News for May 2011

1st vs 3rd?

Do you prefer to read books that are written in first person or in third person?

that guy, jonothan franzen said (here) that we should always write in third unless an obvious first person voice presents itself, what does that mean dude?

i think he’s okay, he must be brilliant to be that famous but he has openly said he hates young people, as a young person i am offended? (not really..) and i’ll forever be younger than him so i dont know, anyways..

i find it easier to write in first person sometimes although i mainly employ third person, when i am stuck, i switch to first person just to see what it’s like, and it feels a lot easier to be honest, but i like it when the narrator’s outside of the story…

there are narrators that are a character but not necessarily a protagonist, but merely reporting the scenes as he / she sees fit, that must mean that we have to put full trust into the narrator whether what they are telling you is true or not, wasn’t that the case in The Good Soldier?

and then i recently found out something about the omnipresent narrator, is that just a 3rd person narrator and is able to see into everyone’s thoughts? OR is it an actual VOICE of someone who is able to see into everyone’s thoughts even though he or she is not a characteR?

im confused…

and then we have a 2nd person narrator who uses YOU all the time, it’s really annoying to write and to be honest it’s very annoying to read, Skippy Dies used it in a few chapters, yeah i skipped ‘em.

Posted: May 31st, 2011
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33: N.P.

by Banana Yoshimoto

It’s a strange occurrence that I came across her work, who is apparently quite famous.
I saw her name at the library, Banana? What?
That night that I looked for my books, I flipped through the Bedford’s dictionary of literary terms to the term Magical Realism (because hey, let’s get to know the real definition of the term that’s going to be applied to our work).

Anyways, she’s a Japanese writer who wrote ‘simply’ and was quite popular at the time.
I was suppose to read Life of Pi this week, but I only got through a little bit of it, this book that I just finished is very short and only took me two hours to read, maybe longer or shorter, I really wasn’t keeping track of time.

I don’t know how I became to like work like this, it’s not my genre to be honest.

But she really does write simply, and in my own vain attempts, i know how hard it is to write fluidly while keeping things simple and understandable, and keeping things colloquial, hey, that’s just talking! Yeah writing talk is hard…

There are a lot of very dark themes and it’s kind of like, huh…. and that kind of thing usually drives me away but everything and everyone was dealt with in such a ‘normal’ manner that it doesn’t seem dark or sad or frightening. The narrator’s surprisingly optimistic, she’s always talking about how she’s having a good day and even when she says she’s sad it’s so fleeting that you know it’s going to go away. I enjoyed the ending, because it was as plausible as it could have possibly been in a story as crazy as this.

If I were to compare her work with Murakami’s, I would say that it’s distinctively more feminine (she’s a woman duh) and simpler…..

if that made sense, i don’t know.

but im glad that i read it because it’s giving me some new insight.

i rewrote chapter 0 (of my novel, ha! I never like calling it like that, let’s call it something else, but what..) four times in the past two days, and I’m even thinking about rewriting the entire thing in first person but no, i’m not confident enough to write in first person yet although i always think it’ll be easier to write in first person, i don’t know why.

anyways, i think this was a good read for me, for many reasons.

Quotes

only two…today

pg 60 She smiled peacefully. At last I realized that Sui had been as tense about our meeting as I was. A realization like that makes you feel that it’s okay to talk and spend time with someone, even if the first impression was bad. I decided to give in to her wishes.

pg 168 I’ve wanted to die for a long time. I really, truly wanted to. You probably think it ridiculous that I had difficulty choosing between marriage, romance, and death, because they all seemed about the same to me.

The library held her debut novel, Kitchen, i’m quite excited to read it.

I feel like i’m stealing sometimes, but i can only write after I read =_= ? I don’t know. I want to start taking it easy, I think I have been taking it easy but at the same time the possibility of what this “novel” is suppose to mean to me is starting to weigh heavy on my mind, i am thinking too much and not writing enough, i think about writing all the time yet i don’t do it as much as i could…

i dont know.

I really don’t read enough these days, but every time I read I think about what I’m writing and I am constantly comparing, and thinking about how my own is not sufficient and that i lack style, grammar skills, character, humor, everything.

it’s not good to live in a state in which you are constantly comparing yourself but I really can’t help it.

