News for March 2011

42: Looking for Alaska

edit: I almost want to retract what I wrote here not because I changed my mind about the novel but for what it is, it’s good, but perhaps I’m just feeling extra jaded lately that I can’t appreciate it, so please do read the following review with the thought that i’m not a bad person who goes around attacking fictional characters ok? I’m not.

Ok, watch the video.

Do you like him yet? Do you like the author yet?

That’s the author, John Green.
I saw the video a long time before I read the book, so for obvious reasons, I wanted to desperately praise it, and love it. I wanted to read it again from cover to cover just so I can eat up the words and melt into the story. I wanted to think that John Green is the greatest Young Adult writer to have ever made a youtube channel. But ….

I don’t.

For a few reasons.

I hate Alaska, bitch be crazy.

And the story isn’t bad, and I mean, it’s not at all believable, and so contrived near the end that I felt he was writing drama for the sake of drama.

IF I had like the most important character, this beautiful amazing crazy cool girl Alaska, I would have went along with everything else that had happened and nod my head and agree and nod my head some more and pour over the book. But I hate alaska, I don’t get what’s so great about her, or is this just one of those things that us girls just don’t see?

The writing isn’t bad, and there are definitely some really great moments.

But it’s so damn contrived.

IS this what YA is? Am I so old that I can’t appreciate YA anymore?

I do not mean to be a hater, but I really dislike Alaska’s character, and I really dislike pretty much everyone (the only character i like is Takumi). I know teenagers are cruel and they do things without thinking, but the narrator is a selfish prick, and yeah he agreed to it that a few times during the book but still…not enough….

I can’t relate to any of the characters, I do not feel like I’m reading about youth or energy or friendship or any of that… it’s contrived, too freaking contrived.

but it won some award, so it must mean something.

I don’t mean to be such a hater…gahhhh sorry.

But it’s my opinion! :D

No Quotes for this week, but if you search for it on tumblr, i’m sure it’ll give you a ton of hits. Tumblr people love passive aggressive stuff like this…

this quote in particular is popular on tumblr:

“I wanted so badly to lie down next to her on the couch, to wrap my arms around her and sleep. Not fuck, like in those movies. Not even have sex. Just sleep together, in the most innocent sense of the phrase. But I lacked the courage and she had a boyfriend and I was gawky and she was gorgeous and I was hopelessly boring and she was endlessly fascinating. So I walked back to my room and collapsed on the bottom bunk, thinking that if people were rain, I was drizzle and she was a hurricane.”
— Looking For Alaska (John Green)

Hmmm…. hmm….
hmmm……

I think what also made me hate the book a bit is all this over-exposure of it’s quotations on tumblr….people will not stopping quoting that line.

I don’t get what’s so great about these sentences. It’s very realistic in the fact that it’s as if I found a teenage boy’s diary. But, okay, I feel nothing when I read it. I feel nothing new. Some boy is desperately in love with a girl, and guess what it’s not just for the sex! Oh my! That he likes her, that he wants to lie next to her and fall asleep with her! Hmm… I guess I should be relieved that sex is not all that they think about?

do I sound jaded? Yeah I am, how did you know :D

I really wish I had liked this book a lot more, I wanted to like it…

I like John Green the person.
And I like the book, but I think it might be a bit young for me.

And it’s probably a really good book if I were 16, and in highschool and dealing with precalculus and university applications.

And it probably is a really good selection out of the current pool of YA fiction….

I wish it were more creative though.

All this book did was to provide more quotes to put on hipstery photos on tumblogs.

edit: I wanted to clean up the language a bit, and i forgot that it was scheduled to be published so early so meh…

Posted: March 27th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
Tags: ,
Comments: 1 Comment.

She ruins everything

I’m chilling on the couch, reading 100 years of solitude..i’m only on page 27

this is what i’m reading

He found it, He bumped against the ropes of the hammocks, which were lower than he had suspected, and a man who had been snoring until then turned in his sleep and said in a king of delusion, “It was Wednesday.”

guess what i thought of?

yeah, rebecca black.

NO HATE to her at all, because she’s following her dreams of being a singer, that’s what she wants and we should all follow her example of following our dreams, DREAMS. But, we all should be condemned for giving her attention…all those memes …all those memes…

at least it lead to this I guess.

