The Adulterous Woman by Albert Camus: A Book Review

adulterous“ She was waiting, but she didn’t know for what. She was aware only of her solitude, and of the penetrating cold, and of the greater weight in the region of her heart.”

Suddenly I was bothered by the title when I reached the climax of the story. I had expected that the story would center around the scenes that a woman would commit a “crime”, getting into an amorous affair, that she would rat out on her faithful  husband in an abject misery, that there would be a passion-of-crime scene. However, it turned out to be the other way around; the title itself could be understood  in different perspectives. What do you mean by the word “adulterous”? When can you say that a woman is adulterous?

All my dictionary references are in accord with the definition of  adultery  as a sexual affair between a married person with someone who is not his/ her spouse. The word is synonymous with infidelity,unfaithfulness,disloyalty,cuckoldry,extramarital sex-you name it. So,in law,a woman is said to commit adultery when she does so ; a man,concubinage.

On the other hand, when the word inflects into “adulterous”, the word can be  misleading. Since the suffix –ous means having a particular quality, therefore, you can describe someone adulterous that it is the character of that  person to engage in a sex  affair with someone who is not  his/ her spouse. Thus, I found out  that the title has no relevance to the story. I do not find any crime committed by the main character , Janine unless you may call it a prima facie manifestation.

Janine is married but childless to a man who is so preoccupied about his business. Taken along by her husband to an Arabian land on business, she was attracted to an Arabian soldier   who offered her some  lozenges on the bus.  She realized then that despite her mid-life-look age, she is still physically attractive. However, it occurred to her that the man was not interested in her after all  upon meeting him in the market; the man just ignored her. And there was an instance that she was even engulfed   by a group of men when she decided to air out in the middle of the night, leaving her husband asleep.

Therefore, Janine did not have sex with any men, but she had the idea of doing so. Rather, we can put it mildly  that she has committed mental adultery. Besides , could we opine  that Janine is an adulterous woman? The definition of adultery is too broad to conclude that someone like Janine is said to be so unless you define sex as an act, which is different from the idea. Nevertheless, Janine realized her guilt upon   her momentous reflection:

“After a moment…it seemed to her that the sky above her was moving in a sort of slow gyration. In the vast reaches of the dry, cold night, thousands of stars were constantly appearing, and their sparkling icicles, loosened at once, began to slip gradually toward the horizon. Janine could not tear herself away from contemplating those drifting flares. She was turning with them, and the apparently stationary progress little by little identified her with the core of her being, where cold and desire were now vying with each other. Before her the stars were falling one by one and being snuffed out among the stones of the desert, and each time Janine opened a little more to the night. Breathing deeply, she forgot the cold, the dead weight of others, the craziness or stuffiness of life, the long anguish of living and dying. After so many years of mad, aimless fleeing from fear, she had come to a stop at last. At the same time, she seemed to recover her roots and the sap again rose in her body, which had ceased trembling. Her whole belly pressed against the parapet as she strained toward the moving sky; she was merely waiting for her fluttering heart to calm down and establish silence within her. The last stars of the constellations dropped their clusters a little lower on the desert horizon and became still. Then, with unbearable gentleness, the water of night began to fill Janine, drowned the cold, rose gradually from the hidden core of her being and overflowed in wave after wave, rising up even to her mouth full of moans….”

Based on my psychological but hypothetical   observations from the general situation among couples, Janine is looking for the real meaning of happiness or connubial bliss as what a typical wife should be. Her husband is a busy businessman. She does not even have a child to bear. I do not have the slightest idea of what the reasons are since the story does not mention anything. As a matter of fact, it suggests that both do not love each other. May be they just need each other. May be Marcel, her husband, depends on her sexually or for the sake of social status while she , emotionally. However, it appears that Janine is not emotionally satisfied. Therefore, she tends to feel as dreary as the dry desert in an Arabian land. What an overacting moment!

As what I had expected, Albert Camus wanted to indicate his philosophy on Absurdism in the story.

Now, should I subjectively conclude that someone is likely to be adulterous when she is childless and not given much emotional attention by her husband? Well, you have the right to pooh-pooh me. ^^

This is now my third Camus book.  I am still impressed by his   ability   to put his philosophical ideas into a story with his exceptional   writing skills, particularly  by his way of associating them with the mystical world. Much more if I read it in French. I wonder.

