Archive for the 'Book Reviews' Category

Reading Challenge 2012

Hulyo 29, 2012

Ang alam ko gagawin ko dapat na tahanan ng mga book reviews ko ang blog na ito. Pero kagaya nga ng pauli-ulit ko nang nasabi, medyo lumihis ng konti ang direksyon nito. Pero wag kayong mag-alala. Hindi naman ako sumira sa aking pangako na ngayon taon ay susubsob ako sa pagbabasa. Lalo pa’t naparami na ang mga nakatambak kong libro sa munti kong estante (mga binili ko sa bookstore at nahagilap sa booksales).

Noong bakasyon, naisipan kong gumawa ng account sa Goodreads. At doon ko nakatagpo ang Reading Challenge 2012. Kung gusto nyo’ng malaman kung ano ‘yon, hindi na kailangan ng malalim na pag-iisip at out-of-this-world na paliwanag. ‘Yon na nga ‘yon. Kung ano ang ibig sabihin ng pangalan. Reading Challenge. Hehe. Kumbaga, gagawa ka ng pangako kung gaano karami ang librong babasahin mo sa taong ito. At tutulungan ka ng Goodreads na maglista. Ngayon, mayroon nang 257,407 na katao na sumali rito at 15,359,919 ang bilang ng mga librong ipinangakong tatapusin ngayong taon. At sa bilang na mga ito, 756  na ang mga nakatupad ng Challenge. At masaya ako dahil ngayong araw na ito, kabilang na ako sa mga numerong yan! (Click nyo na lang yung picture medyo hindi kasi convincing sa anggulong yan. hihi.)

Isa ang pagsali sa Goodreads at partikular na sa Reading Challenge 2012 sa mga desisyon na ikinatutuwa ko ngayong taon. Hindi naman kasi ako yung tipo ng tao na basta nadadala sa encouragement at mabulaklak na usapan lang. Napansin ko, madalas mas nakakapag-deliver ako ng maayos kapag may kasamang pressure at pananakot. Hindi naman sa wala akong inisyatibo o ano, at hindi rin dahil saduwag ako. Mas umeepekto lang talaga sa akin kapag alam kong ‘pag may bagay akong hindi ginawa o hindi tinupad, at alam kong kailangang-kailangan ko s’yang gawin ay mabibigo ko ang sarili ko o ang ibang tao. At ayokong-ayoko yung pakiramdam na may maha-hassle akong iba. Kaya para tuluyan kong matapos ang bagay na sinimulan ko, dapat palaging may magpapaalala sakin na dapat kong tapusin ang bagay na yon. Kaya nga trip na trip ko yung Reading Challenge Widget na tipong panampal sa mukha ko kapag dumadaan ang isang linggo na ‘di man lang nadaplisan ni cover ng libro ang mga palad ko.

Hindi naman karamihan ang mga librong ipinangako kong basahin ngayong taon. Kakaunti lang. Kahit na gusto kong maging mapangarapin at sabihin sa sarili kong kaya kong ubusin lahat ng librong nakatambay, inaalikabok at baka nga tinubuan na ng amorseco sa bookshelf ko, eh naging makatotohanan na lang ako sa pagbibigay ng bilang. Sabi ko, swak na siguro ang kwarenta – hindi ganoon karami, at di rin ganoon kakonte.

At eto ang First 40 ko sa taong ito (mula sa pinaka-unang nabasa hanggang sa huli):

1. Ist to Die (James Patterson)

2. The 9th Judgement (James Patterson)

3. The Jester (James Patterson and Andrew Gross)

4. Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin (Bob Ong)

5. The Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan)

6. The Sea of Monsters (Rick Riordan)

7. The Titan’s Curse (Rick Riordan)

8. The Battle of the Labyrinth (Rick Riordan)

9. The Last Olympian (Rick Riordan)

10. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (J. K. Rowling)

11. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J. K. Rowling)

12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J. K. Rowling)

13. Anansi Boys (Neil Gaiman)

14. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)

15. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)

16.  Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins)

17. Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)

18. Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami)

19. Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (Haruki Murakami)

