Tag Archives: books

What is left

Finishing The Little Paris Bookshop has left my journal with more scribbles, my mind in confusion, my heart in more pain, and my reading list with one book down. I don’t know how the universe does this, but there seems to be some kind of power when I enter the bookstore that leads me to the right book. I am suddenly reminded of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and one of its good lines:

“Perhaps there is some sort of secret homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers.”

IMG_1066

My fellow bookworms can attest to this. Haven’t we all experienced it? Don’t we sometimes leave the bookstore with the perfect book that could provide all the answers that our surroundings refuse to divulge?

The Little Paris Bookshop did just that for me. There is one drawback, however. I shouldn’t have read it too soon. My soul is still in turmoil and reading those words only affirmed what I am going through. I may have to give it a little more time to give it its due reward. Perhaps a year (or two) and a re-read from now, the book will hold its place in one of my comfort books.

What books have brought comfort to your life, dear reader?

Advertisements

Crossing a bridge

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. I don’t. I normally don’t. However, just recently, I found a picture of the Pont Alexandre III on the cover of a book called The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George.

Pont_Alexandre_III

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The Pont Alexandre III. Paris. Bookshop. At that time, they sounded good together, like eating strawberry gelato while taking a walk in the park on a fine summer day… So I allowed myself to judge the book by its cover and its title.

I’m glad to say that it didn’t end up a disappointment. It’s a slow read for a reader like me who likes to write down good lines. Every paragraph seemed to offer advice upon advice on life, in general. Take these, for example:

“It’s amazing how unimpressed people are by being loved when it doesn’t fit in with their plans. Love irks them so much that they change the locks or leave without warning.”

“If someone left you, you had to answer with silence. You weren’t allowed to give the person leaving anything else; you had to shut yourself off, just as the other person had closed their mind to your future together.”

“But I wanted to do what love thought right, and doesn’t it say do what is good for the other person?”

But wait. Isn’t it called The Little Paris Bookshop? Bookshop. That’s right. So why is it talking about love?

Let me tell you, dear reader, that there’s just so much love to find in a bookshop. Brokenhearted? Head to the bookstore. Disappointed? Head to the bookstore. Elated? Head to the bookstore. The only thing is, most of the bookstores from where I live are manned by people who just want to get by on something. They aren’t manned by someone like Monsieur Jean Perdu, the main character of The Little Paris Bookshop. To sum him up in one word, as described by his mother (Was it his mother? I can’t recall.), he is a TRANSPERCEIVER. Now what on earth is a transperceiver? Is there such a word?

Say you’re in the bookstore and you can’t decide what book to buy. The salesman/owner takes one good look at you, comes up to you, and offers you just the book you didn’t know you need. That’s Monsieur Perdu to you. That’s a transperceiver – a person who knows just what your heart is bursting to feel. Now wouldn’t that be nice? Doesn’t that make you want to know someone like him? Wouldn’t that save much of your time?

There is one drawback to it, however. I’ll let you and your emotions find that out for yourself.

IMG_1064

See the lamp post from the bridge?

 

Anne Tyler came into my life at the perfect moment

Whenever I buy a new book, I would write the date of purchase behind the back cover along with my initials — PMCJ — so that when I feel like picking it up again, I would see the date and remember all the things that would have happened from then. This practice I only started in the middle of 2014, so since I discovered Anne Tyler way before I started this, I can never know when exactly did I discover her. That must have been in February 2014. I remember sneaking out of the office to grab some fastfood and dropping by the secondhand bookstore.

At that time, I didn’t know what I wanted to read. I knew that I had grown out of fantasy novels and since I had finished all of Jane Austen’s novels, I wanted something … good. So I grabbed a copy of The Amateur Marriage and — I don’t know what pushed me (I didn’t normally do this) — read the first line of the first chapter.

Everyone in the neighborhood could tell how Michael and Pauline first met.

Because of an old college joke, I remembering thinking it would be a good idea to show it to my friends, so I left the bookstore with the book in hand. Fast forward to four years later and I now have sixteen of her twenty-two novels, and I won’t rest until they’re all complete and happy on my bookshelf.

What is it about Anne Tyler exactly? What is in her style that makes her readers long for her next novel? One critic said that reading Anne Tyler is like falling in love. I couldn’t agree more. Only, it’s the kind of love that’s familiar. The kind where you automatically have a deep and soulful connection the moment you meet that person. Is that it? Is it the soulful connection we recognize in her every single book?

