Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Reading in the MRT

I'm beginning to wonder?... Are some books worth reading the second time?

It has been my habit to not go out of the house without a book, at least most of the time. This started in college when I was really into my big library phase. I preferrred to read some non-fiction when I waited for my next class, being the reclusive cunt that I was back then. I also read in the semi-lighted theater when I waited for a movie to start. I read when I get in line at the ATM.

Right now, a "must" item in my bag is a book, along with my sunglasses (of course!!!), lip balm, alcohol, and olive oil (you'll never know when I'd need some lubrication... lol!).

When I started seriously commuting on the MRT - like on a daily basis, twenty minutes each way - having a book is the perfect way to not get bored. Well, unless there's a cutie in the same coach.

Right now I'm re-reading The Hours by Micheal Cunningham. One time I ran out of books to read so I picked up that said novel from our shelf although I've read it a couple of months back. When I first read it I practically rushed reading a book that is meant to be savored. Cunningham's use of language and tone is impeccable, with long, solid sentences that are very contemplative - and neurotic.

Neurosis is what the book's about in fact. It tells the story of a day in the lives of three women who live in three different periods. One of those women is the literary genius - and famous neurotic - Virginia Woolf while she was writing Mrs. Dalloway. The latter holds all the three characters together as revealed in the book's amazing conclusion. It's indeed a very interesting book and re-reading it allows me to dig deeper into it's subtext while the MRT rocks back and forth, while people step on my toes, while the train wheezes past the massive skeletons of huge billboards.

For the longest time my book of choice while riding the MRT was Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story by Paul Monette. Again, it's re-reading a book I've finished several months previously. Becoming a Man is a memoir of a gay man's struggle with hiding in the closet. It's a very tedious read because the author was obviously severely punishing himself as he tries to repress his sexuality and pass off as straight.

I decided to read it again because it somehow resonates with my earlier experiences (gasp!) and I can't just get over how well-written it is. I love how astutely the Paul Monette conveyed his struggles with cunning use of language. It's also striking how much courage he must've mustered to write about the not-so-pleasant coming out process. The book won a National Book Award for Non-Fiction. The author died of AIDS in 1995.


Photo credits:

1) Best Web Buys
2) Micheal Cunningham Writer.com

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