Opposites

February 1, 2014 at 11:33 PM | Posted in Books | Leave a comment
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I recently bought two books as a birthday treat for myself. I didn’t splurge on my birthday because I thought there’s no need to. I just wanted something simple for myself, nothing fancy. And since there’s a couple of books I’ve been wanting to read, I thought that would be the perfect gift for me.

These are actually two contrasting books because the first one is a classic while the other one is science fiction. I love the classics but I like sci-fi, too.

TheGift & Robopocalypse

I bought Daniel H. Wilson’s Robopocalypse because I was intrigued by the storyline of robots with artificial intelligence raging a war against humans. Yes, I know this sounds like I, Robot or The Terminator but it’s exactly the reason why I got interested in the book. I’m always fascinated with robots and futuristic scenarios since I was a child. I saw the first Terminator movie while I was a kid and loved it. Since then I’ve been a fan of its franchise, including the now-defunct but worth watching Sarah Connor Chronicles. I just started reading the book and so far, it’s good.

I’ve also been wanting to read a Nabokov ever since I can remember but somehow I haven’t got the chance. I got distracted by other books and had to put it aside. But lately I felt nostalgic about reading the classics so I bought myself The Gift (no pun intended). A Vladimir Nabokov novel is just something that I have got to have, and it’s been in my list of books to read.

Most people I know are now in the habit of reading e-books. I’ve read a few e-books myself but for me, there’s no substitute for the real thing. I’m old-fashioned that way. I don’t mind reading newspapers and magazines online but when it comes to books, I still prefer to read them in print. There’s nothing like the feel and smell of a real book. You can have your Kindles and Nooks but I still prefer a shelf filled with my favorite books.

Fifty Shades of Disappointment

August 21, 2012 at 9:44 PM | Posted in Book Reviews, Books | Leave a comment
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I never intended to read the Fifty Shades trilogy books even though I’ve heard so much about it. But a friend of mine offered to send me the electronic versions of it so I thought why not? There has been so much talk about these books that I might as well try reading them and see what’s all the fuss about.

Disappointment quickly came to me after reading a few chapters of Fifty Shades of Grey. Reading it felt like I was back in high school again, flipping through the pages of a Mills and Boon book. The style of writing and the basic plot is so Mills and Boon: a blushing female virgin captivated by a young male billionaire. How cliche can you get.

Image courtesy of vanityfair.com

I know I shouldn’t have expected much from an erotic novel but since this book became a bestseller I was expecting more substance. On the contrary.

I kept rolling my eyes while reading through them – the gullibility of the female character, Anastasia Steele and her swooning over Christian Grey, the young billionaire. I almost laughed out loud when I got to the part where Christian showed the Red Room of Pain to Anastasia. It wasn’t erotic at all. But perhaps that’s mainly because I don’t like S & M. I never understand why some people are into it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a prude. I don’t mind reading erotica as long as it’s well-written. But this book just isn’t. And I just don’t see the romance in it – not when there’s a non-disclosure agreement involved. But the book is probably romantic for people who want to be whipped, flogged, or caned.

To be fair, I didn’t get to finish the book because I was just bored with it. After Chapter 16, I decided I’m done with the book. It didn’t help that according to reports, the author E.L. James, got her inspiration from the vomit-inducing Twilight series.

Fifty Shades of Grey is just an adult version of Mills and Boon with lots of kinky sex in it, nothing more. I would probably finish this book just to give it a fair review. But I can tell that my complete review wouldn’t be that much different.

In the meantime, where is that Dan Brown novel I’ve been meaning to read…

The Classics

May 7, 2012 at 6:09 PM | Posted in Books | Leave a comment
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Friends and family know very well that I love reading books. I especially love reading the classics – from Shakespeare, Jane Austen to the Bronte sisters. However, truth be told, there are still a lot of the classics I haven’t read. One of these is The Phantom of the Opera. I know right. This is my favorite play of all time and though I’ve seen the 2004 movie and watched its 25th anniversary presentation last year, I haven’t read this classic gothic tale – until now. Yes I am just currently reading this and I must say that I’m loving it. Though there are differences in the book from the musical play, I still love Andrew Lloyd Webber’s interpretation of it. But I cannot exactly say the same for Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera he has written. I haven’t seen this play so I cannot pass judgement.

