Flipping

I buy books. And sometimes I read them. This blog is for the times when I do more than just store shelf candy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Flip Pages While...

image from http://vi.sualize.us/view/f477949c51bbee8b0597756f478f70e5/

Toilit. I can't remember who invented the term, or from whom I heard it first, surely one of my online book club friends. A witty and appropriate portmanteau that refers to the stuff you read within the confines of your bathroom, powder room, CR, WC, restroom, washroom, the loo, whatever you call it.

Bookworm or not, one usually needs something to read while doing the no. 2; for enthusiastic water drinkers, even the no. 1. Even in the direst of emergencies, I always have to have something to read. When outside the home, preferably in some 5-star hotel lobby rest room, I still need to have a book or a magazine with me. There's almost always a bible in my purse, so the good book literally and spiritually saves me.

At home, there are always books close to the ceramic throne.

Here's my stash.

Just kidding. Doing the no. 2 while my brain spurts blood through my nose is not an attractive thing and is hell for the bathroom rug cleaner.

Here's what I really read.

Just kidding. Uhm, no I'm not. Well, kidding just a little.

Seriously, I usually take whatever I'm reading at the moment. Or I grab something from this basket where I keep a couple of short story books. I'm in the middle of 2 themed anthologies:
  • Gothic! Ten Original Dark Tales, each tale from a different author like Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, among others, et al
  • Faith Stories, with contributions from Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nathaniel Hawthorn, Salman Rushdie, Amy Tan, Yukio Mishima, et al.
Given the time limitation, short stories make sense, right? The basket also contains a few prayer devotional books to start the day right and one by Zig Ziglar for picker-uppper quotes for self affirmation.

There you go. So, what's your toilit?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

28



My husband keeps on bugging me, "So how many books did you buy? So how many books did you buy?"

So here it is. I bought 28 books for only P2,080.00 at the National Book Store Book Bazaar. If you do the math, that's P74.29 per book. That average was supposed to be lower because most of the books were from the P20, P30, P50, and P75 peso piles. But I did a last minute grab of some 200 peso fashion books. It's Tisha's fault for tempting me.

My friend Tisha shopped with me, and she had a shocked, or was it an exasperated look, on her face when I said "wala akong gana mag-shopping ng books." (I don't feel like shopping for books) while I was lugging that heavy, red basket.

Some of those are for gifts, a few for mooching away and for book swaps, but we all know I'm a selfish book bitch, so there's a stash for my personal library as well.

I'm trying my best to stay away and not go for another round. I have tied a ball chain around my ankle. I'm on self imposed house arrest until November 29. My husband has posted APB photos of me in Market, Market and warned the guards about me. But you, you, you still have the chance to go.

Just watch out for rabid shoppers maniacally ripping the unopened boxes, filling carts and carts of books. They're from my book club. Please bear with them -- they're sick people with weak self control and almost zero EQ.

P.S. I've already given one book away; that's why there are only 27 books in the photo.



Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Flipped the Pages of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair

My copy:
Trade Paperback, Movie Tie-in Cover, at least it's an orange spined Penguin edition, which kind of makes up for its being a movie tie-in cover
ISBN: 0140291091
Purchased: August 25, 2000
from National Bookstore
Read: November 20, 2010 (in time for the FFP book discussion, but in reality, I finished the last few pages the next day.)


I bought this book because I loved the movie. I watched the film at a time when I, too, was negotiating with God for matters of love, marital and otherwise.

The movie was poignant; the story, heartbreaking; and Julianne Moore was the perfect actress to play an adulteress whom one can love and forgive.

The movie set an impossible bar for my book reading to match.

I really believe it is not in the natural order of things to watch the movie before reading the book. The beauty of book reading relies much on the plot, the evolution of the story and its twists and turns, the building up of the characters -- their motivations, their justifications for the things they do. Movies also need those, but the movie's cinematography merely supplants (replaces/reinforces/contradicts) one's imaginings derived from reading a book with somebody else's constructed visuals.

The natural order is first, you read the book, form movies in your mind, direct the blocking, design the sets, be your own CGI creator, and cast the characters. And then, you watch the movie. To judge it against your expectations. This order extends the reading process to include some kind of affirmation of one's imaginings, so in a way the pleasure of reading does not end after the last page. This order does not necessarily ruin the watching of the film and can even enhance the movie-watching experience because you see more deeply into the characters.

When you watch the movie first, the reading is robbed of the discovery, the surprises, and you tend to just watch out for events you've already seen in full color and fine detail.

But anyway, let's go back to the book. I finally read it because it was our book club's reading assignment for November. We had our discussion yesterday, so it'll be hard to separate my thoughts about the novel from those that sprung from the discussion.

First off, the novel is a well loved favorite for a couple of our book club members. Couple that fact with my loving the movie, and the expectations were set too high. Graham Greene did not stand a chance. I wanted the book to be great. It was good, but it fell short of great.

Why was it good?

Everybody said it was the writing. But a well written book that does not incite something from the reader is not really all that well written. Yes, any reader can glean Greene's mastery of his craft, but it's not the only thing that makes it a good book.