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

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The Stranger by Albert Camus:A Book Review

albertThis novel  is subject to differently  literary  perspectives and interpretations.  One of the perspectives  that  made  my toes curl  is the interpretation that this story is on  the importance of believing in God as the  “one” who  gives  right direction in your life.  When I read  this opinion as in opinion with a  capital O , my hair stood on end as if those who claim so are holier -than –thou. Now , why do those people think so? What parts of the story that make them draw the conclusion?

Meursault is  an enigmatic character in the story. You may describe him weird or idiosyncratic because he tends to be apathetic   toward society.  Perhaps, the holier-than-thou understood him  based on their religious beliefs and teachings. For examples:  first, he showed no interest in the funeral. He did not cry over her mother’s death. Rather, he was found   insincere ; he was  found  impolite , for  he slept through the funeral  vigil. In fact, in the story, you might as well revolt at what he responded to his employer upon his  request for leave of absence, “Sorry, sir, but it’s not my fault, you know.”  Second, he does  not care much about the people around. For him, they are merely observers.  Fourth, he is not sure of his marriage or relationship. Fifth, he is content with his life.  Finally, he is an agnostic.

I hate to say this   but those arguments above, notably the last one, are arguments of stupidity. They have nothing to do with God. We can just conclude that  Meusault, the protagonist, is just a subject of scientific and philosophical studies. Scientifically, we  can jump to the conclusion that the  arguments from one to 5 are psychological. Turn to a behavioral psychologist and psychiatrist or more than a scientist  if you want to get at what I am driving  at here. On the other hand, philosophically, the concept of the story, particularly signifying  Meusault’s life crisis  is an example of absurdism. Review your philosophy.

To remonstrate  aginst the holier-than-thou’s opinion  that this story is on  the importance of believing in God as the  “one” who  gives right  direction in your life, atheists along with their other word  families have been living in the right direction without the teachings or  the ridiculously so-called “divine guidance or intervention” .  To confirm my point, I suggest that you read the anthropological life of  some countries in the world.  A library of information is accessible in the internet. If you are a Luddite, enter the   huge libraries  in your place and be a scholar in an Ivory Tower.  Besides, don’t dare that I have no any   ideas of what atheist life is like because I bear witness to that.

How about you, fellas? What are your perspectives on it?

My Review

Ideally, I wanted to give it 1 star for the inconsistencies of the story. I believe that convicting someone on the grounds  for the six arguments above  is misleading and jurisprudentially illogical  in order to make the story a hit among readers. Furthermore, among the people the main character, Meursault, got along with, only  his employee was not included  in standing as a witness  in the court. I wonder why?   Nevertheless,  there is no difference if I still gave it 4 or 5 stars  on the grounds  that Albert  Camus intended to write such a novel to apply  his philosophy on Absurdism  drawing from the criminal incident he may have known of. In other perspective, since writing is an art, the other significant parts such as when Meusault   was asked to ask forgiveness   from God for all the sins he had committed, particularly his unusual agnosticism , and when he was  prejudiced against his unconventional attitude  could have been how hegemonic the religious atmosphere  in his generation  to minor groups was .  In other words, as a result, Camus’s trick did the justice to this novel; it is a beautiful story. I felt what Camus must have intended to trickle  off- feeling of emptiness. Besides, I liked the fact that he used the first person since it signifies  the reader himself/herself.  Also, the prose and the structure of the sentences, I believe,  are well –translated. So , I would say that the translator is competent. I wish I could understand French so I could know the real feelings in Camus’ books.

I want to consider this novel as one of my  favorite books as well as Albert Camus as one of my favorite writers. I was moved. I was bothered until I was reduced to tears. I guess I have found someone who could possibly penetrate through my   uncharted   universe. And please, do not invoke God, for I am done with this theological business. So far, his other books are now on my list  like and I hope to read them some time. ^^

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it. )

 

 

My Ántonia by Willa Cather: A Book Review

antonia

“Winter lies too long in country towns; hangs on until it is stale and shabby, old and sullen.” 
 Willa Cather, My Ántonia

My first perception about Willa Cather as a writer herself upon reading her Death Comes For  the Archbishop was that she could have been  as “ impartial a writer “ as Graham Greene ; I admire writers who have never been abandoned to their   deep-seated beliefs beyond logic. Although her former book   did not placate my taste , it  proved me that she was an exceptional writer who was able to  put her  exploratory imagination  into a story anyone for sure would be engaged in.  Eventually, my literary prediction turned out to be true in the   name of her  My Antonia ,  a master piece everyone should read.  It is spell-binding, page-turning; aside from the fact that it is beautifully-written, it opens your eyes to the reality of life in all aspects. I still   have a long list of adjectives   at the tip of my tongue   that I want to pronounce more on lavishing praise on this book.

