the polysyllabic spree

"Book-love... never flags or fails, but like Beauty itself, is a joy forever."

Friday, June 24, 2005

Just Read: Empire Falls

Written by Richard Russo
Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Summary taken from the book:
Miles Roby has been slinging burgers at the Empire Grill for 20 years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. Or maybe it’s Janine, Miles’ soon-to-be ex-wife, who’s taken up with a noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps it’s the imperious Francine Whiting, who owns everything in town–and seems to believe that “everything” includes Miles himself. In Empire Falls Richard Russo delves deep into the blue-collar heart of America in a work that overflows with hilarity, heartache, and grace.

***

I have another book joining the list of my “All Time Favorite Books”; and this is the lucky one.

The author, Richard Russo, has created many characters that you either will love or hate (but you really can’t hate them). He has a remarkable way of narrating a person’s story that in the end you almost feel like you know him or her quite enough to judge him or her. There’s Miles Roby, the main character, a forty-something man who’s been flipping burgers at Empire Grill for 20 years, and who seems to be struggling expressing himself to everyone including Francine Whiting and his would-be-ex-wife; his deceased mother, who through flashbacks, reveals us certain things that we didn’t think would later be explained; his would-be-ex-wife, Janine, who seems to measure relationships through sex; there’s also the cantankerous cat that hates Miles and so many more interesting characters to meet. You have 483 pages to know all of them.

The one character that has made me laugh and come to like was not Miles himself (but he comes in second), but his father, Max Roby. The things he does makes you scratch your head, but at the same time kind of amuse you. He never fails to capture crumbs on his beard nor does he ever forget to say, “I may be sempty but I’m not senile” whenever his son doubts him. He’s the very definition of crude, rude, and shrewd, but he always makes me laugh. He’s a tactless man who once told a police officer that he remembers him and how he was so stupid. It made me laugh!

By the end of the book, you would know what happened to everybody so it doesn’t exactly give you a headache by making you wonder what happened to that so-so character, which by the way I fully appreciated. It’s just nice to know what happened to a character you’ve come to know and love, isn’t it?

Anyhow, I cannot emphasize stronger how I enjoyed reading this book. I strongly recommend you this book. Trust me, you won’t hate it.


I give this a very bold and happy 5.

Notes:
Owned Copy
Read from June 17 - June 23

Book Quotes: Empire Falls

“You could enjoy almost anything if you gave it enough time.”

“We’re attracted to a good mystery. Explanation, no matter how complete, isn’t really that satisfying.”

“Just because things happen slow doesn’t mean you’ll be ready for them. If they happened fast, you’d be alert for all kinds of suddenness, aware that speed was trump. Slow works on an altogether different principle, on the deceptive impression that there’s plenty of time to prepare, which conceals the central fact, that no matter how slow go, you’ll always be slower.”

“In a way, John Voss is like Jesus—blameless, perhaps, but nevertheless the center of all the trouble.” This, I thought was interesting.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Book Quotes: Fahrenheit 451

“Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You’d find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more ‘literary’ you are. That’s my definition, anyway. Telling detail. Fresh detail. The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.
“So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks without completing the cycle back to reality… Well, there we have the first thing I said we need. Quality texture of information.”

Just Read: Fahrenheit 451

Written by Ray Bradbury

Summary taken from the book:
Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires. And he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames… never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then Guy met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. And Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do…

***
The gist of this novel is basically about how books pose a threat to the futuristic society. It is illegal to read or even keep them and if you happen to be caught having one in your house, the firemen would be called to burn them. Some of the ones who were caught, were burned with their books because they couldn’t bear the very idea of losing them. I guess that’s what you call book love eh?

Unfortunately though, it took me 130 pages before I could finally understand this book. Although it was hard for me to put it down. By the time I read the last line though I was amazed at the story and the author.

Being a booklover myself (heck, in fourth grade I was in a club called, “the booklovers club”!), the very thought of a law that makes reading or keeping a book illegal is terrifying. How can someone live without reading?

I hope that in the future (whether I’m dead or alive) this idea would never come to real life. Reading should always be legal.

I give this book a 3 only because it took me a long time to understand it, but still, do check it out especially if you love books because this is an interesting story. It’s definitely not the usual.

Source- library book

Thursday, June 16, 2005

50 Book Challenge

There's a thing they call, 50 Book Challenge, over at http://www.livejournal.com/community/50bookchallenge/. It basically challenges you to read 50 books in a year.

Here's mine so far:
  1. A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare
  2. Love In the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  3. When the Elephants Dance by Tess Uriza Holthe
  4. The Kings Are Already Here by Garrett Freyman-Weyr
  5. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
  6. Knocked Out by My Nunga-Nungas by Louise Rennison
  7. Geisha by Stephen Longstreet
  8. Empress Orchid by Anchee Min
  9. The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan
  10. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
  11. Bleachers by John Grisham
  12. Teen Idol by Meg Cabot
  13. Princess in Pink by Meg Cabot
  14. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

It's pretty weak compared to the other bookworms, but hey, I shall succeed!

Monday, June 13, 2005

New Book: Empire Falls

Book bought:
Empire Falls by Richard Russo

‘Free buy’ from Dad. Hehe…

Summary taken from the book:

Miles Roby has been slinging burgers at the Empire Grill for twenty years, a job that cost him his college education and much of his self-respect. What keeps him there? It could be his bright, sensitive daughter, Tick, who needs all his help surviving the local high school. Or maybe it's Janine, Miles's soon-to-be-ex-wife, who's taken up with a noxiously vain health-club proprietor. Or perhaps it's the imperious Francine Whiting, who owns everything in town--and seems to believe that "everything" includes Miles himself. In Empire Falls Richard Russo delves deep into the blue-collar heart of America in a work that overflows with hilarity, heartache, and grace.


