Month: September 2012

A stack of cold blood

TFG’s Book of the Month for September: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

After some shake-up in our book club, we were able to prove that we will carry on with our book discussions and activities regardless of major changes and the drama associated with it. One moderator resigned from his post, new ones took on the role, and an old member left us abruptly. With all these, it has been exacting month for most of us as far as book club concerns are uhm, concerned. But anyway, people come and people go. Some may take a break, some may be gone for good. Those who stay are the ones who matter, so it’s better that we not brood over people who left. This month’s theme is nonfiction, and since most of us are not huge readers of this genre, it was quite a challenge. It’s a good thing though that Truman Capote is both a journalist and a novelist, so reading In Cold Blood, for me, was like reading any other novel that eats most of my book shelf space. Our discussion leader pushed for a Sunday …

Arthur and George and Even the Dogs

I found these over the weekend

This is going to be real quick. Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor – this year’s winner of the IMPAC Award. Found it at Book Sale – Walter Mart Munoz. Php 115.00. Arthur and George by Julian Barnes – I’ve decided to buy more books by Barnes after immensely enjoying The Sense of an Ending. Other books by the author that I’m looking for are England, England and Flaubert’s Parrot. Thanks to Aldrin for the alert. Found it at Book Sale – Edsa Central. Php 115.00. I’m also looking for these Ian McEwan books: Black Dogs, On Chesil Beach, and Saturday. Please alert me if you find them at sale bins or if you are willing to let them go.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Suicide for Dummies – The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

I always get curious when a book is semi-autobiographical. Since it’s “semi,” I cannot help wondering which parts of the book are lifted from the life of the author. It could be that I am curious because some of what I am reading happened to someone, or it could be because things that happen in the real world are sometimes stranger than entirely fictional books. References of Sylvia Plath’s works in pop culture are abundant, especially in movies where college students who are too cool to care think that poetry reading is the best way to get a date. I am not that into poetry, but hey, I have to try reading Plath. Good thing she has this novel, The Bell Jar. Reading the foreword of my edition is like a preparation for another depressing read. Sure, the premises are that: straight-A Esther Greenwood, despite her writing talent and the promise of a good, if not brilliant future, goes bonkers. Instead of continuing her studies with a scholarship grant on tow, she goes straight to …

Some books in the PoMoProj

The 61 Postmodern Reading Project

A handful of my friends will attempt to read the books included in the 61 essential postmodern reads compiled by LA Times. I jumped in despite my reading and blogging rut because it looks fun. Besides, these are exquisite books. This reading project is spearheaded by Aldrin. He dragged three of us into this: Bennard, Mae, and I. Did I miss anyone? Is there anyone out there who’s interested? I don’t know how one is inducted to this project; perhaps one must have a keen liking for postmodern books. So what then is postmodernism? It’s very hard to put down the set of criteria that makes a book postmodern but I find the play with form and language as key indicators. There’s also the plot, but there are so many postmodern stuff going on out there that I find it hard to distinguish what’s postmodern and what’s not. I must say that this discerning is also part of the fun. This po-mo project is still sketchy. I suggested setting up a separate group blog but we …

Home by Marilynne Robinson

Going back to Gilead – Home by Marilynne Robinson

One of my book club friends proclaimed me, with soft pats at my back, the Champion of Marilynne Robinson. Why not? I have read all three of her novels, each of them garnering my 5-stars. I cannot do her novels injustice with the sheer act of weighing the quality of her novels. There should be no second thoughts–give all those stars. And why should I rethink Robinson’s talent when she is the only writer I’ve ever read who can turn an ordinary set of words into a luminous prose powerful enough to create miracles? It somehow enrages me that only one of my book club friends has read her, but at least some are picking my recommendation. They have her books on their respective shelves. That gives me a sense of comfort, allowing me to be hopeful, that the good word about her writing will spread like a gentle breeze sweeping through the city. Her last two novels, Gilead and Home, are novels that deal largely with theology, one of the subject matters that least …

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

An Answered Prayer – In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

Philip Seymour Hoffman portrayed Capote in the biopic with the same title. It focuses on the years when the author was writing his book In Cold Blood. His acting got the nods of the Academy Award jurors. This performance is laudable, but I must say that in the film, I am more intrigued by the epilogue where it is said that Capote, in his last unfinished novel’s epigraph, chose this: More tears are shed over answered prayers than unanswered ones. As if the film isn’t devastating enough. What is with this book? It is, according to Capote, the novel of the decade that would keep the literary tongues wagging for his genius in coming up with a new genre, the nonfiction novel. I agree, and it is more than a sensation. It is an event hardly ignorable for the cunning stringing of facts that created a compelling novel about the murder of the Clutter family that set the “out there” Holcomb, Kansas into a key town of the United States. That is, at least, in the …

This Is How You Take Pictures of Books

Three days at the MIBF

The Manila International Book Fair held last September 12-16 is not merely an event for book sellers to do their business. It’s a celebration of our love for books. You see fellow book lovers frantically grabbing this and that book, but they do bother to say hello, so long as their faces are not covered by the stack of books they are carrying. I think this communion with bookish people from everywhere is a reasonable cause for celebration. The MIBF also has book talks, author signings, and of course, discounted books. I didn’t bother with the former two; I’m actually too lazy to go to the venue (the convention center at SM Mall of Asia). But of course, any lazy book lover will be able to energize himself by merely thinking of those books lined aisle after aisle. There are a lot of participating book sellers but I mostly roamed around the aisles of National Book Store and Fully Booked. Had Book Sale participated, I would have filed for a three-day leave and spent each day …