“That is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.”
― 
Willa CatherMy Ántonia

As I had observed in her Death Comes For the Archbishop, Cather  knew her stuff well how to write a story  full of beautiful prose  that is as appealing  as the  enchanting  and breath-taking  widely-stretched prairie  in Nebraska ( although I have never been to such a place.) She was still able to write it  in narrative way  without much details  and importance to systematic plots  as what  a narrative story  must be. Still, her vivid  description, nostalgic narration about the life in the lonely countryside  was enough to bomb picturesque  imaginations. I loved them!

If you  grew in a province, far from the civilized city, I am cocksure that you  find this book nostalgic. I loved the story a whole lot as did Willa Cather, it reminds me of my very young memories  in a countryside where  I had learned  to lead the rustic  life. In my countryside, I grew to be  a farm boy helping my mother and grandparents  plant some  crops , especially rice plants on the farm  beyond the three golden hills watching us on errands as if they were all the goddesses of the harvest cordoning us off. There, I would often go fishing with my older brother, or sometimes go sightseeing with my friends along  the muddy river dividing the vast, flat rice field  before the twilight came on. There,  my friends and I would roughhouse  or frolic and gambol around the grassland  besides down the river the herds of geese afloat. There  I would climb the trees in the  orchards to pick some fruits I did not care about their names  unless I  found them uneatable. There I would ride cows or  water buffaloes  on weekends   with this pang of worries that they might  throw me off or gear me with their pointed horns since I was still a babe in the woods. There my grandfather and I would bushwhack on the way to make sure that no any kinds of snakes would bite us on the sly. In fact, my grandpa had killed several times. Gee!  All those memories were in my younger days prior to living in the city. So, I can   totally relate to the story.

“This is reality, whether you like it or not–all those frivolities of summer, the light and shadow, the living mask of green that trembled over everything, they were lies, and this is what was underneath. This is the truth.”
― 
Willa CatherMy Ántonia

This book , for me, is one of the best books that depict  what is the reality of life. There is no hypocrisy  in it ,especially  Cather was so candid that  others  in the past , even now, must have been bothered about her. The story is apparently about life in Nebraska , but it underlies the life itself the abject poverty among the immigrants at that time.  The life that depicts how the spirit of the immigrants , even of us, figuratively speaking , tests our choice of what life we want to lead in order to survive.

In the story, Antonia and her family   came from Bohemia  who took the plunge into living in America in the hope of a better life.  But a challenge for her along with her family  is how  to  subsist on the barren , but beautiful prairie without muck knowledge of the English language. It is her  strong determination that will change her world. However, in the end, it is her choice how she was going to change the universe, in which I was very disappointed as was Jim Burden, the narrator and Antonia’s most intimate childhood friend.

Antonia, the female protagonist, is an epitome of a strong, positive woman who has good-will and stalwart spirit  to control the miserable life she goes through- a woman definitely resembles women out there, whom you expect to succeed in life. However, in the end, LIFE IS A MATTER OF CHOICE. She will live back to  the farm as a careworn mother to nine children. So, my heart broke as I paced the story from the beginning to the  end where I tried to blink tears away, but I gave up. I gave up on Antonia’s fate

Antonia’s fate is opposite to some characters who decide to be sensible , level-headed in their lives. For instance, Jim Burden, the narrator and Antonia’s intimate childhood friend,  chose to search his life in law study and abroad when  he realized to be falling for Lena Lingard. Lena Lingard, on the other hand,  is an ambitious country girl as to Antonia  who chose to find her life in the city where she ended up a successful businesswoman. She even decided not to settle down since she preferred to be lonely in her life.  I liked the philosophy of both the characters.

There is a   momentous, or you may call it mushy   discourse   between Jim Burden and Antonia  which made my both jaws drop:

“Do you know, Àntonia, since I’ve been away, I think of you more often than of any one else in this part of the world. I’d have liked you to have you for a sweetheart, or a wife, or my mother or my sister- anything that a woman can be to a man. The idea of you is a part of my mind; you influence my likes and my dislikes, all my tastes, hundreds of time when I don’t realize it. You really are a part of me.” 
― 
Willa CatherMy Ántonia

What a beautiful  line!