20. A Wild Sheep Chase (Haruki Murakami)

21. Alamat ng Gubat (Bob Ong)

22. Macarthur (Bob Ong)

23. Kapitan Sino (Bob Ong)

24. Ligo na U, Lapit na Me (Eros S. Atalia)

25. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C.S. Lewis)

26. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (C. S. Lewis)

27. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (C.S. Lewis)

28. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair (C.S. Lewis)

29. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy (C.S. Lewis)

30. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew (C.S. Lewis)

31. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle (C.S. Lewis)

32. Ang Paboritong Libro ni Hudas (Bob Ong)

33. ‘Wag Lang ‘Di Makaraos (Eros S. Atalia)

34. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

35. Memories of My Melancholy Whore (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

36. For One More Day (Mitch Albom)

37. Jonathan Livingston Seagull (Richard Bach)

38. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)

39. The Filipino Heroes League: Sticks and Stones (Paolo Fabregas)

40. Catch a Falling Star (Cristina-Pantoja Hidalgo)

Mga Napansin Ko:

-Labu-labo ang mga nabasa ko. Kung ano ang madampot at mainteresan.

-Pag nagustuhan ko ang writer, madalas nagfa-follow up ako agad ng iba nyang gawa

-Maraming fantasy at pang-bagets

-Halos kontemporaryo lahat, hindi lalampas sa lima ang medyo may kalumaan na

-Hindi na rin masama ang makabasa ng gawa ng apat na pinoy. Dadagdagan ko yan sa susunod

Mga Pag-amin:

-Pinaka natuwa ako sa mga gawa ni Murakami at humahanga ako sa istilo ng kanyang pagsulat

-Sobra kong naenjoy ang pagbabasa ng mga librong pambagets. Nagpapasalamt ako sa Percy Jackson Series

-Medyo natuwa ako sa Harry Potter pero nasa kalagitnaan pa rin ako ng Book Four

-Pinaka-challenging ang pagbabasa ng Love in the Time of Cholera (ang haba kasi)

-Pinaka light ang Gaiman at Bob Ong

-Sobrang na-disappoint ako kay Atalia noon sa Ligo na U. Pero naa-appreciate ko na sya at ang pagsusulat nya ngayon dahil sa Wag Lang…

-Pinaka may tama sa akin ang Kapitan Sino ni Bob Ong at ang The Book Thief

-Pang-Kristyano pala ang tema ng Chronicles of Narnia

-Masarap magbasa sa madaling araw, pag nag-aantay ng bus at fx (dati nayayabangan ako sa mga nakikita kong gumagawa nito) at twing may bakanteng oras sa trabaho

-Iba pa rin ang magbasa ng aktuwal na libro na naaamoy mo kesa sa ebook

***

Putulin ko na dito. Ang haba na eh. Magpapatuloy pa rin ako sa pagbabasa. Natuwa lang ako at natapos ko na. Kongrats sa sarili ko!

Wag Lang ‘Di Makaraos

Hunyo 16, 2012
Mas nagustuhan ko ang atake ni Eros sa mga dagling napabilang sa librong ito. Muli, napatunayan ang personal kong hinala na mas magiging nakaka-aliw ang porma ng kanyang panitikan kung hindi ito magiging napakahaba (na tulad ng Ligo na U, Lapit na Me). Sa anyong ito, mas nadama ko ang kanyang indibidwalidad bilang manunulat, kung anong klaseng pag-iisip ang taglay ni G. Eros Atalia.Pinatunayan rin ng akdang ito kung gaano kalaki ang kaibahan ng paraan ng pagpapatawa ni Eros kay Bob (sorry na, nabanggit ko na naman si Bob). May sarili siyang istilo, na kung ipapapatuloy nya, sa palagay ko ay isang potensyal na maaring magluklok sa kanya sa parehong liga ng tagumpay na nakamit ni Ong.Marami akong naibigan. Maituturing kong personal na umangat para sa akin ang kanyang “Si Maam Kasi” na tumalakay kung paanong madalas ay pinaniniwalaan natin kung ano lang ang mga nais nating paniwalaan at ang “Birthday Wish” na sa aking palagay ay papasang bagong commercial ng McDo sa taglay na kadramahan.

