It's been so long since I posted in this journal, and since I've done quite a bit of reading in the last few months, I figured I'd do a quick post on my latest finished read. I was recommended The Celestine Prophecy by our neighbors, and I was pleasantly surprised. All highly-hyped books are subject to intense scrutiny in my mind since hype usually equals a lack of substance. However, this book actually helped me to put into words some ideas about the nature of the universe that I've contemplated in the past. The plot is rather lacking, and none of the characters are truly fleshed out. However, the main focus of the novel is on fleshing out a philosophy as opposed to a narrative, and it certainly accomplishes its main goal.
Currently, I'm reading All the Names by Jose Saramago and The Adams-Jefferson Letters. What is everyone else reading?
* in the train to Marc's, i finished Queer by William S. Burroughs.
+ i liked it in the whole although i was much more enthusiastic about the first of his books i read: The Cat Inside. it was about how cats are the best thing on earth so i LOVED it =)
+ i have spent a long time reading a lot of feminist literature and it was cool to read Burroughs for a change... DOESN'T mean that feminist lit is not my favorite anymore =P
+ i really enjoyed seeing homosexuality from a different point fo view. all the homosexuals i had encountered in books before were quite different - homosexuals were sensitive and got on really well with women + victims of some kind of oppression. the kind of homosexual Lee is in Queer is quite different. he's really sexist + shows contempt for women most of the time. he's not really sensitive. moreover, Lee's trying to get off junk + his sex drive is out of control.
+ i think this might be one of the first overtly homosexual books i read. i was really curious and all the descriptions of sexual intercourses and homosexual feelings came as really new to me. i liked the fact that it is mostly autobiographic.
+ i don't agree with
* also last week i read this short book called The Ballad of Sad Café by Carson McCullers. it’s really short, barely 83 pages.
* i had no clue that Carson McCullers was a woman until the prof said it in class, the only Carson i know is Carson Daly... yeah, i know *blushes*.
* the few Southern i can recall to have read are William Faulkner, Willa Cather and Flannery O’Connor so far... and i think they all have something in common. i guess is the presence of the grotesque, much more strong in The Ballad... than in the other books I’ve read.
* it’s the story of a very masculine woman, a criminal who was married to her for ten days and a hunchback who claims to be her cousin. just imagine!
* the story is quite interesting, not really amazing, but nice to read and entertaining. definitely, i would say is a story about love and loneliness and how lonely you are after having loved.
* i definitely see homosexual undertones in it. anyone who have read it what do you think?
* just curious to know what others may think about this book.
· last week or so i finished reading Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf. It took me an awful lot to read it, a whole month...
· it didn’t catch me as it was supposed to. i mean it’s the great book Mrs. Dalloway and i had this expectation that it would have me glued to its pages. but it didn’t and i feel somehow stupid cos i don’t know if there’s something of it i’m not intelligent enough to grasp.
· did i like it? honestly, i don’t know i have to think about it. sometimes i like or dislike books after a time.
· Mrs. Dalloway is a beautiful book. is beautifully griten, Virginia Woolf is capable of the most precious sentences. i really enjoy the stream of conciousness technique, it’s like not reading but thinking.
· i enjoyed how he jumps from one character’s mind to another character’s mind. it’s so subtle you almost don’t notice it but you don’t get lost at all it is really easy to follow. i found it easier to read than Orlando.
· i liked the parts where we know more about Clarissa Dalloway’s life. i really didn’t enjoy the Septimus&Rezia’s parts. my boy really enjoys them, though. unappreciative me =(
· Virginia Woolf said she wasn’t a feminist, however, i’m able to find lots of feminist/gender discussion on Mrs. Dalloway’s pages. it was like reading what The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan would be like if it wasn’t a theory book but a fictional story.
· i really didn’t dislike any character. i don’t enjoy Richard and Clarissa that much. Mrs. Kilman is really interesting as is Elizabeth and i wish there had been more about them in the book. My favorite characters were Peter Walsh, who, for me, is clearly and opposite for Richard Dalloway but especially Sally Seton. yes, i know, Sally Seton, The Rebel, but i love the way she is and what represents. i also would have liked a little bit more of story on the part of Clarissa’s sexual orientation.
hi, i'm new!! ^^
Ahh, my long-neglected community. How I've missed thee. Well, after turning in grad school applications, I've finally found time to read again. I've started working on James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, and was particularly intrigued by the following lines:
Joey raised his head as I lowered mine and we kissed, as it were, by accident. Then, for the first time in my life, I was really aware of another person's body, of another person's smell."