I noticed that Cather was so audacious about writing   some parts   which  could have been subject to racial and sexual   criticism. Just saying.

It is my first time to have read a novel that is narrated by a  boy , especially if the theme is about life in a countryside. I am more used to young female narrators such as Judy Abbot in Ann of Green Gable, Emily ; Swiss Family Robinson, and so forth.  For this reason, I could not doubt the narrator’s sexual orientation. Anyway, it is not a big deal, is it? I’d rather take Willa Cather’s interpretation that Jim as the narrator in the first person signifies everyone.

This is the final book of Willa Cather’s  “prairie trilogy” of novels ,  O Pioneers! and The Song of the Lark– the books I had ignored several  times in a book store despite their affordable prices, believing that they might bore me to death. ( As usual, my rationalization is that I’ve got to  read My Antonia  first. ) Alas, I was being mesmerized by their old-fashioned   hard-bound pictures . At this time,  I assure you that once I take a crack at them at that book store, I will swoon over them and shout at the top of my voice, “  I gotcha!!!” Then, all the customers as well as the clerks on duty  might wake up from their hypnotic trance . Dear me, my friend! (^_^)

Rating: 5/ 5 stars ( It’s amazing.)

My Top 13 Books In October 2015

Let me play. At this time, I will rank the books  I read within the month of October  based on my subjective judgment. No need a rubric  system.  My ranking  depends on the impact of the book  upon me as a voracious reader. My rating  following   Goodreads’s systems can still be applicable.

So , here are my top 13 books in October  with my brief  insights into  them :

  1. wastedblog__97037_07e64de2-de48-4b14-ad47-79826a0475cc_grandeWasted by Jerry Alanguilan ( 5/ 5 stars )
“  Its themes are  heart-trending and idealistic, but they can happen in real life. Also, I liked the illustrations.”

nelson

  1. A Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela ( 4/ 5 stars )
“  Mandela taught  me the real meaning of JUSTICE.”

martian

  1. The Martian by Andy Weir ( 4/ 5 stars )
“  We should  teach ourselves to  be scientists  .”

  1. Thinking by John Brockman ( 3/ 5 stars )
“  Life is so complicated that  I even wanted to beat my head against a wall.”

  1. The Egg by Andy Weir ( 3/ 5 stars )
“ Life comes  from an egg”

diaryngpanget

  1. Diary ng Pangit by HaveYoueSeenThisGirl ( 3/ 5 stars )
“ We can all be ugly in some aspects. You may not be aware of that.”

peregrine

  1. Peregrine’s House for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs ( 3/ 5 stars )
“ Words are not enough to scare the living day out of me. I am a visual learner.”

  1. Ang Mahiyaing Manok by Rebecca T. Anonuevo ( 3 / 5 stars )
“Timidity is an illusion.”

  1. The Nichomachean Ethics by Aristotle ( 3/5 stars )
“ Psychology is the begotten son of Philosophy. Gocha!”

every-day-cover

  1. Every day by David Levithan ( 2/ 5 stars )
“ I wish I were in  the body of  the famous Filipino fashion designer, Francis Libiran. :P”

  1. Alamat ng Ampalaya by Augie Rivera ( 2/ 5 stars )
“  You taste bitter if you are jealous of  others.”

  1. Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata ( 1/ 5 stars )
“ I wish there was snow in the Philippines. I could meet my soul mate. ”

loveandmisadventure

  1. Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav ( 1/ 5 stars )
Love is like a book. :P

Whoa, tempus fugit!  I can’t believe that it is November now. How many days left before the most- celebrated shindig ?

My plan  is to complete my reading goal on Goodreads by December. Unfortunately, I predict that I  can’t make it to 200; rather, to 150   books. I want to spend my time in December, aside from reading the other books left  on my table, writing the reviews of the books I have finished and backlogged since January. Besides, I’ll be busy with my  teaching again.