Dahil dyan, napabili tuloy ako ng bago nyang libro sa NBS kanina, ang IT’S NOT THAT COMPLICATED.

Sana magustuhan ko rin ‘to. (kasi so far, sa 3 Eros Atalia books na pag-aari ko at nabasa ko, nakaka-one point pa lang sya.)Irerekomenda ko ang librong ito sa aking mga kaibigan. hihihihi
P.S.
Salamat kay DwightD ng Ang Nasasakdal dahil na-engganyo akong bilhin ang librong ito ng mabasa ko ang review nya. Special mention sa’yo!

Macarthur

Mayo 3, 2012

RATING: 3 out of 5

Sorry Bob.

Di ko masyadong natripan to.

Magaling pa rin as usual.

Mahusay ang pagkakasulat.
Mahusay ang paglalahad ng kwento.
Mahusay ang paglalarawan sa mga karakter.
Mahusay ang paglalagay ng puso sa mga katoto nating adik.

Mahusay naman.

Hindi ko lang nakita ang totoong pinupunto ng kwento.
Para saan ba talaga ito?

Hinanapan ko lang ng signature mong pangungunsensya-slash-sarcasm.

Hindi ko lang siguro masyadong nagustuhan dahil hindi na bago sa akin ang lahat ng ito.

Ganito ang set up sa mundong tinitirahan ko.
Hindi ako adik ah.
Pero araw-araw ko na silang nakikita.

Yun lang.

Alamat ng Gubat

Mayo 3, 2012

RATING: 4 out of 5

Sabi sa kin ng mga kaibigan ko noon na nakabasa na nito pangit raw ito.

Di man lang sinabing “hindi maganda”. Pangit talaga ang ginamit. Madali lang naman kaya mag-euphemize.

Abnoy pala sila eh. Sila ang pangit! Ganda kaya nito!

Hindi ko maalala kung saan ko napulot, pero narinig ko dating tinawag na jungle ang Pilipinas. Ewan ko kung literal o figurative. Pero pwede naman pareho.

Gubat ang setting kaya syempre, hayop ang mga tauhan.

Sa gubat na ito, marami ang umaastang hari. At maraming naghahangad na maging pinakamakapangyarihan.

Marami sa atin ang kagaya ng mga karakter. Kilala natin ang mga katulad nina Leon, Aso, Langgam, Tipaklong, Kuneho, Tong, at pati yung badtrip na langaw.

Sinasalamin ng gubat ang bayan, at ng mga karakter ang bawat isa sa atin depende kung ano ang mga paniniwalang pinanghahawakan natin.

Masasabi kong isa ang Alamat ng Gubat sa mga paborito kong likha ni master Bob Ong.

Kapitan Sino

Mayo 3, 2012

RATING: 5 out of 5

Ang tagal kong tinangkang basahin ang librong ito. Siguro mga nakakalimang buwan na mula nang ninenok hiniram ko at iniuwi ang librong ito mula sa kasamahan ko sa trabaho. Ilang beses kong sinimulan. Ilang beses kong sinubukan Ate Charo. Pero hindi umubra. Parang may pumipigil sa aking basahin ito.
Hanggang sa maisipan kong mag-marathon ng mga Filipino authors kahapon. Nagbasa ako ng Tatlong Bob Ong at isang Eros S. Atalia. Pangatlo ito sa mga nabasa ko, huling akda ni Bob Ong sa araw na iyon.

Anong naging reaksyon ko?

Pagkababa ko ng libro ay napahiga ako sa kama. May kung anong gustong kumawala sa akin. Gusto kong magtatalon. Gusto kong sumigaw sa bintana. Gusto kong manigaw ng kapitbahay. Gusto kong magkulong sa kwarto at umupo lang sa isang gilid habang yapus-yapos ang dalawang binti. Gusto kong manulak ng bata sa tulay. Gusto kong magmura. Gusto kong awayin lahat ng tao sa bahay. Gusto kong kumanta. Gusto kong magsulat. Gusto kong bumalik sa nakaraan. Gusto kong mag-aral ulet. Gusto kong mapirmi sa isang tabi pero di ko magawa. Gusto kong itigil ang mundo ng mga oras na iyon.