Posted: May 29th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
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Edumacation

Without realizing it, I think I had the best English teachers that I could possibly have had in my school career. I didn’t take any English classes in university because I had credits from highschool.

in grade 8 to 10, I had Mr. Richardson for two of the years, we were encouraged to read the New Yorker and took on discussion of news just as seriously as the meager novels that they were teaching in the curriculum.

I didn’t start properly studying literature until grade 11, I was under the care of Ms. Densford and I was enrolled in the IB program.

These are some of the books that we studied.

canadian authors

-Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood! One word, THRILLING! maybe two words then, frightening..
-Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje (fun little read)
-Fugitive Pieces by anne Michaels

descent into Latin America literature, confusing but brilliant, also headache inducing for a high school student to study
- The storyteller by Mario Vargas Llosa
- Dom Casmurro by Joaquim Maria Machado de assis (the first time I saw the book the first thing that came to mind was : ah so this book is called joaquim maria machado de assis by a man named dom casmurro
- Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Nobel Laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo (only read this one ONCE only could get through it ONCE)

never complete without Shakespeare

-Hamlet
-Much Ado About Nothing

Classics:
Virginia Woolf ‘s Mrs. Dalloway (..was also a painful one)

and the play by Tom Stoppard: Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead (funny till your sides split)

also studied the play Arcadia also by Tom Stoppard (we also got to see it as well, lucky!)

i dont remember much about any of the novels/plays exactly except that i know i enjoyed running in the family the most and it was (luckily or unluckily) selected as my internal assessment.

there’s also a line from the play arcadia that i loved, but i can’t..recall if it’s correct, i can’t seem to find the quote online, lame googling skills.

“In a sea of chaos there’s an island of order.”

IS THERE IS THERE?

anyways im glad to have opened those two boxes underneath my 10000 pairs of pants and busted out my books again

also helpful
The bedford glossary ; critical and literary terms

oohh yeahhhhh… looked through it only like twice.

also studied Irish poets: Yeats :D

oh yes…and… Remembering Babylon by David Malouf: I totally just didn’t get it.

Posted: May 25th, 2011
Categories: BOOKS
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34: The Empanada Brotherhood

by John Nichols

describes a few friends, Argentinians, and one “blondie” who became friends around an Empanada stand in New York City in the 60s.

I’ve never had an Emapanda, it’s like a breakfast burrito?

The ending was kind of upsetting for me because everyone left, and life went on, kind of. The narrator was absolutely lovely, since I saw so much of myself in him that it couldn’t be any other way than to see him as lovely.

It’s a short fast read as well, a bit French and Spanish thrown in.

Fun fast writing, easy to read, fun stories, lots of things that are hard to imagine because the concept and the image is so out there, lots of beauty and dreams, hard work and sweat, broken hearts and hearts that was stolen by the idea of wealth and fame.

naturally there were some really wonderful lines.

pg46 I had never seen people working so hard to be artists.
“Maybe when you publish your first book you’ll dedicate it to me,” Cathy said afterward, gasping as she pulled on some dungarees, then stripped her skirt off down and over them. “Do you think you will ever publis a book?”
I shrugged, smiling self-consciously. “I don’t know.”
“If you don’t know you’re fucked,” she said. “I know I’m going to success, not just in Argentina or New York, but one day also in Spain. it’s a fact, written in my book.”

pg55 Then she pattered down the steps, hurrying to catch up with jorge while I waved good-bye like somebody in a movie.

(which movie did you think of? I thought of the way Meg Ryan waved good bye to Tom Hanks near the end of You’ve got Mail, yes I loved that movie)

page58 She said, “[...] One year I got a ball and a yo-yo and a notebook. That’s the last time I ever received something for nothing. In real life if you want anything good you have to kill yourself to grasp it. Isn’t that right, Jorge?”

