All posts tagged: Halldor Laxness

Book Report: November 2015

Book Report: November 2015

The last month of 2015 is here! Already, I’m making blogging plans and resolutions for 2016. What plans? Uhm, nothing solid. Heh. What resolutions? The usual. Ugh. Post book reviews as soon as I finish reading books (this is a book blog after all). And you know what? Each year, I fail again and again at it. Not a breaking news item, but I just want to put it out there anyway. No shame in it. It’s a common thing among casual book bloggers, I believe. For me to be able to stick with this single resolution, maybe I should give up following review structures and forget about the pointers that professional critics give on writing good book reviews. Not totally, but I’ll stick more to my voice and let it take its own course. Let the book rhapsodies flow naturally! I’ll also keep them short and simple. Shorter and simpler, yes. The Internet breeds volatile attention spans, so yeah, it is good idea to adapt. Let the NYRB columnists do the expansive 5k-word reviews (of which …

Book Report: February 2015

Book Report: February 2015

It’s already the last third of the first quarter of the year. Yeahyeahyeah, I always act amazed when I say that it’s already the beginning of this or that month, that time flies by so fast, but that’s mostly because I feel that I’m always lagging. There’s so much to read! New books bought, books agreed to be read along bookish friends, book club selections, bookish lists and breakthroughs, dares and recommendations, etc. Considering all these, time not only flies by. It zooms, just like that. For February, I finished my ugh, fifth book. At this pace, I will only finish 30 books by December. That’s 20 books short of my target. I shouldn’t concern myself too much with the numbers. Quality over quantity, huh? However, I really can’t say that the books I’ve read are of that high quality. Quality is relative, I know, so let’s just say I haven’t had a 5-star read yet. Books Finished: Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos – 1 out of 5 stars. Our book club’s book …

Literary Snobbery Series

The LSS Book List, Part 2

Visit the The LSS Book List page for more information about this post. Death Comes for the Archbishop by Willa Cather (1927, M) – Father Latour and Father Vaillant take the mission to build a diocese in New Mexico, a place still occupied by Native Indians. The two priests have different temperaments, but they work in perfect harmony. This is a portrait of the rustic life in New Mexico after the American-Mexican war in the early 1800s, and an almost sacred marriage of religion and culture. A Death in the Family by James Agee (1957, M) – How does a young child perceive a person’s death? How can one describe their grief or the approximation of it during such an event? What are children taught about the fate of the dead, of the society’s norms during deaths, of the afterlife, and of God? Based on Agee’s own experience as a young boy, this novel is one of the few unfinished manuscripts that do not feel incomplete, and that is a strong testament to the author’s talent. …

My Thirty Greatest Books

Thirty Years, Thirty Books

At the moment of typing this, I realize that I’m spending my last couple of hours as a twenty-something hacking at my book shelves and sorting through my memory for my greatest books. I haven’t read a lot yet, but I already have my small personal canon. There are the random books of my childhood, the limited choices in high school, the varied selections in college, and the hordes of them all in the last decade. And before I realize it, I’m already thirty. Actually, the realization has not yet hit me hard (should it?). I look at my shelves and wonder at the space that I could have emptied had I not been a reader. But no, I’m happy to be a reader. I selected my list of greatest books based on my Goodreads ratings and on how important they are to me at multiple points in my life. If you are a keen reader of my blog, I think you will have a pretty good idea on what most of these books are. …

Book Report: March 2014

Book Report: March 2014

WordPress tells me that today is my sixth anniversary as a WordPress blogger. This blog is only three years old. The excess three years were spent on a personal blog that I hid from everyone. It’s inactive, don’t worry, and I haven’t touched it ever since I chose to blog about books. I don’t really have a point, but I’m thinking that the blogging years don’t matter. What matters in blogging is always now. In the world of blogs, one is only as good as his or her last post. A blog with no fresh content in spite of its age is practically dead. And what do we make of this blog? You might have noticed that I haven’t posted a book review in nearly a year. I think I may have been jinxed when my bookish friends voted for me as their favorite book reviewer last year (aww, you guys!), which is very humbling. But after that, my book reviews have been scarce. Don’t worry, I’m forever trying to figure out how to make …

The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness

A Quiet Lullabye – The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness

The Fish Can Sing is the coming-of-age tale of Alfgrimur Hansson, a boy orphaned since birth and left to the care of grandparents unrelated to him. Although he is the narrator, the novel does not merely revolve around him. The chapters shift between the different events in the town of Brekukkot and the people that are etched in Alfgrimur’s memory particularly Gardar Holm, an Icelandic opera singer with worldwide fame. We witness Alfgrimur’s relationship with the singer grow thanks to his own developing singing talent, but what happens when he finds out the story behind Gardar’s fame? My first encounter with the Nobel laureate Laxness is through his epic novel Independent People. It’s still unknown to me why I bothered to read it; perhaps it’s the cover art painted by Louisa Matthiasdottir that features a house on a knoll with sheep grazing about. I’m very grateful that I did read this because otherwise I wouldn’t bother to explore his other works. This second encounter seems, strangely, both a similar and different experience. The Fish Can Sing …

Books to Read: January 2013

Books to Read: January 2013

Happy New Year! New Happy Year! Either greeting works fine, don’t you think? When a new year unfolds, people have this habit of changing some things to align with the changing of the years. I usually have that going on, and my blogging is no exception. The first set of changes that will take place over here is the way I pick my books to read for the month. I will have required categories and I have come up with three. They are the following: A book for my Noble Nobel Project – I feel so ignoble for ignoring this personal project. I must continue. A book for the Classics Club Project – If I keep at my current pace, I won’t be able to finish my 75 books in 5 years. Although I still have 4.25 years left, I don’t want to rush this in the future. Our book club’s book of the month – Yes, I will continue to read them and join the monthly discussions. This doesn’t mean that I will only read …