What I think:
The first time I heard about this novel was a few weeks ago when I read an article about it that it was being made into a movie for HBO. It mentioned the story of the book and I thought it was interesting. So then when I went to the library it was at the top of my “to borrow in the library” list, but it was checked out. Well, I got impatient and I saw it at Costco so I thought, “Well, I might as well buy it.” Or rather, ask my dad to buy it for me since I am scint.

I can’t wait to read this book!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Just Read: Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Summary taken from the book:
High school junior Jenny Greenley is good at solving problems… so good she’s the school newspaper’s anonymous advice columnist. Even if solving other people’s problems doesn’t make her own—like not having a boyfriend—go away, it’s still fun. But when nineteen-year-old screen sensation Luke Striker comes to Jen’s small town to research a role, he creates havoc that even levelheaded Jenny isn’t sure she can repair… especially since she’s right in the middle of it.
Can Jen, who always manages to be there for everybody else, learn to take her own advice, and find true love?

***
This book, because of its humor and relatable character, didn’t even take me a week to finish. I finished it in two days! Well, technically, one day because I read it last night and finished it this morning.

The thing I love best about Meg Cabot is how her characters are totally relatable to every teenager in the world. Her story is something that we, teenagers, can say, “Yeah I’m going through the same thing the character does.” It’s not that I don’t find it in any of the other young adult books that I’ve read, but her characters are sooo like me, it’s actually quite freaky. I mean sure I may not be a princess of a small country like Mia Thermopolis in The Princess Diaries, or I may not have saved a president’s life like Samantha Madison in All-American Girl (one of my faves), but I certainly can connect with them through their lack of self-confidence and feeling of invisibility.

Jenny Greenley is no different. I think that of all the characters in Meg Cabot’s novels, she was the one I could most associate with.

For instance she is an inactive student with no interest in extracurricular activities in or outside of school because she would rather read. I think that screams me.

She’s in the school choir not because she has a good voice, but because her friend forced her to sign up with her. I might be in choir next school year, but only because we are required to take one year of performing arts.

She reads all the time. Knowing that I created this book log, I think it’s pretty much obvious that I read all the time too.

She’s good in giving advices to people. Not that I’m being a showoff, but my friends always run to me for help whenever they have a problem. It’s something I’ve always known to be good at. Even when I was younger I’ve always enjoyed giving people advice and it seems like I always have answers to their problems.

Everyone likes her and sees her as a friend even—sadly—with the boys.

“I am so obviously not the type of girl anyone offers a beer to.”

She realized that she’s not living up to her potential and I realized that I wasn’t either when I read this book. I know I can be something more, but it seems like I’m settling for something average. That’s not good, right?

Overall, I liked this book very much because of the character. If I love myself (not in a conceited way, mind you) then why should I not love a character that correlates with me? The story taught me something too. Use your powers to make the world a better place. In Jenny’s case, she used her likeableness to make Clayton High a better place for people who are made fun of like “Cara Cow”.

All I can say is, it was good.

I don’t like ratings, but I give it an 'enthusiastic' 4 anyways.

Source- Library Book

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Trip 2 The Lib

Books Borrowed:

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie - Muriel Spark
Teen Idol - Meg Cabot
Princess in Pink - Meg Cabot
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

Thursday, June 09, 2005

True Confessions of a Bookfreak

Can you handle it?

  1. I buy books faster than I can read them.
  2. I judge a book by its cover.
  3. I have a “Books to Buy” list.
  4. I ‘book-hop.’
  5. I refuse to lend my books to anyone, not even my own sister.
  6. Which is why—I’m proud to say—they are all in very very good condition.
  7. I am curious about other people’s bookshelves.
  8. I get irked with books that have dents on the spine.
  9. I don’t buy used books. I wouldn’t mind buying one though as long it is in good form.
  10. I own only two hardcover books.

Friday, June 03, 2005

New Book: All We Know of Love

Book Bought:
All We Know of Love by Katie Schneider

Got it on sale for $3.98 at Barnes & Noble.

From the back:

Jo Sheperd grew up on a farm in the Pacific Northwest under the loving care of her grandfather, Frank. After spending months nursing him through his final, painful illness, Jo receives a vision of the Virgin Mary, who sends her to Italy to live out her dream of becoming an artist. In doing so, Jo must leave behind her home and her best friend, Jack, and risk losing him forever.

In Florence, Jo's intense artistic visions begin to find fruition, but her odyssey is complicated when she meets Chad and Walter, two extraordinary young men. By day, Jo paints--women in marketplace, the view of the Arno from the Piazzale Michaelangelo. At night, both Chad and Walter view for her attention. As the lives of these three friends become more deeply entwined, the revelation of painful secrets threatens to destroy their delicate balance.

It isn't until Jo returns home that she begins to face up to the legacy of her time in Italy, her very real grief for the grandfather she lost, and the prospect of a future with or without Jack.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Book Quotes By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept

"In real life, love has to be possible. Even if it is not returned right away, love can only survive when the hope exists that you will be able to win over the person you desire."

"The wise are wise only because they love. And the foolish are foolish only because they think they can understand love."

"Love is like a dam: if you allow a tiny crack to form through which only a trickle of water can pass, that trickle will quickly bring down the whole structure, and soon no one will be able to control the force of the current.
For when those walls come down, then love takes over, and it no longer matters what is possible or impossible; it doesn't even matter whether we can keep the love one at our side. To love is to lose control."

"There are moments when you have to take a risk, to do crazy things."