Jorge shurgged and smoked his cigarette like a professional actor in a gangster movie. To me, the two of them together seemed like ancient souls trapped in adolescent bodies. And for the rest of the practice session they ignored me completely.

page 72: “To be an artist you can’t care about anyone except yourself,” Cathy told me. “I can get away with murder because right now I am so beautiful.”

page 125: “I’m not afraid of anything,” I lied. “I’m just quiet, I guess. I’m sorry.”

page 147:
Alfonso placed his arm around my shoulder and squeezed. “You won’t die, nene. I promise.”
“How do you know?”
He said, “Humanity is crazy, but not that crazy. No species that created Shakespeare, Mozart, Picasso, and Marilyn Monroe could ever destroy itself. I promise.”
I replied, “But the same species created Hitler, Mussolini, and Jack the Ripper.”
He soffed, “those jerks were canceled out long ago by Gina Lollobrigida and Sophia Loren.”
“What about Stalin and Tojo?” I asked.
He retorted while cleaning his glasses on a filthy handkerchief: “They are easily trumped by Tostoy, Borges, Dickens, and Neruda.”
“Okay. You win, profe. I give up. Let’s go to a movie.”
“There’s a Jacques Tati film at the NEw school, blondie.”
So that’s where we ewnt. And the movie was zany and delightful and it really cheered me up.

Life is depressing because the really bad people, you can’t name them, because they’re lurking in everybody’s lives, pretending to be good. That’s scary, the people pretending to do something good while doing something completely evil, the people without faces without names, the ones that are destroying everyday people’s lives, the ones that history can’t condemn, those are the worst people.

If you’re going to do something bad, stand out and do it, don’t hide.

:/

Posted: May 22nd, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS, QUOTES
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34.5 The Torrents of Spring

by Ernest Hemingway

this thin little novel, i managed to polish off in 30 minutes on breaks at work. Do you have a shared lunch room at your work place? And doesn’t it suck when your co workers try to make small talk with you? I hate it, please leave me alone.

is what im thinking
sometimes i nod along as to be not rude
but yeah leave me alone now

it’s a fun little piece, it’s suppose to be a parody of another work which i don’t know..
there are so many things that i didn’t really fully understand, i’m going to go say there’s a generation gap here.

but i liked these notes to the reader that Hemingway typed up

It was at this point in the story, reader, that Mr. F. Scott Fitzgerald came to our home one afternoon, and after reamining for quite a while suddenly sat down in the fireplace and would not (or was it could not, reader) get up and let the fire burn something else so as to keep the room warm. I know reader, that these things sometimes do not show in a story, but, just the same, they are happening, and think what they mean to chaps like you and me in the literary game. [...] Need I add, reader, that I have the utmost respect for Mr. Fitzgerald, and let anybody else attack him and I would be the first to spring to his defense! And that includes you too, reader, though I hate to speak out bluntly like this, and take the risk of breaking up a friendship of the sort that ours has gotten to be.

P.S. To the Reader

As I read that chapter over, reader, it doesn’t seem so bad. You may like it. I hope you will. And if you do like it, reader, and the rest of the book as well, will you tell your friends about it, and try and get them to buy the book just as you have done? I only get twenty cents on each book that is sold, and while twenty cents is not much nowadays still it will mount up to a lot if two or three hundred thousand copies of the book are sold. They will be, too, if everyone likes the book as much as you and I do, reader. And listen reader. I meant it when I said I would be glad to read anything you wrote. That wasn’t just talk. Bring it along and we will go over it together. If you like, I’ll re-write bits of it for you. I don’t mean that in any critical sort of way either. If there is anything you do not like in this book just write to Mr. Scribner’s Sons at the home office. They’ll change it for you. Or, if you would rather, I will change it myself. You know what I think of you reader. And you’re not angry or upset about what I said about Scott Fitzgerald either, are you? I hope not. Now I am going to write the next chapter. Mr. Fitzgerald is gone and Mr. Dos Passos had gone to England, and I think I can promise you that it will be a bully chapter. At least, it will be just as good as I can write it. We both know how good that can be, if we read the blurbs, eh, reader?

I wonder what is the Etymology on the word Tomorrow, in this novel The torrents of spring it was used as the morrow while in The sun Also rises it was used as to-morrow

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=tomorrow

oh there we go!

tomorrow
late 13c., to morewe, from O.E. to morgenne “on (the) morrow,” from to “at, on” (see to) + morgenne, dative of morgen “morning.” Written as two words until 16c., then as to-morrow until early 20c.

lovely! :D

Posted: May 22nd, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
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35: Gintama Volume 1 – 3

by: Hideaki Sorachi

oh yeahhhh
lol
sorry …?

