All posts tagged: Independent People

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. …

Thirteen Translations

Quarterly Rhapsody: Translated Books

I almost forgot my quarterly feature, which is a post where I ramble about book-related stuff. Previous topics that I discussed in Quarterly Rhapsody, if you are interested, are: why I blog about books, how I rate my books, following book lists, planning the books to be read, and signed books. So for the third quarter of the year, let’s talk about books translated into other languages. This topic has been bothering me for the past couple of weeks, and we have two books to blame: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo and The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass. For the first book, I have this unquenchable desire to immediately read the translation by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee, but unfortunately, I couldn’t find a copy. As for the second book, I was going to start reading Ralph Manheim’s translation when by some accident, I found out that he made some omissions from the original text. I put it back on my shelf and asked the local book stores if they have the Breon Mitchell translation …

Independent People by Halldór Laxness

Of sheep, lungworm, coffee, and poetry, and God, and a lot, lot more – Independent People by Halldór Laxness

For some time now, I’ve been itching to write something about this wonderful, funny, lyrical, all-encompassing book. And now that I have a few moments to devote on it, I realize that I cannot put into words my love for this. The only thing that I can do is to keep shoving this to people with whom I share the similar taste in books. But really, how can I justify the magnificence of this masterpiece if all I could tell them is that this book is all about sheep? It’s about farmers discussing and debating the different aspects of sheep farming while drinking coffee. It’s about them figuring out how to get rid of lungworm from the flock while discussing a little politics here and there. It’s about them worrying about the coming winter and hoping that their sheep will survive. And oh, it’s about the fierce battle of the unwavering independent spirits of a father and daughter. It’s a war waged between these two independent people. And I’d like to do a little background. Bjartur of …

Best of 2011

The Best And The Worst Reads Of 2011

Again, I am taking a break from the weekly book write-up to sort of honor the best books that I have read this year. There are already a lot of book blogs with similar posts, and I am tempted to pattern my best and worst list from some. I chose not to because I know I would never finish this post. So what I did is that I thought of a pseudo-award for each book included in my list. Let me just state for the record that 2011 is the most voracious reading year in my life. Ever. Hurrah! That’s 52 books, if you want to know, which is more or less one book a week. I hope to do an encore next year. Or even beat this record. Below is the list of books that I gave five stars, in alphabetical order. They are 12, so I might as well call them The 12 Books of 2011. Titles with an asterisk (*) are books that are in my Top 5. Without further ado here …

Independent People – Halldór Laxness

Date Started: March 15, 2011. 3:30 AM. Just read the introduction and the first chapter of the first part of the first book. Having a hard time reading the Icelandic names. Looks promising, but I am a little intimidated. After reading War And Peace, I thought I could take on all the books hurled at me. Well, not really. And oh, I so love the book cover! (Image courtesy of

Independent People – Halldór Laxness

Who bought it: Me. I am back to the book hoarder that I used to be. What is it: It should be an Icelandic novel. I saw the name Bjartur. Reminds me of Bjork. When: February 8, 2011 Where: Books for Less – SM Mall of Asia Why: I went to this mall to have my copy of War And Peace replaced. It was lacking around 50 pages. While waiting for the bookstore staff to get a hold of those people in their enigmatic warehouse, I went around the mall. I found this secondhand bookstore. I saw the book under a stack. I pulled it out. It’s written by a Nobel laureate. I fell in love with the cover. I winced a little, but I still bought it. It’s a good thing I did because when I went back to the other bookstore to get my new copy of War And Peace, I was told to wait until Friday. How much: Php 248.00 (Image courtesy of