Month: November 2012

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Where in the world is Dracula? – The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Let me hazard a guess: this book is a cross between Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code. Wrong? If I am, I have no right to defend myself since I haven’t read either book. I only have that notion because of The Historian’s subject matter and the pace of the novel. It’s my first time to read something of this kind. I like my novels slow, so when I was presented with too much action and suspense, I found myself bored to death. Or undeath. What a paradox. I didn’t hate this, though. It’s just that I am not used to it, and probably I should have tried slimmer suspense or “horror” books. This is the product of Kostova’s long years of research, and her own research must have crept into the novel’s plot because we have a professors and kids researching the whereabouts of Vlad Tepes, the inspiration for Dracula. Each character, in his own time, goes around the libraries of Eastern Europe for any literature that remotely refers to …

My Pre-Christmas Pile

I hoarded just a bit before the Christmas shoppers go crazy

I will try my best to make this pile (plus the secret pile that I bought for exchange gifts) to be my last book shopping for this year. For us bibliophiles, there’s nothing wrong in shopping for books that you know you won’t be reading anytime soon, but you see, I’m planning two trips in the next few months, so I have to save whatever money that I have remaining. Besides, it has been some time since I last shopped for books. It must have been four weeks ago, so you can just imagine those agonizing times when I go out of a book store empty-handed. This pile is one of my favorites for this year. First, there is a collection of poetry. Second, there are two short story collections. Third, there is an assortment of trade paperbacks, mass markets, and hardbounds. Fourth, there are gifts. Fifth, there is a number of novels by a single author. Sixth, there is a study guide. Hmm, need I say more? Twenty Love Poems and a Song of …

Books borrowed and books to borrow

Something Borrowed

Last year, my friends could not lend me a book because I just didn’t like borrowing books. Not that I could afford and find all the books that I want, not that I don’t respect their recommendations, but I felt that I needed to own every book that I read and will read. This is because I fear that I would not be able to let go of the lent book if ever I love it. But this has changed somehow. I now borrow books, but I still want to own the books that are on my must-buy list. I think this book borrowing started when my bookish friends recommended The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. Seeing that it’s only a short read and knowing that it wouldn’t be on my must-buy list, I gave it a try. I ended up liking the book, but yes, I have to return it. I made a mental note to buy a mass-market paperback for my own copy, just so I would have a solid proof that I …

The Classics Club Monthly Meme: November 2012

It’s mid-November, but it’s never too late to participate in┬áThe Classics Club‘s monthly meme. Here’s the topic for this month: What classic piece of literature most intimidates you, and why? (Or, are you intimidated by the classics, and why? And has your view changed at all since you joined our club?) There are two types of literature that intimidate me. These are the works of Shakespeare and ancient Greeks. I am thinking of collecting those No Fear Shakespeare books, but I can’t see myself buying even one in the near future. Just thinking of the possible struggle lets me down. The Greek classics, well, I don’t intend to read them. That could change, maybe when I am way older, but definitely not now. Why do they intimidate me? Well, they are written in verse. The truth is, anything written in verse intimidates me, which explains the lack of poetry in my reading list. But I’d love to explore them, particularly the works of Pablo Neruda, Derek Walcott, T. S. Eliot, and other Nobel laureates. I …

The God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza

How to be an adult – The God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza

I’m not a fan of plays. I am amazed myself why I was compelled to read a review of this and borrow it. It’s either the review is too convincing or the play is too good. Or maybe I just like the sound of the title. Sometimes, we just pick our next reads without much thought, right? This does not mean though that the play is a thoughtless piece of literature. It’s about these two pairs of parents who are trying to have an adult conversation regarding their respective sons. One son hit the other while they were at the park. There are medical expenses to take care of, but what concerns the parents the most is the prevention of this violent and childish behavior. So yes, they will all be adults about this, hence, the adult conversation for an adult resolution. There’s only one act, so we are stuck with the four in a nice and posh living room. I could imagine the smell of fresh linen, the incandescent lights, the spotless fastidiousness of …

Welcome to Pemberley!

TFG’s Book of the Month for October: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I’m back to my old habit of delaying these book club posts as far as I could. Oh well, next weekend will be another book discussion, so it’s just high time that I get this done, no? Our book club picked another classic for October. Pride and Prejudice won the poll, beating Little Women and The Secret Garden. There’s only a slim difference among the three, so it could have been this or that. There’s the usual reading plan and online discussion, but this time, the discussion leader organized online group screenings of BBC’s series adaptation of this novel, starring Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Two episodes were streamed every Friday of the month, and guess what? I hosted the live stream. I find that funny because a few months back, I didn’t have any Internet connection and now I’m doing stuff like streaming. So while watching, viewers were either talking about the book or simply gushing (which filled out most of the chatroom space). I couldn’t take part much part in the chatroom because …

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

How long do first impressions last? – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

I always had this notion that I have to read at least three works of Jane Austen for me to achieve a sense of accomplishment. Why do I feel that? Well, she was born in the late 18th century and still, she remains a household name. I feel that everyone, even nonreaders, have an idea of who she is, like a news reporter whom you always see on TV but don’t really bother to know. The three books that I hurled at my to-read-and-to-buy pile are Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. However, I never really got to read these until the second book was chosen as our group’s book of the month. In a way, I was forced to give this little Austen project a head start. The novel was originally entitled First Impressions, which sounds typical of a novel dealing largely with love. I think giving it a new title worked. At least it did for me for it made me wonder this: why should a love story deal with these …