News for January 2011

This week

I have…..

This side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The hitchhicker’s guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams



Posted: January 31st, 2011
Categories: BOOKS
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50: Zen in the art of writing: essays on Creativity

So it seems I have lied and did not finish Divisadero! I don’t know if I ever will, I don’t have the huge desire to pick the book up and read it, to be honest even though i’m maybe 40 pages in, I wasn’t really paying attention and I don’t really know what’s happening in the story…

but I did finish this today, (friday) so this post comes to you from the past, I have definitely grown fond of the idea of posting on Sundays, what a beautiful day, Sun Day.

I picked this up by chance, by Ray Bradbury.

It’s actually surprisingly funny though the title reads like it’s some kind of instructional manual, this is the first time in a while i’ve gotten a book from the library that has the old musky smell, the smell that i’ve often encountered when i did scientific research, pulling papers from the 60s because no one else does those experiments anymore!

Anyways, it’s a good read whether you are interesting in writing or not, some interesting points of life, on creativity and the way of seeing things.

The title of the first essay is: “How to Climb the Tree of life, throw rocks at yourself, and get down again without breaking your bones or your spirit: A preface with a title not much longer than the book.”

I like stuff like that, I don’t know why.

If i learnt nothing in this book, I can tell you that Mr. Bradbury is a very passionate man, or at least if he isn’t, he is very good at writing about passion. I seem to doubt everything these days, what’s up with that.

Anyways, there’s a lot of talk about how without passion there’s nothing, and there’s no creativity, there’s no work, there’s nothing.

So I started reading this last night (it’s very short) and i’m one page in and i’m met with this:

Yell. Jump. Play. Out-run those sons-of-bitches. They’ll never live the way you live. Go Do it.

Ah, not giving in to peer pressure, something that we have faced at one point or other. I’d like to think that, for the most part, i’ve never given into peer pressure, but i’ve also never been pressured very severely, except for the alcohol, i get peer pressured every single time, but beside that, no one has ever made me do anything really, also because i look scary so people try to avoid me at all costs.

So there’s all this business about being yourself and what it means, I’ve actually thought about this last night because I came across this girl, this very adorable girl born in the 90s no less, who’s full of life and vigor that I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be nice to die and be reborn as her?

There’s a lot of thinking on my part on that, what’s me, who am i, bull shit thoughts at the beginning of my 20s.

i’ve come up with no answer other than i must keep doing what i love, because without it i’m just a shell of a human being, trudging through life, quoting 30 rock lines to hide the fact that i’m devoid of humor.

and that’s it!

that’s my thoughts on this book.

oh a few quotes for the roads ahead of course:

Do not, for money, turn away from all the stuff you have collected in a life time. Do not for vanity of intellectual publications turn away from what you are – the material within which makes you individual, and therefore indispensable to others. (page 42)

nts: you should all know how materialistic i am, it’s often regarded as a bad trait, and yeah it is when it’s in its extremes, but it can also be wonderful. So for me to think money is not important, says a lot.

I need that approval. We all need someone higher, wiser, older to tell us we’re not crazy after all, that we’re doing is all right. All right, well, fine. (page unknown, didn’t write it down..)

nts: i’ve had random approval from random people on the internet, and this brightens my day like no other. I recently received a direct message on twitter from someone famous and admirable saying my blog is awesome (well he didn’t find it and tell me it’s awesome, it happened because i mentioned him in a tweet and he happened to read it, but none the less still that made my night)

There’s every kind of Irish story among my work because after living in Dublin for six months I saw that dreadful beast Reality. You can run into it head-on, which is a dire business, or you can skirt around it, dance for it, make up a song. Write you a tale, prolong the gab, fill up the flask. Each partakes of Irish cliche, but each in the foul weather and the foundering politics, is true. – page 61

the beast that is reality huh…

Norwegian Wood

I don’t know whether you’ve read this book or not, or if you have, how long ago it was for you. I just read it 5 minutes ago, I read it in the span of maybe 3 days.

Um, I’m not going to write about it in detail (yet)

And I won’t count this book towards this week, I will continue to read Divisadero.
Instead! I will rewatch the trailer for the film adaptation; my mind isn’t blown in the sense that WOW I can’t believe how life altering that was.

