23 BOOKS IN JULY 2015

Last year, I managed to read 100 books . It was  an  astounding and fulfilling  experience I had not expected . It just so happened that I had  rude awakening  in that mid-year when I found out that Goodreads, the biggest book club site in the world , has this  challenging goal for its members including myself. You can set a reading goal as many as you can. The site monitors how many reads you have done so far which I am a little quite pressured about. However,  I realized that you don’t need to keep up with the goal. Just enjoy the book. You can  understand it more.

Since I  just created my own book blog  in March this year, it is now too late for me to share the books I  have read  for the past 4 months. So I will just share the ones I read in July, the month when  I was so   obsessed with reading more books.

Supposedly, I must read only the books on   my currently-reading shelf on Goodreads. However,  I  drew my attention to the local  books   I bought on sale. Well, that’s the way a bookworm and book lover  is.

The books are more on poems, LGBT, essays, children books, novellas, and short stories.

 

1. Human Decency by Gong Ji Young ( 3/5 stars ). One of the Korean fictions my nun student gave to me as a pasalubong ( gift ) coming from her country. I liked the story because its plot is quite enigmatic and misleading.

2. Saling Pusa by Genaro R. Gojo Cruz ( 1/ 5 stars ) I had had a hard time looking for its copy at National Book Store branches .

Not much satisfied with its story but I was glad to have read one of Genaro Cruz’s children books since I am now his  avid fan  upon reading his YA Connecting the Dots: Kung Paano Ko Kinulayan ang Aking Buhay.

I  have still been  hunting his other works such as Si Tolits, Jeep ni Mang Tomas, Ang Bahaghari, Ang Malaking Kahon ng Sorpresa,Pitong AngelAng Aking PamilyaHello, Tatay!Ang Asul na KaritonMalaking Malaking BahayAng Kamisetang Dilaw. and Si Nanay Mining at ang Tatlong Kuting

I am now a Genaronian. (laughs)

3. Nanay Coring by Yvette Hernandez ( 2/ 5 stars ) A simple story – enough to educate children how the National Book Store reached its apogee under the indefatigable determination of Nanay Coring

4.Angkas by Aris Santos ( 3 / 5 stars ) An LGBT short story which opens narrow-minded individuals’ eyes to the real internal feelings of a gay toward a straight man.

5. Hangganan by Aris Santos ( 3/ 5 stars ) Another eye-opener LGBT short story. The story is realistic that only LGBT community can understand.

6. Best Man by Aris Santos ( 3/ 5 stars ) It could be my most favorite work of Aris Santos. I cringed at the story , but its concept bespeaks that there is such thing Love Triangle  between a gay and man and a woman. Enough said!

7. A Dwarf Launches a Little Ball by Cho Se-Hui ( 3/ 5 stars )  Another story  that illustrates what a really knitted Korean family looked like  when Korea was still a poor country.

8. Father Solo and other stories by Isagani R. Cruz ( 5/ 5 stars ) Thanks to Isagani . I have now the confidence to write.

9. The Soul Mate Meets its Mate by Arch Bala ( 1/ 5 stars ) I did not like the story- ill-thought and slapdash. It could be a chit-lit. Nevertheless, I admired Bala’s craft of writing.

10. Ang Kwento ng Manok at ang Asong si Patty by Arch Bala ( 4/ 5 stars ) Among Bala’s works, it is the only one that astounded and proved me wrong that he has what it takes to be a good writer. Encore, Arch! I liked this kind of story. It could be your trademark.  ^_^

11. Sapatos by Arch Bala ( 2/ 5 stars ) What happened? The beginning and the middle part are almost cliff-hanging and at the same time impressively adulterated with  the  beautiful sentences. However, its ending seems like the author was at loss for   another ideas.  God willing! Sayang!

12. Hope by Arch Bala ( 1/ 5 stars ) It just so happened that I am not Kapampangan. I had these stuffy feelings.

13. Bulosan by Carlos Bulosan ( 5 / 5 stars ) Another remarkable collections of Carlos Bulosan.

14. The Landlady by Road Dahl ( 1/ 5 stars ) The longer I read Road Dahl’s stories, the more I come to realize that I don’t enjoy his works much. I still have some of his other short stories, but I will still hang in there.

15. Bight, Catholic-and Gay by Danton Remoto ( 4/ 5 stars ) I admire Danton Remoto’s writing styles. He is one of the writers along with Doris Lessing, and Isagani R. Cruz who made me muster enough confidence that I CAN  write.

16. The Secret of the Cave and Other  Stories for young  readers by Ed Maranan ( 3/ 5 stars ) Light and typical of Filipino writing

17. Ladlad 3 by Danton Remoto ( 5/ 5 stars ) At last I have completed this classic LGBT literature. I hope to read its new edition.

 18. Sugar and Salt by Nichotchka Rosca ( 5/ 5 stars ) Rotska has this gall to experiment a literary work. It is a W. O.W.!

19. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White ( 3 / 5 stars ) A philosophical book that an average young reader might not have an idea of what this book is really all about.

20. Pulot Gata by Danton Remoto ( 3/ 5 stars ) Read between the lines. ^^

21. Twisted Travels by Jessica Zafra ( 3/ 5 stars) Now I understand why Jessica Zafra is an immortal writer.

22. Gaydar by Danton Remot ( 5/ 5 stars ) Danton Remoto said , “ You CAN write after all.”

23. Where the Boys Are by Richard Labonte ( 3/5 stars ) An erotica which narrow-minded , or to put it bluntly, hypocrite, readers might cringe at.

I haven’t written my reviews of the books above yet   on account of my demanding job.  I need enough time to do so.

In this August ,  I will be clearing out  my currently –reading shelf on Goodreads. The books have been collecting dust bunnies and mice.

  1. Moby Dick by Herman Merville. I miss reading a classic steeped in old English words.
  2.  A Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela. I want to understand Nelson Mandela’s fighting spirit again.
  3. Thinking by John Brockman . It is  mental calisthenics.
  4. Dead Air by Iain Banks. I learned that it is not a good read, but still I will give it a try.

When I am tired of their hefty contents, I might turn  to:

  1. A Man in the Dark by Paul Austere.
  2. Jungle of No Memory: A Memoir of a Japanese Soldier by Hiroyuki Mizuguchi.
  3. Spartacus by Howard Fast . Little did I realize that I am fond of reading books on ancient military.

So far I have read 2 book for the first week of August.I am now kicking to  bury myself in those  above-mentioned  books.  ^^

Happy Reading to everyone! ^_^

Quotable: Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

One of the habits a literature lover like me loves to do is  to commit the quotes from the books he/ she has read to memory and  ponder over  them by heart at the same time . In doing so is like what a bright person puts it, “Words are my livelihood.”

As  a book blogger, I would love to  include a new menu and category on all quotes I  have highlighted and dog-eared in all the books I have read under the pretext of  education.

So, let me start with Charlotte’s Web  by E. B. White I read recently.

Quote # 1

 "I don't want to die!
 Save me, somebody!
 Save me!"

I won’t forget this heart-breaking  line from Wilbur. I put it down for a while to blink my tears away. Imagine if you were a pig aware of this savagery. Gee, blood-curdling scene. I remembered how Franz Kafka described   death  in his short story In the Penal Colony.  His description was so bloody and gory that  you could even imagine the small details how the  convict feels while his body is being dissembled.

Quote # 2 

“What do you mean less than nothing? I don't think there is any such thing as less than nothing. Nothing is absolutely the limit of nothingness. It's the lowest you can go. It's the end of the line. How can something be less than nothing? If there were something that was less than nothing, then nothing would not be nothing, it would be something - even though it's just a very little bit of something. But if nothing is nothing, then nothing has nothing that is less than it is.”

Wilbur, the porcupine protagonist, philosophized when the lamb in the barn refused to play with him.

The line is so deep that I wanted to beat my head against the wall.I turned it over and over until at my wits’ end. In the end, it turned out to be the apotheosis of the ancient question, ” Why is there something rather than nothing.”

Quote # 3

“Don't write about Man; write about a man.”

The word man in uppercase must be referring to God whereas the one in lower case to human. Another animal in the story advises  Wilbur to whom he should turn for help since he is said to be killed by Christmastime. Does this line have something to do with the author’s  spirituality or probably with his other acquaintances’? There is nothing new to this for an atheist like me. It is not a big deal but for a holier-than-thou.

Quote # 4

 “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die. A spider's life can't help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone's life can stand a little of that.”

 One of the moving parts in the story-existential. Wilbur asked why Charlotte is so kind to him.

Quote # 5

 “Trust me, Wilbur. People are very gullible. They'll believe anything they see in print.”

You can apply Emmanuel Kant’s philosophy to this line if you want to  get at it.

Quote # 6

 “I don't understand it, and I don't like what I don't understand.”

Sometimes, the cliche , “ Ignorance is bliss.”  is debatable.

Quote # 7

 “When your stomach is empty and your mind is full, it's always hard to sleep”

 A witty line when Wilbur has been obsessed about his ominous death before the Christmastime.

——————————————————————————————————————–

Most of the quotes above  in the book deal with life and friendship.

Thanks for reading! Have a wonderful day, lovely people! ^_^

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White: A Book Review

IMG_20130103_015915Lo and behold, my   young student   lent me – although I abhor to do so-  this in tatters  considering that I am now  finicky about book covers. I prefer pristine books to crispy ones since I would love to build  my own private library someday where in I would definitely hole up reading the books I would like to keep up with. (Stargazing) Yippie! I  can’t wait for it.

