I'm back, dusting off the cobwebs that have formed in this blog from a long hiatus. More than two weeks of being away from this blog made me miss my online home, but I don't regret disconnecting for a while. Because while I was away, I read books that have been figuratively gathering cobwebs in my shelf.
I finished reading Gregory Maguire's Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. I've been reading it since May (yeah I'm a slow reader). I didn't know it was political. Haha. I thought it was just about magic and stuff. It was an allegory. Although the characters and story were fictitious, they represent our world today - the presence of a ruling class, and those who are trying to change this setup find themselves in total danger.
After that, I read Paulo Coelho's The Winner Stands Alone. I've been reading it since the early part of this year (or was it late last year? Haha can't remember), but after three chapters, I put it aside when I decided to read The Hunger Games Trilogy. So after Wicked, I started with it again. It's a novel about how people become slaves of power, fame, and fortune, and how once they have those, they yearn for more. Sounds cliche, but I think novels tackling that theme are always worth reading. They're a reminder for us not to focus all our energies in our careers or in being the best in the expense of our relationships - something we know perfectly well but somehow, along the way, manage to "forget".
My only problem with reading Coelho is sometimes, his characters' philosophical musings or conversations seem to come from nowhere, like they're somewhat off in the current situation described in the novel. For example, the film distributor Javits Wild, one of the characters in The Winner Stands Alone, is having lunch at a party, then all of a sudden, he blurts out to one of his bodyguards, "What does being normal mean?" Before that, there's the narration about what's going on in Javits's mind, how he seems to already have everything and what more can he possibly want, and then, he pops that question. For me, it could've been better if Javits was talking to someone about, say, his status in life, or the Cannes Film Festival (the novel's setting), then gradually, the conversation is driven to a pondering tone, where his question wouldn't be off.
And another thing, I think the theme is overstated in The Winner Stands Alone. Like, yes, it's about people being slaves of money, fame, and power, but does he have to say that over and over throughout the novel? I'd rather that this be shown through the characters' actions rather than being shown and stated at the same time. Nevertheless, The Winner Stands Alone is a good read.
Now, I'm reading Samantha Sotto's Before Ever After. I've read more than half already, but I'll keep my comments to myself first until I finish reading it.
*Photos from Google Images