Book Reports, Whatnot, Writing 101: Class of 2014
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Book Report: May 2014

Book Report: May 2014

I just joined this blogging challenge that would help me build, or rebuild, my blogging habit. That way, I can not only post these template-ish stuff, but also start, or restart, really blogging about books. I really do miss it. It’s just that I have so many lame excuses for not actually doing it.

Now I’ve got a reason to get back on the blogging train. Yay! But I have an interesting question: would Writing 101 work on a book blog? I’m not too sure, but here’s the first task anyway:

To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write.

Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.

And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.

Stream of consciousness eh? Should be quite easy since I just finished reading, twice, a high modernist novel which is also one of the landmarks of the aforementioned narrative style. I should really continue here but no, this is a template-ish post and I must follow it despite the prompt. It’s getting a little streamy anyway, eh? I haven’t really stopped typing. I just hit the backspace for the random typographical errors. And I’m only five minutes into this. This should be interesting

So here’s my reading accomplishment, which would probably be a bit streamy.

Books Finished:

  • A Death in the Family by James Agee – 4 out of 5 stars. I can’t help it. It just kept calling out to me. Actually, I put it on a separate stack so it would stop winking at me. And it was a worthless effort. I just picked it and read the first page. There’s an author introduction where it’s stated that the author died in the same month. It was the first week of May then. Oh dear, is this coincidence? So I read it, but I read it only after I finished the self-required readings of the landmark novel that I mentioned above, which is the book below. A Death in the Family is a little difficult, what with some of the text in italics, which are parts of the original manuscript that were not put in order by the author himself. You see, Agee died before he actually finished this, but it looks like there was not a lot of editing that needed to be done. So the unordered text were published in italics, like the editors and publishers couldn’t make up their minds as to where to put those parts. But it’s fine, because it actually worked. It felt like the text in italics were dream sequences after each part. Yes, the novel is divided in three parts. And no, I should stop at this part because I’m not supposed to be writing a review.
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf – 5 out of 5 stars. Yes, I’ve already read this maybe two years ago and last April but I read it again last May because of my discussion leader duties at the book club and yes, it’s the same number of stars. I have to admit though that the magic of the first read is no longer there, which includes the falling of my tears before the actual wrenching of my heart at the thought of a disintegrating house with winds roaming around and asking the remaining furniture whether they would remain. We remain, the pieces of furniture replied. This third reread is more critical because I was hunting for questions that would make the members of the book club think. There were the regular plot questions, but I was more interested in themes. Questions on symbols and characters were necessary as well to fully understand the novel. I don’t claim to fully understand it now, but I understand it better than the first and second readings. I noticed new things on each pass and I never failed to notice the power of Woolf’s writing. Such a great prose-poem writer! I have become a fan. I think I’m going to collect her works, particularly the Virginia Woolf series published by Vintage Classics. And I’m in the middle of reading one of her novels, which is indicated below.

Currently Reading:

  • Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf – Currently on page 82 of 197. Oh, I just had to read this. I couldn’t get enough of Woolf. At this point, the novel is still promising, although I feel that there are more lovey-dovey scenes than To the Lighthouse. Is that what makes it popular? Oops. My twenty minutes are up. Now I’ll have more control of my writing after this point. Goodbye, streams!
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – Currently on page 211 of 604. No touch. I promise to read this in June.

New Books:

  • The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace – a gift from my book club friend. I already have a copy of this but how can I resist it? Thank you! (From Doc Ranee, May 31)
  • The City and the City by China Miéville – Our book of the month. Genre is new weird. What is new weird? Don’t ask me. (Php 449.10 Fully Booked – SM Mall of Asia, May 17)
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens – A birthday gift, albeit belated, because it’s a future book of the month. Thank you! (From Gwaxa (and Meliza?), May 31)
  • Troubles by J. G. Farrell – Winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize and published by NYRB Classics and found in the sale bin and in mint condition! Yay! (Php 145.00 Book Sale – SM Mega Mall, May 16)


  1. I read ‘The City and the City’ for a book club recently. ‘New weird’ is very accurate once you get into it. I have a book review on my blog but be warned I give away spoilers! I hope you enjoy it; I liked it more than I thought I would.


    • Wow, looks like The City and the City is popular among book clubs. I think I’ll look for your review later, after I finish the book. :)


  2. Monique says

    Very curious about A Death in the Family, now even more. And I’m also excited to read Mrs. Dalloway. :)


    • ADitF is like a Woolf novel. It must be read slowly. It has its luminous parts. Like what I mentioned at the F2F, there’s some part that I feel I didn’t get. Hence, the missing other star.


  3. Wow, Virginia Woolf…I’m afraid of her, hehehe. A Tale of Two Cities is one of the books I’ve tried for years to read but never finish :-( bucket list book!


  4. Yaay I miss reading your blog posts too, and I’m so glad you’ve decided to write again. I enjoyed reading this post and now I feel guilty for not finishing TTL. I will resume reading soon. :)


    • Don’t stress yourself with TTL. It’s an admittedly difficult book, but I really do hope that you’d have some time for it. It’s worth it. ;)


  5. The birthday gift is from Gwaxa alone. Hehe! I planned to give you The City & The City last April but I can’t find a copy. (And Gwaxa forgot to look at The Fort branch. Hehe.) But you found a copy, yey! I’m really really hoping that you’ll like that book.


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