Reading, The Sunday Salon, Whatnot
Comments 25

Reading: Motherless Brooklyn, Charming Billy, The Fellowship of the Ring

The Sunday Salon - June 04, 2012

This is an interesting reading week for me since I have finished two books that won literary awards, one being my favorite and the other one being the award that least convinces me. I will try my best to post my write-ups on these two as soon as time would allow me. Anyway, here they are.

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

Date Started: May 26, 2012. 9:15 PM.
Date Finished: May 30, 2012. 2:15 AM.
Book #31 of 2012

Norton as Essrog!

Norton as Essrog!

I love this! I love Lionel Essrog. I don’t care if the ending was a little too neat and even a little sentimental. At the back of my head, I was hoping that some film maker would do a film adaptation of this. And guess what?

Edward Norton (Fight Club) is going to direct one! And to make matters better, he going to direct himself as Lionel Essrog. I was a little surprised because I felt that Lionel should be somewhat bulkier than Norton. A corpulent yet unmuscular man, maybe? But Norton will do. I think he can be Essrog.

Write-up to follow.

Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

Date Started: May 31, 2012. 7:30 PM.
Date Finished: June 3, 2012. 11:30 PM.
Book #32 of 2012

Sleep after each chapter

Sleep after each chapter

First, I have something against the title. I don’t buy the adjective + name formula, and to make matters worse, why choose common names and adjectives? My friend is a witness to my revulsion of this book every time I see it on the shelves of bookstores. He even jokes about it possibly becoming the book of my life.

So I went ahead and read it. I should have trusted my guts; I didn’t like a single page of it. I have a problem with the narrator. I have a problem with the dialogues. I have a problem with the central conflict. And I have a problem with Billy, whom I didn’t find a tad charming.

More problems on my upcoming write-up.

The Fellowship of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien

Date Started: June 4, 2012. 1:15 AM.
Current Page: 21 of 398
Book #33 of 2012

No longer unexpected

No longer unexpected

I bought my copy of this online and had it delivered at our office. One of my bosses saw me opening the package and remarked with incredulity why I haven’t read the book all this time. I would have barked at him had I not been on a jolly mood (it was the last office day before Christmas 2011). I might have said, this is a classic, I can read it anytime I want because it’s supposed to be timeless.

This is our book club’s book of the month, and before I started reading it, I thought it better first to read its prequel, The Hobbit. I enjoyed that one a lot so I’m expecting the first book of the trilogy to be just as fun. By the way, the note on the text of my edition says that The Lord of the Rings is not a trilogy; it’s a long novel divided into three books. Okay, that’s something new to me, but I still prefer to call it a trilogy just because I have it in three books.

I have only been able to read the preliminaries (notes on the text, foreword, prologue) since I started late (or early) at night. A lot of geeky information regarding typographical error history, issues on appendices, and stuff for the nitpickers.

* * * * *

The Sunday Salon

On other stuff, I’ve been recently listening to audio books. I am currently listening to Gilead, The Remains of the Day, and The Sense of an Ending. These three I have already read and love so much, which is why I am listening to them. A common denominator, aside from my love for them, is that they are written in the first-person point of view.

I think audio books work best on this point of view. It’s more of a conversation than a story. I haven’t tried listening to audio books with a different point of view, but I have a feeling that they would sound different. There would be less intimacy because of the absence of “I”.

Since I mentioned Gilead, I came across an article regarding Marilynne Robinson, particularly on why the author of the article loves the novelist. I adore and respect Robinson. In fact, if there is that kind of writing that I would like to achieve, it would be hers. There’s a quiet grace in her sentences. I am not a religious person, but I don’t mind the theology in Gilead just because the words are too beautiful to care about the subject matter.

One final news, the winner of the Orange Prize has been revealed. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this will be the last “Orange” Prize since they will be renaming the award next year, no?

I forget the winner for I really do not follow the winners of the prize, not because it doesn’t convince me, but because it is focused on women writers. Please don’t think of me as a misogynist, but I think a lot is missed by not considering the works of male novelists. I think men and women are both capable when it comes to writing, so I don’t think it’s necessary to have awards for women only, as if women can’t beat men.

Case in point: Marilynne Robinson, who is, coincidentally, a past winner of the Orange Prize with her recent novel Home. I haven’t read it yet, but I have it in trade paperback and audio. It’s a sort of sequel to Gilead, so I am excited about it.



  1. Monique says

    I’d love to listen to the audiobook version of The Remains of the Day for (your) discussion on July. I’ve already read the book and like you, I really hate rereading, but I’m open to exploring audiobooks so I could participate intelligently in the discussion. Will you send it to me? :)


    • I just read somewhere that it was something about publishing constraints (and economic factors) that forced the book to be published in three volumes. Thanks for dropping by! :)


    • I read the foreword of my edition and it said that the book was published into three parts which supposedly only consist of one book. Well, is it originally published into six or three? Who cared as long as the book is timeless.


  2. O great! We did not buddy read Charming Billy, again. I had the book ready for buddy reading but nobody poke me . As in nobody, I know I’m not the boss here. :) Anyway, I’m glad you did not like the book. Bwahaha!


    • Wait! I will check our possible buddy reading list again. I always forget. I am such a goose, hahaha. But yes, this is not an enjoyable book. Good thing I didn’t invite anyone. :D


    • I think I had the list of books you wanted to read this year. I’ll check my private message in Goodreads and I better run a new reminder program or apps.


    • Haha, I also forgot White Teeth. I already finished that. :D I just checked our exchange of messages, and so far, here are the rest:

      The Bell Jar
      Vernon God Little
      The God of Small Things
      Baltasar and Blimunda

      And of course, Anna Karenina!


    • Yep! January, if that’s okay with you. I will give you that Oprah Book Club edition if NBS goes on sale.

      And where is the cotton candy? Mystery Man is not sweet!


    • Are you serious? You mean for free? Make sure it’s in good edition or else I’ll give it back to you. Kidding. And sorry, I forgot to give you a cotton candy and have some nice lemonade for free. :)


    • No! I am serious, even if you don’t sing a Song of Despair, haha. And remember the condition: it must have at least a 20% discount (the usual discount at NBS).


  3. Well, welcome to TSS. I was wondering if you were going to join us. I’ve really enjoyed your reviews at Readthenobels :D. I loved everything that Tolkien wrote, including the Silmarillion.


    • Thanks a lot! Are you a fellow contributor at Readthenobels? Now that you brought it up, there seems to be a dearth of active contributors in that blog. I wonder what’s going on.


  4. I have found Charming Billy quite interesting the last time I saw a copy in Booksale. Good thing I’ve read your review, I won’t buy it na lang haha.


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