I liked the way it incorporates a masculine and a feminine voice. The book starts with Maurice Bendrix's narration of an affair that ended two years ago. It is the voice of somebody trying to report events while trying not to get too emotional, but fails, failing because he is too filled up with hate, love, and longing to ever sound like an impartial journalist. And then, midway through the book, his adulterous lover Sarah Miles' journal voice takes over, explaining the whys, filling in the blanks, answering Bendrix's angry, bitter questions.

The other thing I liked about the book is its description of an author's life and habits. Bendrix is an author, and the novel narrates how his affair and its aftermath have disrupted his writing schedule and moods. There is talk that the novel might be autobiographical, so it's a delicious thought that Graham Greene has given me clues on how he writes -- 500 words a day, always in the morning, how some characters just obstinately won't come to life, and how he took long walks when the writing wasn't going well.

I also like the humanness of its characters. Every character is broken, wicked, and yes, lame. And Greene does not try to make you love them. But I love them because I know them. I've met these people in my life, among friends who realize that the love of our lives and the ones we marry are not always the same person. I have known people who live unaware of their unhappiness until they find a different kind of happiness elsewhere. I have felt Catholic guilt and known how God is always part of some kind of love triangle.

Another element that makes the book good is the lines.

The novel starts with: "A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead."

And is peppered with:

"The sense of unhappiness is so much easier to convey than that of unhappiness. In misery we seem aware of our existence..."

"As long as I go on writing, yesterday is today and we are still together."

"fossilizing under the drip of conversation."

And is delightfully cheesified with:

"Love doesn't end just because we don't see each other."

"There didn't seem to be any other reason to be with him except to be with him."

And I liked the part about the onion. You've got to read the book to know about the onion.

Why is this novel not great?

The ending. It should have ended 30 and 50 pages ago. It could have spared us the incredulity of all that saint and miracle stuff. It could have done away with that ridiculous bromancey arrangement between Henry (Sarah's husband) and Maurice. It could have minimized the preachy god thoughts that are probably Greene's own. The story could have ended just a little after the affair ended and let the readers figure out and process the rest.

And this is the end of the review.



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Certifiable Nerd



Congratulate me! Today, I kicked my procrastinating habit.

Only 2 days after my entry was published in Philippine Star's National Book Store promo, I headed over to their Marketing office at Pioneer Street and claimed my gift checks!

For a moment, I entertained the thought that I would save those GCs for a rainy day, or when I have completed a judiciously compiled list of books I really want/need to have. But, because I am no longer a procrastinator (I am so proud of the new me), I wasted no time in going to the bookstore and buying something I've been lusting for for months.

This.

This is an upgrade from my original target model (MWD 460) and almost double the price. So this pretty much ate up my winnings. But this one has 400,000 definitions, as opposed to MWD 460's 274,000. Plus MWD is Advanced (for grades 9 and up), while the obviously inferior MWD 450 is only for grades 6 and up. I have no idea what value that adds to my life, but it sounds so much more impressive, doesn't it?

My new toy takes the place of seven books -- Merriam-Webster's Dictionary, Merriam-Webster's Guide to Punctuation and Style, Franklin's Thesaurus, a comprehensive Grammar Guide, Biographical and Geographical dictionary extracts from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Eleventh Edition, and even a 5-language Translator. Whew! So powerful, it feels like a penile extension!
And that means I don't have to lug around that 12-pound dictionary in my purse anymore. Goodbye, backaches.
Hello, new and wonderful toy.

By the way, it also has word games like Hangman, Anagrams, Word Builder, etc.

When I was just shopping around for one, I decided on the Franklin models because the other brands did not have a pronunciation feature. And that was a deal breaker. Every once in a while, I suffer mild amnesia and I forget how the word implacable is pronounced, so I really, really need that feature.

So, I better end this entry so I can play with my new toy.

Thank you, National Bookstore! I love you so much; if I had kids, they'd be named Naty and Onal.

This blog post and how I decided to splurge my gift checks just earned me the right to be called Nerdette. Thanks, Mike, for the new nick. By the way, the word butyraceous is not part of the 400k. Dang. Imaginary penis just got shorter.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Philstarred.

Talk about procrastination. The last time I joined National Book Store's My Favorite Book Contest was back in 2003 when I wrote about Lonely Planet Philippines. Back then, I told myself that it was a great way to earn free books and that I would submit an entry every year.

Fast forward to the second to the last month of 2010. I finally got round to submitting another entry. There's no accounting for the 6 years in between.

Chosen contest entries get published in the Sunday Lifestyle section of Philippine Star. Weekly winners get gift certificates to National Book Store. I haven't received my prize yet, but I have already used them up in the shopping mall of my mind.

You still have a few weeks to participate if you want to. And let's hope they continue this promotion for 2011 and many more years.


Some sentences seem to have wrong syntax because the editors took away my em-dashes. I wonder what they have against dashes.

PS: I was reading the old post about Lonely Planet Philippines. Ngark! I spelled palate as palette and couch as coach. How embarrassing.

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