Category: books

The Association of Small Bombs: It is so good, I am pissed!

As soon as I finished reading the latest book I have just read, I texted my nephew this:

translation: I am appalled, I am annoyed, I am pissed with you! The book I borrowed from you is so good! Damn it! Hahaha!
translation:
I am appalled, I am annoyed, I am pissed with you! The book I borrowed from you is so good! Damn it! Hahaha!
powerful!
powerful!

It is because Luis, my nephew, was the one responsible why I got hold of a copy of The Association of Small Bombs written by Karan Mahajan.  Last Friday night, while we were at Nengkoy’s house, Luis bragged and showed me this book along with another novel whom he is excited to read.  He boasted that The Association of Small Bombs has been named Best Book of 2016 by Esquire, Time and Vulture.com.

Exploiting my being an elder to my nephew, I pestered Luis that I should instead be the first one to read it.  I eventually brought the book with me in my house and Luis, helpless and all, settled on reading the other novel.

And just this afternoon, like a time bomb, I could not hold on to my grief and wretchedness after reading this powerful novel.  I have to have an outlet and that is decanting these emotions through a text message.  I texted and blamed Luis on why I was feeling what I was feeling.  Hahaha!

me and my monster nephew, luis
me and one of my monster nephews, luis

This is the first book that I read this year and this book was so effective in zoning me out to a different level of sadness.  It is one of the most compelling books that I have read.  It is so captivating I finished the book in one and a half days.

The Association of Small Bombs will bring you to the dynamic insight on the effects of terrorism as well as to the unimaginable high emotions of being a victim of bombings and radicalism.  This book will make you discern that no one wins in terrorism.  And may you be the perpetrator or the target of a bombing plot, everybody ends up being a victim.

But seriously, I am so thankful to my nephew Luis for bringing into my life’s sphere this brilliant novel.  I will indeed return it to him so that he be able to understand the encompassing tragedy brought about by terrorism, extremism, radicalism or whatever synonymous word that people may associate terrifying bombings with.

Super galinng! Masoli na nga ang librong yan!

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All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

I enjoyed it sooo much!  It is beautifully written. It’s as joyful as it is heartbreaking.  All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is a book that knocked me off my ass!

captivating!
captivating!

I loved how the author painted the characters Theodore and Violet.  Their characters worked so well together.  They were so opposite yet so the same.  Their characters were presented in a beautiful interwoven style just the way I liked it. You get to see, hear and feel both of their perspectives.

You will get so invested in the characters of both Theodore and Violet.  It is a book that will make you fall in love with these two and – without giving away anything – will later reduce you to tears and will make you badly miss them.

I particularly got so captivated by the character of Finch.  I love the way he adopts a persona.  Though perceived by others as someone who is weird, he can become somebody that is either a slightly different version if not a better version of himself.  Add to that is his adoring wit.  He could be very funny and quirky yet so deep, romantic and definitely full of sense and essence.  He is such a unique character every reader I guess would be snuck up and drawn in by his passionate persona.

such beautiful words...
such beautiful words…

All The Bright Places is one of those few stories that would slowly and gently grab your heart as in like you have fallen so much deeply in love.  And yet after sometime it will crush you into emotional bits and pieces.  I was not happy with the ending but it is one ending that is a must to make this book a remarkable book.  The heartbreaking twists at the end parts of the story would make you get to love it.

Somehow, I think 5 stars aren’t enough for such a remarkable book.  I will definitely give it as many stars as those shining in the entire universe because All The Bright Places truly deserves them.

Nakaka…!

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

translated by jay rubin
translated by jay rubin

Norwegian Wood is the first Murakami novel I’ve read.  And this will certainly not be the last.

Each of the character in Norwegian Book were so distinct, so life-like and were so richly depicted.  The author has a unique way in making you feel how each character truly felt.  It has a very nostalgic feel to it yet the interactions in the book seem so real.  Murakami’s words create perfect pictures without becoming too descriptive.  And the thoughts he pulls out of the reader tend to suck the energy out for a little while.

And though the story is simple, the range of emotions the characters experience seem so complex making this book so elegant and sophisticated.  At first it seemed like a normal beautiful love story, until you reach the story’s dark spin to it.  The ending actually left me feeling like my intelligence was raped or I was mind-fucked by Murakami.