I don’t really know how to feel about it, there were definitely bits were I felt like my eyes were getting watery but definitely not a tear jerker. It just left this weird, awkward, bitter sweet feeling lingering…

I will say this though, despite the fact that I am reading the translated version, it is BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN. The prose is amazing.

The end, will figure out how to finish Divsadero despite having barely started…

edit: ok i saw the trailer again, and i am reminded in the translator’s notes that haruki talked about how he didn’t want Norwegian Wood to be known as a love story, I CERTAINLY DO NOT think it’s a love story, it’s a story about love but not a love story. Anyways, rewatching the trailer is making me think that they are marketing the movie as that. I wonder how haruki will feel about it. Will it be like Milan Kundera, and all further adaptations of his works will be banned?

Posted: January 26th, 2011
Categories: BOOKS
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This week

I started reading Norwegian Wood and I am speeding through it much faster than I had planned to. I know the book for this week is something else but right now I just feel like reading this.

Don’t know what I’ll write about for this week’s book, probably still Michael Ondaatje’s Divisadero, I have a LOT of time this week so I’ll get to read both hopefully. Just as well, going to re-read The Alchemist, some ..person made fun of …some one for reading this book, but IDGAF :D

i felt pretty light hearted after reading it the first time, and i’m thinking I’ll need to feel like that again soon.

Going to watch a light hearted movie now, what’s on the roster, is Despicable Me good?

Oh by the way, apparently a Japanese film adaptation of Norwegian wood will be released soon, here’s the trailer for it, what do you think? Are the characters true to your imagination? I think I love Midori (so far, i’m about 175 pages in) but Naoko, meh, not feeling it.

Posted: January 25th, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized
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51: The interrogation

Just “finished” The interrogation by J.M.G. Le Clezio…Translated from French, my first French-translated novel..

I say “finished” because I didn’t, I was maybe 20 pages away from the end. I just couldn’t do it anymore. The whole feeling of this book was, I was walking in the rain, and there’s mist everywhere, and I can barely see past the brim of my umbrella, and once in a while I’d get rained on, getting a general idea of what’s going on outside when really I have no idea what’s going on.

I wouldn’t recommend it unless this type of writing interests you, I had a hard time following the story… There were bits that is crossed out…and I really wasn’t sure if I was suppose to read it or not, and there were two random news paper prints that probably had something to do with the story but I really couldn’t follow it so I gave up.

The author won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 2008…. He wrote this particular novel when he was 23 so good job to him especially since it won numerous awards.

Props, but I really couldn’t follow it.

Next week Divisadero by Michael Ondaatjae

I still jotted down some interesting quotations for you to get a gist of the writing style…

51-52: The night had achieved a sort of black perfection; each object was a fresh disturbance on the map of the district. The earth’s surface was striped black and white like a zebra’s hide; the concentric circles of the mountains were like fingerprints laid one beside another, sometimes one above another, with no pause for rest. The tips of the cacti had piled arms in anticipation of a mysterious battle.

77: Adam looked at their dark glasses and reflected that instead of going to live all by himself in a corner he might have done something else; such as buying a parrot that he could have carried on his shoulder wherever he went; so that if anyone stopped him he could have left the parrot to speak for him:
‘ Morning, how are you?’
‘ Morning, how are you?’
And people would have realized he had nothing to say to them.

81: There was something new in the empty house on the hill. This was a rat, of a handsome size, not black like most sewer-rats, but on the white side – between grey and white 0 with pink nose, tail and paws and two piercing blue, lidless eyes which gave him a courageous expression.

110-111: He suddenly felt tired; tired of living, perhaps, tired of constantly having to defend himself against all these danger

151: All this comes of the heat that is branching out, crawling low down, just about the ground. A tiny, trembling breath of air makes wrinkles round the objects it meets. Earth, water and air consistent of masses of black and white particles, mingling in a blur like a million ants. There is nothing really incoherent any more, nothing wild. One would think the world had been drawn by a child of twelve.

Posted: January 23rd, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS, QUOTES
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52: the unbearable lightness of being

I think I’ll partake in this thing that I saw called 52 books in 52 weeks.

