Month: February 2013

F2F14: Dead Stars by Paz Marquez Benitez

TFG’s Book of the Month for February: Dead Stars by Paz Marquez Benitez

Dead Stars Face to Face Book Discussion Details: Date: February 24, 2013 Place: Q Bistro, Ortigas Center, Pasig City Time: 4 PM to 8 PM Discussion Leader: Tina Attendees: Me, Aaron, Aenna, Alexa, Alona, Beejay, Bennard, Berna, Biena, Cary, Clai, Celina, Chika, Ella, Ingrid, JL, Maria, Patrick, Ranee, Reev, Rhena, Ruby, Sheryl, Sophie, Toni, Veronica, Wilfred Food I Ate: Spaghetti with meatballs, chocolate milkshake, Ferrero Rochers (from Beejay), beer Post-discussion Activity: Speed dating with the members, love letter reading by four selected members, 18 blue gifts for Alexa the debutante After the Book Discussion: Ate dinner at Gerry’s Grill – Metrowalk Other Nominated Books: Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra, From This Day Forward by Marla Miniano Thoughts from the Members: From Biena: But maybe, we have to stop loving with eyes wide shut. Before it’s too late, we have to wake up and face reality. Because this love may be classified as an abstract noun, it is all the more an emotion, and the greatest task bestowed upon us, lovers, is to be able to decipher if the …

Dead Stars by Paz Marquez Benitez

Something exhumed from the grave – Dead Stars by Paz Marquez Benitez

Dead Stars is a short story that revolves around the love affairs of Alfredo, Esperanza, and Julia. Alfredo Salazar, a lawyer, is in a long engagement with Esperanza. Julia enters the scene through Alfredo’s constituent. He experiences an immediate attraction to her, but alas, he is soon to be married with his fiancee. He conservatively flirts with Julia through secret meetings and subtle declarations, but in the end, he lets her go, with her gaining the late knowledge of his impending marriage. Is he right in pursuing his marriage with Esperanza or could things have been better if he chose Julia? And are his feelings for Julia as deep as he thinks they are or are they as fleeting as any momentary love affair? Dead Stars is a pioneer modern short story in the Philippines. By modern, I mean not historical or not having anything to do with the events of the late 1900s or not having the modernist qualities that were prevalent during the time it was first published, which was in 1925. The …

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Transience – Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Housekeeping is Marilynne Robinson’s first novel that tells us the story of two sisters who are raised by different relatives. Ruth and Lucille, during their adolescent years, fall under the care of their Aunt Sylvie, their mother’s sister who lives like a transient. She settles in Fingerbone, a fictional Midwestern town that boasts snowy mountains and an imposing lake, to live with the two sisters. The two sisters develop opposite feelings for their eccentric aunt, a woman who never does proper housekeeping. Is the title to be taken literally? The novel begins with the narrator, Ruth, telling us simple facts about the people they were with when they were growing up. First, it was the grandmother. And then the grand-aunts. And then the aunt. This series of people taking care of the sisters immediately raises these questions about their parents: who are they, what happened, when they left, where they are, and why. The language of the novel immediately lets us feel an intimacy reserved among family members. There is a lyrical quality to it that …

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

What Goes Around, Comes Around – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory tells the story of the impoverished eponymous hero who, against all odds, sets out to win the contest of an eccentric chocolate factory owner named Mr. Willy Wonka. Mr. Wonka raffles out five golden tickets by inserting them within his world-famous chocolate bars. The lucky children who find these tickets will get a chance to enter the mysterious factory where all the best chocolate bars are manufactured. How will Charlie trounce the other kids and turn his life around? What lessons can young readers learn from this book? Had this book not been selected as one of our club’s book of the month, I wouldn’t have ventured to read it. This book is meant for children, although that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t be reading children’s books. In fact, it is important for us to read this book however old we are primarily to know what children’s literature is made of. Personally, I found it important just so I know what I missed when I was young. I was not a …

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

A Hundred Feelings – Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair is the second collection of poetry published by the Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda. The poems in this collection strongly depict love in very personal, intimate, erotic, and artistic ways. Published when he was only 19 years old, the critically acclaimed collection gave him international fame and set his place among men of letters as an emerging South American poet. I didn’t know how to read this. Should I read the poems in one go? Should I wait for a certain mood before I start? Should I only read one poem a day to process each one effectively? Should I read aloud? I only did the last item, and it proved to be helpful. It further convinced me that poems are meant to be read aloud, to be whispered to the wind, to be heard within someone’s hearing. Typing this alone makes me nervous because as much as I want to capture the feelings that I have for this book, they just remain as they are: feelings. And while reading, …

I give in; I am joining the Classics Spin

The Classics Club is hosting an event: The Classics Spin. I was a little hesitant to join, but what the hey, there have been a number of events in the club that I let go. In a nutshell, the participants will list 20 books from their respective classics list before Monday and the moderators of the club will pick a number on that day. The book that corresponds to the (un)lucky number should be read and finished on or before April 1. Sounds fun? To add some thrill, there are four categories where the books must belong. These are the following: five books you are dreading/hesitant to read (1-5) five books you can’t wait to read (6-10) five books you are you are neutral about (11-15) five free choices (16-20) Okay, here’s my list: I am dreading these because of their sheer length: 01 An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser 02 Call It Sleep by Henry Roth 03 Germinal by Emile Zola 04 Native Son by Richard Wright 05 Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence I …

The Tin Drum by Günter Grass

6 Months, 3 Books, 1 Drum – The Tin Drum by Günter Grass

The Tin Drum is the first book in the Danzig Trilogy. It tells us the story of Oskar Matzerath with reminiscences from his birth up to his 30th birthday. A person who hast the power to break glass using his voice, Oskar willfully stopped his body from growing at the age of three, which is also the same year that he received his first tin drum from his mother. He spends his pre and post WWII years in the body of a child until he gets locked up in a mental institution. So how did he end up there and tell his story to us? I was more than excited to read The Tin Drum when I first got it. In fact, I went out of my way to get a copy of Breon Mitchell’s translation for the novel’s 50th anniversary. The Ralph Manheim version, I gave it away. I imagined this book to be fun because the protagonist is a very interesting character. My expectations were not in vain; the first chapter delivered. However, something …