Within this month, I hope to read  more than 13 books. ^_^

Happy reading, buddies! ^__^

Long Walk To Freedom by Nelson Mandela: A Book Review

nelsonI learned  Nelson Mandela’s life   from my high school history because of  the word,  apartheid. (Thanks to  Mahatma Gandhi; he introduced him to us on his cause of Caste  System in India.) However, I just scratched  the surface of him as my teacher did not tell much details about him as if he was not   attached much importance to the subject. ( If I were my teacher, I would have told much more about him.) In fact, I mistook him for a Black-American. Uh-oh! I was still an ignoramus at that time despite the fact that I was enthused about  studying  history.  Few years later, he drew my attention when he was in the news ; he was reported to have passed away. The world was so grieved by  his death  that he was almost  the headlines of all the newspapers and news programs. Only that time did I realize  that he was such a big name in the world. As usual, I desired  to know him more by reading his life. However, I  did  not afford to buy his book then. Eventually, my generous-to-fault student gifted me this book. Of course,  I grinned from ear to ear with joy.  Full of enthusiasm, I started to read it. However, it took me time to finish it and ended up on my study table for a few months. The book is light  because of  Mandela’s prose but steeped in geographical places and  anthropological and  political terminologies only South African can  almost relate to. Nevertheless, I liked it on account of Mandela’s ideologies, experiences, and speeches he delivered before his people.

I enjoyed reading Mandela’s autobiography because of his  light English prose as the indication  that he  had studied well- typical of a  smart student studying  in English speaking countries. For your information, South Africa has many official languages, and English is one of them. Thus, not  the majority of its population uses the language every day. Another impressive thing about writing his autobiography is his capability to  incorporate his   various feelings, be they in positive or negative, into his compelling  narrations. Sometimes, other autobiographers  write with highfalutin, highbrow, and high-flown stories  or  with unfathomably philosophical insights  beyond my understanding (, but still I try to bend my mind to  them until I bash my head against the wall ending up into a library of books or surfing the internet. Ones of  best examples so far are Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain and Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Selected Writings and Poems.)   Therefore, reading Mandela’s autobiography can be likened to a  teen-ager’s diary. Everyone  can   take a  fancy for his diary unless you are that a political animal. On the contrary,  his usage of some political, geographical, and anthropological terms which  I am not very  much familiar with undermine the said like-a-teen-ager’s-diary element. You might get tired of  them , saturated with the words you need to absorb in and turn over in your mind. In fact, it has 859 pages, the thickest book   I have read this year. Thus, you have no choice but to turn to Google or to a library of history books if you are a Luddite in order to understand them by heart. That’s why   I  did not lay a finger on it for a few months.  In the end, Mandela’s autobiography, in  my hypothetical suggestion, could still be a critically acclaimed book  for  its two kinds ,A Long Walk To Freedom: Nelson  Mandela’s Autobiography: An Abridged Version– expunged  some technical words and A Long Walk To Freedom: Nelson  Mandela’s Autobiography: Unabridged Version, same  with this original version.

Reading his speeches is also page-turning. There’s something about his speeches – they were  like causing mass hysteria among South Africans at that time. I tend to read his narrations as fast as I could in order to imaginatively listen to them . As a matter of fact, I tended to search  his speeches on Youtube wondering how he delivered them. I would say that Nelson Mandela, along with Malcolm X ,  has  most moving speeches  I have read so far.

Mandela’s autobiography reminded me of Malcolm X, another Black -American  revolutionary who had somewhat the same cause—racial equality. Malcolm X , based on his  best-selling authorized biography,  also believed that Black-Americans should be equal to White Americans . He demonstrated against   the  culture of discrimination  against his fellow Blacks. The only differences between their causes were: specifically, Mandela   fought against the Apartheid whereas Malcolm X against   general forms of discrimination. Still, both  of their causes  categorically fall to  racial equality.  Besides, there is one surprising thing that  made me jump to my conclusion: Nelson Mandela’s last resort was using violence when he came to the point that diplomatic negotiation did not work at all. In fact, he had been   influenced by the idea of both Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma  Gandhi  on civil disobedience. After all , he succumbed to  Malcolm X’  slogan , “ By Any Necessary Means.”, which I surmised he had disliked ;rather, admired  Martin Luther King’s , “ I Have a Dream.”I guess I can also conclude as well as you agree  that , sometimes , in any circumstances even  in history,  Malcom X’s slogan worked and is feasible as long as this is the last resort as was  Mandela’s. On the contrary, in the end,  Mandela  had proved that “virtue of patience” in the name of peaceful,  friendly, and sincere ,as he put it, negotiation can work.

Likewise, Mandela was weaned on  communism or Marxism – the political idea that also influenced Malcolm X and  Richard Wright, famous for his books, The Native Son and Black Boy. Did this idea also occur to some revolutionaries  in a place with insurgent atmosphere because of social injustice? So does to some at the present situation?

