Tag Archives: Plays

Books to Read: December 2013

Books to Read: December 2013

These are the books that I finished last month and the last books that I’ll be reading this year. And, sadly, this is going to be my last reading plan, at least for the mean time.

I’ve already mentioned something about this in a previous post. I’ve been quite busy, and as of late, I prefer reading whatever book that gets my attention right there and then. Besides, I’ll be working on a writing a project at the start of 2014. That is going to eat whatever’s left of my time, which isn’t much as one can see from the lack of posts on this blog. Actually, I’m already working on little drafts here and there, outlines, and notes. So yeah, planned reading is not something that would be helpful in that regard.

In addition, I’ve dropped a lot of books from the reading plans this year. Last month is no exception from this. If you’re curious what these books are, check them out below:

  • The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis – well, I just couldn’t get around to reading it. I think was too infatuated with Carver’s stories. Or perhaps I was merely intimidated.
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski – there’s supposed to be a reading group for this, but it never materialized. Maybe next year?
  • The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller – I was really going to read this had Doris Lessing not died. Yeah, I replaced this with one of Lessing’s books.
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – I’m halfway through this, and I’m just going to put it on hold for a short time.
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – I’ve been reading this since January. No, it has been around since last year. I’m putting it on indefinite hold. Finally. I’m honestly relieved.
  • A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes – borrowed it, read the introduction, read the first few pages, then returned it. I wasn’t in the mood for such discourses, so I did the right thing, right?
  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare – I was supposed to attend a book discussion of this play, but schedule conflicts are conflicts. So there. I didn’t even bother.

Going back, here are The Stacks:

The Left Stack (books I must read and finish):

  • The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing – replaced this with The Hunger Angel because of her death. Currently on page 143.
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling – our last book of the month for the year. Currently on page 113.
  • How Fiction Works by James Wood – currently on page 39.
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust – currently on page 161.
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka

The Right Stack (books I have finished):

  • Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot – 5 out of 5 stars.
  • Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer – 3 out of 5 stars.
  • The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster – 5 out of 5 stars.
  • Short Cuts by Raymond Carver – Not part of the November Reading Plan. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello – 3 out of 5 stars.
  • Small Memories by José Saramago – 5 out of 5 stars.

Here’s to hoping that I can squeeze in a lot of reading for the holidays!

Books to Read: November 2013

Books to Read: November 2013

Whoa! I am not going to read all these books for November alone. Actually, these are the books that I finished (just a couple) and that I plan to read for the remaining days of the year. Why am I doing it differently this time? Because, sadly, I am saying goodbye to monthly reading plans next year.

This is another change that I am experiencing as a reader. I just feel like picking whatever piques my curiosity, which is the case with Marcel Proust. Who knows, I might become a more prolific reader if I just pick books that I feel like reading at the moment. And who knows, I might return planning what I want to read.

Anyway, I am very excited with my picks for the last quarter year (which I all hope to finish so that I could complete my third Goodreads Reading Challenge). I have selected books from Nobel laureates, some modernist novels, the last two books of the month, and the spillover tomes. Here they are:

The Left Stack (books I must read and finish):

  • Nobel Laureates:
    • Four Quartets by T. S. Eliot – Nobel reading for poems.
    • Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer – Nobel reading for short stories.
    • The Hunger Angel by Herta Müller – Nobel reading for novels.
    • Six Characters in Search of an Author by Luigi Pirandello – Nobel reading for plays.
    • Small Memories by José Saramago – Nobel reading for memoirs.
  • Books of the Month:
    • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling – December’s book of the month.
    • The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster – November’s book of the month.
  • Modernist Literature:
    • Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust – November 2013 celebrates its 100th publication anniversary. I read somewhere that it’s November 8 but my edition says its November 14.
    • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner – a nominee for May 2014’s book discussion that I volunteered to moderate.
    • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf – another nominee.
    • The Trial by Franz Kafka – and another.
  • The Tomes:
    • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – from May. Currently on page 538.
    • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – from January. Currently on page 575.

The Right Stack (books I have finished):

  • The Love of a Good Woman by Alice Munro – not part of the October reading plan. The author’s win sparked the Nobel themed list above. 4 out of 5 stars.
  • Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay – not in the photo because I already returned the copy that I read from its valiant owner, Aaron (thank you!). From October. 4 out of 5 stars.
Books to Read: October 2013

Books to Read: October 2013

It’s the last quarter of the year and I am going to shake things up a bit. Actually, I’m going to tone things down because if I keep on stacking books that I know I wouldn’t be able to touch within the month, I can kiss my reading goal goodbye as early as now.

I know quantity matters less than quality but my obsessive-compulsive self wouldn’t let go of it. So in an attempt to manage my reading, here’s the stack that’s in store for me this month.

The Left Stack (books I must read and finish):

  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – from May. Currently on page 258.
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – from January. Currently on page 575.
  • Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay – our book of the month. This copy was lent to me lest I kill the moderator. Of course, I wouldn’t do that. I think I have a higher tolerance for fantasy novels than crime or mystery novels.

