Friday, January 23, 2009

Shelf Life: Some Books for the New Year

A Year of Magical Thinking (2005) by Joan Didion

An account of her grief over the sudden death of her husband and the prolonged illness of her daughter, Joan Didion courageously dissects mourning. It covers the first year of her husband's death, during which snippets of memories are awakened by a glimpse of house in a corner or ice floes forming in the river.

The voice is very introspective thus effectively evoking the thoughts of someone trying to find meaning of the sudden vacuum in her life.

Winner of the National Book Award, Didion's book resonates with anyone who experienced any kind of loss.

Never Let Me Go (2005) by Kazuo Ishiguro

Oh dear, this could be one of the most exciting books I've read lately. I did not expect this novel to be innocent yet so haunting at the same time. It has shades of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, only more personal.

Never Let Me Go succeeds in giving readers a picture of a dystopic society without explaining too much, rather it goes straight into the heart of those who are the so-called tools of creating a "healthy" world. It does not help that the characters accept their fate with detachment. Very, very beautifully eerie indeed.

Dream Jungle (2003) by Jessica Hagedorn

Finally! Fucking finally! I've been wanting to read this book since it came out but I find it freaking expensive. And then it went on sale at B2S so I knew I had to grab it that instant.

This is classic Jessica Hagedorn - boisterous, flamboyant, and mesmerizing with at least half a dozen point of views and a non-linear time frame. Such rich texture! One of the most prominent Filipino-American writers these days, Hagedorn strikingly parodies the melee that is Philippine politics and age-old feudalism.

In Praise of Slowness, Challenging the Cult of Speed (2004) by Carl Honore

As the title says, the book is part-tribute to the people who choose to slow down amidst the global pursuit for speed. The chapters chronicle the various manifestations of the growing Slow Movement, e.g. slow food, slow cities, slow sex, slow work, etc.

This best-seller mainly pushes for balance in one's life - through a "slow approach" - to live, work, think, and play better. Definitely a must-read for those who are obsessed with speed (and I'm even thinking of re-reading it).


enegue said...

i read The Year of Magical Thinking and it moved me. Kapag naaalala ko yung story niya, naiinspire ako to always be strong, lalo na kapag in times of despair. Kasi kung nakaya ng lola mo malampasan yung tragedy na iyon, kaya ko din!

fuchsiaboy said...

mabasa nga yan lahat.

kiel said...

hmmm, ako rin.

teka mag-online book club kaya tayo?

me said...

i equally loved "in praise of slowness".. it kinda mainstreamed the mañana habit ng mga Pinoy :)

kawadjan said...

enegue: true, true. in a way uplifting nga ang memoir ni manang joan.

donita: buy na sa mga second hand book shops in SR.

kiel: magandang idea yan. how?

sarah: hahaha... true, true. pero i think the concept is we can still be effective even if we are taking it slow.


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