Before I finished it, Aristotle had taught me his The Republic, a philosophy book  that  also deals with the real meaning of JUSTICE. ( I haven’t written my review of it yet.)   It has the   dialogues   among the Philosophers   debating   over the  scopes  of justice. As a student of his , discombobulated, mulling over  his students’  philosophical explanation, upon reading Mandela’s autobiography, it dawned upon me  that  justice means equality.  In other words, I applied   understanding The Republic by Aristotle  to Mandela’s book. For instance, for Plato and Socrates, justice is fulfilling one’s appropriate role, and consequently giving to the city what is owed.  In a simple way, I want to illustrate  the virtue Nelson Mandela  believed in my life. I want  that life in some aspects  is “FAIR”. That’s why, without malice, without  this air of  pride and pompousness, I  want to  respect  people regardless of their skin color , sex , and race ; I respect in action people with deeply-seated religious beliefs   despite I have this  Richard Dawkins’s –desire to change the world;  I empathize “the destitute”  despite that giving alms is not my principle except for “the needy”, but bringing them to their senses  that capitalism is an evil, that living in this world is consummate “survival of the fittest”.

Mandela applied his rude awakening to equality  to understanding the people he got along with . With this belief, he became a freedom fighter, stalwart, determined, humble with undefeated fighting   spirit. That was Nelson Mandela, and in the end, despite the travails he had gone through, he   made it to his final walk  to FREEDOM.

Obviously, my long review of this book   indicates   my feeling of fulfillment. I am glad that I finished it after a short while. I do not regret   having   laid it  aside on my study table. Just I let the time permit.

Thanks to my student ( Sr. Angela )  for picking  it among the books in a book store,  without the idea that I had longed to read it  ; she had granted my wish. If I were a pantheist, I would exclaim  ,”What a divine intervention!”  ^_^

Rating: 4/ 5 stars ( I really liked it. )

Love and Misadventure by Lang Leav: A Book Review

loveandmisadventureI do love reading  poems, but  I am not a certified poet; nevertheless, I can write one whenever I get down, or have an epiphany or sudden insights into something.

Writing poems is an art. It is an emotional   way of human expression, but some  poems are obvious while some  are latent. So, the good benefits it can give to us is   emotional catharsis; it is a good way for us to relieve  stress.

Love is the common theme of poems which are  apparent in works of  some famous poets such Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy- you name it.

This is Lang Leav’s book debut  – a collection of poems which all deal with the stages of LOVE:  Misadventure, Circus of Love, and  Love based on her personal experience.

However,  most of the readers on Goodreads  at the very least  have given it a thumbs down; they did not care about giving it 1 star which means I did not like it as the rating system on Goodreads. Unclear  about their reasons, but I surmise that , since I gave it a try, maybe  the problem about  her poems is that they are  superficial as in shallow, as if even an elementary student can write such poems. ( I am sorry to put it.)  Her prose is not as creative enough to move or inspire  a down-to-earth reader who may have never been head over  heels in love as other famous poets’.  Most of her poems are short  , just nothing; you might not feel nor imagine anything. In fact, you might end up finding them childish  or puerile which  can add to the fuel of your disappointment since the author herself is an adult. Nevertheless, there are a few  long and remarkable though. By the same token, her book is too feminist, fit for young   female readers, notably she has some cute  and fairy-like illustrations of a “kikay” (chick).

On the contrary, I came to the realization that reading poems in any forms or structures  are not that easily comprehensible at all; we all have different perspectives. In other words, there are many beholders in the world. We may not be sure of how we understand the poems we read as they are unless they are all crystal-clear in their words. Bear in mind that   poems  could be enigmatic or  euphemistic.

Thus, what is the advice to us readers whenever we read something beyond our understanding? Read between the lines. This superannuated  cliche is  absolutely  applicable to  us readers whenever we do not get at what an author tries to drive at, notably to reading poems just the likes of Leav’s. Read between the lines. You may not get at the fact that what Leav intends to express in  her poems are all about LOVES. Read between the lines. Admit it, although the prose of the short poems   is simple, but you still couldn’t get  the meanings behind them. If so, re-read and ponder over them.  Read between the lines. Not all poems should be par excellence. Some famous poets  do likewise. Try to read the poems  by E. E. Cummings. You might cringe at them too, but still  they are widely-read.

