Friday, February 09, 2007

Currently Reading: The Last Time I Saw Mother

I was cleaning our bookshelf last weekend and realized that we haven't been replenishing our stock as much as we used to. Of course I've explained the reason for this a couple of entries back. Currently, I still have a backlog of around four books.

This is not really a good sign for me because I know I have more to gain from reading books than watching those damn TV series (although I would treat movies a little better).

So lately I tried organizing my TV and book sessions. By around 9:30 pm I see to it that I have turned off the TV and I'm nestled on my bed flipping through a book. It actually helps me sleep a bit earlier as well.

Right now I'm reading The Last Time I Saw Mother by Arlene Chai. I read one of her books called Eating Fire, Drinking Water last year courtesy of Meredel who lent me her copy. I enjoyed Eating Fire a lot; it reminds me of the interlocking stories of Jessica Haggedorn's Dogeaters.

The Last Time I Saw Mother
on the other hand is about the secrets that Caridad, the protagonist of the book, discovered on her homecoming. It's very reminiscent of Amy Tan's books about daughters' relationships with their mothers as well as Isabelle Allende's women surviving historical upheavals.

I haven't finished the book yet but I like the plot so far. On the other hand, there is a lack of richness in language because the author chose to focus on events rather than on emotions. Hopefully this changes as the book progresses.

I also like her perspective on the amalgam of Spanish, Filipino, American, and Chinese cultures in forming the Filipino psyche, thus bringing forth a rather confused but interesting and rich identity.

I'd definitely work on my Filipino authors from now on. It seems not fair that I've came across a good share of Western and Asian authors but not the literature of my country.

So far I've only read F. Sionil Jose among the more contemporary Filipino authors. I still need to read the works of say Nick Joaquin and… hmmm, I could not even name another one right now.

My MRT book (or the book that I read while riding the train to and from work) for the past weeks is Waiting by Ha Jin.

Set in Communist China, all the characters in the book do is wait. Wait for the man named Lin to get divorced so he can marry his girlfriend Mana. And it took him a dozen years (or so) to get the divorce.

It's definitely not my favorite books among the latest ones I've read. It's just too full of… waiting and at some point I wanted to throw the book in the middle of the tracks instead. Interestingly it won a National Book Award.

My MRT book at the moment is Future Shock by Alvin Toffler.

To address the lack of books at home, my sister and I are visiting the Powerbooks Sale this weekend.

Photo Credit: (1) and (2) Amazon.com

2 comments:

Kyle said...

Can you recommend some good Filipino novels for me? I have read the five "Rosales Saga" novels by José, and The Umbrella Country by Realuyo. I also read Rolling the R's by Linmark (Filipino from Hawaii).

kawadjan said...

Hi Kyle! Hmmm... good Filipino novels? Well, for the basics, you might want to check Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) and El Filibusterismo (The Filibuster), which are taught in high school because they are considered as the two most important Filipino novels. I heard Noli Me Tangere has a Penguin version released just recently. Among all the other novels, I liked Jessica Hagedorn's "Dogeaters". Nick Joaquin also has great novels (in English), I heard. I've read very few Filipino novels so that's all that I can think of right now.

Thanks again for checking my blog. Cheers!

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin