.

3. The book is different, and just as awesome. The changes in the film are totally valid, and – as someone who watched the movie, then read the book – reading the book doesn’t ruin the movie, and seeing the movie doesn’t ruin the book. Matthew Quick has a fresh, interesting, perspective form of writing that is easy to follow, but a great piece of literature.

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4. It’s one of those movies nominated for a million awards that you won’t have to sedate yourself to sit through. This movie is all about the human experience, perspective, and people. It’s hard not to find someone to relate to, and its incredible cast is honestly just a bonus. I loved The Kings Speech, but it’s not usually something I’ll pull out on movie night. It’s funny enough that guys can sit through the romance, it’s serious enough to hold your attention, and mmmmmmmmmmm Bradley Cooper.

5. David O. Russell. Awesome thing about David O. Russell #1: He was an executive producer on Anchorman. Awesome thing about David O. Russell #2: He directed 2010’s The Fighter,  and 2004’s existential comedy I Heart Huckabees. With a track record like that, Silver Linings is another gold star on his portfolio.

6.  Seriously though, Jennifer Lawrence. Vanity Fair called her “uncensored,” “unguarded,” and “a human being, [rather] than a well-coached witness.” It’s her uncensored-ness, her imperfections, and her general quirkiness that sets her apart. She’s quirky in a way that people appreciate – candid and honest, approachably beautiful, and adorably imperfect. It’s her endearing imperfections and lack of polish (seriously, these are all meant in the BEST way possible) that made VF title her the world’s “Most Desirable Woman” on the February 2013 cover.

One more reason to love J.Law:


“My nickname literally is Jeff Bridges.”

Watch the Silver Linings trailer:

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