Posted: March 25th, 2011
Categories: BOOKS, EMBEDS
Tags: , , ,
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43: South of the Border, West of the Sun

This week was an easy one.
I think, for reasons I can’t fully explain, this is my favorite Murakami book so far.

spoilerz aheadzz

as I was typing up the quotes I was trying to think why I chose them, because usually when I see those words again it’d be extremely obvious why I chose them in the first place. But some of the quotes I chose (at the time of the reading) are very plain and they don’t stand out for any reason, but there must be a reason why I liked them enough to jot down notes for it.

Similar to a few other Murakami works, we have a male protagonist who’s mostly unaffected by the outside world, when he’s younger he has a best friend that’s a girl who has a limp leg. They grow apart when one of them moves away and he goes on with his life. Nearing his mid-life crisis, she reappears, but he’s already settled with a family. He doesn’t go through much soul-searching but he pretty much ends up choosing her because of this overwhelming desire. His wife, on the other hand, is completely understanding but at the same time demands that he choose between her and her children or the mysterious woman.

We honestly don’t know anything about her, which makes me think she’s a hallucination of some sort.

I didn’t really get the ending, I only could come up with the conclusion that she was a hallucination, or a dream.

Beautifully written as always, but I felt like it was a surreal way to deal with mid-life crisis.

page 81: “Our world’s exactly the same. Rain falls and the flowers bloom. No rain, they wither up. Bugs are eaten by lizards, lizards are eaten by birds. But in the end, every one of them dies. They die and dry up. One generation dies, and the next one takes over. That’s how it goes. Lots of different ways to live. And lots of different ways to die. But in the end that doesn’t’ make a bit of difference. All that remains is a desert.”

page 94: “I can’t build a simple shelf. I have no idea how to change an oil filter on a car. I can’t even paste on a postage stamp straight. And I’m always dialing the wrong number. But I have come up with a few original cocktails that people seem to like.

page 98: maybe I had an illusion, I thought. I stood there a long time, gazing at the rainswept streets. Once again I was a twelve year-old boy staring for hours at the rain. Look at the rain long enough, with no thoughts in your head, and you gradually feel your body falling loose, shaking free of the world of reality. Rain has the power to hypnotize.

But this had been no illusion. When I went back into the bar, a glass and an ashtray remained where she had been. A couple of lightly crushed cigarette butts were lined up in the ashtray, a faint trace of lipstick on each. I sat down and closed my eye. Echoes of music faded away, leaving me alone. In that gentle darkness, the rain continued to fall without a sound.

page 151 – 152 A few unsettled weeks like this, and I found myself again able to concentrate. I’m going nowhere fast here, I decided. So I called a designer and an interior decorator to discuss remodeling the bars. They were overdue for a little remodeling anyway, and it was high time I did some serious thinking about how I ran my business. Just like with people, with bars there’s a time to leave them alone and a time for change. Being stuck in the same environment, you grow dull and lethargic. Your energy level takes a nosedive. Even castles in the air can do with a fresh coat of paint. I started with the other bar, saving the Robin’s Nest for later: I began by removing all the hyper-chic aspects of the bar, which, when you came right down to it, were a pain in the butt, the whole point being to come up with an efficient functional workplace.

page 156: If I could cry, it might make things easier. But what would I cry over? Who would I cry for? I was too self-centered to cry for other people, too old to cry for myself.

Posted: March 20th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS, QUOTES
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This Week

going to divide my time between Doing Dangerously Well by Carole Enahoro and South of the border West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami (I know what I said, but I keep going back to his work, must mean I really secretly love it)

dont know what will get featured for this week’s book write/talk/blog entry
or maybe neither because one of them is quite thick so we’ll see I guess @___@
whatever I manage to finish.

Posted: March 13th, 2011
Categories: BOOKS
Tags:
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44: Extremely loud & Incredibly Close

I actually have mixed feelings about this book.

But first, some pictures.

beautiful cover

lots of pictures! and i mean lots

random attempts at being poetic and or artistic.

—and now about how I felt about it —-

I feel cheated, honestly. This book is like juice from concentrate, you know they added water, and they are still feigning ignorance and telling you that it’s orange juice. The topic is sensitive, about a boy whose father died in 911. And yeah, I almost feel like he wants to write something that people can’t really judge because it’s so sensitive, but the writing is confusing, convoluted and not at all writing. Well it’s writing, words on a page. But not good words, not great words, and the story itself was only interesting near the end.

Why I feel cheated;
1. unrealistic, no 9 year old boy knows that much.
2. the side story with the guy and the yes-no hands, and the letters that he wrote. they were extremely hard to follow and i lost myself in them a couple of times.
3. the pictures, and the many pages with only one line of text per page, come on, seriously?
4. there’s also some pages with ‘poem-like writing, and even this page where the words conform to a shape to make a point, and yeah, i didn’t get the point because i stopped reading.

but about the story of the boy itself, i actually enjoyed it.