Since reading that, I've contemplated the idea of scent as being a highly important sensory detail in awareness that is often ignored for more active senses such as sight, touch or taste. Though all of our senses are involuntary, we can control what we see, touch or taste more, it seems, than what we smell, yet scents are all around us and can often influence our moods, our perception of our environment and our knowledge of other people. This excerpt places special emphasis on this often-overlooked sense and has made me more aware of the scents around me that I noticed everyday but often passed over without a second thought.
Anywho, just wanted to share that. Out of curiosity, is there anyone out there who has read Giovanni's Room? If so, what did you think of it? I'm not through with it yet but have enjoyed it thus far.
Just wanted to share a few thoughts going through my mind while reading Mahaswetha Devi's "The Hunt," starting with a few quotes. All of these deal with the main character, Mary:
"--Let the hired people come and see. I have my machete. Mary's voice is harsh and grim.
Prasadji says, It figures. White blood."
"Everyone is afraid of Mary. Mary cleans house and pastures cattle with her inviolate constitution, her infinite energy, and her razor-sharp mind."
"--Why aren't you tall and white like me?
--You are a white man's daughter.
--Big white chief! Puts a child in a woman's belly and runs like a rat. My mother is bad news. When you see a white daughter, you kill her right away. Then there are no problems!
--What about you if she'd killed?
--I wouldn't have been."
"Because she is the illegitimate daughter of a white father the Oraons don't think of her as their blood and do not place the harsh injunctions of their own society upon her.
She would have rebelled if they had. She is unhappy that they don't. In her inmost heart there is somewhere a longing to be part of the Oraons."
What's so interesting about these quotes and this short story, at least in my mind, is the confluence, the mixture of two worlds. Mary does not consider herself "white" like her father, yet she knows that she is not of her mother's people as well. Even if she had been born entirely of her mother's people, she feels something inherently different about her that would have caused her to be set apart regardless. Her "white blood," the life essence within her, seems to not come from her father but from Mary herself. She chooses for herself. "She is accepted in the village society. The women are her friends, she is the best dancer at the feasts. But that doesn't mean she wants to live their life." "Mary was unwilling." It seems that, because "there is something true in Mary," Devi is suggesting that the only thing that would have made her not be inherently different was to not have been born at all. To further accentuate this idea, Devi explicitly begs a comparison of her Mary to the Christian Virgin Mary while beneath the surface, Mary can serve better as a representation of modern day India, a society at its roots a product of a mixed heritage. Mary's "white blood" essence suggests a colonial and native past mixing and giving birth to a child unique in all respects, a blend of her heritages. Even in her language, Devi implies a blending of worlds. The original text was primarily in Bengali, but she indicates certain words in the narrative that were English in the original text. This blend of languages from an Indian author suggests that the narrative is a product of a confusing, heterogenous heritage, one often found in post-colonial societies around the globe.
Those are my thoughts on this short story, and I highly recommend it to anyone else interested. It's part of her work Imaginary Maps and is only seventeen pages long.
Is there too much or not enough emphasis on language nowadays? In its purest state, language is meant to be a tool to allow people to communicate with one another. However, as things stand now, a misspoken word or use of the wrong phrase can be a serious faux pas and can cause the ideas being expressed to be dismissed outright. Is this placing too much emphasis on the words themselves while ignoring the ideas contained therein, or is it a reflection of a laxity on the part of regulating language? Words often have differing connotations based on the context (i.e. part of speech, placement/usage in sentence, background of speaker, etc.). Should language be regulated to an even greater extent than it is currently to prevent people from being confused by too many differing definitions/usages of one word? As the world moves towards greater globalization, clear communication becomes ever more essential to our day-to-day operations. How should we approach language in the 21st century -- as a tool that aids our lives but that pales in comparison to a more significant end or as a component so essential to life that it must be regulated to ensure clarity and continuation? Discuss.
Motivated by Bob Marley's reggae beats, I've been reading some post-colonial literature. In particular, rereading Amos Tutoula's "The Palm-Wine Drinkard" and reading for the first time Mahaswetha Devi's "The Hunt." The language on both of these are so raw and fresh, yet lively. In Tutoula, the description of the "complete gentleman" and his disintegration into "Skull" is full of verve, yet very raw in terms of linguistics. It begs me to use my imagination to fill in the holes, whether intentional or unintentional, that Tutoula leaves in the narrative. Thus, the imagery truly comes alive in my mind, and the story becomes a part of me in a way that some Western literature simply cannot. I'm still working on Devi, so I'll try to write more about that one once I finish.