All posts tagged: Novels

2016 Books, #5

2016 Books, #5

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?

2016 Books, #4

Book Report: March 2016

April! My favorite month in spite of the heat it carries in this part of the world. Books Finished: 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. Currently Reading: 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!

2016 Books, #4

2016 Books, #4

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 …

Book Report: February 2016

Book Report: February 2016

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. Books Finished: 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. Currently Reading: 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 …

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Book Review – The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars. Why? A harrowing subject. I believe this is a difficult novel to write for Flanagan considering that parts of it are borrowed from the experiences of his father as a POW in a Japanese labor camp. The middle of five parts details the harsh conditions that POWs had to survive while building the Burma Railway. Some parts are excruciating that I had to kick myself lest I vomit all over my book. Two scenes that got me reeling are the amputation of a limb rotting with gangrene using a kitchen saw in a makeshift operating room and the beating of an innocent POW in front of the other laborers. This beaten man later died by drowning in a pool of shit. The author writes these back-to-back events unflinchingly with no regard to the sensitivities of the reader. I like how the Japanese and Korean officers in the camps were not depicted as evil, that they, like the POWs, are merely pawns of pawns in the grand scale of the war. After the war, …