Since today is Sunday and I completed The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera, today, I’ll consider this my first week, my countdown from 52 to 1.

Some people have expressed difficulty in reading this book. I found it to be read with ease however there’s so much stuff that I didn’t understand, instead of dwelling on it, I’m sure I just kept on going thinking that I did understand.

It’s like how sometimes you finish an exam and you are feeling very much confident in yourself and the answers that you’ve provided but all in all it’s just because you understood so little of the content that you thought you did well.

but I found the book to be beautifully written and the style of prose something that I’d like to learn for myself.

i always leave page numbers though every edition is different, i dont know why i did that…

And quotes, as always.

Page 79: But when the strong were too weak to hurt the weak, the weak had to be strong enough to leave.

page 120 – 121 “Why don’t you ever use your strength on me?” She said.

“Because love means renouncing strength,” said Franz softly.

Sabina realized two things: first, that Franz’s words were noble and just; second, that they disqualified him from her love life.

page 161: He said it kindly, as if apologizing to Tereza for not being able to shoot her if it was not her choice. His kindness tore at her heartstrings, and she turned her face to the bark of the tree and burst into tears.

page 132: The goals we pursue are always veiled. a girl who longs for marriage longs for something she knows nothing about. the boy who hankers after fame has no idea what fame is. the thing that gives our every move its meaning is always totally unknown to use.

page 141 – 142 Lately, Tereza realized, she positively enjoyed being welcomed into the day by Karenin. Waking up was sheer delight for him: he always showed a naive and simple amazement at the disocovery that he was back on earth; he was sincerely pleased. She, on the other hand, awoke with great reluctance, with a desire to stave off the day by keeping her eyes closed.

page 149 OF course, Even if Tereza were completely unlike Tereza, her soul inside her would be the same and look on in amazement at what was happening to her body.

Then what was the relationship between Tereza and her body? Had her body the right to call itself Tereza? And if not, then what did the name refer to? Merely something incorporeal, intangible?

page 150 (There are questions that had been going through Tereza’s head since she was a child. Indeed, the only truly serious questions are ones that even a child can formulate. only the most naive of questions are truly serious. They are the barrier that cannot be breached. In other words, it is questions with no answers that set the limits of human possibilities, describe the boundaries of human existence)

page 164 He had no desk, but hundreds of books. She liked seeing them, and the anxiety that had plagued her died down somewhat. From childhood, she had regarded books as the emblems of a secret brotherhood. A man with this sort of library couldn’t possibly hurt her.

page 189 Is a fool on the throne relieved of all responsibility merely because he is a fool?

page 198 How defenseless we are in the face of flattery! Thomas was unable to prevent himself from taking seriously what the Ministry official said. But it was not out of mere vanity. More important was Tomas’s lack of experience. When you sit face to face with someone who is pleasant, respectful, and polite, you have a hard time reminding yourself that nothing he says is true, that nothing is sincere.

page 224 The brain appears to possess a special area which we might call poetic memory and which records everything that charms or touches us, that makes our lives beautiful. From the time he met Tereza, no woman had the right to leave the slightest impression on that part of his brain.

page 239 This is the image from which he was born. As I have pointed out before, characters are not born like people, of woman; they are born of a situation, a sentence, a metaphor containing in a nutshell a basic human possiblity that the author thinks no one else has dicovered or said something essential about.
but isn’t it true that an author can write only about himself?

page 241 Human life occurs only once, and the reason we cannot determine which of our decisions are good and which bad is that in a given situation we can make only one decision; we are not granted a second, third, or fourth life in which to compare various decisions.

page 259 He suddenly recalled the famous myth from Plato’s Symposium: People were hermaphrodites until God split them in two, and now all the halves wander the world over seeking one another. Love is the longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.

Posted: January 16th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS, QUOTES
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After Light part 2

As I said I would, continuing from last night. I got off work 2 hours earlier so I thought I should really use these two hours and blog. Seriously the first thing that I thought of when they told me to go home early…

I was talking about After Dark wasn’t I. From this novel, I think I will be definitely looking for more of his work. I use to have the habit of keeping a post-it filled with page numbers from the novel, with quotes that I like or words that I think are beautiful. I lost that post it, but I do remember one page number, page 161 I believe.

