Thursday, November 03, 2005


Last Saturday, I picked up a bunch of books at Megamall (as always, off I got Eating the Cheshire Cat by Helen Ellis, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, and a copy of Nick Hornby's Songbook, which is a step closer to making my Hornby collection complete. Speak with an Angel, The Polysyllabic Spree, at A Long Way Down na lang yung kulang, kasi bibigyan ako ni Richelle ng extra copy niya ng How to Be Good. The best kasi si Richelle eh. Also got a copy of The Unknown Error of Our Lives by Chitra Divakaruni for Darwin, although I got to take it home until I saw him again at the office. As if these weren't enough, I bought a copy of Dave Barry's Greatest Hits at a Goodwill Bookstore sale. I must be addicted to buying books. These books along with the ones I bought last time kept me company for most of the long weekend.

Things started off brilliantly with Werewolves in their Youth, a collection of short stories from Michael Chabon, who also wrote Summerland and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Most of the stories dealt with with relationships falling apart, underscoring the frailty of human connections in the face of life's circumstances. What I love most about Chabon though, aside from the almost-Gothic tone and his dark sense of humour, is the affection he has for his characters, giving them a shot at redemption before their tales wind down. I saw a copy of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, at Fully Booked in Cubao the other night, and I'm probably buying the one next time.

Then I moved on to Kurt Vonnegut's classic Slaughterhouse Five. It's equal parts satire, science fiction, memoir, literary criticism, and pulp fiction. Its reputation is well-deserved, and I loved every moment reading it.

After that came Sandra Cisneros The House on Mango Street. It was alright, a light read of around a hundred pages consisting of short vignettes. In a way it's refreshing, as Cisneros nails perfectly the voice of a teenage Mexican-American girl who would grow up to be a feminist writer.

And then there was The Unknown Error of Our Lives, a short story collection from Chitra Divakaruni. The stories were okay. I don't know if this is a fair comparison, but her writing kind of reminds me of Amy Tan, which probably has to do with the fact that they're both Asian-American writers dealing with the cultural gap between their old and new countries. And just like Amy Tan, sentimentality and melodramy reeks in all her stories. I guess it's alright if you don't mind that sort of thing.

To lighten things up, I read Dave Barry's Greatest Hits. Dave Barry's writing is like the literary equivalent of a Naked Gun movie: a million jokes flying at you, with that certain desperation to make you laugh. And you do end up laughing, if only for the sheer quantity of the jokes.

Right now, I'm almost done with Eating the Cheshire Cat by Helen Ellis. I'm loving it so far. It's a funny gothic novel about social climbing mothers and daughters in the south, a mix of Mean Girls, Desperate Housewives, and Stephen King. Can't wait to finish it!


naks the best daw ako :P


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