News for July 2010

EVERYONE HAS A STORY

see title

Posted: July 31st, 2010
Categories: OFF TANGENT
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Comments: 1 Comment.

The Imperfectionists is its title

I forgot where I read about this book, i’m pretty sure someone somewhere recommended it. I always put books that are more popular on hold at the library so sometimes a few months down the road after i’ve forgotten all about it, i get to read it. We have a really good library system here so it’s very convenient and its something that my taxes contribute to, and something i dont mind paying tax for.

So, let’s say, that i’ve at least finished it. I’ve been feeling extra lazy lately and are not even bothering to finish books. I brought this with me to work so whenever I had a break I got to read a bit.

I am going to say right now that I was not able to keep up with the characters. A lot of them have obscure names, but not good and easy to remember obscure, but weird, oh okay, i-still-dont-recall this character 100 pages down the book kind of names. And a lot of people have names starting with O, Oliver, Ott, actually these are the only two that I remember, but his name is Oliver Ott.

AT the corner of each chapter there’s a date, I didn’t realize this until much much later on. Because I didn’t even know we went back in time or forward in time, or the characters are no longer aligned, I DIDNT KNOW ANY OF THIS. Because at one point or another, the character states that he doesnt have email, or that the newspaper doesn’t have web presence. In 2010, these are ridiculous proclamations! But at another point, it was a different case, i was very confused for a while.

I have read other books that played with timeline, namely, Dom Casmurro by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, it was forced on me by my IB english HL class. When I first received the book I thought Dom Casmurro was the name of the author and the name of the author was the title of the book. This book alone I’ve read at least 3 times. Do I know and understand the timeline? No, not until we had to actually write and make a timeline in class.

But, I think the writing was pretty solid on some portions of the book, but just I was just unable to follow all of the characters. Because none of the characters were particularly exciting, it was hard to keep them in mind. To put it bluntly, I didn’t care for any of them, and what happens to them. but i did realize this, everyone’s crazy.

But as always, I have some quotes from the book:

“but my point, you see, is that death is misunderstood. The loss of one’s life is not the greatest loss. It is no loss at all. To others, perhaps, but not to onself. From one’s own perspective, experience simply halts. From one’s own perspective, there’s no loss. You see? Yet maybe this is a game of words, too, because it doesn’t make it any less frightening, does it.” She sips her tea. “What I really fear is time.” That’s the devil: whipping us on when we’d rather loll, so the present spiritis by, impossible to grasp, and all is suddenly past, a past that won’t hold still, that slides into these inauthentic tales. My past — it doesn’t feel real in the slightest. the person who inhabited it is not me. It’s as if the present me is constantly dissolving.

There’s that line of Heraclitus: “No man steps in the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man.”

“So, to summarize: I’m emasculating, calculating, and unloving. What a nice portrait. If I was any of that stuff, it was inexperience. I was in my twenties. but,” she continues, “I have to wonder if you’re not being slightly naive here. i mean, are you saying you want nothing from people? you have no motives? everybody has motives. Name the person, the circumstances, I’ll name the motive. Even saints have motives – to feel like saints probably.”

yeah, now that I think about it, the most solid part about this book was the dialogs, if only I knew what was happening.

i am watching TV atm, about food, particularly some sort of hot pot, i have no dinner, so i am really distracted, and i know this was a poorly written post. sorry, but, omg, hot pot..

Posted: July 31st, 2010
Categories: BOOKS
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Love is a Mix tape

im a bit tipsy right now, because i decided to have a nightcap
and then write this, it’ll be good, i promise

but before i go on about the book, a note about drinking, recently i tweeted about not enjoy drinking anymore, that’s really just a side-effect of being poor and having a stomachache that day. I did, however, learn in my wine class, that people like me, who have a fairly high tolerance for alcohol are more likely to be alcoholics, since we don’t feel it nearly as much.

but i know if you ask my friends, they’ll say im a light weight.

i will never turn down a drink, if someone offers me one, hopefully, no one will push me into throwing up, but if it’s the persons birthday or some special occasion, i will never disappoint. this is especially true in asian countries i found…

at my grandpas birthday, i was less than the legal age of drinking in china, i took a shot of chinese spirits, about 45%, it burned like fuck, but i drank it, because it’s my grandpa’s birthday, and i then ate two bowls of rice, but the point is, i wont disappoint.

okay back to the book.

the library stuck a “summer reading” sticker on it, it’s light weight, it’s short, the paper and font doesn’t suck, i decided to give it a go. it also has a stack of whimsical looking tape decks on the cover..!

im going to go ahead and say that this is a memoir: which i didn’t realize right away, needless to say it made me a bit upset, upset that this has all happened.

