Tag Archives: Fiction – Novel
I’ve said over and over that Stephen King and I go way back—it all began when I filched his mass markets from my mother’s dresser at nine, and scared the crap out of myself when I read them under the covers thereafter. In the years that followed, my mom and I would unearth remaindered copies of his books at secondhand shops; I’d rediscover him via the blessedly extensive collection at the college library; I’d return to him again and again, via a life- and love-consuming quest of the Dark Tower or some sanity-shattering mission to save JFK’s life. Steve and I, we buds from way back. So: Of course I’d devour Joyland. That delightfully pulp (and faithful to the content!) cover, and the invitation: Who dares enter the funhouse of fear? Pshaw—YOU KNOW I DO, STEVE. [Continue reading.]
Here’s the thing about Neil Gaiman and myself: I am not quite a fan of his writing. That statement borders on a hanging offense: But it’s not like I hate him? I’ve had not infrequent brushes with his literary work over the years—I have a fuzzily nice memory of the Sandman oeuvre [if I had a tonfuck of money to spare, I’d get them in a heartbeat]; his American Gods will always be dear to me because that was the book I was (sort of) reading during the summer of my crazy seventeenth year—but, I’ve come to realize that the Neil Gaiman I have grown fond of is what he is (perhaps, what he’s cultivated himself to be?) online: Engaging, terrifically patient, seemingly clueless and comfortable about his rock star status all in the same breath. I mean: I suppose I like him as a person, but I must admit to ambivalence re his writing. [Continue reading.]
There are many, many things to be excited for in Querida—the book gets the ball rolling with the Rizal passages on Doña Consolacion; one of my favorite short story writers, Lakambini A. Sitoy, has a piece on Josephine Bracken (who’s got to be among my favorite women-in-Philippine-history, if only because we empirically know so little about her, but she’s been rehashed every which way, god); and there are numerous unread-by-me stories by other writers I’ve loved reading. (And it’s all about mistresses!) But I’ll get to the promise of the actual pieces much later: I’ve been rather busy wallowing in the too-amazing-for-words introduction to the anthology, penned by (I suppose) its editors Caroline S. Hau, Katrina Tuvera, and Isabelita O. Reyes. I’m already feeling a little bummed that the introduction—chock-full of information I don’t know what to do with, erudite, sly, relentlessly fascinating—won’t be going on forever. [Continue reading.]
Today, through the ever-squint and the haze of over-the-counter medication, I finished reading two books. Two very different books, but both perfectly hurtled me back into the habit of reading—a momentum I do wish will hold. One’s the close of the His Dark Materials trilogy, which was nothing short of a revelation; the other’s Tiny Beautiful Things, the much-adored collection of Dear Sugar pieces. I chose the former (and the two books that preceded it) partly because I’ve become so used to kick-starting a reading life in hibernation, I’ve grown certain a big helping of plot and wonder is just what’s needed; partly because of some unshakeable notion that this there is no better time to read this books than now. And, comparatively more simply: I picked up and feverishly read the Dear Sugar collection because I needed to feel a little less out of sorts, a little less listless, a little less lonely—and not be condescended to. Both books just felt right, and they turned out much better than that. Hurrah, then, for me. [Continue reading.]
I sat patiently up to the sixtieth page, growing more and more bored by the second—how many ways can you insist that two people love each other even if (gasp!) they’re in their forties, and that this magical sex-strike just ruined everything? how many lackluster, unworthy-of-book-space characters (armed with their sex-lives-that-were) are you going to introduce us to? And then I realized I was being a complete idiot and just skimmed to the end. Where, lo and behold, the townspeople arrive at epiphanies and voice them publicly, on stage!—and the spell lifts and people can start bonking each other again! (It’s not Disney, goddammit!) And don’t forget the mysterious nomad who’s been—wink to the reader!—doing this for years. Hurray for magical Greek plays! Goddamnitall. [Continue reading.]
There is only so much unwarranted and unrewarding absurdity a mind can take, John Irving. I expect you to know that, I expect you to be skilled at toeing that fine line between the ridiculousness that turns when you least expect it and plain lack of sense. You are not supposed to be the kind of old friend I’ve been forced to mutter, “Are you fucking kidding me?” over and over whilst I am in your company—and after years of nothing. Goddammit all to hell and back, John. [Continue reading.]
[Is someone making a list of cover art that do great disservice to the book’s content? If so, could you please add this horrendous cover for Eros? We’ve got rudimentary vector images of a man standing on the neck of a very disinterested woman, while ‘splosionz happen beyond them and a fleet of fighter jets […]
Why do I keep buying books at a time when I am least predisposed to actually reading them? How awkwardly—how unnaturally—I seem to be reading lately!
My brain has atrophied, I self-diagnose. And I am quick to heap the blame, if prodded; after all, surely I can’t be accountable for my own inability to respond to the provocations of literature? The heights of marrow-sucking the past couple of months of weekdays have reached are close to convincing my poor brain [my even more wretched soul!] that it’s best for everyone involved if whatever intelligent faculties I pride myself on having simply find a shadowy corner to mewl in. The weekends are too delicious a respite—naps must be made, people must be loved, secondhand bookstores to trawl, inihaw to fill my belleh. And naps must be made. [Continue reading.]
Have been rather ambivalent about updating this blog, as I’ve been largely unmoved in what paltry reading I’ve done this March. In the past couple of weeks, there has been a limping parade of books-that-thought-they-could. I argue that I read them because they were the only ones that called to me, albeit feebly—in a, “Hey, you feeling unreaderly? Feed that dreadful feeling with me!”—from my curiously undemanding-of-late bookshelves. I could also argue that I read these books because I needed to read something—and though I would have loved to have had my soul lifted from my body and shaken willy-nilly, the increasingly-exhausted-with-life Sasha gives herself an awkward pat on the back for getting reading done, at least. Chin up, you. [Continue reading.]
Books are deceptively tidily-packaged keystones of great power—and, if you’re lucky (as I consider myself to be), years of reading will arm you with presentiments about what a protracted brush against that power might do [to] you. And I had that hunch with The Bell Jar. I’ve known everything there was to know about the novel before I read it, and every little thing was bad news for someone like me. Call it readerly superstition, call it a far-too-strong awareness of my own psychological climate: I stayed away from Plath’s novel because it was about me.
And once I closed the book, I went back to the little gauge in my soul. There was the usual hum that runs through you after a good and/or timely book. But beyond that: I felt strange—both superior and self-pitying; I looked at all the teenagers that swarmed that coffee shop, all those souls that would never ever need to be scared of a book like The Bell Jar—all for naught or otherwise. [Continue reading.]