I’m yet to meet a fellow Anne Tyler fan from where I live. I know there are a lot out there. To my fellow Anne Tyler fans, how are you? How has AT affected you?

This was the last AT novel I read.

Romantic quote #2

I was going to save this for last but it melts my heart too much that I can’t hold it back any longer. This was written by Frederick Wentworth to Anne Elliot on Persuasion.

quote2

I’m sorry, Ms. Bronte

I’m proud to say I’ve finally read Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights.

I have to admit, it didn’t start off very interesting but because of my respect for the title, I read on and wow, I found myself incapable of stopping. Its unconventionality was rather surprising that it was fun to witness the characters’ distress. After all the drama, however, I found myself asking if I really did enjoy Wuthering Heights. Did I actually finish it because I was genuinely interested in it or was it because I have a great respect for classic titles? My friend had asked me that question a while back, too but I didn’t give her a solid answer. Maybe reading it again in a few years could help me admire it more.

I’m in a phase of my life where I’m trying to discover the vastness of the world and the people in it; I know seeking it through literature is not as convincing as it is in real life but I quite agree with Jo March that reality is unmanageable. Though it may be based on real life, literature in a way, tweaks it a bit to make it more appealing to readers … doesn’t it? (I would really appreciate an argument on this c:). Reality mixed with fictional drama is more bearable than reality itself — at least for me.  I’m convincing myself that if I’m exposed to various personalities and events in literature, I might not be completely surprised if I would ever encounter them in real life.

How Austen keeps coming back

Although I have mentioned I was reading As I Lay Dying, I have also said how Faulkner’s stream of consciousness technique was driving me mad and yes, it drove me to the point of putting it down for now. After all, readers have every right not to finish a book. I’ve done that, I’m still doing that, and I will definitely do it again. If I didn’t do it before, I would not have given the gratification Sense and Sensibility rightfully deserves (I was able to finish it five months after temporarily putting it down).

I don’t know if it’s just me but I don’t think it’s a good idea to read Austen in a row. Don’t get me wrong, I adore her well-painted characters and witty story lines very much — I really do — but starting on Sense and Sensibility after having just finished Emma made me so sick of balls, tea parties, gossips, four-thousand-pounds-a-years, and post-chaises that I actually shunned Austen for a while.

A few days ago, as I was looking for a good book to recommend to my father, I found Mansfield Park standing on the edge of the shelf. I remember buying that in the midst of my Pride and Prejudice amazement and abandoning it after realizing Fanny Price wasn’t as interesting as Elizabeth Bennet. This happened a few years ago and up until now, I completely forgot about it. Having not read any Austen for a few months, I resumed on Mansfield Park just as easily as giving up on it. Now that reality is drowning my literary heroes, I’m contemplating on Fanny Price as it should be. Who knows, she might revive the heroes this darn reality is sedating.

I’m not done with it yet, I’m really hoping I won’t give up on it anymore. Actually its characters are interesting enough to attach me so I don’t think I would. 

Three down, six to go

Wow. It’s been almost eight months since my last post and as much as I want to say that I read a good amount of classics, I can’t. For now I guess it’s safe to say that I’ve been busy (my current job has kept my hands full) but I’ve tried stealing some time to read a few from my heap.

I have a list of the books I hoarded and I crossed out those I’ve obviously read.

1. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

2. What’s Your Name I’m Fine Thank You by Roger Beaumont

3. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

4. The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan

5. The Piano Shop on the Left Bank by Thad Carhart

6. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

7. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

8. The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

9. The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

Oh yes. After years of searching, I finally found Faulkner! I remember feeling elated when I saw his name on the shelf. Funny story — because I was too excited to buy it, I didn’t give a care about its cover; it was only after two months did I realize how creepy it was! I tried looking at it in dim lighting but that wasn’t such a good idea, so I decided to cover it up with a drawing. Despite that, however, this is what I’m currently reading and Faulkner’s stream of consciousness technique is driving me nuts.

I might regret posting this picture.

I might regret posting this picture. -_-

The two Robinsons are back-to-back hard bounds which I found in my father’s old home; he said it was the first book his own father gave him… I know, how could I be in my twenties and still have not read these two? Back to my tagline, I’m still catching up. Speaking of which, that’s exactly what I would be doing.