Book fever.

I’ve done something a little sacrilegious so before the guilt sets in, let me just defend myself. I was in the throes of insanity counting the days pass while I remained stuck on Winterson’s Stone Gods. Stuck isn’t really the word for wanting to prolong the thoughtful appreciation of Winterson’s prose but I guess, the longer it took for me to finish (because of all those thoughts I had to write down elsewhere) the more fatigued I felt towards finishing the book. This is a brilliant book that you must read but I suppose you have to find the right time in life to read it. I was so taken by part one (of four) which narrates the love story of Billie and Spike, human and Robo Sapien. —These books written about love always break me…but then again, I wonder which of the good books don’t have love in them at all? Are there any?

So, Winterson sits idly waiting me and my consumption of parts three and four. In the meantime, my brother-in-law who reads books as if they’re his morning dose of caffeine lent me three books from off his shelf:

  1. City of Thieves by David Benioff
  2. The Sweet Hereafter by Russell Banks
  3. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (I chose this because Sasha swears by Yates’ awesomeness. I can tell you now though that I’m not such a big fan of disillusioned characters. I know they have something to say too but half the time I feel as bad as they do and it doesn’t help at all to have to live vicariously. So, Yates will wait.)

Yesterday, I went off to have my phone fixed. Part of me unwilling decided to forgo this chance at the rehabilitation of my social life. I get comfortable when I feel like I’m away from things. Friends call it escapism and cajole me every time they see me for being such a louse when it comes to messaging them once in a while. Maybe I should find my equivalent of Walden Pond and stay there instead of having my mind wander into it’s own version of Thoreau’s think space. Anyway, I got it fixed without delay. The women who labored to have it revived managed to save all that they could. She was about to touch the folder labeled “Anton” when I told her no, please don’t touch it. Somehow she managed to get it fixed and I breathed a sigh of relief. There’s this nagging feeling though…why didn’t I just delete everything myself? The person who sent all those messages was gone. He disappeared in September and I haven’t seen him since. The man who took over his body does not seem to be him. He’s a stranger to me and much as it bothers me to see this, I’ve resolved to accept that that’s just the way things are.

I spent much of yesterday afternoon lingering around Greenhills trying to figure out which parking lot to go to. In my search I was found by this unassuming little corner store. I knew this place well and I had to urge myself to not enter. Please, I pleaded. It’s January…too soon into the year to be broke. Stay away! But alas, the will is weak when it knows that it wants what the flesh wants. I entered Booksale and left an hour later holding three more book that have to be added to the “must read” pile:

  1. The Professor & the Madman by Simon Winchester (I’ve waited to find a copy of this and once debated whether to buy it from a bookstore at 1,000 bucks. Thank God I refused.)
  2. Postcards From No Man’s Land by Aidan Chambers (Saw this in National as well and got intrigued by the plot but decided, again because of money, that perhaps it wasn’t the time yet to own this book. Yesterday I took it home and resolved to keep it here.)
  3. The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller (Now wait a second, I know you’re giving me that look. Yes, this is the same book that was adapted into a movie starring Clint Eastwood as the lead male, photographer Robert Kincaid. Let me explain. When I was in Baguio, I picked up an August 1995 issue of national Geographic featuring their photographers. They wrote it partly because of Kincaid character who, in the book, took pictures of the bridges for National Geographic. It was fiction people were willing to believe so Nat Geo decided to talk about the real photogs and the article was a quick classic in my head that solidified, yet again, this love for photography. About the book and my owning it? Why the hell not? Sappiness aside, I hope the book makes me take better pictures!)

There. My book buys also include two more things:

  1. Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson
  2. All Art is Propaganda by George Orwell, a collection of essays (I’m a fan who has been inspired by other people who have read him. That Burma book that used Orwell’s texts as a guide to Burma really struck a chord. So, I bought this book and am reading. Slowly. Thoughtfully.)

I want to run out today and raid the SM Marikina Booksale. But I’m afraid I don’t have any more loose change so I’ll stick this one out at home and keep reading.

I just finished City of Thieves this morning. Well, it was a little past noon when I woke up but morning’s morning says my mind. It’s a story that takes place during the 900 day siege of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg or Piter, if you’re looking to be slang about it). Lev and Kolya are two unlikely characters who develop a friendship after being sent out in search of a dozen eggs in exchange for their lives. Kolya, the 20-year-old soldier of the Red Army–whom I fantasized about while reading, what with his blue eyes, blond hair and dashing good looks (if the author is indeed, God)–was a deserter who was caught the same night the 17-year old boy, Lev, was captured after raiding a dead German paratroopers body. The book chronicles their adventures while in search for eggs. It is at once funny, tragic and heroic. I’m terribly bad at writing these reviews because any book I read, even the ones I didn’t enjoy reading, will probably end up being recommended to someone else…yeah, I think books hate rejection and my bookshelf pities me sometimes for not holding my ground.

But anyway, this book is a must read!  Please believe me. My sacrilegious act was that of writing on my white walls–with a pencil, if that affords me mercy. The thoughts were too busy streaming in and I couldn’t waste precious time opening my journal and squeezing thoughts in so I wrote on the walls! The walls! My mother would kill me…but hey, I can erase them thoughts right? But see what kind of wonderful actions this book propels you to do?! Read it! I’ll write about it again and quote it like I did in my journal but for now, i have to get on back to the books. 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Book fever.

  1. Haha, Yates is not for everyone, I know that. I had to put him down the first time I read him–but I persevered months later, :] Also, like I said dun nga sa mahabang thread natin sa blog, it’s okay to get stuck, just, well, unstuck yourself lang, haha. So I’m glad you had fun with City of Thieves.

    And I think it’s amazing you had to write on a wall because you couldn’t keep your eyes off the book. That’s so cool! 😀

    Also: THERE’S A BOOKSALE IN SM MARIKINA? My boyfriend and I turned that place upside-down looking for one, but we couldn’t find it–WHERE IS IT!

    • toynbeeconvector says:

      oh dear, I assumed that because it was SM there would be one. Normally kasi Sm carries booksale everywhere they have a branch, diba? I almost died looking too. Wala pala. So much for having this mall near home.

      Anywho, yes! I like your return-to-the-books attitude. God knows we have a long list of that. 🙂 Hey, by any chance, is your TBR landmass available to outsiders? Have a book bug that’s eating into my pockets and it’s really beginning to scare me. 😦

      Ahahay! The wall needs to be cleaned for the next book. 🙂 But yes, I don’t know how you do it—write and read, simultaneously. I die, really! Have to say though, without your constant blogging and writing about books, I doubt if I’d ever have finished anything. It’s good to have someone writing and reading–makes me think and do the same. 🙂

      • Hahaha, it’s hard sometimes, though–I never want blogging to take away from the actual reading, so I try to find a balance. That’s why notes are so helpful (at least to me). I’ve been taking notes for such a long time now, it’s second nature when reading. For the blog, all I have to do is encode, contextualize. So yeah, clean that wall (or get a notebook, hahahaha).

        And the TBR Land Mass is open to fwends. :}

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