Bibliophilic housekeeping, plus Lethem and Munro—and beetles

Bibliophilic housekeeping, plus Lethem and Munro—and beetles

It’s like musical goddamned chairs, my mood and my reading material—one moment I’m all eager for awkward crushing (Rainbow Rowell), the next I’m hungry for some straight-up murder shenanigans (Gillian Flynn); one day I’m bingeing myself with the best of historical romance (Courtney Milan, Mary Balogh, and so on) and before that day even ends I’ve tossed the ebooks into a dark corner of my hard drive to reach for comic books with lots and lots of explosions in them. [Continue reading.]

Insurmountable

Insurmountable

Here’s the thing about Neil Gaiman and myself: I am not quite a fan of his writing. That statement borders on a hanging offense: But it’s not like I hate him? I’ve had not infrequent brushes with his literary work over the years—I have a fuzzily nice memory of the Sandman oeuvre [if I had a tonfuck of money to spare, I’d get them in a heartbeat]; his American Gods will always be dear to me because that was the book I was (sort of) reading during the summer of my crazy seventeenth year—but, I’ve come to realize that the Neil Gaiman I have grown fond of is what he is (perhaps, what he’s cultivated himself to be?) online: Engaging, terrifically patient, seemingly clueless and comfortable about his rock star status all in the same breath. I mean: I suppose I like him as a person, but I must admit to ambivalence re his writing. [Continue reading.]

07252013: Something I’ve been meaning to tell you

07252013: Something I’ve been meaning to tell you

There has been reading—the kind of reading that simply passes one’s time, the kind of reading you take in for the sake of taking something in, and then the kind of reading that just feels like it fell into place for you at the best possible moment, the kind of reading that makes you so damned relieved you have reading as a respite. (Fine, then: The feel of the whole reading thing has been alarmingly not unlike shaving off an hour or two out from your hectic schedule to take a cross-metropolis trip to see your piece on the side. Reading’s become my querida these past several months—and although my black, illicit-loving heart squeals at the metaphor, the rest of me that’s chomping at the bit to tell the world that it can go fuck itself so it might leave me alone to read, well, that bit aches.) Even if it kills me, I’ll get around to talking what follows at length—I do miss writing here, putting the reading on record and understanding the book’s everything that way—but for now, here’s a quick rundown of the amazing things in the Read pile. [Continue reading.]

06122013: Mostly mistresses

06122013: Mostly mistresses

There are many, many things to be excited for in Querida—the book gets the ball rolling with the Rizal passages on Doña Consolacion; one of my favorite short story writers, Lakambini A. Sitoy, has a piece on Josephine Bracken (who’s got to be among my favorite women-in-Philippine-history, if only because we empirically know so little about her, but she’s been rehashed every which way, god); and there are numerous unread-by-me stories by other writers I’ve loved reading. (And it’s all about mistresses!) But I’ll get to the promise of the actual pieces much later: I’ve been rather busy wallowing in the too-amazing-for-words introduction to the anthology, penned by (I suppose) its editors Caroline S. Hau, Katrina Tuvera, and Isabelita O. Reyes. I’m already feeling a little bummed that the introduction—chock-full of information I don’t know what to do with, erudite, sly, relentlessly fascinating—won’t be going on forever. [Continue reading.]

For the “weight that shifted around the heart”

For the “weight that shifted around the heart”

More than the generosity of her stories, more than the scope—nothing short of meandering at times, the reader would be justified in suspecting—it’s this uncanny carriage among Munro’s people. There's always this grace with her stories, borne (I'm whimsical enough to think) of how her characters will themselves to remain still under duress. So: The illusion of grace, then—but the illusion is more than enough. In the face of some keen shame, an unforeseen mortification, a half-expected disappointment. [Continue reading.]

04072013: Restlessness

04072013: Restlessness

Why do I keep buying books at a time when I am least predisposed to actually reading them? How awkwardly—how unnaturally—I seem to be reading lately!

My brain has atrophied, I self-diagnose. And I am quick to heap the blame, if prodded; after all, surely I can’t be accountable for my own inability to respond to the provocations of literature? The heights of marrow-sucking the past couple of months of weekdays have reached are close to convincing my poor brain [my even more wretched soul!] that it’s best for everyone involved if whatever intelligent faculties I pride myself on having simply find a shadowy corner to mewl in. The weekends are too delicious a respite—naps must be made, people must be loved, secondhand bookstores to trawl, inihaw to fill my belleh. And naps must be made. [Continue reading.]

03052013: The Unread of February

03052013: The Unread of February

The “Currently Reading” counter on my Goodreads account has morphed into tally of bibliophilic failures; since the tail-end of January and all throughout February, the books themselves have been shuttling in and out of my bags, on top of desks both at work and at home, beneath my pillows, beside the bed, on the floor, and until recently—in the case of poor Simenon—where I keep my underwear. They’ve gone to and fro Quezon City and the heart of Manila, they’ve sat quietly inside my bag, beside computer cords and my make-up kit and chocolate bars, while I sat through meetings and had dinners both welcome and not. They’ve been opened, marked, closed, then set aside in favor of other books. [Continue reading.]

01282013: With Davis and King

01282013: With Davis and King

Hello, kids; it seems I have survived Monday and all the blues that naturally come with it, and then some. But I soldier on, and I’ll read on—because that’s what one needs to do. I’ll read on until the next amazing weekend, until Real Life calls and promises that it will be awesome—until, dare I say, I’m closer to what idea of the Dark Tower I have, until I make good with a smidgen of what I obsessively think’s gone hokey with Real Life.

[Continue reading.]

What to do with du Maurier?

What to do with du Maurier?

I’ve mentioned the wtfuckery that abounds in Daphne du Maurier’s collection of “lost” short stories, The Doll. I’m only halfway-ish through the book—that’s six stories down—and each one of those stories has a half-baked feel I can’t shake off, and majority simply has me scratching my poor head. That is: None of these is the du Maurier short fiction I’ve come to know. Though her always-to-die-for prose is present, all of the stories—with the [begrudging] exception of the title story—simply feels like du Maurier had an idea, picked up some loose leaf, and ran with it. If I were a snide little gremlin, I’d say something like: Oh, is it a wonder these stories were lost? [Currently reading.]

01142013: A book pile to cleanse the palate

01142013: A book pile to cleanse the palate

I picked up The Drawing of the Three, the second book in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, because I wanted something hefty that would take me away from the bad juju flying around today. And so when Ronald wakes up at the beach (where The Gunslinger, first book, ended) and starts being eaten by the scariest, most ridiculous demon lobster in literary history—the man gets two fingers and a toe eaten, for fuck’s sake—I was thankful for someone to sympathize with, someone who made me think, “Well, he’s more fucked than you are, girl.” See, after being all, “I see serious problems ahead,” at page twenty, Ronald goes, “I jerk off left-handed, at least that’s something.” Yeah, let the Gunslinger remind you look for the bright side, Sasha. [Continue reading.]