Monday, August 22, 2011

Narito ang Masa

Narito ang masa.
Ang mga taong nakapila,
Ang aleng Muslim na nagpapaypay
Hanggang may umabot na maaliwalas
Na hangin sa aking likod.

Narito ang masa.
Ang mga taong nagtatanong, ang mga
taong nawawala.
Ang lalaking bumili ng Skyflakes
Pantawid gutom at nakaluhod
Ngayon sa daan habang ngumangasab.

Narito ang masa,
Sabay-sabay na naghihintay.

Books In Brief

I've been reading too many books to bother writing about them, so briefly, here's a summary of what I've been reading:

The Pen / O.Henry Prize Stories 2010

Another Strand find. I've been reading more short stories while trying to write my own, so this was a good book for me to read. My favorites in this collection were Ted Sanders's Obit and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie's The Headstrong Historian. But I probably learned the most from Preeta Samarasan's Birch Memorial.

Pnin by Vladimir Nabokov

I bought this book because it appeared on the list of books that Zadie Smith once assigned to her class. It started off slow, but it got good towards the middle. I whiled away an afternoon in a barangay captain's house in Masbate finishing this book. And yes, I lost track of my surroundings. It was that good.

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

I wouldn't have tried to re-read this book if I hadn't seen the compelling trailer for the first episode of the TV series. I'm glad that I did. My sister was trying to get me to read this a long time ago. I flipped to a random page and found it boring. What was I thinking? Game of Thrones is a fantasy novel that pays attention to the nuances -- the contrast in the attire of a lord and his men, the humor in a dwarf almost being spurred into a battle charge but deciding against it. Its vision of Westeros is grim, gritty and utterly real. I'm going to keep on reading the series, although I'm in a bit of book fatigue three-fourths through the second book in the series, A Clash of Kings. Sometimes it gets annoying how Martin keeps on shifting POVs. I skimmed all five books just to find out what happened to Arya.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Middleman and Other Stories

After being profoundly affected by Bharati Mukherjee's short story 'The Management of Grief', I didn't hesitate to snap up this book when I saw it at The Strand for 49 cents.

I shouldn't have bothered. The Management of Grief, which comes at the very end, was the only story that I truly liked. The rest of the book was filled with stories about crass characters, which I guess is a success of sorts as Mukherjee deliberately set out to portray her characters in an unflattering light. But reading about a dissolute Vietnam vet, a user-friendly Filipina, and an exploited Trinidadian, among others, didn't satisfy me.