Monday, May 28, 2012

Books for breakfast

Was on holiday, and then on holiday from the holiday. The menu of the last two weeks.


After, by Jane Hirshfield ( this volume, relatively new, but already so battered! I'm reading and re-reading its koan-like poems. Yesterday, I realized that one of the poems ended in a 'pataphor!)
Beautiful and pointless, by David Orr (yes, I devoured this one in one night. But I wanted to read it again together with Hirsch.)

On the eve of our trip to Dumaguete 
(I spent an afternoon at the Rizal Library reading! I want to do it again!)

Philippine Folk Literature: An Anthology, Damiana Eugenio
Legends, Beliefs and Folkways, by Caridad Aldecoa-Rodriguez (Ed.)
Philippine Lower Mythology, by Maximo D. Ramos (This was so familiar, so comforting. Like coming home. I don't remember most of my childhood; and all my memories of childhood seem like adult glosses of something that had happened to someone else. But reading this collection transported me back to a feeling of childhood comfort. Apparently: books, not food or toys, are the gateway to my childhood.)

In Antulang's Edith L. Tiempo Reading Room

The Lover, by Marguerite Duras
In Samarkand, by Cesar Ruiz Aquino (who had recited an interesting poem from the collection a couple of nights before--I had to look it up!)
Hairtrigger Loves, by Krip Yuson (who kept appearing and re-appearing in In Samarkand, and whose collection was just beside this one--thought it would lend context; and what do you know, Sawi Aquino is referenced too in this collection.)

(I also tried Margaret Drabble's The Peppered Moth, but it didn't take.)

(Spent a wonderful afternoon reading at Fully Booked Katipunan)

The End of the Story, by Lydia Davis
A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: Complete Short Stories, by Margaret Drabble

Post-High Chair book launch

May Nalalabi Rito, by Nikka Osorio (which I had, of course, seen some of, before, in translation [English])
Travel, by Adam David (which I had, of course, already read in e-book form)

I've also been reading Jennifer Egan's 'The Black Box'--a spy story in tweets, told in a "lessons learned" format. It's currently being tweeted by @NYerFiction. I get the tweets around 8 am every morning, Manila time. Interesting format--although I confess laughing (spoiler alert?) every time there is a spy device that shows up in a tweet. I received the fourth installment of 10 this morning, but all past installments have been gathered (appearing together, the tweets look like a 'poem') so late readers can catch up. I am not reading it with pleasure, as I test myself, "What do you think is she doing here? Beefing up the character? Giving her motive? Giving a nod to a trope? etc. etc. etc. Still, the format and objective of the project make it seem to me that it does have some link to [narrative] poetry--and not simply because of the resulting typography. The Twitter constraint seems to have helped in this regard.

The curious thing is, like "A Visit from the Goon Squad" (and the main character of The Black Box IS of course, one of the characters from Goon Squad!) The Black Box has completely immersed me in a fictional world--I find myself thinking about the character, or functioning in my non-fiction life in the mood of Black Box's fictional character!, wondering how her story will turn out--though I don't ever get the feeling that I'm being emotionally manipulated in any way. I think this is probably one of Egan's greatest gifts.

I guess you could say I've been busy.

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