Thursday, June 30, 2011

Booking Through Thursday: Size Matters


Hi everyone. This is my first time to participate in Booking Through Thursday, so, if you're new here, hi and welcome to Your Move, Dickens. I'm Darlyn, and we usually talk about classics around these parts. This week's Booking Through Thursday topic is:
What’s the largest your personal library has ever been? What’s the greatest number of books you’ve ever owned at one time? (Estimates are fine.)
Is your collection NOW the biggest it’s ever been? Or have you down-sized?
What’s the fewest number of books you’ve ever owned (not counting your pre-reading years)?
I wish my personal collection looked like this.

I currently have around 300 books, more or less. If you look at my shelf, you'll probably think I'm bipolar, since the genres are all over the place. I have a lot of Stephen King thrown in with romance, fantasy, young adult, chick lit, and, of course, classics. Each month, I seem to go through a phase where I buy just one particular genre (it could be chick lit, fantasy, or something else), resulting in the eclectic mess that is my personal library.

Most of my books are secondhand, due to the fact that I'm addicted to secondhand bookstores. I can't walk out of one without buying something, anything. It's a sickness.

My collection now is probably the biggest it has ever been. I've been buying books for as long as I can remember, but I used to give away the ones I finished. For some reason, I've turned into a hoarder these past couple of years, so you'll have to rip a book away from my death grip, before I can give it away.

And the fewest number of books I've ever owned? This is a tough question, because I barely remember my pre-addiction to secondhand bookstores self. It seems so long ago. I turned into a total bookworm in the third grade, when I got hooked on Nancy Drew mysteries. So, I remember owning a few Nancy Drew books and storybooks. I think they occupied one shelf on my bookshelf, while the rest were filled with toys. Now, I have a bookshelf divided into six shelves, and they're full. I hope I can get another one soon. Heh. Heh.

What about you? How's your personal library doing? Are you trying to expand or trim it down?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Thoughts: Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

I had been eyeing Hermann Hesse’s Siddhartha for quite a while. Every time I went to the classics section of our local bookstore, a copy was always there. Once in a while, they had to restock Austen and Hemingway popped up occasionally. For some reason, Faulkner has never made an appearance. But Siddhartha has ALWAYS been there. I thought it was too expensive for such a thin book, so, when I saw a secondhand copy for ten pesos, I immediately bought it.

Here is the summary from Goodreads: Born son of a Brahmin, Siddhartha was blessed in appearance, intelligence & charisma. In order to find meaning in life, he discarded his promising future for the life of a wandering ascetic. Still, true happiness evaded him. Then a life of pleasure & titillation merely eroded away his spiritual gains until he was just like all the other "child people," dragged around by his desires.

Where do I even begin talking about Siddhartha? This post is probably going to be very short, because I’m coming clean. Right here, right now. I did not understand the book at all. Sometimes, I felt like I did, but I was never sure, ya know? It felt like the book’s true meaning was within reach, but it always escaped my grasp. Once again, I’m going to say that perhaps I would’ve understood more with an annotated edition.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not dissing the book, since I know it’s supposed to be meaningful and a significant commentary on the HUMAN EXPERIENCE, but, dude, where was the story? I’m the type of reader who reads for entertainment, and, if I learn something along the way, that’s fabulous. But Siddhartha wasn’t a story. It was a treatise on religion (I’m not even sure about this) and living wrapped in a thin piece of tissue paper known as story.

This is one of those books I hope to reread someday, when I’m older and hopefully a little more mature. Who knows? I might like it more next time. Like it? Who am I kidding? The best I can hope for is that I might understand it.

Rating: 3/5

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Sunday Salon: I'm Alive


If anyone is wondering, I am, in fact, still alive.

The thing is, I haven’t actually read that many classics this June. Well, actually, I haven’t read a single classic this month. I’ve been busy looking for a job, and I’m glad to report that I now have one. Maybe the impending sense of doom also known as adulthood has forced me to retreat into the things familiar to me a.k.a being a teenager.

I read a ton of YA novels this month, mostly by Sarah Dessen who has become one of my absolute favorites. She captures that “summer” feeling so well. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by David Levithan and John Green has become one of my favorite books.

The book tackles homosexuality in a completely fresh way, and I really liked the concept of Schroedinger's cat. Basically, Schroedinger states that if you put a cat in a box and cover, the cat is alive and dead at the same time. You won’t know until you open the box, which is a brilliant metaphor for taking risks.

I’m slowly easing back into the classics after reading so much contemporary stuff. I’m currently reading The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. It’s a young adult classic, which, I think, is a great easing-back-into-classics book.

So, what have you been up to this June? Can you recommend other young adult classics? I would love to hear your thoughts!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thoughts: Atonement by Ian McEwan

I’m not sure if it’s just me or if it was hyped that way, but, after seeing the movie trailer, I came to think of Atonement as an EPIC LOVE STORY. I was expecting the guy who prepares candlelit dinner dates, buys me bouquets of roses, and comes up with the BIG ROMANTIC GESTURE. So, I admit I was disappointed. At first. I realized, though, that despite not being an EPIC LOVE STORY, Atonement is still an EPIC STORY. Instead of the GQ-ish date, I got the guy with hipster glasses who happens to be well-versed in the field of psychology, the kind of guy I can have meaningful, seemingly endless conversations with.

The premise of Atonement begins with a dinner party. With war looming on the horizon, the Tallises gather together for, unbeknownst to them, the last time, along with the gardener’s son Robbie Turner, the “cousins from the north,” and the oldest son’s friend, Paul Marshall. These characters’ lives are changed by a series of events, and a single lie that crashes down on the reader like an avalanche.

And, oh God, the writing. I can’t gush enough about the writing. Never has a writer made me this envious, except for the time I read The Great Gatsby—nobody can beat the Fitz. McEwan mentioned so many little details, but they didn’t bog down the story. They were weaved into the story, and I enjoyed letting them wash over me. There were so many subtle interactions between the characters, and I loved analyzing—over analyzing might be a better word—every single one.

Also, I kowtow to Ian McEwan’s skills when it comes to point-of-view. The first part of the novel is told from the points-of-view of the different characters. Even without revealing the chapter narrator’s identity, I could tell who was talking. Each character not only has a distinct voice, but their thoughts exude a certain individual flavor. McEwan is that good.

This is going to sound lame, but Atonement was pure awesomesauce. I first read McEwan’s The Cement Garden, and that kind of turned me off his work. Now, I can’t wait to get started on his other novels. Not only was Atonement a beautiful story, it made my brain exert a lot of effort as well.

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