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.)

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! ^_^

Gaydar by Danton Remoto: A Book Review

gaydarThe word   GAYDAR  is the blend  of “gay” and “radar”. Radar as  you   learned from your  science book  is a scientific method of finding position of things such as missiles   by sending out radio waves.  In other words, figuratively speaking, GAYDAR as defined in the book  is  the innate ability to spot another gay man no matter how hard he tries to hide his being gay. In this way, a gaydar associating with straight-acting men or paminta in Filipino after  drawing off his radio waves will  break the news under his breath  that  a very Adonis  man women slobber over   turns out to be  part of  the confederation. Yaaayy!

My  university  gay friend   introduced me to Danton Remoto’s Ladlad : An Anthology of Philippine Gay Writing.   The book is a collection of  different stories and poems written by different gay writers including his own oeuvres. In fact, some were written  in Filipino. Most of the articles are erotic in language, so  my reaction then since it was my first time to read such genre was some kinda prudish  pursing my lips and arching my brows. I thought that reading such  book is balderdash;  it’s raunchy. So I did not like reading it much, especially I had no any ideas of his literary styles.  But over time, I realized why Remoto , along with his award-winning  co-author J. Neil C. Garcia, published  such LAMBDA-Literary- Award-winning piece . Danton Remoto then was an active LGBT advocate.  Thus, I had a rude awakening as though I had  come out of my made-in-narra  closet.

This  is a compilation  of  Danton Remoto’s  personal essays which were published in  The Philippine Star  from 1997 and 1999. He wrote about his  growing up  as a student abroad , with his family  and friends , and  his advocacy for the LGBT community. In effect,  all of his essays are seethed in the same theme: life of being  a gay in the Philippines.  Also, he  even wrote  about the  dilemmas   such as the political circus and irresponsible journalism with which he had faced  when he was still an advocate of LGBT.

I appreciated Danton Remoto’s writing styles now. As one of his commentators  put before, he writes with substance. Most of his articles cling to reality, which knock the day light  out of an idealistic reader, notably the clerics for an example.  He associates his ideas with the social issues  in metaphorical forms-typical of  Philippine writing. You can relate to what he is trying to drive at such as mentioning some  Philippine culture to justify his   conspicuous advocacy. In addition, I am envious of   his beautiful prose and clarity of writing.  He really knows his stuff which   must have given   him a credible name  in the modern Philippine literature.

Some writers are like crusaders . They  put their  talent for writing  , although  such skill can be learned, to good  use ,  especially to  making a big difference in society. For instance, black writers   in the past just the likes of Harriet Beecher Stowe,  Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, not to mention one of my favorite contemporary writers, Toni Morison  , et al used their writing skills as their  weapons to express their suppressible  and dormant desires to  revolt against the culture of  racial  discrimination.  In terms of  crusade against putrid perception about homosexuality, the only one popped into my mind was Oscar Wilde. Alas, he ended up in jail, for the society at that time was too vast to engulf him.  As the history serves and  since I have not been familiar with  famous Philippine writers yet, Danton Remoto , along with J. Neil C. Garcia , is the only openly gay writer who has the audacity  to do so  using his  flamboyantly decorated  saber of writing.

A salute to you, Professor Danton Remoto! ^^

Rating : 5/ 5 stars

Where the Boys Are: Urban Gay Erotica by Richard Labonté (Editor) and Erastes ( Author): A Book Review

Warning: This review contains unpleasant  or offensive languages which may not be suitable for readers borne upon with   “ a-la -madre-and -padre attitude” . In short, “hypocrisy ”.  It requires   “parental guidance of our rational thinking”. In short, open your eyes , heart, and mind.

BOYS

The last erotica I  have read  so far , aside  from  the  X-rated  articles in magazines and newspapers,  is Ladlad : An Anthology  of Philippine Gay Writing  by Danton Remoto and J. Neil  C. Garcia . (Yes, I read such genre.  I am mentally horny. It  is  a natural  feeling among  confederated readers like me. Do not be priggish and prudish. ( laughs ) ) Both critically acclaimed Filipino writers   depicted the life of   queers in the Philippines.  So, the book is   audaciously steeped in homosexual experiences of the open and closet gays and became a best-seller among   the LGBT community. Of course, sacerdotal readers made a scene by taking  a pot at it.

 Where the Boys Are by Richard Labonte bears complete resemblance to Ladlad. (By the way, Ladlad is a Filipino word which means “coming out”.) Unlike in Ladlad  which focuses on gays in general situation, it deals  primarily with gay experiences in  cities. In my own technical terms, “identity peregrination”. Most of the gay characters are searching their real selves.