Anyway, I also love Shakespeare and after seeing Anonymous, my intention of reading all of his plays was reignited. I’ve read and enjoyed all of his sonnets but never got around to reading all of his plays. And then there’s Jane Austen. Her work was the original chick lit in those days and I just love Pride and Prejudice as well as Sense and Sensibility. I know that there has been recent retellings of her stories with zombies and other monstrous creatures in it. I’m curious to read them but I’m hesitant all the same. I’m not exactly sure where I stand in this. First of all, I don’t like zombies. I prefer vampires. Secondly, there’s a part of me that says “They’re destroying a classic” but another part of me wants to see how the characters in the stories react to these creatures of the night.

Well if I ever get to reading them, they’ll probably be at the bottom of my list of to-read classics. Because right now, there’s a big pile of classic books waiting for me to read.

Poetry in Notion

April 8, 2011 at 2:25 PM | Posted in Books, Writing | 2 Comments
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Just came across a new book today through Goodreads.com. Beautiful and Pointless is a guide book about the dying art of poetry. It shows readers how to approach and appreciate the beauty of poetry. I would love to read this book (as soon as I finish the ones I’m reading now). For me, poetry is not pointless. It is an outlet for pouring emotions – whether positive or negative. It inspires you and can give you insight about anything and everything.

I like reading poetry, especially the classic ones. Though I also read contemporary poetry. I myself have written a few poems through the years, mostly about personal stuff. Two of my favorite contemporary poems are Sylvia Plath’s “I Am Vertical” and Pablo Neruda’s “The Saddest Poem.” I know they are sad poems but there’s just something about the way they were written and the emotions that they evoke which make them appealing to me. Below are the two poems courtesy of neuroticpoets.com and poemhunter.com.

 

I Am Vertical

By Sylvia Plath

But I would rather be horizontal.
I am not a tree with my root in the soil
Sucking up minerals and motherly love
So that each March I may gleam into leaf,
Nor am I the beauty of a garden bed
Attracting my share of Ahs and spectacularly painted,
Unknowing I must soon unpetal.
Compared with me, a tree is immortal
And a flower-head not tall, but more startling,
And I want the one’s longevity and the other’s daring.

Tonight, in the infinitesimal light of the stars,
The trees and the flowers have been strewing their cool odors.
I walk among them, but none of them are noticing.
Sometimes I think that when I am sleeping
I must most perfectly resemble them —
Thoughts gone dim.
It is more natural to me, lying down.
Then the sky and I are in open conversation,
And I shall be useful when I lie down finally:
Then the trees may touch me for once, and the flowers have time for me.

————————————————–

The Saddest Poem

By Pablo Neruda

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.

Write, for instance: “The night is full of stars,
and the stars, blue, shiver in the distance.”

The night wind whirls in the sky and sings.

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

On nights like this, I held her in my arms.
I kissed her so many times under the infinite sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her.
How could I not have loved her large, still eyes?

I can write the saddest poem of all tonight.
To think I don’t have her. To feel that I’ve lost her.

To hear the immense night, more immense without her.
And the poem falls to the soul as dew to grass.

What does it matter that my love couldn’t keep her.
The night is full of stars and she is not with me.

That’s all. Far away, someone sings. Far away.
My soul is lost without her.

As if to bring her near, my eyes search for her.
My heart searches for her and she is not with me.

The same night that whitens the same trees.
We, we who were, we are the same no longer.

I no longer love her, true, but how much I loved her.
My voice searched the wind to touch her ear.

Someone else’s. She will be someone else’s. As she once
belonged to my kisses.
Her voice, her light body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, true, but perhaps I love her.
Love is so short and oblivion so long.

Because on nights like this I held her in my arms,
my soul is lost without her.

Although this may be the last pain she causes me,
and this may be the last poem I write for her.

Mr. Rochester and Mr. Darcy

February 25, 2011 at 3:44 PM | Posted in Books, Movies | 2 Comments
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Imagine my excitement when I found out that there is an upcoming Hollywood movie based on one of my favorite classic novels, Jane Eyre. I love, love Jane Eyre! It’s one of those books that has a personal impact in my life. Aside from Jane herself, Mr. Rochester is one of the most endearing characters in the book. He and Mr. Darcy (from Pride and Prejudice) are two of my favorite male characters in classic literature. And I think both of them are alike in some ways – aloof, wealthy, but who nevertheless fall for the strong-willed yet financially-challenged girl. But it’s not the cliche love story that I love the most about Jane Eyre. It’s the fact that the story has that air of mystery and intrigue in it. This was what initially attracted me to the book. Mr. Darcy is like that as well – mysterious and intriguing but eventually he’d win you over.

Matthew Macfayden as Mr. Darcy

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