Check It Out: Big Magic

May 10, 2016


Have you ever encountered a book at the moment you needed its message most? I’ve experienced this phenomenon with a few titles over the years, including A History of Love by Nicole Krauss, Timequake by Kurt Vonnegut, and The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. These remain memorable to me, because when a book fills a void and provides affirmation or answers to something I’ve been struggling with, it tends to classify as a favorite.  

Today I am recommending my most recent run-in with this sensation, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, the best-selling author of Eat, Pray, Love.

Gilbert offers an empathetic and passionate guide to creative living by encouraging readers, not to quit their day jobs, but to pursue ambitions —however big or small—driven by curiosity rather than fear.

Big Magic is structured in six sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity. Her writing is conversational and, at times, laugh-out-loud funny, yet she offers authority in her subject through humility, research, and powerful personal experience. I remember seeing Gilbert’s Ted Talks on creativity, and thinking “she should really write a book about that.” Big Magic is that book.

Gilbert begins by stating, “If you are alive, you are a creative person.” She continues by encouraging the reader to “Be brave. Without bravery, she writes, you will never know the world as richly as it longs to be known. Without bravery, your life will remain small — far smaller than you probably wanted your life to be.”

She provides insights on fostering inspiration through overcoming self-doubt and calls upon her reader to pursue any activity that opens them up to wonder or joy. Her love of creative living is infectious, and left me engaged, inspired, and eager to recommend.

Find this vivid book and many more at the Sioux City Public Library.  

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Support for Check It Out comes from Avery Brothers.