Beauty is terror.

On Tuesdays I write a bit about what I’ve been reading lately.

The Secret History

I’ve read a lot since my last book update, but I’m just going to skip ahead to the latest book I finished, which is The Secret History by Donna Tartt.

The pages beg to be turned…Tells you whodunit on the first page and makes you read on hungrily to discover the how and why. – People

I have read this book twice before, but not for about twenty years (and yes, it is crazy to me that I am now old enough to say things like that). I remembered loving it when I first picked it up. I was maybe 16. I still loved it this go-round, too, although I imagine it was for different reasons. Back then, I probably identified more strongly with the narrator, Richard. I was probably as dazzled as he was by the other characters, by how unapproachable and romantic they all seemed. Now I see everyone in the book differently, (perhaps more realistically and with a lot more sympathy), but I still enjoyed the story immensely. I’m glad I had forgotten most of it; it wound up feeling almost new to me.

Here is a post that lists 10 reasons to love this book and I’d have to agree with all of them, especially #10 (emphasis mine):

It lets you in on secrets. Tartt’s title is a cracker, not least because it is true to the appeal of the book. We, like Richard, are being given membership of a select group. One secret is given away at the book’s opening, only because we can be assured that others lie in store. Every one of the millions who have read The Secret History has the delicious illusion of being admitted to the most dangerous of confidences. It is as if her every reader is the first and only one to read it.

This is certainly how I felt the first time I read it, as if I had stumbled on something special that no one else knew about. Back then, the internet wasn’t what it is now (and I didn’t have a computer, anyway); I had no idea this story had such a huge following!

Here is a cool (spoiler-free) video review of the book I found on Youtube.

The copy the reviewer holds up at the beginning of this video looks just like the one I used to check out of the library all those years ago! It is so pretty (I’m sure that is why I picked it up in the first place), I sort of want to hunt down a first edition and buy it for my very own. But I am a minimalist these days; I probably don’t need any more things ;)…Right?

Here are a few other fun links I’ve found, too, for people who are obsessed with enjoyed this book:

The Book Drum profile, including “illustrated page-by-page notes, mapped settings, a glossary, a summary, an author biography and a review.”

A Tumblr dedicated to the book, with some amazing (fan-created?) artwork.

8 Great Books for Fans of The Secret History (darn it, now I want to read every one of these, too!)

Happy reading,



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