Oo, ang OA nito. Pero ganyan talaga ang naramdaman ko.

Gusto kong buhusan ng tubig ang kung ano mang apoy na meron sa loob ko.

Gusto kong mag-rebolusyon.

Gusto kong magsimula ng pagbabago.

Ito ang unang beses na sobra akong naapektuhan ni Bob Ong. O baka nga ng kahit sino pang manunulat.Pasensya na kay Rizal pero hindi ganito katindi ang “intensity” ng naramdaman ko nang matapos ko ang Noli at Fili.

May nagising saking pagkamuhi, sa mga Pilipino at sa mga tao.

Bakit tayo oportunista?
Bakit tayo manggagamit?
Bakit tayo mayabang?
Bakit tayo makitid?
Bakit tayo walang utang na loob?
Bakit natin isinisisi ang lahat ng paghihirap sa iba?
Bakit tayo walang pakisama?
Bakit tayo nabubulagbulagan?
Bakit andali nating mauto ng pera?
Bakit masyado tayong makasarili?
Bakit hindi tayo tapat sa sarili at kapwa?
Bakit iniaasa natin sa kung sinong bathala o bayani ang kaginhawaan?
Bakit wala tayong pakialam sa iba?
Bakit wala tayong pakialam sa nakararami?
Bakit wala tayong pagpapahalaga sa dignidad natin bilang tao?
Bakit hindi tayo kumikilos?
Bakit hindi natin sinisimulang magbago?

Apektado talaga ako. Sobrang apektado.

Nakakabwisit na nakakaiyak na nakakasakit.

Kasi suspek rin ako. Aminado akong suspek din ako.

Pero ngayon,napagdesisyunan kong tatawid na ko sa kabilang kampo.
Gagawin ko ang lahat para mapatunayan ko sa sarili kong mabuti akong tao. Na kaya kong magpakatao.

Ligo na U, Lapit na Me

Mayo 3, 2012

RATING: 2 out of 5

Okay.

Bakit dos lang ang rating ko sa Ligo na U, Lapit na Me?

Kung ilalarawan ko ang akdang ito ni Prof. Eros S. Atalia, siguro ang gagamitin kong salita ay ALANGANIN.

Alanganin akong natawa sa mga tangka nya sa pagpapakwela.

Alanganin akong nadala sa mga dapat sanang umaatikabong eksena nina Jen at Intoy.

Alanganin akong nakumbinse sa mga ideolohiyang tinangkang ipasok ni Atalia sa bawat pahina.

Alanganin akong nakidalamhati kay Intoy sa ginawa nyang paglimot kay Jen.

Alanganin akong naniwala na si Eros Atalia ay kaliga ni Bob Ong pagdating sa paglikha ng mga kontemporaryong panitikan na ganito ang genre.

Nabasa ko na rin ang Peksman. Four out of five ang rating ko dito. Pero hindi nagkakalayo ang naramdaman ko nang basahin ko ang librong ito (Ligo na U) ni Eros. Ang katwiran ko noon, ibase natin sa susunod na gawa. Baka mas magustuhan ko yung sunod.Kaso wala naman akong nakitang kaibahan. At ang totoo, mas na-enjoy ko ang mga dagling idinagdag ni Eros dun sa una nyang libro. Iyon ang maituturing na hindi alanganin. Hindi bitin ang pakwela. Hindi bitin ang lalim. Hindi pilit. Natural.

Maikli lang naman ang librong ito kung tutuusin. Pero ang totoo, nahirapan akong tapusin. Hindi ko mapalampas na hindi mapansin ang ilang mga typo errors, grammar slips, at misspelling. Hindi naman ako grammar nazi o kung ano man. Naghahanap lang ako ng tama lalo’t nababasa ito ng madla. Seryosong tanong, anong ginawa ng editor? (o meron nga ba itong editor? Hindi ko rin alam.)

