Tag Archives: NYRB Classics

“So we were back at the beginning again.”

Some books announce themselves with a punch to the gut, some with a sting. Some sneak up on you and take care to embrace you with a numbness that expands as you need it to—all the better to prepare you for the sick, sly shock of recognition. Of course: The trap that awaits me whenever I seek to feel less alone with books points to the seeming ubiquity of scenes from my life. My story is not the most original thing, is the reminder; devastations like mine are never unique. See: Someone long dead has already conjured the very words that carved out something bright and soft and essential from within you, and set them to a fiction. [Continue reading.]

The Annotated TBR #01

Here’s the first installment—because I expect there to be many—of The Annotated TBR. That is: Here’s a selection of some of the books in my to-be-read list; here are the books that, when I first held them at the bookstore, I felt that I should read at the very soonest, read right that minute, possessed and squirreled away. Basically: Here are the books I’ve ignored for the longest time. Maybe it’s a way to make amends? Maybe it’s a way to push myself? Maybe it’s a way to revisit that initial need and that urgency. We’ll see. [Continue reading.]

08232013: Mood swings

Recently, I’ve shyly crawled toward reading material that’s not precisely comfortable. I’m all too aware how my mind has refused to be biddable these past couple of months, but now it’s yearning for a challenge—almost missing having to be told to fucking stay still and focus, because there is much goodness to be had. Which is why I’ve been reading a re-issued novel about I-still-don’t-know-what-but-I-like-it-anyway, and a virtual textbook on the history of humourism. Welcome, dorks. [Continue reading.]

Mostly unmoved / unmoving

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.]

03052013: The Unread of February

The “Currently Reading” counter on my Goodreads account has morphed into tally of bibliophilic failures; since the tail-end of January and all throughout February, the books themselves have been shuttling in and out of my bags, on top of desks both at work and at home, beneath my pillows, beside the bed, on the floor, and until recently—in the case of poor Simenon—where I keep my underwear. They’ve gone to and fro Quezon City and the heart of Manila, they’ve sat quietly inside my bag, beside computer cords and my make-up kit and chocolate bars, while I sat through meetings and had dinners both welcome and not. They’ve been opened, marked, closed, then set aside in favor of other books. [Continue reading.]

Meaning is relative

I spent a couple of calm-before-the-storm days with Lowell Lake, the martyr of his own hapless (even bewildered) making and the contra-hero of A Meaningful Life by L.J. Davis. In neat encapsulation: “There was a sense of dwindling, like a slow leak in a balloon, as if all the vigor was slowly going out of their existence, all the light from the sky, all the color from the world, all the good thoughts from Lowell’s head.” And lest you think there’s something spectacular in this disintegration, Davis is quick to repeatedly disabuse you of that notion; for example: “His life wasn’t breaking up. On the contrary, it failed to show the smallest fissure in its bland and seamless surface.” [Continue reading.]

01282013: With Davis and King

Hello, kids; it seems I have survived Monday and all the blues that naturally come with it, and then some. But I soldier on, and I’ll read on—because that’s what one needs to do. I’ll read on until the next amazing weekend, until Real Life calls and promises that it will be awesome—until, dare I say, I’m closer to what idea of the Dark Tower I have, until I make good with a smidgen of what I obsessively think’s gone hokey with Real Life.

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The Oxgodby Christ

This was what pushed me through the book, a glimpse of the Oxgodby Christ, his attendants, all his minions that cowered before him. I wanted more of those colors reinvigorated with Birkin’s brush. This novel, for me, mattered so long as I saw this painting. I cared not for the people that pursued their mundane desires about it; I don’t even remember what happened to Tom Birkin and his merry gang. This was the painting that beckoned, and how furious it was. This was why I read on. [Continue reading.]

sunday salon || On to the canon, and other follies

And so I plod on with my own little ambitions—to amass as much of the Classics that I want to read, which involves reading a lot of the Oxford World’s Classics [oh, that unrelenting white spine] and amassing more of NYRB Classics, too [I’ve been shy-stalking the NYRB Classics group on Goodreads, and it’s a treat]. I’ve also just recently bought Proust’s Swann’s Way—partly because of the heathenhood factor, partly because I trust Lydia Davis’ translating prowess. I’ve bought this beautiful annotated and unexpurgated edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray, as well as yet another edition of Jane Eyre. I want to read Frankenstein, too, and Dracula, and Moby-Dick. I’ve bought Anna Karenina, and one of these days, I am taking a deep breath. I want more of Sherlock Holmes. And then there’s Raymond Carver and Richard Yates—we need reunions, we do—them, and Wilfrido Nolledo and Kerima Polotan. I want more of the books people have forgotten over time but are recently rediscovering—it’s not unlike being privy to a great secret, not unlike being part of a movement. I want more dead writers in my shelves, more people-characters that have grown timeless right in my head, were they justly belong. I just want more. [Continue reading.]

“From your window, can you see the moon?”

One of the first NYRB Classics I heard of—in tandem with John Williams’ Stoner—was Eileen Chang’s collection of novellas Love in a Fallen City. My bibliophilic enabler Aunt Anne sent me this book late last year, and it’s taken me this long to settle down and read it. And, you know, it was awesome. For […]