Friday, June 17, 2005

Books

I realize that over the past week, all I've been writing about has been politics, basketball, and showbiz. Well, if you think of it, that's just typically Filipino. But I figured I'd write something else, for a change.

Actually, I'd write about basketball again, but then Purefoods got swept by Shell in the quarters (without Kris Aquino watching!), and besides, I'd probably just get another comment from that idiot who goes around the Internet defending Kris's honor on blogs. Lynn already said she wanted to pick a fight with the guy, but then how good a fight would that be when he doesn't even have the balls to leave his email address?

Anyway, enough of all that craziness, the Purefoods season is over and I've put all of it behind me. I had wanted to write about books.

I'd been able to finish three books over the past two-and-a-half weeks, thanks in large part to my mp3 player.

I re-read Les Miserables, and also finished Ethan Hawke's Ash Wednesday and Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horse. I had read the first book way back in high school and had been meaning to re-read it again for some time now, while the last two were used books I had bought several months ago (along with a copy of Snow Falling on Cedars, which remains unread) at a Booksale.

Last Wednesday, I also discovered that there was now a branch of A Different Bookstore at the Araneta Center, outside the Shopwise Arcade right across the coliseum. The shop wasn't as large as the shop in Eastwood, and I was disappointed by the lack of a substantial Filipiniana section, but I still liked it better than the Fully Booked at Gateway. I came away with Lolita and The Power of Myth, a book containing transcripts of a TV discussion between philosopher Joseph Campbell and journalist Bill Moyer.

I had originally meant to start on The Sheltering Sky like I wrote about several weeks back, but I had left my copy at the office so I started reading Les Mis instead.

Now, I had never seen any of the stage or film adaptations of the book, but while I was going through the pages I couldn't help but think how well the book could be adopted into a local teleserye, something one of the networks could air on weeknights. Another poignant moment that struck me was Eponine's last words in the arms of Marius, despite only passing hints by the author of their affair (or more accurately, her love for him). I even thought about how her last words would make for a very cool song, which could be titled something like Eponine, to Marius, as she said something to the effect of "Promise me, you'll kiss me on the forehead after I'm gone. I promise you I will be able to feel it."

Truly enough, the moment in the book seemed to have an effect on a lot of other people as well, as I discovered later that the stage adaptation expanded the love triangle among Eponine, Marius, and his true love Cosette. And there was even this wonderful duet between Marius and Eponine just as she was about to pass:

A Little Fall of Rain

Eponine:
Don't you fret
M'sieur Marius
I don't feel any pain
A little fall of rain
Can hardly hurt me now
You're here
Thats all i need to know
And you will keep me safe
And you will keep me close
And rain will make the flowers grow

Marius:
But you will live, 'Ponine; dear God above
If i could close your wounds with words of love

Eponine:
Just hold me now and let it be
Shelter me
Comfort me

Marius:
You would live a hundred years
If I could show you how
I won't desert you now

Eponine:
The rain can't hurt me now
This rain will wash away what's past
And you will keep me safe
And you will keep me close
I'll sleep in your embrace at last
The rain that brings you here
is heaven blessed
The skies begin to clear
And i'm at rest
A breath away from where you are
I've come home from so far

Eponine: // Marius:
So don't you fret // Hush a bye
M'sieur Marius // Dear Eponine
I don't feel any pain // You won't feel any pain
A little fall of rain // A little fall ofrain
Can hardly hurt me now // Can hardly hurt you now

Marius:
I'm here

Eponine:
Thats all I need to know

Eponine: // Marius:
And you will keep me safe // I will stay with you
And you will keep me close ' // Til you are sleeping

Eponine:
And rain

Marius:
And rain

Eponine:
Will make the flowers

Marius:
Will make the flowers....... grow



Ash Wednesday was fairly light reading, and it reminded me a little of Ethan Hawke's Sunrise/Sunset movies, with its introspective on a couple in love. Now that I think about it, the books I've read so far of Hollywood actors remind me a lot of their films. Steve Martin's Shopgirl, in particular, comes to mind. I enjoyed that book so much more than Ash, but then again, I enjoy Steve Martin's films much more so than Ethan Hawke's.

But what I was truly happy to read was the last one, All the Pretty Horses, which had been turned into a movie a few years ago (I still hadn't seen it). I didn't even expect the book to be so good, or that I would like it so much.

The first thing one would notice when reading the book is the unique prose. It's hard to get into at first, but soon you end up appreciating how deftly- and beautifully-written the prose is, lyrical, almost like poetry, even combining two languages seamlessly.

Oh, and the story. I couldn't remember reading a book that had brought with it such energy, and that worked on so many different levels. There were horses and gunplay and romance and fistfights and dreams and heartbreaks, all under the light of the blood-soaked sun of the Texas-Mexico border. It's a spaghetti western, a coming-of-age story, an action adventure, a romantic love affair, an existentialist look at the cowboy life, and so much more.

When I was done with it, I had to check when the book was released, which was 1992. Funny, I thought they didn't make books like this anymore.

Comments:

ooh, been skipping on a copy of 'all the pretty horses' in my fave bookstore for month's now because i remember penelope cruz from the movie. might get it now when i get back. . . incidentally, just got back from a friend's house and they were just giving books and cds away as they will be leaving in a few months. . . got a bagful of stuff. . . so much better than a bookstore:)

 

yo. lend me some books will yah?Ü

 

My dad has forbidden me to read Les Miserables until I know enough of the French Revolution...to think that it has been in the house since 1990 and the book is still in a very good condition.

 

ano ba yan jae, napakanta pa ako :P ilalabas ko tuloy ang le mis casette tape ko hahaha

 

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