Monday, July 16, 2018
The last time I wrote about a book I finished reading, I wrote that I had been going rather slow and keeping in schedule would be rather hard. Now that it's July and we've officially passed the halfway mark of this year, I think it's quite possible we may not complete the 5 books a year goal. I'm trying, but I don't know. Since the last time I wrote about a book I finished reading, I have finished 2 other books, so that's book 2 and 3 this year.
Book 2 was Tinkers
by Paul Harding. It's the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction. It's quite a thin book and yet I think I spent too much time on it. First page of the book straight away deals with death. A man was dying and the book progressed alternatively with his dying hours and the story of his father. Along the way, there were short articles about clocks, particularly antique clocks that the man had a big interest in and was good at repairing and also paragraphs on different kind of borealis
. I know aurora borealis but all these other borealis
in the book, I don't know any of them and I'm not even sure if they're real. Reading those felt to me like the dying man who couldn't be sure if what he's feeling was real. Overall it was quite an interesting book and I do like the sentences being written, the details in each scene, but I can't say I'm particularly fond of it. Maybe I'm not smart enough to fully capture all the symbolism and meanings? The ending left me wanting more but it just stopped there and I had so many questions so there was a bit of a disappointment it ended the way it ended but I guess in life sometime we don't get the answer we want and that's just the way it is.
Book 3 was The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
by Junot Díaz. This one is the 2008 Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction. Okay before I talk about the book, let's just talk a bit on why I chose this book. I got the book before I heard of the sexual abuse allegations on the author. So far it seems he's been cleared of any wrongdoings, but I got to say if I had known beforehand, I may not have gotten this book. I got this book because someone I know who knows I read, asked me if I went to Singapore Writers Festival last year and saw Junot Díaz. I didn't actually know there's such a thing as a Singapore Writers Festival and didn't know who Junot Díaz was :D So of course I googled him and ended up getting his book. All this happened before I heard about the allegations, but I did start reading the book after hearing the news because what else was I supposed to do? Leave the book unread? You know after the many #MeToo news involving famous people started to come out, there's that discussion and question if you can still or should still watch or in this case read works by the people involved in these allegations. To each his own I guess, but I think what these people have done will colour your perception on their works no matter what. Like if I watch any of Bill Cosby's shows right now, I'd be like, man here you were playing a good father but in real life you're so awful. A shame really because I think I really enjoyed his shows when I was young. These men, really, God damn it. Why do they have to be such an ass? The stories that have come out of course differ in their severity between the men, but the really bad obnoxious ones, I really think they should just go away.
Okay back to the book. I actually quite enjoyed The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
. With a title like that, of course you know Oscar would die and it's like a theme running from Tinker
which is death. I didn't plan it that way. I didn't know what Tinker
was about when I got the book. The cover of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
that I have features a young preteen boy so I felt rather sad and was hoping that the death wouldn't be literal. Oscar lived longer, but it still happened. Anyways, I think to truly enjoy The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
, you need to know Spanish and have a good knowledge on comics and the fantasy genre of books. Both things I do not have. I really wished I had known Spanish when reading this book. I felt like I was missing out because I don't understand Spanish and some of the comic books or anime references. The title of this post uses a word that Oscar said (I think twice) in the book, copacetic
. A word which I have come to really like. I didn't know the meaning of it when I read it for the first time and somehow I couldn't remember its meaning that I had to google it again when the word appeared the second time to really put it into memory. I don't know why it was hard for me to remember its meaning the first time even though I was already intrigued. I just remembered it as being not pathetic. Its actual meaning according to google is, in excellent order
. That's what Oscar would say about himself. He's such a poor fellow. I don't know if I would call his brief life wondrous. He's what you would call a loser and I was hoping for so much more for him. I guess as a fellow someone who thinks she's stuck in life and gets depressed often, I do have a lot of sympathy for Oscar. I want more for him, but just like him I wouldn't know what to do either to remedy his situation. It got me thinking that successful people who always say things like you should get up and make things happen, I think they wouldn't have much patience with Oscar and they would just let him / people like us to just die in our wallowing self pity. I think sometime people who get their lives figured out can't relate to that stuck feeling we have and they can be so not sympathetic. When you're stuck in that deep dark hole without any clue on how to get out or even an understanding of the possibility of getting out, no matter how many times you hear U2's Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of
, you just can't unstuck yourself :( Anyways, the book doesn't tell Oscar's story alone. In fact I think if you condense his story, it's quite short and as I said not very wondrous. The other story in the book is about the people in Oscar's life. Along the way, I got to learn a bit about the history of The Dominican Republic. I'm not sure how much of it would stick in memory, but it's good to get to learn something that I wouldn't seek on my own.
Now I am reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North
by Richard Flanagan. I've actually seen this book quite a few times, but always ended up deciding not to get it because its topic about POWs (Prisoner of Wars) seemed to be a bit heavy somehow to follow up whatever book I was reading at that time. Then one time, on the rare occasion that I took the train to go somewhere, I saw this kinda handsome guy standing next to me reading it. I was like, is it fate? Yeah it's a silly reason, but I eventually got the book. I actually got 3 books (simply to avoid delivery cost from Kinokuniya) to read next including this year's Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction. I decided to read The Narrow Road to the Deep North
first because though The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
has its own share of tortures and deaths, I thought it still has its light comical moments and I think I'm not that drained to tackle a war story. So far I can't say much about The Narrow Road to the Deep North
. I'm still quite at the beginning.
Back to being not copacetic
. Well truly I am not copacetic. The days have been rough. I've been in uncomfortable, annoying, frustrating situations. One time I was truly pissed, but I disappointed myself for not being able to come out with strong rebuttals on the spot. I went quiet. At that point I was thinking I was like a powder keg going to explode, but thankfully I didn't go on screaming and throwing stuff. That made me then wonder if I was going to cry. Thankfully I didn't do that either. I ask God to help me survive, but I don't know why I should be surviving. What's the point of it all? As I say, when you're down in that deep hole, it's dark in there. There's another bigger thing that gets me quite worried. This one is real and I am quite scared. I'm not ready to write about it here, so let me just end this post here. Hope you guys are having glorious days.
:) eKa @ 9:00:00 PM •