Reading: Olive Kitteridge; Absalom, Absalom!

I feel that this week has been a little slow. I’ve been distracted with tons of work and I am a little anxious with our book club’s discussion for July. This is a little unreasonable because our June book discussion is not even over: it’s going to be this Saturday. But I think you’ll find that my anxiety is pretty grounded if I share that we are expecting around 40 people to attend. That’s more than a handful, no?

But anyway, I read what I can.

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Date Started: June 11, 2012. 11:00 PM.
Date Finished: June 16, 2012. 11:30 PM.
Book #34 of 2012

River: The Last Chapter

River: The Last Chapter

This is quite a delightful read. It started out strong, but somehow, it didn’t manage to give me the X factor. It is not a thick book, but it took me almost a week to finish it. Nevertheless, I still like it. Olive Kitteridge is a formidable character, but I fear that a decade from now, she might be easily forgotten.

Had the novel been focused more on her, she might leave an indelible mark. But the way the novel is structured, which is a series of stories about the Kitteridge family and various townspeople, it’s easy for our memories to dump her into obscurity.

Write-up to follow.

Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner

Date Started: June 17, 2012. 12:00 AM.
Current Page: 140 of 483
Book #35 of 2012
The Classics Challenge: Book #05 of 75

Quentin, Quentin!

Quentin, Quentin!

I was a little apprehensive to start this book. It’s been a long time since I last read a work by Faulkner, and I still remember how I struggled with that last work, The Sound and the Fury. I did enjoy it, so I am also very hopeful that I will get the same feeling with this book.

Absalom features one of the characters in The Sound, Quentin Compson. However, the novel no longer revolves around him. The townspeople of their town pulled toward the enigmatic and infamous Thomas Sutpen. Who is this man? The blurb says that he wanted sons and that his sons destroyed him. Looks like strong stuff, huh?

So now, I survived three chapters. Six more winding chapters to go.

* * * * *

The Sunday Salon

I fell into this habit of buying books for my friends. Not from regular book stores, mind you, but books, regardless of where I bought them, are books, right? Not a single week will pass by without me taking a trip to any secondhand book store. And since there are times that I leave book stores without buying a book, mostly because I couldn’t find something that I like, the habit developed.

As much as I would like to buy all my bookish friends the books that they want, I cannot. First reason is I am not sure whether such a book will be liked by my friends. Second is I am not sure if they already have a copy of that book. Third is I feel that I am eternally broke.

But I have some points for consideration whether to buy this for that. Usually, I look around for books that I love that were also posted in the wish-list folder of my friends at Goodreads. This is the case with Housekeeping. I read it last January and fell deeply in love with Robinson’s graceful prose. So when I saw my book buddy Atty. Monique wishing for it, I made a mental note to get her a copy.

Next is the reading trend of my friends. These are also seen at the news feed of Goodreads. Now you see what effect updating your reading activities on Goodreads has. There is always one bored person who sifts through the news feed. I find this a great way to relieve boredom; this is something that Facebook and Twitter fail to do for me. Anyway, I noticed our book club’s senior moderator, KD, like for screenplays. In fact, he even lent me the screenplay of my favorite film with Sissy Spacek, In the Bedroom. So when I saw the screenplay for The English Patient, I bought it for him.

Getting a chance to take a peek at my friends’ libraries also helps. When I saw Aldrin‘s impressive shelf, I was just awestruck at how obsessed he is with collecting books of one edition. He has a chunk of those NYRB books with vibrantly colored spines and those Vintage books with red spines. He is also a completist of selected authors; one of them is Bernard Malamud. He is collecting Malamud books whose editions have those doodles. He doesn’t have that “doodly” edition of The Magic Barrel yet. So when I saw it, I sent him a text message first if he wants one. I needed to confirm because the edition that I saw had a little crease. One can’t be too sure with collectors.

Finally, there’s just this need to shove a book to a friend whom you really think would like the book you found. This is the case with Atomised. Now, this book is an extreme, and by this I mean something that can be appreciated by people who have a rather unconventional taste in reading (read: literary, and yes, I flinch at the word). So for our chess master Emir, this one is for you.

Four for Friends

Four for Friends

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6 thoughts on “Reading: Olive Kitteridge; Absalom, Absalom!

  1. Yay! So excited to get Housekeeping! :D

    And, it turns out we have the same rating (3 stars) for Olive Kitteridge. I’m sure you appreciated it more than I did, though. :)

    • I was going to give it four stars, but I don’t know. I wish there were more stories about people who were deeply connected with Olive instead of those random students (Rebecca and Julie).

  2. I liked Olive Kitteridge. It was a bit different how it was told, each chapter — a glimpse of Olive. It snuck up on me a bit. You’re right to approach Faulkner with apprehension. But I did like Light in August and was thankful to get through Sound & the Fury. Keep up the tough ones!

  3. Lovely that you go to so much effort in buying books for friends. I have maybe two friends I know well enough to do that. I should try harder, books are always the best gifts.

    • I met all the friends that I mentioned here at our book club. For other friends, well, I don’t buy them books because they are not as crazy about books as my book club friends are. Thanks for dropping by! :)

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