I felt like he tried too hard and it’s never good when you try too hard.

I am going to try his other books because this guy is kinda famous right? and he wins shit and he’s super young.

there are some beautiful sentences, and i only found out about him because people kept quoting his books on tumblr so i thought i’d give it a try. the sentences that people kept quoting were the only good sentences in this entire book, i found one quote myself, and there’s one other one though the jury’s still out on whether those were actual good sentences, or sentimental sentences that passive aggressive people on tumblr like to reblog about.

but this book was pretty sad at parts, not sad like i’m crying or feeling sorry for the characters, but sad from a distance, like when you read news that’s sad but has nothing to do with you. You feel sad, but not directly. I’m mostly feeling sad for humanity right now, there’s definitely better things we could be doing other than fighting.

I hope everyone that was affected by the earthquake and tsunami is safe, and may we live on with the strength that was entrusted on us from the day that we were born.

—————-

page 145: I felt, that night, on that stage, under that skull, incredibly close to everything in the universe, but also extremely alone. I wondered, for the first time in my life, if life was worth all the work it took to live. What exactly made it worth it? What’s so horrible about being dead forever, and not feeling anything, and not even dreaming? What’s so great about feeling and dreaming?

Posted: March 13th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
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45: Shanghai Girls

One of the most depressing books i’ve ever read

pretty much everyone dies…

i’ve read her other book: Peony in Love, and it was so frustrating and depressing i’m just like WTF-ing the whole time.
And I know that chinese stories are all tragic. This isn’t even like Romeo and Juliet or something where at some point in the story there was happiness.

there’s almost no happiness in this entire story, seriously.

i do not recommend it unless you like that kind of thing….

argjhhdhjfkajsldfjlkasfd

im gonna watch something happy now, tangled :D

but her writing style is very smooth, very descriptive, it makes you cringe because of all the things that she describes.
this book was recommended to me by my co worker, and she really loves this author. And she’s a best-selling author, i find it hard to believe that people are willing to read about such depressing things.

im serious, everybody dies, and nothing good happened… seriously nothing

next week, Jonothan Safran Foer

Posted: March 6th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
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Running Commentary

Yesterday I talked about how I started reading Shanghai girls by Lisa See
Today I’m going to continue to read it, but do a running commentary on my blog, it’s not live, since well, it’s not.

I’m doing a running commentary because i need to GASP to someone right?

it’s 1 pm and i think i’ll read for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on hungry i’ll get later.

i also have the disney movie TANGLED ready to go in case i need a pick me up right after…

yeah let’s start

-spoilerz aheadz-

im on page 102: Isle of the immortals

right now they just landed in Angels immigration in Los Angeles in 1937, Pearl and May (who are sisters) are waiting to get into the country to meet their Chinese-American husbands. They were basically sold to them by their dad… anyways let’s continue

Shit, May’s pregnant, they are refugees, fatherless child, and she’s like 18. and back in the day, your in laws WILL kill you since the baby is not their sons. also given the circumstance that may’s husband is like 14 and they didn’t do the husband-wife thing on their wedding night.

i wish they’d stop calling it that ;___;

Page 104 “I’ve been so concerned with my own miseries- losing ZG, leaving home, being raped, almost dying, getting here – that i haven’t paid attention every time May has throwing up these past weeks and months.- these are pretty big..miseries though..

Ok Back from two episodes of Parks and Recreation and Chicken

anyways

NEw chapter, Sisters in Blood

if these are the titles of the chapters, what fate waits for me in the actual text?

OH GOD THEY ARE HAVING THE CHILD! in a shower! no less…
apparently, you just have to squat and it’ll be like farting a melon…

“Too much trouble!” Lee-Shee exclaims. “I named my daughters Girl One, Girl Two, Girl Three. My sons are Son One, Son Two, Son Three. Their cousins are Cousins seven, eight, nine, and ten and so on. Giving numbers reminds everyone where a child fits in the family.”

yeah i dont actually think people do that, but then again it’s not my time.

Ok cool, they are let in to the states now.

Part two tomorrow? I don’t know if I’ll do a running commentary, because i wanted it to be funny though it’s not lol..but it’s more for myself than for others

Posted: March 1st, 2011
Categories: BOOKS
Tags: ,
Comments: 1 Comment.