Maging ang intensyon ni Atalia na ipasok ang paniniwala nya at mga ideolohiya pagdating sa mga usaping pambansa, hindi ako masyadong nakumbinse. Hindi kagaya ni Ong (pasensya na sa pagkukumpara)na “seamless” ang pagkonekta sa istorya (kunsabagay, ito mismo kasi ang paksa ng istorya), hindi naging natural sa akin ang naging atake ni Atalia. Walang kaisahan sa eksena, tipong ninais lang lamnan ng ganitong ideya ang bawat pahina.

Biased naman talaga ang review kong ito dahil nga Bobongpinoyism ang relihiyon ko. Umaasa lang akong makakatagpo pa ako ng ibang mga kontemporaryong manunulat na hindi naman nasa kalibre ni Ong ay hindi naman nalalayo.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

Abril 22, 2012

Sex. Music. Booze. More sex. Death. Revolution. Hypocrisy. University life. More death.  Young love. 13-Year Old liars. Revolution. Past and Present Subjunctives. Lunch out. Writing letters. Skipping classes. The Beatles. Porn movies. Storm Trooper. Classic novels. Graphic. Erotic. Out of the box. Simple. Twisted. Mad world. Mad people. Past. Present. Real. Imagined. Life. Death again.

I don’t even know how to start a review of this novel so I just thought of typing words and phrases that pretty much sum up my first  Haruki Murakami  experience. I am not even sure if what I will be writing will pass as one.

Norwegian Wood  is all too new for me. I have definitely heard how a lot of people  praise Murakami’s works and Murakami’s ideas as a writer by reading about people’s reviews of his work. But I made it a point not to read the content of whatever Murakami novel they are reviewing or to focus so much on what they think of the story. I had wanted to experience reading his works first hand, with my mind devoid of other people’s thoughts on them. I read reviews just to make sure that I have sufficient background of what it will be like.

Turns out, one can never be completely prepared for Murakami’s unconventional ideas. Norwegian Wood is something like a privileged look at what is going through this man’s mind. It is not really his poetry or artistry you would admire. It’s the sickness of his ideas and the gravity of the impact it will create on you. You will love him and hate him at the same time for doing it. Anyone who has read Norwegian Wood would understand me if I say I had started to look at any 13-year old girl with suspicion now. Or how it would be difficult for me to look at reserved, shy 20-year old women and not think about how she is like when she’s alone with her boyfriend. I am betting Murakami will succeed in “polluting” your head with things you were afraid to imagine or have never even thought of. Whether you are ultra conservative or not is even beside the point.  His hard-to-believe ideas will linger in your head, initially with resistance, but after quite some time, you would be swayed to believing every single thought.

I finished Norwegian Wood after several attempts, probably on my third one. The first time I did read it, I made it until the first or second chapter, then I fell asleep. Weeks after, I tried it a second time and realized I had to reread the first two chapters again. So I did. This time I made it until Chapter 3. Then I seemed to lose interest and decided I’d put it aside first, go back to reading a young adult series, before I return to it. I finished the said series, but I never got back to Norwegian Wood and it lay dusty on my bed for two more weeks. Then last night, I finally found the urge to pick it up. I started rereading everything after dinner, and I stopped at  3 am, reserving the last few pages when I wake up.  I woke up at 10:00, and was done with the book 30 minutes after. It’s funny how I did not find it engaging at first, only to realize after how an interesting masterpiece it is.

I don’t think I should talk about the story. It’s but another love story, yet it’s something more. How sometimes in love you’re afraid to let go of two things at the same time when you’re obliged to make a decision sooner or later. Then it’s also a coming-of-age book. It’s full of inner conflicts, unresolved issues, and crazy ideas. You’d suspect it’s allegorical at some point then one minute you’re no longer sure if the writer just means what he says.

I have two more Murakami books on my book shelf. They’ve been untouched for a month or so. I wonder how my second Murakami experience will be.

