Books That Make You Think
Updated: Aug 7
I literally just finished Field Notes on Love a few minutes ago. This is a book that has really gotten my brain going. Before you even start, yes, this is a romance book. Don't make that face. Hear me out on this one. I know a lot of people have negative connotations on romance books.
I don't understand them, because you don't read a romance book for language you'd find in a Chaucer book - I digress. Anyway, I believe this book goes a bit beyond the romance. While it's there and it's fun, I didn't find it overly immediate or unbelievable. There are some harsh reviews of the whole premise of this book, but that's not why I'm bringing it to your attention.
This book is all about the main characters finding out who they really are and what they want their voices to say. Each of them have a different problem and need to find their answers in a different way, but it was a story that really hit home for me.
Hugo - the male character is the youngest of sextuplets (yikes - I feel bad for his mom!). He's never really been one person, he's been part of this group his whole life. He doesn't really get a voice or an opinion. He doesn't really get a say in his future. Everything is planned out for him. His story focuses on finding his own voice and stepping away from the shadow of his family and into his own limelight.
Mae - the female character is the daughter of a gay couple. She knows exactly what she wants to do with her life and is actually pretty good at it. However, she doesn't know how to put her own voice into what she produces. She doesn't know how to open herself up. She won't let the world see her for who she really is. Her story focuses on finding out how to open her heart and let her voice shine through her work.
A lot of people drill down on the specifics of a story. They look for everything wrong with it. They criticize how it's not done the way they would have done it. I think a little bit differently than that. If I enjoyed the story, then I'm happy with it. There may be something things I would have done differently as a writer, but as a reader, I just want to be lost in the story.
This story is one that I not only lost myself in, but I also found myself in. It's overall message is to go after what you want with everything you have. You have to figure out what you want out of your life and you have to do everything you can to get it. It doesn't help to just know what you want - you have to know who you are and why you're doing it. You have to get personal.
I'm still figuring out what I want. I'm still trying to find my way in the world. I know I have a voice, but I don't know exactly what I want to say just yet. I don't know if I ever will. I think that's the scariest part. Maybe I should answer the questions they pose in the book?
What's your biggest dream?
- My biggest dream is to finally understand what I'm meant to be doing. It's to understand what I'm capable of and what I can do to improve the world around me. It doesn't even have to be the whole world - even if it's just my community, I want to know how I can do something that makes an impact. I want to stop searching for my passion, my purpose in life. My biggest dream is to finally be at peace with the path I'm taking and be perfectly content in my life.
This may not sound like a big dream, but I've struggled with not knowing what I've wanted to do my entire life. I feel like I go through a phase of not knowing what I'm passionate about or what I love every three to six months. It feels like I can never find peace in the decisions I make because I never know if they're the right ones or ones that are the best for me. It feels like I get lost so easily.
What's your biggest fear? (What's your greatest hope?)
- My biggest fear is never finding out what I'm meant for. It's the fear of never finding my own voice or having my own opinion. It's the fear of never really knowing myself or what I want out of life. It's the fear of going down a path that I end up hating. It's the fear of never being content with the life I'm living.
I'm adding the greatest hope question - even though it wasn't actually a question asked in the book. I think my greatest hope is that someday, I'll be able to look back on my life and realize that everything was worth it. I think my greatest hope is to realize joy as much as possible and to stop letting my fears, doubts, and insecurities get in the way of finding out what I truly want and going after it.
What do you love most about the world?
- What I love most about this world is that stories will always be told. It's that stories refuse to remain silent, lost to the history. It's that stories demand their place in the world, allowing us to connect to another soul through their story. It's being able to learn about the Ancient Egyptians because they insisted on telling stories. It's being able to shape how the futures looks by choosing the types of stories to tell.
If you could describe love in one word, what would it be?
- Contentment. I realize this may not sound overly romantic or exciting, but I think if you can't be in the same room as someone and sit in silence for an extended period of time and be perfectly content just because they are in the same room as you, then I don't believe you're truly in love. I think love is the act of wanting to be around someone - even when they drive you up the freaking wall and back down the other one. It's wanting to know everything you possibly can about them, but being perfectly content to wait to find out because that means you get to spend more time together.
What's the most important thing you'd bring with you on the train?
- This is one of the questions that was posed at the beginning of the book and while it doesn't really fit with the rest of the questions here, I still think it's important to include. I think asking someone this gives you an immediate idea of who that person is and what is most important to them. It immediately shows you their priorities.
For instance, for my husband, it'd most likely be his camera. He wants to capture the beauty of the world and the creatures that live in it. The camera is what he needs to do that. For me, I would take a notebook (and pen - I'm counting both of those as one, because let's be honest, you can't have one without the other). I use notebooks to capture my thoughts, record important information I want to keep, or just brainstorm ideas that I've had. A notebook is always on me and is something I'd never travel without.
Well, this is a MUCH longer post than my normal posts, but I did warn you at the beginning. This book gave me a lot of thoughts. I was going to record these thoughts, but I'm much better at writing everything down. Plus, this gives me a great excuse to share them with you. I tend to hoard all of the videos I've recorded recently.
Have you read any books that have gotten your noggin going? If you're up to it, answer the questions posed here! I'd love to read your answers. Feel free to comment here or if you want to keep them more personal, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. For now, I need to get back to my notebooks. :)
Have a bright and colorful day! Keep writing!