Feb 9, 2013

Of Separate Peaces and Faults in Our Stars

Have you experienced those days when you just want to drown yourself in reading? Maybe you bought new books, you have nothing to do or you just want to be lost from the real world and be found in the company of new characters. Those days for me spelled A Separate Peace by John Knowles and The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Both books have more similarities than the first names of their authors.

I find Separate Peace relatable because of its setting minus the early years of World War II. And because of the themes surrounding the novel - competition; though you might find it confusing who the main character is really competing against. "Beginning with a tiny incident among ordinary boys, it ends by being as deep and as big as evil itself." The title will sound ironic by the end of the novel because even this "separate peace" which the two best friends created will eventually be distorted. The inner war in this book is more poignant than WWII itself.

“So the more things remained the same, the more they changed after all. Nothing endures. Not love, not a tree, not even a death by violence.” Since nothing endures, we have this need to relish each fleeting moment. And that's how you will mostly feel about one of the characters.

Speaking of fleeting moments, The Fault in Our Stars is about two characters who cherished each other's company knowing that one of them will eventually die sooner that most of us are expecting. It's probably the "perks of cancer" or "side effects of dying."  

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. There's .1 and .12 and .112 and an infinite collection of others. Of course, there is a bigger infinite set of numbers between 0 and 2, or between 0 and a million. Some infinities are bigger than other infinities. A writer we used to like taught us that. There are days, many of them, when I resent the size of my unbounded set. I want more numbers than I'm likely to get, and God, I want more numbers... But... I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.”

That quote reminded me of an interview we did with the late painter, Joey Velasco. We asked him which year in his life did he wanted to last twice as long. He said that the length doesn't matter, but the quality of life we live in those 365 days. It's how we create and treat those infinities in our given set of time frame.

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