Killing Time In A Warm Place

I’m happy to say that I have more or less regained my appetite for reading, prodded as I am by the rotating brownouts that give me five hours away from the computer everyday. I’ve been buying issues of TIME magazine regularly now, although I’m a bit embarrassed to admit the fact since I essentially kill trees with every issue I buy. (I would subscribe to the online version of the magazine, but apparently they don’t offer a Zinio-like e-mag service, which they really should.)

Speaking of TIME magazine, last Thursday I got hold of a copy of their April 26 issue, on the cover of which is Noynoy Aquino. The cover story sadly confirms my long-held view that while his campaign sits on the solid foundation of his parents’ legacy, the matter of whether it can be convincing on its own merits is another story entirely. (Yes, even though the piece sounded quite biased. Haha.)

* * *

I was in Cagayan de Oro last week. Of course I bought books. (Butuan is sadly devoid of good book shops. We have two relatively respectable bookstores, Newsies and Book Nook, but they sell only a handful of Picoults, Coelhos, and Sparkses, as well as weeklies and monthlies.)

I decided to finally grab a Twisted book. I’m a fan of Jessica Zafra’s blog, but I haven’t read any of her Twisted books yet, so I picked up “Twisted 5”, the only Twisted they had in stock at the SM CDO branch. Don’t judge the book by its hideous cover. (Voltes V? Really?) Ms Zafra’s wit and humor are easy to digest with her fantastic style. There are more movie reviews than I care to read, though.

My Twisted purchase must have pleased the universe, because a few days after buying “Twisted 5”, I won the weekly LitWit challenge on Ms Zafra’s blog! The two new additions to my already-insurmountable reading backlog are now sitting in a National Bookstore somewhere in Manila waiting for me.

***

Over the past week I’ve been killing time in a warm place (the warm place being my bedroom in the sweltering summer heat and with the absence of airconditioning, owing to the brownouts) by reading “Killing Time In A Warm Place”, a novel by Jose Dalisay Jr. about life during the Marcos years. I didn’t think I would be able to finish the novel—a few years ago when I tried to read a Nicholas Sparks I swore off writing in the first person—but Dalisay’s style is enjoyable to read. I’m afraid I have to say that the novel lacks something, though; I didn’t feel connected enough to the protagonists. Novels like “Killing Time…” are expected to paint a vivid picture of the event or struggle they deal with. This novel does so to my satisfaction. However, considering that the Marcos Years were a pivotal era for our country, I, a Filipino who was born almost a decade after the overthrow of the regime, was looking to much more than just see the picture in all its detail—I wanted to feel like I was in the picture itself. People like Dalisay who were in the heat of the action would have found it easy to feel what I wanted to feel. But there are people like me who never had to go through those turbulent times, and I’m sad to say “Killing Time…” didn’t make me feel what Dalisay’s contemporaries must have felt as they read this novel.

***

It’s back to reading Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”. Every time I pick that book up (I have the 50th anniversary edition) I have to wish Rand would have given future readers more consideration and shortened it, or at least split it into two or more volumes. (She would have made more money that way, too.)

***

I say this with a certain amount of hesitation, but I will once again ask for your book recommendations. My quest to discover the classics, which you can read about in previous posts under the Opinion / Books category, is not yet over; my brother seems to have joined me on this quest, as he’s read Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and is now on “Adventures of Tom Sawyer”, another Twain. I want so badly to start on “Huck Finn”, but when I think about it I can feel my copy of “Atlas Shrugged” staring at me with a look of betrayal.

Oh hey, and Goodreads apparently has a Bookmooch-like feature now. Goodreads, by the way, is a website that allows you to share what books you’ve been reading and gives you suggestions on what to pick up next; Bookmooch lets you swap books for points—send a book to someone and you get points, which you can use to request for a book from someone else (so it’s both cost-effective and environmentally friendly!).

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