The Book Thief

Abril 17, 2012


It was one of those ordinary afternoons when I accidentally found myself in a book store that I grabbed a copy of this book. I really had no intentions of buying one that day, I was just looking around and doing a little scouting of book titles that I can possibly purchase the next time I come for a visit. I reached the shelf for Teens and that was where I found The Book Thief. It was an unplanned encounter, but I am definitely grateful that it happened. Otherwise, I would have missed out on an excellently written book.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is set in Germany during the Second World War. It relates the story of a young girl named Liesel whose life has been tremendously affected by the war happening around her. It narrates how she earned the title The Book Thief and the important role that her stolen books played during bombing raids and in shaping her view of human relationships. It also talks about the bonds she forms with her foster parents, her neighbors, and a Jewish man who hides in their basement during the height of the Second World War. Interestingly, the book is told as perceived by Death, described in the book as a sympathetic entity with a penchant for describing death scenes with colors.

The Things I Like About This Book

  • The book’s theme. I have always been fascinated by war stories and knowing that the story took place during the war years in Germany, it instantly caught my attention. Finishing the book however, one would realize it is so much more than that. It is a story about human relationships, and how it sometimes appears as though only a minority of us truly understand the concept of friendship and love. War and Death are merely backdrop to this wonderful story of human nature.
  • The story’s narrator. Death serves as storyteller in the book. Usually, one views death in the same light as war – bloody, inhuman, savage, merciless. But the author did an excellent job in repackaging Death as the complete opposite. Death to me, even came off as peace-loving, condoling, commiserating –  far from the scythe-wielding hooded figure I had always imagined him to be.
  • Death as omniscient.  During war, death happens everywhere. Hence,  he is in more than one place at the same time. He witnessed how each soul departs from the body, and knows every single person who dies. And each death is told in the book before it happens. Death will tell you the fate that each character has beforehand. But does it change anything? Personally, I believe it doesn’t. Death is still death, regardless whether you know it is bound to happen soon.
  • Zusak’s artistry with words. Before reading a rather thick book (for me “thick” is anything that goes beyond 500 pages), I do a lot  of self-motivation. When I am beginning to find the story a little boring, I convince myself that the good stuff are yet to happen in the next 20 or 30 pages.  I would put it down, read other books or do other things, and return to it only when I finally feel compelled to finish it. But none of these happened in the course of my reading The Book Thief. And I attribute it to Zusak’s natural poetry. Zusak is truly a genius of a writer. He speaks in simple terms, uses simple words, but the effect that his words create to the reader is anything but simple. You will be drawn to read every line, to fully comprehend each. They appear very simple yet the message they deliver are so profound. Characters are vividly described, each one created as real as possible. Only writers with a natural talent with words can string all of these elements together without compromising the general feel of the story.
  • The war as seen by the supposed bad guys. Majority of the main characters in the book are German. In fact, all the main characters except for one, are German. It happened in one German neighborhood and their lives are no different from those of  most Germans during that time. And as what most accounts from the second world war and the holocaust would have us believe, the Germans here are the bad guys. Hitler is German, and it was in their hands that innocent Jews were killed.  That’s exactly what this story tried to defy. This book offers a different perspective. It presents how ordinary Germans that time were in as much risk of being killed as their Jewish counterparts. War never favors anyone.
  • Liesel, Hans, Max, Rosa and Rudy. Each character is different but each one is sure to touch your heart. While reading, I am reminded of those cartoons I used to watch when I was young, the likes of Romeo’s Blue Skies, (Mga Munting Pangarap ni Romeo), and Remi, Nobody’s Girl.


To sum it up, this is definitely one book I would recommend others to read. It is one of my favorite reads to date and I am hoping that other readers out there would enjoy reading The Book Thief the same way I did.

*******************************************************************

Here are some lines from the book which prove Zusak’s poetry.

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.” 

“The only thing worse than a boy who hates you: a boy that loves you.” 

“So many humans. So many colours. They keep triggering inside me. They harass my memory. I see them tall in their heaps, all mounted on top of each other. There is air like plastic, a horizon like setting glue. There are skies manufactured by people, punctured and leaking, and there are soft, coal-coloured clouds, beating, like black hearts. And then. There is death. Making his way through all of it. On the surface: unflappable, unwavering. Below: unnerved, untied, and undone.”

“It’s probably fair to say that in all the years of Hitler’s reign, no person was able to serve the Fuhrer as loyally as me. A human doesn’t have a heart like mine. The human heart is a line, whereas my own is a circle, and I have the endless ability to be in the right place at the right time. The consequence of this is that I’m always finding humans at their best and worst. I see their ugly and their beauty, and I wonder how the same thing can be both. Still, they have one thing I envy. Humans, if nothing else, have the good sense to die.”