No i’m not

Gintama is HALARIOUSSSS

I highly recommend it..

I also updated 36: the sun also rises

Posted: May 15th, 2011
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36: The Sun Also Rises

by Ernest Hemingway

to be filled at a later date :(

YAY! now is the later date! MAY 13th 2011

This is my first Hemingway novel, and to celebrate i am drinking some of Hemingway’s lemonade (whiskey is it?)

(I learned the term on an episode of Community with Chevy Chase, one of the earlier episodes)

anyways, apparently his writing style is powerful and spare, and he’s the master of it. This I found to be true, it is spare.
But it doesn’t leave you feeling like you were spared, you get a whole lot of feeling.

When the character Jake was in Paris, I really did get this Paris feeling (as much as one could feel like they are in paris without ever being in Paris) and when the character was in Madrid, I felt that the pace was faster to match the environment of the city.

To be honest I never know what’s going on in these kind of novels, this is the same feeling whenever I am reading anything by F. Scott Fitzgerald! It’s like, oh I see…. you guys are doing this now, why? Just because? Alright… if you say so.

I always wonder why no one works, everyone’s in debt but they also tip generously to everyone!

what?

They also drink a hell load of alcohol, there’s so much drinking constantly…it makes me want to drink a little bit too.

I learned a lot of things from this novel too!

1. there are special cups for absinthe, I need to find these cups
2. you can get ‘leather’ wine bottles

there were many other things but right now i can’t remember! oh another thing, back then, everybody kind of dated everybody huh? There was like one woman, and 3 guys and they kind of all knew that they all dated her at one point or another and they didn’t really mind.. ?

i dont even know..

anyways quotes! lots of ‘em i hope i dont get lazy and give up half way…

19: “Listen Robert, going to another country doesn’t make any difference. I’ve tried all that. You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. there’s nothing to that.”

21: I could picture it. I have a rotten habit of picturing the bedroom scenes of my friends. We went out to the Cafe Napolitain to have an aperitif and watch the evening crowd on the Boulevard.

29: I was a little drunk. Not drunk in any positive sense but just enough to be careless (I dont know why I found this sentence so appealing, perhaps that’s my real goal in life to be constantly careless?)

35 “It’s funny,” I said. “It’s very funny. And it’s a lot of fun, too, to be in love.”
“Do you think so?” her eyes looked flat again.
“I don’t mean fun that way. I an way that it’s an enjoyable feeling.”
“No,” she said. “I think it’s hell on earth.”
“It’s good to see each other.”
“No I don’t think it is.”
“don’t you want to?”
“I have to.”

Such a huge skip in page numbers, must’ve not read it carefully enough :(

104: I have never seen a man in civil life as nervous as Robert Cohn – nor as eager. I was enjoying it. I was lousy to enjoy it, but I felt lousy. Cohn had a wonderful quality of bringing out the worst in anybody.

107-108 “What bloody-fool things people do. Why didn’t se go off with some of her own people? Or you?” – her slurred that over – “or me? Why not me?” He looked at his face carefully in the glass, put a big dab of lather on each cheek-bone. “It’s an honest face. It’s a face any woman would be safe with.”
“She’d never seen it.”
“She should have. All women should see it. It’s a face that ought to be thrown on every screen in the country. Every woman ought to be given a copy of this face as she leaves the altar. Mothers should tell their daughters about this face. My son “- he pointed the razor at me -” go west with this face and grow up with the country”

I don’t know why but I found all of this hilarious.

152: Enjoy living was learning to get your money’s worth and knowing when you had it. You could get your money’s worth. The world was a good place to buy in. It seemed like a fine philosophy. In five years, I thought, it will seem just as silly as all the other fine philosophies I’ve had.

Perhaps that wasn’t true, though. Perhaps as you went along you did learn something. I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about.

243 He brought it and I took out my fountain-pen and printed:

LADY ASHLEY HOTEL MONTANA MADRID ARRIVING SUD EXPRESS TOMORROW LOVE JAKE.

That seemed to handle it. That was it. Send a girl off with one man. Introduce her to another to go off with him. Now go and bright her back. And sign the wire with love. That was it all right. I went in to lunch.

251 “Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

Posted: May 8th, 2011
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS
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