Month: January 2012

Halfway through Housekeeping

Really, I’m in no hurry – Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

It’s been a while since I last read a book with both caution and urgency. It’s weird, I know, but having experienced the beautiful prose of Robinson before makes me want to jump ahead the paragraphs to know what will happen next and, at the same time, to control myself lest I miss the mindless sentences that are rendered remarkable by the author’s talent. I’m a little behind on my reading schedule, but I don’t mind slowing down on this book. But still, I can’t help asking why have I only read this book just now. Really, the words are simple. She knits them together with such precision that it can be possible for a novel of minimal breadth to be read for days and days, just for the sheer delight of reading. I do not mind that nothing is really going on in the book, which is about the narrator Ruth and her sister Lucille left under the care of, first, their grandmother, then their great aunts, and finally, their aunt Sylvie. We watch …

First Page of Act II

This is open to a lot of interpretations – Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett

Really, I do not know what to make out of this. A tragicomedy in two acts, the book cover says. A paradox, if you ask me, because comedies are not supposed to be tragic. Right? I see the comedy part. Two men, made apparently absurd by their dialogues, are waiting for a man named Godot. Why they are waiting for him, we are never explicitly told. If you ask me, this is not about the arrival of this Godot, who by the way, never comes, but it’s about what transpires during the waiting. On the surface, there’s nothing going on. It’s just two men, Estragon and Vladimir, trying to kill their time while waiting. These two have a rather complex relationship. We don’t get any detailed background from the two. In fact, it was never mentioned in the dialogues that their names are Estragon and Vladimir. They call each other Gogo and Didi. Which could only mean that they know a lot of each other to assume such pet names. There’s a mention that they’ve …

2666 Diaries, IV

Translating the thoughts about the killings – 2666 Diaries, IV

The Part about the Crimes Yes, this time, I took my time to translate my buddy’s thoughts from Filipino or Taglish to English. Quite an effort since I do not wish to sound like I’m translating the inputs literally. Like “Wala lang,” a phrase that literally means “Nothing much.” Actually, that cannot even pass as a literal translation if we adhere to the strict literal sense because “lang” seems to be an exclusive Filipino thing. Anyway, I’m just going to note again that these thoughts are from The Misanthropologist. Day 7: We read all about the women who were abducted, raped, strangled, staked, and thrown everywhere. The descriptions are delivered matter-of-factly, much like a police report. Well, these are mostly police reports, and autopsy reports, and such reports. And since there are police reports, there are also inspectors. We are introduced to a number of them, but I remember mostly Juan de Dios Martinez. He seems to be the most capable and levelheaded among them, the inspectors and police men. But despite this, he can’t crack …

War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Snoopy reads this, one word a day – War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy

How can I possibly write something about this ginormous book that stands proud against the motley crew of my random books of mass markets, hardbounds, and trade paperbacks, and shying these on the sheer basis of breadth? A novel that spans four volumes, each volume divided into parts, and each part further divided into chapters, I struggled to finish this not without iron will and determination. First, I was motivated by the reading support group spurred by local writer Jessica Zafra. I think we were about ten, periodically posting our inputs on the writer’s blog, including the writer herself, and I think I was the first to read my way across the finish line. I even think that only three of us really finished the book, this suspicion arising from the simple fact that the support-group-slash-challenge wasn’t capped off, unless we consider the article the writer wrote, an article that quoted the participants, as the waving checkered flag. So you see, I really don’t know how to properly start this without the reader skipping to …

2666 Diaries, III

And then there were two – 2666 Diaries, III

I don’t know what happened to our other buddies, but I’m glad that The Misanthropologist, yes, our still unnamed, elusive, not-so-anonymous friend, is still on. Who, by the way, does not sound as misanthropological as the name denotes. Okay, I’ll stop pretending. Actually, we’re both done with this. I know, the posts are delayed. A lot of things to do. Here we go. Notes: These are originally posted on a discussion thread at GoodReads-TFG. I was originally reading this with the bloggers of The Misanthropologist and Kikay Reader, and our bookish friends Emir and Doc Ranee. I don’t know what happened to the other three, but I can’t keep holding back for them. Their inputs, although copy-pasted from their original sources, have minor translations and edits. Also, there are spoilers! And please don’t expect to understand the novel’s entirety based on these ramblings. It’s fundamentally a logbook not intended to make light out of things for the would-be reader. Day 5: I thought this is going to be a real drag, but the opening paragraph proved otherwise. Something about …