“You know what I think?” She says. “That people’s memories are maybe the fuel they burn to stay alive. Whether those memories have any actual importance or not, it doesn’t matter as far as the maintenance of life is concerned. They’re all just fuel. Advertising fillers in the newspaper, philosophy books, dirty pages in a magazine, a bundle of ten-thousand-yen bills: when you feed ‘em to the fire, they’re all just paper. The fire isn’t thinking, ‘Oh, this is Kant,’ or ‘Oh, this is the Yomiuri evening edition,’ or ‘Nice tits,’ while it burns. To the fire, they’re nothing but scraps of paper. It’s the exact same thing. Important memories, not-so-important memories, totally useless memories: there’s no distinction – they’re all just fuel.”

Argh, that was pretty okay, I think this novel attract me so much because of random observations of life, put so poignantly in the point of view of a few people that you wouldn’t expect from. But, the most wise words, sometimes are told to you by someone least expected…

And that’s that!

The other book that I talked about that I finished half of and didn’t get to finish because the library asked for it back was The Finkler Question, it was suppose to be really funny, but I’m not going to lie because I didn’t understand what whas happening half of the time. The summary on the back was so vague and it was just mostly praise for being “courageous, inspirational,” and so on…

the writing was cute, but I didn’t get ..

The library can have it back.

What else, I’m also reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being and 100 years of Solitude. I know, look at me, leveling up. So far, I really really like The Unbearable Lightness of Being, there’s the mention of the war or some resistance, which I always like reading about and the prose style is amazing, and you really can’t go wrong when the author name drops people like Nietzsche. :D Good stuff all around.

As for the 100 Years of Solitude, A while back I read the biography of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and it was spectacular. The author of the biography is clearly incredibly passionate about the subject so it was a good read. So it was weird of me to read the biography before reading the piece of work in itself…so i’m reading that next.

Also I have something else by Vladimir Nabokov, also trying to read more Russian literature since I did NOT get through Anna Karenina, and everyone must read books by the Russians.

THat’s my book talk for this week? I am surprised that I am able to read more and more often now, very proud of myself.

Okay, that was a lot of talking on my goodbye.

Posted: January 11th, 2011
Categories: BOOKS, QUOTES
Tags: , ,
Comments: 1 Comment.

Before Light

I will talk about two books today. One of which I didn’t finish because the library asked for it back. I realize that I write the best when I’ve been drinking, but not so much that I’m sleepy, but just enough that i’m kind of relaxed but also could get hyper any second.

I am not at that stage right now.

Today during my lunch hour, I finished my first Haruki Murakami book, After Dark. I’ve studied Japanese for a good three years and stayed in Japan for 3 months, mostly things like washing dishes and tripping on stuff. But while I was there, I had to wash dishes in Japanese and trip stuff the Japanese way. The translation of After Dark was distinctively Japanese, the writing style was very Japanese, based on their grammar and writing style, it’s easy to spot it right away.

The book is short and I finished it in two sittings, it basically spans a whole night, basically from after dark till dawn. Hence the title, After dark. And it follows two girls, Mari Asai and Eri Asai, who happen to be SISTERSSS!! I enjoyed it throughly, I felt like I was reading YA, I’m not sure of the official status of Murakami, whether he’s just fiction or YA fiction.

I’ve read some translated works, not a lot. I say I do because it makes me seem like i’m extremely well-read when i’ve read like nothing basically Well I don’t know about you but when I read I always try to make movies inside my head, and of course the movies star people, actors, faceless actors usually. But in this case, they were anime characters..

I’m not being stereotypical, but but but, the language is very anime-ish. I very much could imagine anime characters saying this. And often the super artsy types of anime films have plots that barely could hold, and an ending that didn’t explain anything. Not saying that this ending didn’t explain anything, but more like, it was more like you experienced something but nothing really changed in your life.

im getting a headache, will continue this tomorrow …sorry O_O

Posted: January 10th, 2011
Categories: Uncategorized
Comments: 1 Comment.