Clean slate


Apologies in advance for whatever craziness you may find in the post that follows. I’m feeling a little strange—I’m running on a cocktail of painkillers and antibiotics and the threat of ache and sleeplessness and worry. (Nothing strange about all that, though, except for the antibiotics.) (I need to go visit my grandfather in the hospital [he was rushed there this morning, pneumonia, goodness, our hearts can’t take this anymore], and I need to let the haze pass, and so now I’m sitting in a café with too much sunlight and too much people, and I’m hoping the relevant parts of my brain align at the soonest.)

[I don’t quite know what to feel about these weekly blog updates. For one, I’d really much rather be writing here more often than once a week—for another, these posts seem to be alarmingly book-haul-ish of late.] Right, I was wailing on Twitter that I was supposed to get the evil wisdom teeth in my skull evicted last Saturday, but an infection had to be shooed away. Spent the rest of the weekend finishing books I’d long been reading, and also amassing books with the P. (Last night, though, was more difficult than usual: Though the cocktail was in effect, that P. wasn’t sleeping beside me—that I wouldn’t be waking up next to P.—was pretty much rolling out the red carpet for the insomnia to kick in yet again. And to think I’d get a free pass.)

Yes, anyway: The books that I finally “finished” reading this weekend just didn’t suit me, I think. I figured it was damned time I gave them a last chance before letting them go. Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World—which I read for the Classics Club Spin—was rather entertaining at the beginning, truly fun and funny. And then we got to the actual adventuring part, and there was just way too much foliage and nature and nonchalant-racism-of-the-times that I had to contend with—the casual use of “half-breed” to refer to the team’s guide in their journey to discover the lost world agitated me. I skimmed through the novel, skipped what I could, looked for the good parts. I came away from the book vaguely assured that this was an enjoyable book—though one that just wasn’t my kind of enjoyable book. I suppose I’d gone to The Lost World looking for something of Holmes’ and Watson’s ilk to love and root for. I suppose, haha, I should just go back to reading the actual Sherlock Holmes stories again. [Oh, and Elementary is back; and I’ve picked up Sleepy Hollow. These two have very little to do with each other, least of all with The Lost World, but I needed to talk about those.]

And I also finally gave up on Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. I think it’s time for me to stop hoping that Gaiman and I will ever get along—my experience with his The Ocean at the End of the Lane was a non-disaster in that it was unaffecting and completely lost on me. I will always be fond of his American Gods, maybe because I went to it blindly when I was seventeen, maybe because it was the book I was reading one crazy, life-changing summer. But I’m just going to stop reading Gaiman. I’m just going to stop. Because Good Omens—the hundred pages of it that I’ve read—was mildly infuriating in that I kept reading, and I kept thinking I should’ve found what I’d just read funny, and then the characters every which way without any thought to fully establish them or at least follow them for more than a few pages. Jesus. No more.


One of the buys last Saturday—P. and I had dropped by a Booksale after the aborted surgery, and then of course we had to go to Fully Booked Katipunan, which was holding its anniversary sale—and something I am particularly proud of: This beautiful boxed set, Natural Histories: Extraordinary Rare Book Selections from the American Museum of Natural History Library, edited by Tom Balone. I bought it for PhP425, and I vaguely remember cackling. It’s got these amazing plates from the rare books surveyed in the book; the book itself has concise essays written by people at the AMNH who know what they’re talking about, haha. And they never belabored the point—here’s the book, here’s the provenance, here’s why it’s awesome. I loved how the rare books weren’t selected by their aesthetic value of their plates—or even by how correct they are. The intro pointedly insists that the books were chosen by how significant their contributions were to the body of knowledge. (Important, too, was how rare the books were—that is: How little of them has been seen by the world.) This is one of the things I love about science, I’ve come to realize: How it is ever-evolving, and unabashedly so—how it’s almost giddy to admit its mistakes and to move forward for the one true thing.


It’s raining again. Last night, already certain of the sleeplessness, I picked up the Dark Avengers omnibus edition, written by Brian Michael Bendis, and what’s looking like the crazy-good art of Mike Deodato, Greg Horn, and Chris Bachalo. I’ve been amassing a lot of graphic novels lately—something I’d long suppressed because this was a more expensive bibliophilia than usual, plus I don’t understand all the goddamned cross-overs, goddamn you, Marvel. But slowly and surely, I’ve been building a collection. Dark Avengers is a great parallel read, I’m finding, to Matt Fraction’s amazingly complex run with Invincible Iron Man. In Dark Avengers, Norman Osborn is the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., and with the “real” Avengers driven underground, the supervillains step up. The P. was reading this a couple of weeks ago, and there was lots of squealing.

It’s raining again and I’m stuck in the coffee shop. At least it’s less bright. I left Dark Avengers at home, that seems to be what my dork-heart’s calling for with the rainfall. I’ve got Jane Eyre, though, to pore over (I need to write about this, please), and a book on the finger in art. I’m less afloat. We’ll beat on.

6 thoughts on “Clean slate

  1. I enjoyed Good Omens tremendously (read it twice already) but couldn’t finish American Gods. I also read his Neverwhere, but it was bleh for me. I much prefer his Sandman series, tbh. A friend has mentioned that perhaps Gaiman is better with the short story form than the novel.

    1. That’s so strange, because I LOVED Neverwhere (which was my first Gaiman), loved Sandman, and couldn’t finish American Gods! Like you, I loved Good Omens. Haha I suppose it’s really a preference thing.

      Sasha, maybe you don’t like Terry Pratchett?


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