I’ve been thinking a lot about this blog lately and how it has come to this. I don’t even know what I mean by “this.” Suffice to say, it’s not something that I had in mind when I started a few years ago, when I separated my book posts from my personal blog (now only accessible to me). I wanted this blog to be a book with regular posts: regular reviews, regular discussions, regular reports, memes, contests, etc. It didn’t turn out that way. There has been nothing regular in it despite my internal struggle to keep something regularly running in it.
Before I announce the winner of my birthday giveaway (yes, there are participants), let me just get the monthly report out of the way.
- Remainder by Tom McCarthy – 3 out of 5 stars. Will try my best to review it after I sort out my life.
- Nothing yet. Will probably start reading our book of the month later, The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. I don’t know what it is about.
TFG Book Bingo Progress:
So that’s only two squares since January. Gaaah, what am I doing? To be fair, I had gone through an intense ordeal, one that involves real life shit that I hope no one among you will experience. But that’s over now, I guess. I really shouldn’t be talking about it, so let’s just talk about bingo squares?
Here are the entries:
- Pat recommended Nobody’s Perfect by Anthony Lane (About movies) and Juliet Naked by Nick Hornby (About music).
- Tin recommended Les Liasons Dangereuses by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos (Erotic fiction), The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Attwood (Speculative fiction), The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer (Set during a holiday), The Wes Anderson Collection by Matt Zoller Seitz (About movies), and Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (About music).
Thank you, Pat and Tin, for participating and for the birthday greetings. And now, it’s decision-making time. By default, Tin wins! Well, she followed the instructions. I asked for recommendations for five categories, right? But putting technicalities aside, I like the books she recommended. In fact, I’ve already added The Handmaid’s Tale and Bel Canto in my bingo shortlist before she even recommended them, which could mean she kind of understands the books that I like. And I love Cruel Intentions so I might as well pick its source novel.
Congrats, Tin! I think you know what to do. :)
The birthday giveaway tradition lives on! But I’m running out of gimmicks. And I’m not exactly in a mood to celebrate. In fact, I just intend to watch as many Mad Men episodes as I can while eating food that I should avoid when I hit the mid-30s. Or if it gets too hot, I’ll run to the nearest coffee shop and finish the book that I’m currently reading, which is something that would let me mark a square on my book bingo card. Hmm.
In case you are disoriented, today is my birthday and I’m running a giveaway. The prize is a USD 20.00 book of your choice from The Book Depository. You get a chance at winning the prize by giving me book recommendations for the following categories lifted from my book bingo card:
- Erotic fiction
- Speculative fiction
- Set during a holiday
- About movies
- About music
I want compelling recommendations. You have to convince me, even in a few words. Or you can refer me to links of your reviews, if you have any.
Let’s set a minimum of one and a maximum of three per category. I’ll let this contest run for a week. I’m excited to see what you have to recommend. Thanks in advance!
I got The Sellout for USD 13.12 and The White Castle for free. The former arrived from TBD last April 18 and the latter yesterday. By the way, Orhan Pamuk has this copy signed. Yes, I have the signature of a Nobel laureate on the inaugural winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize (now reconfigured and merged as the Man Booker International Prize). Thanks to my friend Benny for this priceless gift.
I’m thinking of reading The Sellout right after I finish my current read, which should signify a successful effort at getting out from my general life rut. This should be good since it recently won the NBCC award for fiction and grabbed the rooster at the Tournament of Books. Has anyone read this? What do you think?
April! My favorite month in spite of the heat it carries in this part of the world.
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – 5 out of 5 stars. I just finished it a few minutes ago. I’m still under the book’s spell so maybe this rating is rather premature, the kind of rating that one makes when one is still hyperventilating and sniffling and starting to realize how stupid one looks hugging a book as if it were a dear baby. I’m playing Beck’s Morning Phase for the mood (the lyrics do not matter). Anyway, I’ll come up with a review soon.
- Siglo: Freedom, edited by Dean Francis Alfar and Vin Simbulan – 3 out of 5 stars. Our book club’s March read.
I might start something fantastic for my book bingo because…
TFG Book Bingo Progress:
…there is no progress. Remember, book club reads are not counted and I couldn’t find a bingo square for A Little Life.
I have nothing else to say. I’m still thinking of A Little Life. Later!
I had these books delivered to my work desk last March 15 but I’ve only opened the package a week later and only now did I remember to post about it. Strange, isn’t it? Why would I not immediately open a package of books to touch them? And read the blurbs, peel off the sticker price tags, stare at the covers, smell their pages, stack them at a corner of my desk, take a photo of them, post them on my blog?
I had a terrible week. Weeks. I didn’t even have a nice vacation during the Holy Week. Yes, I spent the glorious holidays at the office but don’t get me wrong. I didn’t mind going to work, which was another strange thing. I just wanted to be distracted, and work proved to be a welcome distraction, something that books, not even new books, were capable to be at the moment. I hope that’s the last of the strange things I’ll be having this month.
Today, I took a day off because of the overtime hours that I did last week. And I’m not feeling super. I felt a little feverish last night but a dose of paracetamol made me feel okay this morning. Now, I just want to do mindless things, and after doing mindless things, I just want to read somewhere where no one will bother me.
Of course, this is too much personal information for this blog, but the point that I’m trying to make is that books alone, at rare instances, are not capable of giving me the boost that I need. Perhaps nothing can ever be a super antidote to our troubles, but surely, time can help (and brooding and talking about your feelings and meeting old friends and trying to keep your sanity and crying), but that will only be realized when the worst has already happened. And when you are at such an instance, it’s best, at least for me, to put all bookish activities on hold.
Which should mean that things are shaping up again, for I’m ready to list down the latest books that I got from Bookulaw.
- Blue Nights by Joan Didion (Php 260.00) – This should probably complement The Year of Magical Thinking.
- A Book of Memories by Péter Nádas (Php 400.00) – I just like the title. Silly, I know, but the author seems like a respectable one.
- North by Seamus Heaney (Php 200.00) – The reason I broke my book shopping moratorium. I’m actually not a huge fan of poetry but I’ve bought collections once in a while, in case I acquire the taste for it.
Free coffee bookmarks, as always.
Two months, two books, two reviews. I don’t think it’s bad. On the contrary, it feels good because I no longer stress about how many books I should have read by now and I’m able to dish out some of my thoughts and feelings about the books that I finished. They are by no means anything like the reviews of James Wood or Tim Parks but they still serve something: a record of my reading experience.
- Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish – 5 out 5 stars. Review here.
- The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan – 3 out of 5 stars. Our book club’s February read. Review here.
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara – On page 259 of 720. I see why people love this. The narrative is straightforward and the characters are so fleshed out that you can imagine yourself being in their company. I still have a long way to go though but I’m always looking forward to reading it every night, that is when I’m not dead tired after work.
TFG Book Bingo Progress:
I am aiming for a blackout. And as you can see, I have very little progress. If you’re wondering why the Flanagan book is not included, we don’t consider our book club selections counted for this challenge. Anyway, I need suggestions for the following boxes: Set during a holiday, Speculative fiction, and About music. Hopefully the titles that you recommend, if any, are already in my TBR pile so that I won’t have to buy anything. But of course, I will make an exception if you have very strong feelings for your recommendation and if you think I will love it.
Lastly, would you consider A Little Life as something written by an Australian/Oceanian? The author is from Hawaii, which is part of the U.S., but the place itself is located within the boundaries of Oceania. What do you think?