I rarely get a chance to meet a young student whose taste for books  is paralleled with mine. It just so happened that my student came up with this book and offered to lend me first , for she knows that I have not bought my own copy yet. Out of idle curiosity I nodded in excitement  since its paperback  picture of a cute  girl  looking up to a spider in its web while holding a pig  had drawn my attention many times   at children books sections in a book store.  Also, I had learned that it is considered as one of the best children books in the world literature.  So I did not want to miss this opportunity as long as books could be at my disposal and gratis .

As a matter of course, literally, I tend to judge a book cover rather than its content, the first ideas of the story  that I deluded myself into were:

( a)  The pig was the main  protagonist of the story.

(b) The girl in the picture was Charlotte.

(c) The pig was Charlotte’s pet .

(d) The story centered around  the pig’s heroism  just the like in  the movie Babe: Pig City by George Miller.

Upon reading it, I have shattered all my illusions with this burning sensation of   shame.

( a)  The pig was the main  protagonist of the story.

Yes, the pig is the main protagonist of the story. His name is Wilbur  but there’s one thing I did not give a fiddle’s fart about- the spider. The spider also has a special role as the all rage to the story. She, not a man if you are unconsciously borne upon this male sexism, is Charlotte A. Cavatica.

(b) The girl in the picture was Charlotte.

Teng! Teng! Teng!  ( X-double –minus ) The spider is Charlotte. The girl’s name is Fern Arable. She saved Wilbur from death when her father found  out that he is a  rant. She begged her father that she pet Wilbur herself.

(c) The pig was Charlotte’s pet.

Nope. When Wilbur was crestfallen because Fern missed visiting him, Charlotte, the spider, comforted him until they hit it off like best friends.

(d.)The story centered around   the pig’s heroism  just the like in  the movie Babe: Pig City by George Miller.

Not at all! The highlights of  the story are:

First: Wilbur knew that he was expected to be killed for ham and bacon before Christmastime.

Second: Charlotte  would make some miracles to save Wilbur.

Third:  The natural life-and-death process of Charlotte. Tear-jerker! T_T

I was close to giving it 4 stars because I  enjoyed reading the first part in which I basked  the philosophical discussion between  Fern and his father about life.

Fern Arable: [John Arable lifts runt from the newborn litter of piglets] Papa! Papa, stop! Don’t kill it! It’s unfair.
Arable: Fern! You will have learn to control yourself!
Fern Arable: [crying] Control myself? This is a matter of life and death, and you talk about controlling myself?
Arable: Now Fern, I know a lot more about raising pigs than you do. A weakling makes trouble, now run along.
Fern Arable: But it’s unfair! If I had been very small, would you have killed me?
Arable: No, certainly not! A little girl is one thing, a… runty pig is another.
Fern Arable: [Sobbing] I don’t see any difference! This is the most terrible case of injustice that I ever heard of!

Then,  I kept turning the next pages  so eager and excited  to know how Fern is  able to  bring Wilbur up. But I was disappointed when I found out that Charlotte turned out to be a spider beyond my great expectations. I guess I had this conception that how a spider , definitely  whose intelligence is lower than the domestic animals in the barn , could  have such a big role, especially in her ability to communicate with  others. Probably I am more used to watching TV anime  or reading fables  which most of  the characters involved are intellectually higher than insects such as spiders . Or You’ d rather I said social interaction among animals with different intellectual  classification .  For example, pigs could interact with another domestic animals like horses, sheep, goats, geese, chickens, cats, dogs, or even mice, but with insects such as spiders   and other kind alike is off the center. I have never read  nor seen such kind of interaction yet. If I have as the memory serves, I just know that they just take a cameo part.

I  had expected that the story would go like ,probably , Wilbur would be a Super-Pig doing something heroic granted that the perception of the town people about him was that he is an animal, merely a pig. Uh-oh! I may have gotten this idea   from animation movies which the common scene is  that an animal does something remarkable  such as in Pig City, Beethoven, Dalmatian 101…

I may be a little disappointed at the twists and turns of the story, but I can’t deny the fact that it is worth its salt. You can pick some lessons   from the philosophical discourses among the characters about  LIFE and FRIENDSHIP.No wonder it has received a panoply of  different literary awards.

On life , I liked :

 “Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen.”

 Who won’t skip Wilbur’s standing-ovation polemic on an arrogant lamb’s snide  that He(Wilbur) is just  less than nothing ?

“What do you mean less than nothing? I don’t think there is any such thing as less than nothing. Nothing is absolutely the limit of nothingness. It’s the lowest you can go. It’s the end of the line. How can something be less than nothing? If there were something that was less than nothing, then nothing would not be nothing, it would be something – even though it’s just a very little bit of something. But if nothing is nothing, then nothing has nothing that is less than it is.”

Howzat? Read it again ! ( laughs)

On friendship, I want to remember Charlotte’s lines by heart :

 “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.”

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

My Korean student who lent me her book. ^^
My Korean student who lent me her book. ^^