Ads by Nuffnang

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Some Books I Read While Away from This Blog

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


  1. I love collecting books but the problem is.... slow reader din ako tulad mo! hahahaha!

    parang it always took me 6 months to one year bago makatapos ng isang libro. :D

    PS: welcome back sa blog world! :)

  2. Haha. But at least, we still take time to read kahit ba mala-prusisyon ang usad natin. Hehe :)

    PS: Thank you! :)

  3. I like Wicked... :) And yes, thanks for saying Wicked's theme is really political - just glossed up be the beautiful songs when they made it into a play... :)

    Haven't read this book from Coelho... Have read "The Alchemist", "The Fifth Mountain", "11 Minutes" and "Veronika Decides To Die." I stopped reading him after I read "By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept".

    I have the same observation about the deep musings of some of his characters. I also think that part and parcel of the way he injects his philosophical beliefs is to have them strewn in as many pages as possible - he does this quite subtly in "The Alchemist." I haven't observed this in my first reading of the book, until I did a critical reading, putting penciled notes along the margins...

    It was okay if the theme was about finding one's purpose, about being different or about inner pleasure... But when he did it with a controversial topic such as the 'divine feminine', it gets tiring. That's why I stopped reading his books.

  4. I can imagine how Coellho's book went.. by your review. :) Sometimes i like him... sometimes i feel its too far out (dramatic) and I cant get into it. Books I enjoyed by Coellho - Veronica Decides to Die and the Alchemist.

  5. @coolwaterworks: I haven't read The Alchemist. Maybe one these days, I should.

    @tndcallphilippines: Re. your first sentence, I take that as a compliment. Thank you. :) I enjoyed reading Veronika Decides to Die, too.