Month: March 2013

F2F15: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

TFG’s Book of the Month for March: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief Face to Face Book Discussion Details: Date: March 23, 2013 Place: Cafe Breton, Greenfield District, Mandaluyong City Time: 3 PM to 6 PM Discussion Leader: Beejay Attendees: Me, Aaron, Ace, Alexa (late), Bennard, Cary, Celina, JL, Louize, Mae (late), Ranee, Sandra, Tina, Tricia, Veronica, Ycel Food I Ate: Tuna sandwich, Le Magnifique (banana crêpe smothered with chocolate syrup and almonds) Post-discussion Activity: White Elephant Book Steal (I brought Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro; I took home The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman), collection of book donations for the outreach After the Book Discussion: Outreach meeting at the park in front, ate dinner at the nearby Kanin Club, ate ice cream at the park (again) and hung out until the guards ordered us to go home. Other Nominated Books: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness Thoughts from the Members: From Cary: I can’t believe it. Im done and it was heartbreaking but brilliant. From Jane: The book generally is serious but has a fun touch to it–precious shocking moments never come as shocking because bits and …

Mysteries by Knut Hamsun

The Man in the Yellow Suit – Mysteries by Knut Hamsun

Mysteries is a novel about Johan Nagel, a man who suddenly lives in a small Norwegian town and who gets the townspeople going with his eccentric thoughts and impulsive acts. With no apparent reason for sojourning in the town and then leaving it just as soon as he arrived, Nagel probes into the deep recesses of the people’s souls, thereby disrupting the peace of the people and turning everyone against him while he goes closer to his own destruction. It is a psychological novel that begins with loose ends and finishes with more loose ends that will  remain as they are: mysteries. One summer, Nagel arrives at the town wearing a yellow suit. From the port, he sees flags fluttering, and instead of continuing his journey at the sea, he decides to stay. Nagel is rather short, his upper body is quite big for his build, he is in his late twenties, and he has a couple of suitcases and a violin case that contains his soiled clothes. That last bit raises the eyebrow: why …

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

A Steal – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief tells the story of Liesel Meminger, the person referred by the novel’s title, living her early teenage years at a suburban town in Germany at the onset of World War II. Left to the care of the foster parents Hans and Rosa Hubermann, Liesel starts anew with new friends and family as she experiences various things, like stealing one book after another, witnessing Jews marching to concentration camps, coming to terms with the many losses in her life, and coming up triumphant at the end of it all. An admirable life-affirming story, it is not only targeted at the younger audience but to the general reading populace as well. There is one thing I realized after finishing this novel: I rate books according to my mood. My temperament incredibly shifts up and down without warning. Although I still practice what’s left of my good judgment during such mood swings, I sometimes can’t help it if I begrudge a novel an additional star or if I give one more out of sheer whim. …

Carver, Ishiguro, Pirandello, Shakespeare, and Thorpe

The Book Depository gave me a headache but I’m still happy

I checked the last time when I made a post about my book purchases, and it looks like this has truly become a monthly thing. One can look at it in at least three ways. First, I am saving money so I avoid book stores (not totally true; yes, I am saving money but I still visit book stores. Second, I don’t see titles that compel me to buy (true). Third, I don’t feel the urge to post so often nowadays (the answer must be obvious). Do you see other ways? I can’t think of any. Besides, I don’t want to think of a fourth or fifth way because I am itching to talk about my recent book buys. Half of these books are from The Book Depository and the other half are from local book stores. I don’t know where to begin; perhaps I should just order them according to the date when each book made it to my book shelf, no? [Where I’m Calling From: Php 640.00, February 15, Fully Booked – Greenbelt …

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

The Model Couple – Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates

Revolutionary Road is a novel that I presumptuously described as an existential suburban drama. Frank and April Wheeler, a self-assured couple, move their family at the end of Revolutionary Road in Connecticut despite the thought that they are intellectually superior to their neighbors. The couple feels a sense of entrapment: Frank sticking with a job that he thinks is too lame for his capacities and April blaming herself for her husband’s career. They start to bicker until their marriage nearly disintegrates, and then April suggests that they move out of that town and emigrate to France. This will allow Frank to find himself while April initially supports the family. Their loving relationship is restored, but will they ever get out of the gaping emptiness not only of that town, but also of life? Have you ever had that feeling that you just have to read a book that you literally have to turn over your shelves to find your copy of it? This is the case with Revolutionary Road, and although I had notions of …

The Classics Club Monthly Meme: March 2013

I’ve been slightly out of the loop, so I guess answering The Classics Club monthly meme could help me get the ball rolling again. Here’s this month’s question: Do you love Jane Austen or want to “dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone”? (Phrase borrowed from Mark Twain). Why? (for either answer)? Favorite and/or least favorite Austen novel? I find this question a little disorienting because of its specificity. Browsing through the previous topics, I realize that it’s similar to the December meme, something about A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (What is your favorite memory of it?), which reminded me that I haven’t read anything yet by Dickens. The December meme seems to me that A Christmas Carol has been read by everyone, but this is immediately dispelled by the next question (Have you read it?). At least it gave a little room for the likes of us to participate. I wonder why this month’s meme does not include a followup question (Have you read Jane Austen?). Does it mean that classic …

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

What Makes a Man – The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

The Red Badge of Courage explores the nature of courage in the midst of a war. Henry Fleming, a new recruit, is constantly thinking of the possibilities of him running away from the battlefield once the civil war commences with grazing shots and thunderous explosions. He joins the regiment, despite his mother’s protests, mainly for the glory that it would give to soldiers. When he arrives at the camp and finds out that there isn’t much to do aside from waiting and marching, his nagging inner conflicts would not let him rest until the battle actually begins. This is a book that I approached with a little worry because I just picked this randomly through The Classics Spin. I am not in the mood to read a novel about soldiers advancing and retreating but I read it anyway seeing that it’s not too long. Upon starting it, I immediately got hooked because of the protagonist, Henry Fleming. The youth, as he is referred to in the entirety of the novel, has fantastic visions of courage …