<--spoilers ahead--->

every chapter is described by a mix tape, a tape that the author and his late wife made together, a real tape, a tape, A TAPE, not a CD, and definitely not a playlist. the tape sets the tone for the rest of the book.

for some reason, i can somehow, totally imagine this book being made into a movie, with an insanely LARGE soundtrack, a few weeks after its release, tape decks are flying off the shelves at electronic and dollar stores, hipsters will give them as presents, setting off a new wave.

so what about its writing? it’s a comfortable and easy read, it’s very much heartfelt, and at certain points (before i found out it IS a memoir) you can really feel the situation happening, and there are some things that one can’t really make up (but if you can make up harry potter, you can make up anything), honesty, brutal honesty, you could really feel it here.

you will follow the protagonist (author) from before marrying his wife, to after his experience with her death. because it happened so suddenly, there will be no particularly sad parts, you’ll just feel like you were shot with a tranquilizer gun, it happened, and then now..we live?

it strangely reminded me of Nick Hornby’s Juliet, Naked. Perhaps it both dealt with music, but both these novels are written with a feeling of distance. I can’t really fully describe it, but it’s a good read, theres a lot of good music here, SO MUCH good music that i am ashamed to say that i am really obsessed with a boyband at the moment and there’s nothing i can do about it.

yup, will listen to aretha franklin to up my music street cred.

and as always, i’ve noted some of my favorite portions in the book:

page 70: If she breaks my heart, no matter what hell she puts me through, I can say it was worth it, just because of right now. Out the window is a blur and all I can really hear is this girl’s hair flapping in the wind, and maybe if we drive fast enough the universe will lose track of us and forget to stick us somewhere else

page 137: she knows dreams are something you have to steal. the new wave girl scams on other people’s identities, mixing and matching until she comes up with a style of her own, knowing that nothing belongs to her, that she just gets to wear it until somebody else comes along with faster fingers to snatch it away. she knows pop dreams are a hustle, a deception, a “glamor” in the witch craft sense of the word. she knows how to bluff and how to scam. She sing about counterfeiting, shoplifting, bootlegging, home taping. she’s in on the hustle – you steal it, it’s yours, it’s legal tender. the new wave girl knows all this, which is why she is dangerous. the new wave boy knows how dangerous she is, which is why he stands behind her.
the boy and the girl, together in electric dreams.

page 164: you lose a certain kind of innocence when you experience this type of kindness. you lose your right to be a jaded cynic. you can no longer go back through the looking glass and pretend not to know what you know about kindness. it’s a defeat, in a way.

page 166 – 167: i was helpless in trying to return people’s kindness, but also helpless to resist it. kindness is a scarier force than cruelty, thats for sure.

(my laptop is overheating, typing this is starting to be painful, but i will soldier on)

page 167: human benevolence is totally unfair. we don’t live in a kind and generous world, yet we are kind and generous. we know the universe is out to burn us, and it gets us all the way it got Renee, but we don’t burn each other, not always. we are kind people in an unkind world, to paraphrase wallace steven.s how do you pretend you dont know about it, after you see it? how do you go back to acting like you don’t need it? how do you even the score and walk off a free man? you can’t.

this book, is a story about love. unfortunately for us, we’ve been programmed to think that love stories all turn out good, when most of them don’t. but i’d like to think that having memories of love, having felt love at some point or other is enough, to supplant for the rest of our own lives.

(ack look at me, i dont really believe in love, but i want to believe, so i guess i’ll have to keep trying, sappppy is dripping out of every letter i am typing right now, sorry, we’ll return to our normal programming of cynicism and sarcasm next entry)

Posted: July 23rd, 2010
Categories: BOOKS, OFF TANGENT, QUOTES
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Comments: 1 Comment.

all but hope is lost

currently reading:

Love is a Mix tape: life and loss, one song at a time by Rob Sheffield
In the kitchen: Monica Ali
Parrot and Olivier in America – Peter Carey

there’s something about British books, in this case, Monica Ali’s In the Kitchen, they turn me off. Huge time.
I think I’ve written somewhere before that I like to read about anti-heros, oh yeah, that was my blip about John Cusack and all his roles. I chose this book because, it has a nice cover, the shade of orange-red tickles my fancy, it has a picture of a kitchen, the font and paper was not appalling.

And she won some sort of a prize. What can I say….? It’s kind of boring, I haven’t finished it yet so maybe it’ll get exciting soon. I really want to try and finish this because it seems like I’m not finishing a lot of books lately and this ones is a bit thick, but it’s nothing like 2666…!

Speaking of 2666, I’ve attempted to read it as well as The savage detective. Both are by Roberto Bolano. I studied south American literature in high school and it made me appreciate and loathe it. I have an appreciation of it but at the same time, what the fuck is going on?

What I am trying to say is, i don’t have enough stamina to finish either of those books, the font is too small. And I don’t have enough will power to finish it.. I will some day. But I found a thinner Roberto bolano novel: Monsieur Pain. Let’s hope I can finish this one.

Oh yeah, I really wanted to talk about the mix-tape book. Uh, it’s kind of, how do you say, fucking cute..!

