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Book Profile: For the Lovesick Ones

Updated: 1 day ago

December 20, 2023

 


Black-and-white photograph of book.


The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller



I have never been into Greek mythology, perhaps simply because I had not previously understood it; however, the story of Patroclus and Achilles is one which can be enjoyed and admired by both the knowledgeable and the ignorant. It is driven and true, a genuinely compelling journey punctuated with battle scenes thorough and authentic, fit for the adrenaline-seeking. It holds the power and influence of The Odyssey or The Iliad without the probability of poetic confusion. Supporting characters are dedicated in their craft and drawn toward the inevitable prosperity of victory, though thorough and multi-faceted in their lurking intentions not of blood in battle but the binding of family, and the so yearned-for return to it following a decade of aimlessly wandering the land of troy with no clear victor. Love is witnessed as true, soft, and intense, though tested in increasingly cruel tribulations, from which all characters attempt for recovery and rebound, some more successful than others. The growth of kind, generous friends to quietly intense lovers, sustained by a loss of innocence; the endurance of the emotionally and mentally unimaginable for the mere sake of the beloved; and a soft, tenderly bittersweet closing, the illustration of a three-thousand-year-old love, is what you will find in The Song of Achilles.




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Letters to Milena by Franz Kafka


 

I have just recently been introduced to the works of Kafka, and as I have not had much prior experience with his work, I hadn’t known what to expect when deciding to indulge in not one of his novels, but one of his memoirs—the letters he wrote to a woman named Milena Jesenská from 1920 to 1923. This work, naturally, as it is derived and forged in the disdain of truth and actuality, is undoubtedly Kafka at his most vulnerable and explicit. Kafka’s writing is magnetic, enigmatic, and often ambiguous, therefore savoring an understanding meant only for the eyes and souls of him and Milena. Nevertheless, the public has been allowed into their intimacy since this memoir’s first printing in 1952, and remains not only a tracing of his own life, but his thoughts surrounding an array of topics, both the hypothetical and the actual. Within this memoir readers are introduced to Kafka’s inner philosophies concerning the concepts of life, death, burden, loss, sacrifice, and love—the ever-uncontrollable. It is desirous. If I were to sum up this work in a matter of words, I would say confidently that Letters to Milena is a despairingly sweet haunting that never really goes away—and you are both burdened and glad for it.




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Me Before You by Jojo Moyes



I first came into contact with this novel two years ago when I ordered it after having been introduced to the 2016 film adaptation of the novel. It subsequently sat on my shelf those full two years until I picked it up in December 2021. When I finished this novel, I didn’t want to review it; I wanted to reread it. I cannot begin to describe the magnificence, the silent tragedy that this novel is. It is treacherous—unbearable at times—but worst of all it’s truthful in actuality. It tells the story of a love of an unimaginable magnitude only to be crippled—an undying love which dies with them. This novel demonstrates the fullness of hope, and the heartbreak all the same. It demonstrates the lesson of living one’s life to its absolute fullest, with or without your lover. It is a remarkable and nauseating read. If anybody wants a copy, don’t borrow mine because it is currently stained with tears. Note: the plot of this novel is founded largely on the concepts of suicide and can be very triggering. I do believe there should be a trigger warning in this novel.




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Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott with Mikki Daughtry and Tobias Iaconis



I had first heard of this novel from the constant commercials of its onscreen adaptation. From the clips I viewed, I could tell this novel was one of sincerity, love, grief, and a touch of sadism: two lovers kept astray from one another because of the disease they’ve been plagued with and dare not to transmit to one another. There is no true love so debilitating as forbidden love—and this novel is a wonderful illustration of such.




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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green



There has never been a novel more raw and honest than this one, and more bitterly sweet and sweetly bitter. This novel is both a humorous tragedy and a tragic comedy, written thoroughly and sincerely, and with just a touch of reckless adventure, adolescent desire, and the allure of the unknown ending. Should be on the shelf of every reader known to man.




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If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan



This novel is particularly bittersweet, following the forbidden romance between two women in a world of heteronormativity. It is moving; it is sharp; it is passionate—and it is just enough to shatter the soul and have you staring at the ceiling for hours after finishing.




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Call Me By Your Name (and Find Me) by André Aciman



The media practically combusted at the emergence of Call Me By Your Name onscreen and, admittedly, I was amazingly curious. The subject matter of the book was first was intrigued me—LGBTQIA+ representation—but it was André’s poetic elegance that made me stay. The story is beautifully crafted, if even a tad bold and trying, and I admire him for his writing abilities. Find Me, the lesser-known sequel, is arguably just as spirited.



 

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