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Showing posts from February, 2014

"Climb your walls and meet you halfway"

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When I read Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep? and Childhoods's End, I was deeply moved. Then came F. Sionil Jose's Po-On which left me so raw and distraught that right after finishing it, I spent a few minutes under my blankets, crying silently to myself. Naturally, I thought I don't have any more tears to shed for books, so when I ventured on with Flowers for Algernon this time, I was so livid to be proven wrong.

I looked back at the notes on my Reading Progress below and I realized that I poured out all my deepest feelings about the story because it was able to bring out the regrets I had growing up with my brother who has autism. I was so affected because I know firsthand how agonizing it is to love someone who is mentally, if not emotionally, incapable of returning it. This novel just reminded me of that, and the painful introspections that came after for me was like a deluge that I couldn't stop from flowing out. I pause every once in a while betweeen pages ju…

"All Creatures in the Miasma"

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I don't know why I waited this long to read this book. I've bought this a week before I met F. Sionil Jose himself in the Cavite Young Writers event back in 2010. He recognized my surname and knew how to spell it, which doesn't happen often since my twelve-lettered surname is an uncommon Spanish last name. For a man who is almost ninety, his memory was astounding. Though I haven't read his works at that time, I knew of his legacy, and the excitement and anxiety at that moment upon meeting a national icon were palpable and overpowering. I thought I was going to have a panic attack right there.

Here I am three years later after that fateful day, and I finally started reading the first book of his critically-acclaimed Rosales Saga, Po-On. The series itself follows different protagonists for each novel, but the stories of the five books are interrelated across chronological boundaries. Set in the Philippines during its most notable and tumultuous times, F. Sionil Jose ta…

"Kill the boy and let the man live"

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I have posted my thoughts during the reading process in three parts, and they are located below this official review. It's quite hilarious coming back to them because in the first 500 pages or so, I was riveted and excited with the events that are in A Dance with Dragons, but then as I ventured on and reached the middle parts of the book, I was becoming increasingly frustrated and bored. But nevertheless, I soldiered on and the reward was satisfying enough. The last 100 pages have been great because just when I thought my attention span will slip once more, GRRM surprised me with the comeback punches.

For my further analyses of the events in the entire book itself, just view the comments on my Goodreads review page (but there are spoilers in them so proceed only if you have been reading the book yourself, or have already finished it).

A Song of Ice and Fire series has given me the most amazing reading experience ever in literature. It was challenging and multi-layered. The charac…

"Lovemaking laterns and detonating ink bottles"

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As soon as I started perusing through the vivacious prose of this surprisingly delightful anthology of some of the most unusual cosmic folklore and tales I have ever encountered, Catherynne M. Valente was more than effective with the spell that she cast on me which at times feels like a precision instrument probing at the areas of my imagination that are better left untapped. It was an exhausting reading experience that kept me on my toes and amused me to no end.

Valente's literary machinations began with the titular poem which briskly established that this is going to be metaphysical examination of post-modern themes about Japanese folklore and obscure nerd culture. The Melancholy of Mechagirl in its entirety is a searing, uninhibited sensual experience. The prose makes love to you with unbridled energy and elusive mystic but the more you try to hold onto any logical semblance in each story, the more frustrated and unsatisfied you get. But that's the appeal of Valente's …

"The stars are not for man"

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My words in this review would continue to remain insufficient to fully describe the phenomena within the pages of this book, and the breadth of literary experiences that Arthur C. Clarke had given me when he wrote Childhood's End. This is a science fiction novel that explored the complex relationship between beginnings and endings, and the unfathomable scale of the evolution process. Clarke, however, tried to capture the essence of such bold concepts in his story, and so I feel that I also have a duty to do the same in writing the review.

I first saw this book two years ago and the cover (as you can see in the photo opposite this review) was so captivating. It was this particular book that jump-started my hunt for other SF Masterworks (I have 12 of them in my collection so far). I have no regrets about buying this book, and reading it at a point in my life where I'm also voyaging through new horizons while saying my goodbyes to past lives.

I always read the introductions when …