I’ll devote a whole entry to it, so for now, im enjoying it.

The book is so cute that it made me dig up a CD to listen to, I chose M-FLO’s Planet Shining…!

wow..

bought it for $7 from a Japanese second hand bookstore….!

wow…

btw, shout-out to the 3 subscribers of this blog!! :D

what the hell is a ?

long time no book review! i’m going to talk about the supposedly self-help book “Linchpin – are you indispensable?” by Seth Godin. I hope he doesnt have google alerts set on himself, because this isn’t going to be that big of a positive review.

TO BE FAIR: i didnt finish the book. I’m on page 76 of 236 pages. i read it while i was watching the worldcup, im not a huge football enthusiast so i wasn’t too sure of what was going on, and there are always replays anyway.

Uhhhh, so, what do i really think, i won’t hold back.

i recently graduated university so this is the kind of book i should be reading, setting myself apart from those that are also looking for a job. i am pretty different ^____^ but then again, everyone is.

I’m going to summarize the book (first 76 pages) for you right now, right here

We are all artists, and we should follow our dreams. Because if we don’t, we will become a dispensable cog, and no one wants that. America has changed, it’s time to be a linchpin!

cute, cute, you guys know that im a hugeee malcolm gladwell fan right? and i always feel like he writes about people who are linchpin people. Before i go on about that, let’s talk about Linchpin.

Seth repeatedly refers to this Linchpin, I googled it..

Wikipedia told me: A linchpin, also spelled linch pin, lynchpin, or lynch pin, is a fastener used to prevent a wheel or other rotating part from sliding off the axle it is riding on. The word is first attested in the 14th century and derives from Middle English elements meaning “axletree pin”.[1]

okay, what does this have to do with anything? Ah seth explains: “A linchpin is an unassuming piece of hardware, something you can buy for 69 cents at the local hardware store. It’s not glamorous, but it’s essential. It holds the wheel onto the wagon, the thinger onto the widget.”

Seth talks about being essential, the linchpin is essential for the wagon, just like how you will be if you step outside of the box and defy all the rules, because who needs a job when you can break the rules? It doesn’t even work with his metaphor, breaking rules? coming up with new ideas that aren’t conventional? how is that anything BUT glamorous, and it is definitely not unassuming. IT WILL put you on the map.

The book got really good customer reviews on amazon, what can I say. The people who read it and thought it was good, is because they want to become the linchpin, they are the cog right now and they want to do what the book tells them to do and starts suggesting ideas to their boss, wipe the slate clean and start anew. it’s nice…i doubt any of them will ever do it though. But, as humans, we need hope to go on.

the book has some great ideas, such as that we are all geniuses, but we’ve yet to discover it ourselves. I definitely recommend it if you’re having a dark day and you need someone to pick you up and dust you off.

but i feel like it just doesn’t taken enough into consideration, we are cogs not because we choose to be, because it is the way it is. things aren’t fair, and as much as i want to step outside of the box, i need to eat and live. So while we strive for better, we are secured to reality. [quote me ;) ]

And this is not because we are weaklings who are scared of change, it’s because upper-management are douchebags, i’ve never known one that’s been calm and collected, they are not professional and they will throw a fit at you if you choose to be different. Of course, if you are lucky enough to have a manager or boss that isn’t effed in the head, then, by all means, be linchpin-y.

But maybe i am super wrong, and I have no place to judge because i didn’t finish the book, and all the real advice comes around the corner after page 76. Oh, there are also cute anecdotes left and right, cute.

Posted: July 12th, 2010
Categories: BOOKS
Tags: ,
Comments: 1 Comment.

GENERATION A

this book is so depressing, it made me depressed from near the beginning to the, well where ever i stopped

about half way through, i felt disgusted, just because i hate gore, i hate seeing it, i hate reading about it, i hate thinking about having to see or smell it.

if i read this book at night before bed, i always try to cleanse my brain with some mindless pitter patter so i wont have to think about the consequences this book has brought me. So, it’s probably not a good idea to read anything by Margaret Atwood (great writer, but maybe not bed time reading) after reading this. i always try to watch some random sitcom, but i’m running out of material!

yeah you know it, im fucking sensitive.

i was set on finishing this book, but i couldn’t do it, but as always, im curious. So, i did what anyone else would have done in this situation. Read the last chapter.

it was… a “happy ending”?

but it felt like humanity was doomed, also like Oryx and Crake. O+C is one of my favorite books and without a doubt, it’s dark and without a happy and healthy future. But unlike Generation A, it felt so surreal that I wasn’t too worried, and it probably helped that I read it when I was in high school (happier and definitely less jaded).

Generation A feels like it could happen tomorrow, and tomorrow is too close to home.

Still a huge fan of Douglas Coupland, but in my current fragile state, i dont think it’s the right book for me.

Posted: July 1st, 2010
Categories: BOOKS, OPINIONS
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