Month: March 2012

The Gathering by Anne Enright

It’s not evil to describe a flaccid penis – The Gathering by Anne Enright

The narrator is Veronica. She is middle-aged, married, with kids, and says penis a lot. I wouldn’t have noticed the last detail had I not been warned by a friend, asking me to count the word penis. Not that the narrator is sexually deranged, it just so happened that she watches her husband sleeping naked and describes it, and remembers her brother Liam peeing an arched piss and describes it. There is nothing sexually notorious, except for one wriggling memory that may have affected her brother’s behavior before he died. And this memory is something that Veronica could not even conjure without raising the demons of doubt altogether. No, it happened this way. No, it was like this. No, I am not sure that it happened. Liam’s death necessitated the gathering of the eight surviving siblings, including Veronica. In this novel, Veronica rethinks her life to find out the truths that ultimately led to his brother’s death. This did not prove to be an easy task, and whoever said that it’s nothing, it’s fine, must …

I like the fifth plan

In the countercurrents of the Pacific – Life of Pi by Yann Martel

I am currently reading this with two friends, LS and Maria. We are now halfway through it, at least I am, and I’ll just post my daily inputs for the first three days to make things easier for me. *** Day 1: Welcome to Zookeeping 101! The first 50 pages felt like nonfiction. It was fun though. The animal talk is just expected, but what I am surprised about is all this talk about Christian and Muslim and Hindu gods. So how will the author make the reader believe in God if he presents multiple gods? I am a monotheist, and that involves a longer discussion. Maybe this can be discussed later. During the first few pages, I had a little problem with Pi’s name. Is it pea or is it pie? I’m glad that this is cleared soon enough. Anyway, Pi is quite a likable character. He’s smart and he strikes me as someone who’d rather be alone. Another problem that I encountered is whether or not this novel is based on real life. It …

A sea of words and a wave of space

The Font, the Font – The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch

Staring at the font size of my edition intimidates me. Sure, I’ve read the gigantic 2666 months ago, but somehow, I was more frightened at the prospect of reading this Booker winner. And reading the mini-bio of the author at one of the front pages further scares me: Murdoch is a philosopher. Most probably, philosophical meanderings are bound to dominate the book, no? Not really. To start, the writing is quite understandable. Yes, it is physically and metaphorically dense, but it manages to be fluid. Maybe because of the first person point of view. More so, we are actually reading the diary of a retired theater director, Charles Arrowby, who decides to spend his retirement years by the sea. He buys a funny house with an accessible view of the sometimes screaming, sometimes serene sea. He moves, finally, to escape the women of his theatrical life. But with the conspiratorial forces of fate, he meets not only one but three women with whom he had a relationship with. To top it all, he even finds, …

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Prozac Nation – Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Not really Prozac, but Soma. Not exactly an anti-depressant, but a drug for instant gratification.  This is a novel about a society peopled with drugged and genetically engineered citizens. A dystopian novel, yes, much like another version of 1984 where the future is speculated. What happens if the state manipulates the society using the advancements in biology and genetics? What happens if people relentlessly wallow in gratification of all sorts? What happens if an outsider is brought inside this society? Before all, I have a need to say that this may be a further or accompanying read to 1984, but I don’t think it’s better in terms of writing. My edition has an introduction of the author, explaining that yes, this is far from a brilliant novel. However, he’d rather not wish to harbor to guilty feelings for the gaping holes that are found in it. Let it be like that, untouched and unchanged, for in the process of undoing the imperfections, his theme and his art form will change considerably. Let it stand for …

Yes, that is a whole chapter

Don’t ask why – Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion

People ask Maria, Mar-eye-ah, what makes Iago evil. She doesn’t know, because she never asks. That is sort of paraphrasing the first line of this novel. She then proceeds to tell us a little about herself. An actress, early thirties, married, divorced, one kid named Kate. And then a few more things that meander through her decadent life. And then two more characters introduce themselves: Helene, a woman whose role in Maria’s life I cannot pinpoint yet, and Carter, Maria’s husband. Future ex-husband. And then the novel starts, restarts, at Chapter 1. In episodes. “I want a very large steak,” she said to Les Goodwin in a restaurant on Melrose at eight o’clock that night. “And before the very large steak I want three drinks. And after the steak I want to go somewhere with very loud music.” “Like where.” “I don’t know where. You ought to know where. You know a lot of places with loud music.” “What’s the matter with you.” “I am just very very very tired of listening to you all.” …

Shiny happy women

The Undercover Women

I can’t remember the last time I bought a book at a regular book store, not counting the time I bought books for the nonprofit organization and the exchange gift during our book club’s Christmas party. Look, I haven’t taken these splurges out of their plastic covers yet because I don’t know when I would be reading them, particularly Anna Karenina. Jane Eyre I’ll definitely be reading soon because it’s TFG’s book of the month for April. The splurging is a spur of the moment thing. Isn’t that always the case? I was only looking for Jane Eyre at Book Sale yesterday, March 19, but I couldn’t find any. I went to three outlets, so when I got tired of going through the shelves of mass markets, I checked out National Book Store – SM Megamall. I was only going to check out the prices. And then I saw the posters: 20% off. I went for the cheapest Jane Eyre. Not bad. And then I saw the movie tie-in edition. Still okay. And then I …

I hope things will start rolling on the 14th

I need a ride – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

I just don’t dig this. I don’t get where the craze is coming from. This book has a high average rating, but I think I am missing something. Or perhaps I am among the minority who doesn’t find this a tad enjoyable. Sure, there are funny moments, thanks to the sarcasm that I am inclined to favor, but overall, I am not enjoying. Okay, let’s check the circumstances: I just finished a deep, psychological book about a piano teacher gone wild, I started reading this while I was traveling out of town with my office mates, and I can’t remember when was the last time I read something like this. I remember Never Let Me Go, which is partly science fiction only because the protagonists are clones. That’s it, none of that geeky talk. And in this book, I am lambasted with talk about astrophysics, which could be purely theoretical in the sense that it’s just written for the sake of having an explanation on things lest they have no foundation, regardless of the presence …