The Right Stack (books I have finished):

  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume – from September. 3 out of 5 stars.
  • The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler – from September. 1 out of 5 stars.
  • The Homecoming by Harold Pinter – from September. 4 out of 5 stars.
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – from September. 3 out of 5 stars.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis – from September. 3 out of 5 stars.
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – from September. 5 out of 5 stars.

So I only added one book (the compulsory book of the month) and finally crossed out House of Leaves and The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis from the stack. They have been there for a long while (since May and June, respectively). I hope this will help me finish those two tomes that are haughtily staring at me from the bedside shelf.

Also, if you’ve noticed, I managed to finish mostly slim jims. A friend said that I am cheating. Perhaps I am, but hey, books are books regardless of the length and form (yes, plays are great reads and they are still literature). Besides, I am brewing something for next year, and this would massively shake things up.

I am a budding DFW fan.

An advertisement, and some books

Karen of BookerTalk, one of the many great blogs that I follow, has kindly featured me in her blog feature The View from Here. If you are interested to read about my take on the local literary scene, please click this link: Bookish thoughts from the Philippines. I know I am not the perfect person to do this kind of talk, but hey, however myopic my insights on Philippine literature are, I think they might still be of help to widen one’s perspective on world literature. Feel free to discuss about what I wrote about there, although I prefer that we discuss it over there.

The advertisement is over (this is the third time that posted something like this; the first two were from The Spark Project and What I Read). We are now back to regular programming.


The 34th Manila International Book Fair at the SM Mall of Asia Convention Center is a bookish event that a Filipino book nut cannot afford to miss. I thought of not going because I don’t have anything in my to-buy-urgently list. But the mere thought was horrendous, so I changed my mind, met a couple of friends, milled about the venue, chatted with one of the exhibitor’s staff, and bought something.

Actually, I already took advantage of the nationwide sale at National Book Store last week. And I also ordered three books from Book Depository just a few days ago (Vintage Classics are on the way!). So yeah, it was too early for another session of hoarding. Besides, the accountant in me is currently on a strict guard with regard to my financial activities.

But it’s so hard. Anyway, here are my recent book purchases:

  • The Pale King by David Foster Wallace – DFW’s last and posthumously published novel. I wish it had won the Pulitzer last year. (Php 324.00, September 2, NBS – Shangri-la Mall)
  • The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer – The Booker-winning novel from one of the few female Nobel laureates that I am familiar with. (Php 332.50, September 2, Power Books – SM Mega Mall)
  • The Annotated Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and Alfred Appel – I’ve already read unannotated edition, but I feel that I need to read those notes that would help me in leading the discussion for our book club. (Php 596.00, September 4, NBS – Rockwell)
  • The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace – DFW’s first novel. Yes, I now have all three of his novels. Perhaps I’ll start with his short stories next? (Php 541.00, September 14, NBS – MIBF)
  • No Exit and Three Other Plays by Jean-Paul Sartre – I’m really looking for Nausea, but I could settle for this one. (Php 115.00, September 14, Book Sale – SM Mall of Asia)

By the way, it’s my first time to actually write notes on a book. I mean marginalia, although they are not strictly written on the margins. Look!

Did I just murder the first chapter?
Did I just murder the first chapter?

And oh, here’s a photo of me, courtesy of Mommy Louize. Heh.

A book nut.
A book nut.
Books to Read: September 2013

Books to Read: September 2013

Hey, I’m still alive! It’s just that I’ve been out of the loop because of work load and lack of a stable Internet connection. I’ve been waiting for nearly a month for one of our national providers to get me connected, but still, there’s no follow-up from them. Welcome to the Philippines.

Anyway, here’s the stack of books that I intend to read.

The Left Stack (books I want to read soon and books I need to read soon):

  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume – don’t judge me. This is from the Time’s 100 Novels.
  • The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler – also from Time Magazine.
  • The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis – from June.
  • The Homecoming by Harold Pinter – a Nobel laureate. I would love to read something by Seamus Heaney, another Nobelist who died a few days ago, but I don’t have anything by him. So I guess this would do?
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – something for the Classics Club.
  • House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski – from May.
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis – and another more from Time Magazine.
  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – our book of the month. I am still considering if I should get the annotated version.

The Right Stack (books I have finished and books I have yet to finish):

  • Great Expectations by Charles Dickens – from June. 4 out of 5 stars.
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss – from July. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – from May. Currently on page 258.
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – from January. Currently on page 500.
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan – from July. 5 out of 5 stars.
  • Steps by Jerzy Kosinski – from July. 4 out of 5 stars.
  • Tall Story by Candy Gourlay – from August. 4 out of 5 stars.
  • Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver – from July. 5 out of 5 stars.

So I managed to finish six books. Most of them are slim volumes and that’s exactly why I have selected slim picks for this month, not counting of course the spillovers that are still here from as far as May. I actually took out A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes since I have resolved to return all the books that I have borrowed. I decided to finish what I have in store first.

Also, I am co-moderating our book club’s book discussion for this month, so I guess this will be another of those months where there will be long stretches of silences. I will try my best to keep up.