In the end, I want to be subjective for  giving it 1 star. Let me be in your conspiracy, fellas!  Simply because her poems are not my cups of tea; I prefer  love  poems that  could make me do a somersault  like Danton Remoto’s and J. Neil C. Garcia’s erotic poems. (laughs) Don’t be green-minded, buddy! ^_^   How about Marcelo Santos III’s a la poetic quotes or the beloved Senator Miriam Defensor  Santiago’s cracking pick-up lines?  In foreign poems, aside from E.E. Cummings’s I have mentioned above, how about Thomas Hardy’s, Emily Bronte’s, and Emily Dickinson’s compelling poems? Their poems are “hugot na hugot”.

Maybe I’ve been borne upon the  literary  standards of poem or upon the award-winning poems I have been taught since elementary.  Uh-oh, enough said! Any genres  can be praiseworthy. ^__^

Rating: 1/ 5 stars ( I did not like it.)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #1) by Ransom Riggs : A Book Review

peregrineI buried myself in this book before All Saints’ Day, before all departed buried in cemeteries woke from their long deep sleep. But I was aware that there were invisible entities prowling in my pitch dark room with indescribably cold temperature; that there was someone with red eyes in black,sneaking a peek over my shoulder. But the most hair-raising part was when I heard a soft but hot whisper closing to my right ear, “ WHAT…ARE …YOU…READING…? My hair stood on end. I jumped to my feet and turned the light on. Shit! Who’s that?

I wish you were not a fraidy-cat . It’s just a corny introduction!

When I was in high school , my cousin and I were so fond of reading horror stories. We would borrow from our friends the famous book which could be bought in National Book Store , The Philippine Ghost Stories. I think it is still available in that book store. Also, we would fain watch such stories documented by then the most-awaited TV program, Magandang Gabi Bayan by Noli De Castro before or during  All Saints’ Day. However, I lost my interest in them when I started to study psychology. I don’t believe in entities anymore since I was weaned on science . But I can’t hold back my desire to shatter my curiosity whenever I know of new Stephen King’s best-selling horror books. Thanks to his book On Writing. This book inclined me to read horror stories again.

Aware that Riggs intended to scare readers out of their wits, but I was not. Nevertheless, I was impressed by three things: his PROSE , his concept of the story, and his creative way of delivering the story.

The most commendable thing about this book is Ransom Riggs’s prose- very clean and qualitative. I enjoyed reading as every sentence is well-written. So, I could understand the sentences very clearly. Also, I liked the words he used in describing the situations- good enough to make me as a non-native reader imagine the scenes.

I may not have watched nor read all kinds of horror stories just the likes of Stephen King’s , but I would say that Riggs’s coming up with this kind of story is what is so-called the figment of an author’s imagination. Imagine , peculiar children could be used in characters as ghosts or frightening entities. (I wish societies of peculiar children would not take an umbrage at this concept.)

There is a plot I can bet where the author himself drew the story from and changed its fact. For instance, the experiment of the Hollows in Siberia that caused the vast explosion leading to mutation among them. Could that be the nuclear explosion in Chernobyl?

Another commendable element of this book is its annoying pictures- annoying because the pictures were faked! Only young readers could be fascinated by this trick. If so, why was I impressed? I was impressed because this is what I really want to do whenever I want to imagine the things I read in the books that are beyond my imagination. Just in the story, although Riggs narrated well with his beautiful prose , but since the creatures described are fictitious or made by the author’s imagination, I still had the nosy attitude to take a look at their real description in the pictures. As I was reading the author’s description, I was so excited to turn the next page where I could see the picture. In fact, there were times that I would feel nervous about doing so in fear that the next picture would scare me stiff. (sighs!)

The only parts that lost its originality as well as taxed my excitement or the thrills and chills in the story are:

1. The character who appears to be a friend of the protagonist turns out to be the archenemy. It is an old style.
2. The moments when all the characters fight one another , especially at the light house. What a boring and corny part! 
3. As usual the leader of the clan who is expected to be powerful turns out to be a loser. Pooh, another poor imitation! 

Whoa, Pardon me, Mr. Riggs! It’s just as well that you wrote it beautifully, but you failed to scare the living day light out of me. I was just tensed. Hehehe  As a matter of fact, I would still fain read your sequel, Hollow City. I want to know more about Hollows and wights. ^^

Psst!

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it. )