Month: October 2012

Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Absolution – Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Brideshead Revisited is arguably the masterpiece of its author, Evelyn Waugh. It is claimed so as well by the writer, but after he reread it years after its first publication date, he was appalled to find out that it isn’t as good as he initially thought  it was. But isn’t that always the case? For us book bloggers, we think that we have just finished writing a wonderful review of a book after editing the typos and other errors, only to realize months later that it’s rather distasteful. Anyway, the novel’s complete title is Brideshead Revisited, The Sacred and Profane Memories of Captain Charles Ryder. I think that the subtitle is a little oxymoronic and intriguing: how can the sacred and the profane intermingle with each other? It must be blasphemous then, no? True enough, one of the novel’s themes is Catholicism. Charles Ryder is drawn to the Flyte Family, a rich and opulent one, through his friend Sebastian Flyte. Sebastian, at first, is reluctant to introduce him to the rest of the Flytes lest they …

Fiction and Nonfiction

Oh dear, here I go again

Okay, so what to say? I feel this sort of lassitude concerning my blogging and reading that I cannot concretely describe. Not that I’ve lost my love for blogging, but I can’t seem to care for it as much as I did before. I used to worry myself to illogical extents when I haven’t posted anything for two days. Now, I just shrug it off. I’d like to think that it’s writer’s block. Or blogger’s block. But really, is there such a thing as that? I’d rather believe that one is unable to write due to lack of inspiration. And there’s inspiration everywhere. Therefore, it’s a problem of how to draw it and not the inability to write per se. I’ve also been very slack in my reading. I can’t seem to make myself read 20 pages straight without being distracted. It’s fine if such distractions only last a few minutes, but they can take hours. I often find myself researching for the historical context of the novel that I’m reading, only to end up …

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan

Defining Heartbreak – The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

Last year, my bookish friends and I went out of town. Being the bookish lot that we are, we brought books with us that we could read while on the road, if we are not too busy relaying random stories to each other. I brought a Hemingway novel, which is not a very smart choice because I now realize that books for traveling should only be light (literally and metaphorically). Anyway, my friends were passing around this novel-dictionary, and my curiosity was piqued when I saw that it really was a novel-dictionary. Flip through the pages and you’ll see dictionary entries of words selected by the unnamed narrator to tell the story of his relationship. I don’t think that Levithan is the progenitor of this form only because I think nothing can be original these days, but it was refreshing to see such a novel. Here’s a sample entry: love, n. I’m not going to even try. And then the rest of the page is just plain space. With this, one can surmise that the …

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

One Day in the Life of a Literature Professor – A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

A bookish friend has been raving about the beautiful film adaptation of this since time immemorial, and I couldn’t bring myself to watch it mainly because I do not respond well to rabid recommendations. I hate the feeling of disappointment when high expectations are not met. How could I not have those when the recommender is lost for words and could only plead to just watch the damn movie. Please. And then out of nowhere, one of my book club friends lent me a copy. Seeing that it’s only slim, something that I can read over the weekend, I read it and immediately looked for the copy of the film adaptation that has been sitting for months on my to-watch stack. I had this need to see how it is translated into film, and having that need as soon as I finished reading the book is saying a lot. We all understand that books and films are separate entities, but that’s not what I’m getting at. I just want to see if I had a …

Some heavy classics.

Oops, I forgot the title

I have a lot of things inside my head so forgive me for the yakking that would ensue from this point. It has been weeks since I last went to a book store, and here are what I got: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (October 1) – I got this through the special order service of National Book Store (at Greenbelt 1), which isn’t serviceable enough due to the ridiculously high price that they charge. Good thing is that this edition isn’t that expensive. I got it for Php 455.00, and just a week later, one of my friends told me that he got his copy for Php 280.00 at another local book store. And that sucks because I first inquired at that book store (Fully Booked, that’s you). Oh well, but I’m really happy with it. I don’t know though if reading it on the bus will make me happy. Looks like this will help me build my lame biceps. Bleak House by Charles Dickens (October 13) – Some critics say that this is …

The Classics Club Monthly Meme: October 2012

The Classics Club selected a short and sweet topic for the month that celebrates The Sweetest Day: Why are you reading the classics? First, why not? I mean, I never really bothered to ask myself why am I doing this. It’s like asking yourself why you’re breathing, and come to think of it, it’s a fundamental question. Second, I read the classics because they are the foundation of whatever it is that we are reading now. I want to find out who the culprits are. I want to see how things were done before. I want to know where everything started. Third, I read the classics because I want to make sure that the time I spend in reading will not be wasted. I have this notion that the classics will solve that problem. They wouldn’t be classics for nothing, right? They have survived multiple generations, therefore passing the test of time. Fourth, I read the classics because they challenge me. We have to admit that some classics are tough to go through. Although there …

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

The Dutchman in Dejima – The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell

The book trailer shows us a ship sailing slowly over the specious seas of The Land of a Thousand Autumns. Seagulls fly over the sea foam eternally reaching for a kiss on the clouds’ cheeks. The clouds languidly move aside to unveil the quaint island of Dejima, the sole gateway between Europe and Japan. The little community of European traders and interpreters, spies and servants, is the anchor of this novel. This, and the interaction with the Japanese and their culture during the Edo period, becomes Jacob de Zoet’s thousand autumns. Saturday, October 18th of the year 1800 is calm and blue. Starlings fly in nebulae: like a child in a fairy-tale, Jacob longs to join them. Or else, he daydreams, let my round eyes become nomadic ovals… West to east, the sky unrolls and rolls its atlas of clouds. …my pink skin turn dull gold; my freakish hair, a sensible black… From an alleyway, the clatter of a night-cart threatens his reverie. …and my boorish body become one of theirs … poised and sleek. Eight liveried …