Because of Murakami’s beautiful way with imagery perhaps the best thing about Norwegian Wood is that it is open to the reader’s interpretation.  I doubt if two people after reading Norwegian Wood will settle with the same interpretation of the events that transpired and the characters’ respective motivations.

Payb stars… ay layk it…

Brain Break (Part 2)

Here are three additional tangible pieces that are the end results of my recent brain breaks.

beautiful!!!!
beautiful!!!
my first mandala
my first mandala
tree & the owls
one tree and eight owis

These can be the additional art pieces which can be exhibited in my imaginary museum.

Humanda ka nashonal myusiyum, hir ay kam… balang araw…

The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived: A New Classic Fairy Tale

Times has really changed.  Take a peek on how pumpkin farmer Cedric, turns out to be The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived.

Though written in such an upbeat and intelligent way, conservatives here in the Philippines would for sure protest, dispute and object in case this fairy tale of a book will ever be available on the shelves of Philippine bookstores.  For the severe conservatives, imagining Cedric sharing the same bookshelf-space along with The Happy Price, Thumbelina, Pinocchio, Aladdin, and other beloved fairy tale characters in children’s media would be quite difficult to endure and tolerate.

But have you ever wondered? Considering that Filipino children grew up reading and being read with fairy tales with straight/heterosexual characters, i.e., the price end up marrying the princess and lives happily ever after, there are still multitudes of Filipinos who turn up being gay?

This would only make you conclude that story plots of fascinating fairy tales has nothing to do with the development of a child in terms of sexual identity or gender preference.  Perhaps discussing about “sexuality-is-genetic” and the “born-this-way” principle would already be too much.

"often, we can find the answers back where we began" --- daniel errico
“often, we can find the answers back where we’ve began” — daniel errico

Times has really changed.  And I would like to believe that it has gone more accepting.  In fact, the writer of this new classic of a fairy tale, Daniel Errico the founder of FreeChildrenStories.com , happens to be a straight guy.

Though I am an adult who has yet to develop a more mature disposition, I can say that The Bravest Knight Who Ever Lived being an absolutely charming fairy tale has nothing to do with sexuality.  For me, it is about receiving the ultimate reward from having a big heart and being brave enough to be true to oneself.

En Dey Libd Hapili Eber Apter…

My Brain Break Colored Pieces

Here are three additional art pieces that is the fruit of my recent brain breaks.

still can't believe i made this...
still can’t believe i made this…
love your own...
love your own…
i know my color wheel...
i know my color wheel…

The Secret Garden coloring book has definitely made my time and concentration within a relaxing bubble.  Choosing the right shade of green, avoiding going over the lines and slowly filling up the page has at least temporarily fades my intense concerns.  It shuts me off from the rest world and brings me to a different level of calmness.

And it is good to know that based on neuroscientific research, Art Therapy to human beings can physically change, grow and rejuvenate the brain.  Another benefit of this activity is that, it unplugs me and kept me away from the world of the worldwide web for some considerable time.

Pang myusiyum talaga ang peg!

Being So Immersed in Coloring My Secret Garden

My presence into the world of internet has been reduced for the past week.  This is because I have been busy utilizing my brain’s right hemisphere for the past few days.

No, I have not been reading a book but instead – believe it or not – I have gone crazy with a coloring book.  I know it sounds like another childish silliness, but this coloring book seem to relax me.

the book itself, uncolored, is gorgeous!
the book itself, uncolored, is gorgeous!
my first venture!
my first venture!

Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book by Johanna Basford has so far been completely entrancing!  It has been the book that surprisingly calms me and at the same time enabled me to squeeze a lot of my creative juices.

I have yet to know or read an actual science that proves coloring in a coloring book makes the person happier or reduce stress.  But for me, it has been an effective tool for a blissful meditative escape from stress and pressures of daily life.

flowers and the "ipis" (as per nengkoy)
flowers and the “ipis” (as per nengkoy)
primary colors!
primary colors!
my next project...
my next project…

And after finishing three pages by simply coloring away to my heart’s content, I was chilled out to realize that there exist some creativity in me.  This book is so engrossing, it is like being so immersed in your own Secret Garden…

Aminin! Pang Nashonal Myusiyum ang gawa ko!