“I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I even simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant…I AM HAUNTED BY HUMANS.”

Anansi Boys

Abril 5, 2012

Anansi Boys is the first Neil Gaiman book I have ever read. I picked it up from the library Monday morning of my last week at work when I realized (more like convinced myself) I had nothing else to do and I was done with all my requirements that I can do all the reading and “pagpepetiks” and “noynoying” that I want. (I ‘m lying. That time, I wasn’t done with everything yet. I still had my clearance to accomplish but I could not find the interest inspiration to finish it. Also, I have to take out all the things from my locker and my table, transfer all the contents into boxes and place them in the designated classroom as the Faculty room will be cleaned. Imagine taking out my bundles of unchecked papers and projects! Hehehe. I’m joking. None of these. Other than that, I am a free man! At least I think I am!).

I heard it was a fun book to read so yeah! Besides, there was an instant connection the moment Neil Gaiman tweeted about this (Self-talk: “Shepaks, Dude, what’s wrong with you? Typical Pinoy affected by the It’s More Fun in the Philippines Syndrome? Oh well. Sabagay.”-konyo pala pagkausap ang sarili?):

Anansi Boys was cute. I don’t know. I have no other adjective in mind to describe this but cute. Probably funny. Because it was extremely hilarious at times. No, most of the time. If you’re looking for those books that will leave you with an urge to cry uncontrollably, or will touch you, or will serve as a turning point in your life, this is NOT it. But if what you’re looking for is something to help you go through boring afternoons at work (hihihi), this COULD BE it.  Funny story, funny characters, funny incidents – in short, something that would pass as the plot of a comedy film. Oh yeah. Apart from thinking about the cute storyline, I also imagined seeing it in the movies, thinking about how the scenes and its brand of humor would be perfect for film.

Plot? Well, it’s about the adventures of Fat Charlie Nancy, son of the god Anansi (from American Gods, another Gaiman book, which I haven’t read yet. I do have a copy though. Will read it soon. Not really soon. Eventually.) who couldn’t care less about his father whom he feels has “tortured” him emotionally growing up; and how his unenthusiastic life took a complete 360-degree turn the moment  his father died while doing karaoke. He learns his father is a god, he meets a twin brother who inherited all their father’s magic powers, he breaks off his engagement with his girlfriend (or is it the other way around?), he tries to kill his twin brother but tries to save him in the end, he travels to a different world where animals are gods, he escapes from his murderous employer , he finds his own voice, and he marries the police officer he met on a one night stand.

Moral: Find your own voice. Don’t blame other people for how you turned out to be.

Fun read!

Chinese Cinderella

Marso 17, 2012

Why did I read this book? Here’s the thing. I initially thought that the book’s plot was actually the reference of an excerpt I once read from an English Textbook I found at home. (Okay, let’s clear things up before you get into thinking that I am a fan of Disney’s princesses. My interest did not originate, God forbid, from that Disney movie they always show on TV during Christmas. I was thinking of cultures, and comparing perceptions, you see.) It had the same central theme as the Cinderella that we are familiar with but the story took place in China and involved a magical fish (this was the part I liked) that grants wishes. So when I saw this book during a rummage sale in the school where I teach, I did not think twice to buy it. I was initially disappointed when I found out it has a different plot, but I read the book nevertheless thinking about not wasting the 10 pesos I bought it for.

The story is the autobiography of a young Chinese girl, Adeline Yen Mah who struggles to seek affection from her family. Despite being gifted with natural skills and intelligence, she was continuously regarded with hate by her her step-mother and siblings and was always ignored by her very own father.The events in her life were depressing, even until the end of the novel, and I don’t really remember it having a happy ending.

Although it is really admirable how she was able to succeed later in her life despite everything she had to go through when she was young, I can’t help but still feel pity for her thinking that no other form of injustice could be worse than not being welcome in one’s very own family.

It’s definitely a tearjerker (but of course I did not cry) and it would make you ask more than once how life can be extremely unfair sometimes.