Month: June 2012

Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

If books were buildings, this would be a cathedral – Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather

I first encountered Willa Cather back in college with her most anthologized short story, Paul’s Case. It’s about a young man’s frustration for people’s failure to understand him. Aside from that, I don’t remember much of the story, but I do recall how beautiful and dainty the writing is. So when I read this novel, I was not tremendously shocked with its delicate beauty. I already have good expectations so there’s no big revelation that took place. What I find shocking is that I go out of my way to read something that is mostly about theology, one of my least favorite subjects, and yet I end up loving the book. What does that say? That no matter what a writer writes about as long as the writing is good, the subject does not matter. And so I opened this book without fear of disappointment and with an instinct that this would be an unforgettable one. That air would disappear from the whole earth in time, perhaps; but long after his day. He did not …

Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

Telling a lie can make a person alcoholic – Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

It is hard to appreciate a book that you have set yourself not to like. This is what happened with this novel. Whenever my friend and I go book hoarding, he would always point to a stray copy of this and tell me that this could be the book of my life. It exasperates me, not because I have preconceived notions of the novel but because I do not like the title. Sounds callow, but the two words, set together, grate on my nerves. A common name and a common adjective. Really, one could think of something better, right? And really, I would have appreciated it more if it were just Billy, or Charming, but not Charming Billy. And so I steeled my guts to read this. I tried my best not to think of the annoying title. I imagined that it were Alcoholic Billy or Billy the Drunkard. It sort of worked, but that first chapter disappointed me. I was reading about cut-out characters who weren’t sure or convinced of what they were saying, …

A quite intimidating stack

Freebies, Super Cheap Deals, and Extra Copies

Look here! It’s been a while since I had a moderate stack of books. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro – I was not supposed to buy a copy of this since I already read it and I have a much loved trade paperback of it. However, when I saw this blog post from my bookish friend, I got so jealous that I went to the nearest book store after office and inquired where I could find a striped edition of this book. And oh, I’m on a mission to collect those stripes. (June 18, 2012. NBS Bestsellers – Galleria. Php 549.00) Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller – I nearly screamed and sputtered profanities when I saw this one. Not that it’s such an important book, but it is a very uncommon early Pulitzer winner. Its claim is that had it not won the Pulitzer back in the 30s, Gone with the Wind might never have been published. How true? (June 22, 2012. Book Sale – Makati Square. Php 50.00) House Made …

The Sunday Salon - June 25, 2012

Reading: Absalom, Absalom!; Last Orders; Ghostwritten

I’m trying to catch up on my June books. There’s only a week left so what I did was to finish the Faulkner book that I started last week and practiced bigamy on the remaining two books. Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner Date Started: June 17, 2012. 12:00 AM. Date Finished: June 23, 2012. 1:00 AM. Book #35 of 2012 The Classics Challenge: Book #05 of 75 I was totally swept away by this book, not while I was reading it but a few minutes after I closed it and brooded on the events. I breathed deeply, let out a sigh, muttered something like ohmygod, and felt a little ache in my heart. Faulkner’s prose works its effect right after the whole thing blows ever. I still cannot assume that I fully understood the novel, but what the hey, I don’t care. I love it. I love it, I love it! Write-up to follow. Last Orders by Graham Swift Date Started: June 24, 2012. 2:00 PM. Current Page: 61 of 295 Book #36 of 2012 …

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Jalopy of the Joads – The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

Let me tell you why this book is important to me. Let me tell you first how I came upon my copy. When I first attended the meetings of our book club, I brought an Anais Nin book with me for the book exchange. One of them, the moderator Jzhun, expressed interest in it. He showed me the little stack of books that he brought for the exchange, then I chose this. Tina, now one of the moderators, heard my choice and said, oh, serious books. Well, that sealed my reputation in our book club: a reader of serious books. I don’t mind that at all, but I sometimes flinch when I hear it because people might expect me to always have luminous thoughts on every book that I read. And then a couple of months later, Atty. Monique and I read this book together. Book buddies was a hit fad then; there was always a pair or more reading books together. So yes, we made the reading plan and prepared for the struggle of reading a serious …