All posts filed under: Hatchet Jobs

Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

Book Club Book Review – Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

Love Walked In is my first stinker of this reading year. People who know me can easily assume that I didn’t like this novel because of its genre. I disagree. There must be romance novel out there for me and I just haven’t read it yet, obviously. I’ve found young adult and science fiction novels that I’d gladly recommend to anyone who wants my opinion. I’m thinking that Possession by A. S. Byatt could possibly be my romance book, but really, the romance that it defines for itself is not the romance that we’re talking about. So the search for my romance goes on. Maybe I’d like my romance to be a little gritty. This one is very neat. I don’t remember a single loose thread left hanging. Cornelia, the protagonist, goes on a date with a Martin and later finds out that he already has a daughter. Cornelia and Clare, the daughter, form a bond, and you’d imagine that maybe the three of them can all live happily ever after, right? Of course not. That would be too predictable, yes? Instead, …

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Book Review – Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why comprises seven cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, a troubled high school student, and received by Clay Jensen, a classmate who has a crush on her. The cassette tapes tell the story of her suicide. These are sent and passed along a number of people whom Hannah thinks has a part in her decision to end her life. Each side of the tape is labeled with a number, except for the B-side of the seventh cassette, and focuses on a particular person who caused an incident contributing to the snowball of events that led to Hannah’s end. The novel is structured as if the reader were holding a Walkman instead of a book. The chapter titles are labeled according to the cassette number and side (Cassette 1: Side A, Cassette 1: Side B, and so on) that Clay is listening to. There are two running narratives as each cassette is wound: Hannah’s story and Clay’s reactions to her story. I would usually give a nod to such a form. It’s creative and one …

Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

Telling a lie can make a person alcoholic – Charming Billy by Alice McDermott

It is hard to appreciate a book that you have set yourself not to like. This is what happened with this novel. Whenever my friend and I go book hoarding, he would always point to a stray copy of this and tell me that this could be the book of my life. It exasperates me, not because I have preconceived notions of the novel but because I do not like the title. Sounds callow, but the two words, set together, grate on my nerves. A common name and a common adjective. Really, one could think of something better, right? And really, I would have appreciated it more if it were just Billy, or Charming, but not Charming Billy. And so I steeled my guts to read this. I tried my best not to think of the annoying title. I imagined that it were Alcoholic Billy or Billy the Drunkard. It sort of worked, but that first chapter disappointed me. I was reading about cut-out characters who weren’t sure or convinced of what they were saying, …

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

Before Ulysses, there was a portrait – A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce

There was an occasion when one of my commenters pointed out that I haven’t finished Ulysses yet when I claimed to have finished all the books that I list on my monthly reading plans. A keen observer, I should say, for yes, the book completely slipped off my mind when I made that claim. I went ahead to explain that I still do read Ulysses, but only during the weekends. But when these weekends come, I find myself procrastinating, especially if I am in the midst of a book that I am enjoying so much. Why stop reading and replace the entertainment with tedious labor? Before I read Ulysses, I already have my prejudices dead set against it although there’s still a flicker of hope that I could somehow appreciate it. These prejudices have been formed when I read his other slimmer work, A Portrait. It is somehow a prequel to Ulysses for one of its main characters is the former’s hero, Stephen Dedalus. –You made me confess the fears that I have. But I …

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Malignant – Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

I bought my copy of this from a sidewalk vendor who was asked by someone, probably a distant aunt, to sell a stack of books. There’s something cool and bohemian in buying such stuff, so yes, even if it was exorbitantly priced despite the major crease at the back, I bought it. I immediately attended to it. Hmm. Challenging. Not only did it assail me with a lot of French words and phrases, but there’s also the jumpy storytelling. If reading this book were a conversation, it would be like a chitchat with a horrible stranger who readily disposes all his dark secrets while you are stuck with him inside an elevator. He burps, he farts, and you have no choice but to bear with him. He just has this need to talk and talk without realizing that you no longer care. But I did listen to the story up to the end. I am that tenacious. I was never the one to totally abandon a book that I’ve started. So let’s get into this. …

The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon

The Crying of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon

Intro I bought this book the same day that I bought my violin. January 30, 2009. My superstitious self tells me that I shouldn’t have bought this book with Karl Johan, my violin; I should have seen it as a portent. A portent of what? That I would not be able to make Karl Johan sing. That I would abandon my classical music pursuit. For the time being, at least. And why am I talking about my violin here? It’s because I don’t know how to start writing about this book. The Rhapsody Thomas Pynchon, as one of my bookish friends pointed out, is an elusive writer. Is he even a real person? We don’t know, but we would like to believe that he is, given the acclaim that he is being regarded with, along with other American literary giants like Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, and Philip Roth. This book is probably his shortest work, and just like the elusive trait of its author, it eluded my understanding. I do not know what this book …

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love – Oscar Hijuelos

Intro I do not really know what I was thinking when I picked up this book. Antonio Banderas? No, I am not a fan. The book cover? Not really. The Pulitzer? Could be. This is the first Pulitzer winner that fell short of my expectations. I found it a huge drag. Read on if you are interested to find out why and if you wish to prove me wrong. The Rhapsody It’s such a struggle for me to write about something that I am either not fond of or not totally against. As far as I can recall, the novel is about two brothers who rise amidst various adversities to become musicians. I do not remember if they ever get a record deal, but I am sure that the novel is mostly about memoirs. I think one of the brothers recently died while the other one is contemplating suicide inside a hotel room. Do not trust me with these details because I cannot clearly remember. I do not even remember their names. I could always use search engines to help me …