Month: May 2013

TFG’s Book of the Month for May: Smaller and Smaller Circles by F. H. Batacan

Smaller and Smaller Circles Face to Face Book Discussion Details: Date: May 19, 2013 Place: Pages Deli, Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Mandaluyong City Time: 3 PM to 6 PM Discussion Leader: Charles Attendees: Me, Aaron, Aenna, Alexa, JL, Julie, Louize, Maria, Monique, Patrick, Ranee, Tina, Veronica, Ycel Food I Ate: Charlotte’s Web (it’s their version of ham and cheese), iced tea, apple crumble Pre and Post-discussion Activity: We played this game called Mafia. Well, my college friends and I call it Mafia (it’s a game where the members try to guess who the “killer” who goes on a killing spree after each round of guessing). After the Book Discussion: Some of the members watched a movie, and I didn’t join. Other Nominated Books: Blue Angel, White Shadow by Charlson Ong, The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle Thoughts from the Members: [From Biena:] Oh well, what can I say? I enjoyed this book very much. I’m not afraid of crime novels anymore. [From Kristel:] I don’t think that’s an impossible feat at all. Smaller and Smaller Circles shows …

These Are Books.

My current criterion for buying books

Is intrigue. Not book reviews (both from my peers and the professionals). Not the average ratings on Goodreads. Not the price. Not the lists that I’m following. And not the blurbs, so I am ditching the previous post format for my ex libris posts (because that format eats a lot of time and I am recently always pressed for time). The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller – I was intrigued by the title so I put it on my wish list shelf. This was supposed to be a birthday gift from Monique but it got lost for a couple of months. Still, it was given to me. Woohoo! (May 19) Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs – I was intrigued because there’s this guy at a book talk I chanced upon years ago who claimed that this is his favorite book because he could never finish it. He would restart and ditch it, ad infinitum. (Php 300.00, May 19, Avalon.ph) This Is Water by David Foster Wallace – I was intrigued because of this video on …

Smaller and Smaller Circles by F. H. Batacan

Serial Mysteries – Smaller and Smaller Circles by F. H. Batacan

Smaller and Smaller Circles is a mystery novel that revolves around two Jesuit priests, Father Gus Saenz and Father Jerome Lucero, investigating a series of killings at the Payatas dumpsite, a popular one in the Philippines. Having a background in forensic anthropology, the two priests are tapped by the men of the National Bureau of Investigation to assist them in capturing the killer who cleanly rips off the faces and hearts of preteen boys living at the dumpsite. Soon enough, the matter is put wholly into the priests’ hands. With the aid of the meddlesome yet resourceful reporter Joanna Bonifacio, the priests are able to find out who the serial killer is despite the inefficiency of the government’s main crime investigation body. It was not without a little trepidation that I started this novel. I want to like it. In fact, I want to fall in love with it because it’s a popular contemporary novel by a fellow Filipino writer. It won a slew of awards and has gone on further to become both a …

Ulverton by Adam Thorpe

Hear the Voice of the Dead – Ulverton by Adam Thorpe

Ulverton is a novel composed of a dozen short stories bound together by the history of the fictional village Ulverton. The stories are ordered chronologically, from 1650 to 1988, and these stories are told in different styles and different points of view. It’s a pastiche made of a traditional short story, a sermon, a journal, a series of literate letters, a series of illiterate letters, a bar story, a set of photographic plates, a one-way conversation, and a movie script. Some characters are mentioned from story to story, particularly the characters in the older stories, but these characters are less important than the place itself because Ulverton is the main character of the novel. I was merely looking for a good translation of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary when I stumbled upon an article that tells of Adam Thorpe’s new rendition of the said novel despite the recent one that Lydia Davis did. In that article is also the news of the recent inclusion of Thorpe’s first novel, Ulverton, in the illustrious Vintage Classics. This made me …

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

Sometimes, you just don’t get it – The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

The Sense of an Ending is narrated by Tony Webster, a man who has been more or less successful: a steady career, an easy retirement, a friendly marriage followed by a friendlier divorce, an unproblematic daughter. In other words, life is not bothersome for Tony until he receives a letter from a solicitor stating that Adrian Finn, a friend from 40 years ago, left him a diary through the will of Sarah, the mother of his ex-girlfriend from 40 years ago, Veronica. This letter makes Tony start scrutinizing what he thinks his past is and discovering what his life really is. The novel begins with a list of things that Tony remembers, and after going through each item, he cautiously says, as if to defend himself from his flawed remembrance, which is something that is often presented, that what you end up remembering is not always what you have seen. Memories, in this novel, cannot be trusted. Memories are either willfully forgotten or confused between imagination and reality. They deviate from what really happened and …

The Second Classics Spin

I’m joining the Classics Spin #2 because I feel like I have to rely on this to make me go back and focus on my classics reading. Check out the link for more rules. This time, I am going to recycle the books from the first spin but of course, I’m going to cross out the books that I have already read. And I’ll be changing some of the categories. Well, I’m not exactly changing them; I’m just going to reword them to make them match my feelings for them. So here are the categories: five books you are dreading/hesitant to read (1-5) five books you feel have the best reputation (6-10) five books you plan to read within this year (11-15) five free choices (16-20) I am dreading these books 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 These are books that seem, for me, …

Hunted and Delivered

Books in the mail and the sale bins

Every responsible citizen is at his or her designated election precinct and here I am stuck at the house with nothing to do. If you’re wondering why, I wasn’t able to register because the voting registration dates escaped me because I was oblivious to everything that was uhm, newsworthy. Instead of wondering how the national election would turn out, I thought of busying myself by posting my recent book hauls. [Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?: USD 17.94, May 2, Better World Books] Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? is Carver’s first collection. It is the last book that I have in my Carver list and, oddly, completes my Carver craving. I am a happy camping completist! “Filled with glass-sharp details, images and conversations …. Carver has a wicked, ironic imagination. With painful, funny acuteness, he captures the electric currents that shoot through people’s lives and single them indelibly.” – Newsweek [Emma: Php 97.00, May 6, Book Sale – Makati Square] Emma is the second Jane Austen that I intend to read mostly because it …