Showing posts from 2010

To truly love and lose someone

This is one of the four books I purchased through a 'buy-one-take-one' bargain sale when I took a sabbatical leave from college to explore my options. My attention was caught by the reviews and summary at the back, as well as the eye-catching mysterious cover. Intrigued, I bought it and managed to finish it within the day. The thing about bargain books is you have no expectations whatsoever pertaining to the material you're about to read so I'm always careful with the stuff I buy from thrift stores. Luckily for me, Martin Sloane was as beautiful as a book could get, written with such melodious prose that the reading experience that entailed it just flows through the senses.

An impressionable college student Jolene has admired a middle-aged artist (the titular character) and decided to exchange mail correspondences with him. After writing each other letters, they finally meet and start a relationship. Jolene then becomes Martin's muse, and she unknowingly shone lig…

A mystery wrapped inside an enigma

I have a younger brother with autism, and for a time I struggled to understand his condition which made me unable to accept who he is while we were growing up. Fortunately, I managed to read three magnificent books that helped me change the way I view him as a person over the years, and one of them is Mark Haddon's novel about a savant who attempts to solve the murder of his neighbor's dog.

What made me instantly connect with this book are three things: (1) the first-person accounts of the lead character, Christopher Boone whose third name is 'Francis' which is also my brother's; (2) he idolizes Sherlock Holmes like I do; and (3) the logical but also absurd observations and theories that Christopher comes up with to make sense of the world around him.

The narrative voice is peculiar, disjointed and hilarious all at once and that's really the charm of Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Christopher may possess a supreme kind of intel…

The disquiet and ephemeral

Brief Lives was personally perfect in every way. It was the volume of The Sandman that solidified my love for the entire series. Not only was it a sublime story about brevity and forgiveness; it was an affirmation of what the Endless was supposed to stand for (and all seven of them too, because we finally get to meet the prodigal sibling who abandoned the responsibilities of his realm). Jill Thompson is the collaborative artist for this volume, and hers are my most favorite depictions of the Endless, their realms and the overall tone and atmosphere of Gaiman's settings.
The thematic resonance of this volume was all about mortality and endings, and how each Endless functions in their duties, knowing that even they could only do so much for the lives of the creatures they govern and have the power to influence--even destroy. There are quite a number of secondary characters whose appearances in the subplots and major arc are highly suggestive of the titular significance itself. Gaima…

More mediations and dreamscapes

I was not a big fan of the third volume Dream Country which was composed of short stories. With the notable exception of A Midsummer's Night Dream, the rest of the stories did not interest me in the long-term.
Thankfully enough, Fables and Reflections is an anthology which I thoroughly enjoyed. This volume had a lot to offer, and I devoured the tales with much content.
My favorites are definitely Three Septembers and a January, The Parliament of Rooks, Soft Places and Ramadan. But the rest of the stories were also commendable.
Stories like Thermidor, The Parliament of Rooks, and The Song of Orpheus are ones readers have to remember since chief characters there will make appearances in later volumes, particularly the Greek hero Orpheus whose connection to Dream is astonishing and yet very appropriate, if not tragically rendered on page. Meanwhile, August, The Hunt and Fear of Falling are all self-contained stories; the first one is a historical allusion pertaining to a well-known…