Monthly Archives: September 2011

Book Review: Three Junes by Julia Glass

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Summary from Bookbrowse:

Three Junes is a vividly textured symphonic novel set on both sides of the Atlantic during three fateful summers in the lives of a Scottish family. In June of 1989, Paul McLeod, the recently widowed patriarch, becomes infatuated with a young American artist while traveling through Greece and is compelled to relive the secret sorrows of his marriage. Six years later, Paul’s death reunites his sons at Tealing, their idyllic childhood home, where Fenno, the eldest, faces a choice that puts him at the center of his family’s future. A lovable, slightly repressed gay man, Fenno leads the life of an aloof expatriate in the West Village, running a shop filled with books and birdwatching gear. He believes himself safe from all emotional entanglements–until a worldly neighbor presents him with an extraordinary gift and a seductive photographer makes him an unwitting subject. Each man draws Fenno into territories of the heart he has never braved before, leading him toward an almost unbearable loss that will reveal to him the nature of love.
Love in its limitless forms–between husband and wife, between lovers, between people and animals, between parents and children–is the force that moves these characters’ lives, which collide again, in yet another June, over a Long Island dinner table. This time it is Fenno who meets and captivates Fern, the same woman who captivated his father in Greece ten years before. Now pregnant with a son of her own, Fern, like Fenno and Paul before him, must make peace with her past to embrace her future. Elegantly detailed yet full of emotional suspense, often as comic as it is sad, Three Junes is a glorious triptych about how we learn to live, and live fully, beyond incurable grief and betrayals of the heart–how family ties, both those we’re born into and those we make, can offer us redemption and joy.

 

My Rating:

 

Ambivalence is the word I’d use to describe what I felt after reading this book. I simply didn’t know how to explain the neutrality that I felt.

It’s not that the writing was bad or the story was off. Because it is well-written and  the story was well-weaved. The author was very good in creating a clear picture of what was happening. She’s also adept at describing each character that somehow I felt I’ve known them all my life. But, in the end, I didn’t really see a clear message. My thought bubble a day after reading the book was “What’s the point again?” And this question keeps popping up not because I forgot what the message was. I simply couldn’t identify her original intended message.

Don’t get me wrong though. It’s not that I didn’t like it. After all I gave it three hearts which means I liked it. I do recommend that you think twice before reading it. I guess with this book, a reader would have different lessons and insights to take home. And maybe , whatever that take home lesson is, would depend on how much you relate to the story or the character/s. Unfortunately, for me, there’s little to none.

If this is the case, why did I give it three hearts, you ask. Anyone who reads it would pick up mini-messages here and there. Especially, if you are the type who is obsessed with and constantly uses marginalia.

 

Thought-out Marginalia : (to be added soon)

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Unscheduled Bookhunt

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Spontaneity is the theme of my day.

It started out with me going to a satellite office of NBI to get another copy of my NBI clearance. Thinking that it was a satellite office I thought that lines would be short. What greeted me was a snake of a line. In my head, I refused to acknowledge that what I am seeing is actually the line for NBI. Maybe, just maybe, it was the line for the mid-week service of it’s Christian Church neighbor. Refusing to have my spirits dampened by what lay before me, I optimistically approached the nearest “Manong Guard” I could see. With my impersonation of a sweet kolehiyala I asked him “Manong, san po ang pila for NBI clearance?”  His answer, “Ito po. Pero wala na pog number balik na lang kayo bukas ng 5am.” I said “ok”. But my mind was shouting “HUUUUWHHAAAAAATTTTTT?!!!”

So what now? Well, I walked away. Aimlessly. Looked at my watch and it’s just 2:30pm. What to do… what to do… My feet were leading me to the basement where Booksale was located. I’m walking… walking… walking… and suddenly my phone rang. It was my friend who wants to meet up in Cubao for dinner.  I immediately said yes. As soon as I got of the phone, I remember that tonight is the American Idol concert in Araneta. This is another way of me saying, “Expect Heavy Traffic to Cubao”, “Parking Not Available starting 5pm”, and “Leave Now If You Want to Play Good Friend”.

Ok. I guess that was overly dramatic. I do indulge in that every once in a while. But this was good drama… I think. It got me to Cubao at 4:50pm. Over an hour to kill before I meet my friend at 6pm. Just enough time for me to look for the Booksale in Shopwise that my friends in Goodreads frequent. I found it after 10 min and there’s only 2 customers inside. Yey! No bumping.

Awesome first visit. I found almost new copies of:

1. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

2. East of the Sun by Julia Gregson

3. The Dictator and the Hammock by Daniel Pellac

I know what your thinking. “What’s that last one again?” Well, that last one might not be part of any list of great books. But it sure is interesting. And if the blurb is an indication of what is to be expected from this book, then this just might turn out to be one hilarious good read.

 

Hooray for spontaneity!!!

OC-ness

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I must confess that I’m a bit OC (As in, Obsessive Compulsive) when it comes to order and organization. Some days that could be considered a good thing. But, in my case, I think it’s really close to becoming an unhealthy kind of obsessive compulsiveness.

For the past few nights, I’ve decided to set aside my reading time to:

1. Create a database for reading. It contains my books, the books included in lists that I feel compelled to read, the books recommended by friends, and reading blogs. It’s no where near finished as I still need to research Publication years, ISBNs, synopsis, book covers, etc. Plus I still have to add other books from some other noteworthy and/or popular lists.

2. manually alphabetize the titles of the 1001 books as listed in my page of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die Challenge. Why? Just because I can. And because cutting and pasting from the database I made in #1 didn’t work. ;p

I swear I’m becoming more of a geek every day. Soon, I might start shedding the kikay part of me.

But then why would I want that? Based on observation people are much more willing to listen if the message is coming from someone who’s pleasant to look at. Anyway, better not start that topic because that’s not the point of this post.

The point is I am embracing my inner geek and my OC-ness. And now that I’ve done the database, I’m more excited to read, and read fast, so that I could start crossing things out. Whoopie…