Richard  Labonté compiled  14 short stories  of  the different  writers who may be  most of them belong to the same confederation. So let me say something on each of them. Kinda spoiler. ( wink! )

Live from  New York by Rachel Kramer Bussel  ( 4 stars )

 Its introduction blew my mind as did a prudish priest  and nun signing a cross.

“ I didn’t expect to get my cock sucked on my first night in New York City, but may be I should have…”

Dear me padre and madre ! A dirty prose it sounds , but  do not be prejudiced. Both man and woman do such thing too. As a matter of fact, because of this untoward incident, the main character found out in the city what persona he has been searching for.

 Unable to Hold Back by Kemble Scott ( 3 stars )

 Raphne , the  gay protagonist,  met  a man his friend monickered VACNE, stands for vagina and  acne.  As a matter of fact, Raphne did not know that he  is gay. He deluded himself into the fact  that he  is a straight guy. It just so happened that he met VACNE in a train.

 My Evil Twin  by Sam J. Miller ( 3 stars )

 “I’m not   leaving this city until I get  a blow job. “

 A story about Solomon and Simon. Solomon has the “evil twin”, so Simon , in a metaphorical way, will exorcise that evil out of his soul.

 One of the Guys by  Jameson Currier ( 4 stars )

 Jonathan, the open gay protagonist, finds  his life in orgies .

 Tiny Golden Kernel by Lee Houck ( 3 stars )

 It’s a question of Nurture vs. Nature.

 Taming the Trees by Jeff Mann ( 3 stars )

 If you are green-minded, you might interpret that the title could be phallic in nature. As a matter of fact, a middle-aged professor, single and gay, living in a small mountain town, longs to make love with the loggers, let alone his favorite Hollywood actors, whom he fantasizes in his jerking off.

 Drug Colors by Erastes ( 3 stars )

 Some closet gays end up in a small world  where they could find themselves openly rather than in a big world where there should be social acceptance. Poor them!

 Other Residences, Other Neighborhoods by Douglas A. Martin ( 4 stars )

 A story about a voyeuristic gay

 Juniper House by Alana Noel Voth ( 2 stars )

 A closet gay sharing his skeleton in the closet with an autistic child at an institution. What is the relevance, Alan ?

 Wild Night  by Simon Sheppard ( 4 stars )

 Have you ever been to a city of horny ghosts?

I won’t forget the threnody  at the ending  :

 “I know,  I know . The struggle for queer liberation comes down to much more than a furtive blow job in the dark. Of course . And times change. New HIV have brought some of us , like lecherous Lazaruses, up from the brink of the grave and back down  on our knees…”

Half-Life  by Dale Chase ( 4 stars )

 A man who has never told his wife that he likes a man more than a woman.

 The Bird and the Bees by Alpha Martial  ( 2 stars )

 In a nutshell, it is all about sex.

 God Hates Techno by Zeke Mangold ( 3 stars )

 Sex in a city is better than in a country side.

 Local Fame by Ted Cornwell ( 3 stars )

 A conflict faced by a gay: fame or love

So, all the stories above are all about gay.

The common perception of “sacerdotal critics “ when they  hear such erotica is that it deals with pornography, completely similar , as they put it,  to x-files between a man and woman. (See? There is no difference. Not only man and woman can do such thing. )That the only purpose is to intensify a reader sexually until he or she becomes mentally and physiologically corrupt. Ridiculous!

But , Holy Moses!  padres  and madres! This book   is more sensible  than the ones you  are always reading.

This  book, along with Ladlad , is an  eye-opener, not that it is erotic and raunchy , so  you end up finding it disgusting , horrendous according to what your religion inculcates in you ,  but a book  geared to educate you what it is like to be a gay  and notably to encourage  gays who are still hiding in their closets.

Another thing I liked in this book is how the stories are couched in  beautiful prose- something  I am envious of, I think ,better than Fifty Shades of Grey. So, in the end, the book is  not that suppressible as some classic gay novels I have read.

Recently, the US Supreme Court upheld is ruling that the right to marriage is now lawfully applicable to the same-sex. If the writers ‘stories above were  intended to raise awareness of the LGBT rights, after many years of hyping up, well,  their  efforts have paid off. This book is no longer revolting like the plague. Someday, everyone will be used to reading such gay genre as they become used to gay culture. Drink to it, Richard  Labonté! ^^

Rating: 4/ 5 stars