Drowning in anime–and books?

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State of the Proxy, March 2008

From last month’s gloomy musings, I think I’ve finally opened my eyes a bit. The stress is still there, but I think not as much as before.

From the post title you could glean that aside from anime, books have entered, or re-entered my life with a vengeance. When I was still in school I used to read a lot of magazines and books. When I graduated and got a job, I bought books rarely–mostly only when I felt like it. And a lot of them had to do with programming–the end result being that I usually don’t finish reading the whole thing. The other types I bought more than once were random volumes of Pugad Baboy and books by Jessica Zafra; occasionally I bought classic literary acclaimed books. And then came the 2008 1st quarter storm.

Partly fueled by the fact that a big bookstore chain was having a sale, and the perception that perhaps I could find answers to my questions (or even escape) in reading, the great book shopping spree began. When I was younger I really didn’t give much thought about self-help books; so I found myself in a daze just looking at the titles at the height of my buying spree. Of course I only bought the ones with good reviews or good-sounding blurbs (does Dale Carnegie ring a bell?). I also found the willpower to finally buy what I could not buy years ago. Classics, especially novels, are scrutinized, my mind trying to remember the good things written about a particular piece. Sure I could download some of them from the Internet (especially the older ones) but my eyes hurt if I read too much from a computer screen. If e-book readers were practical and cheap I’d be a happy customer.

So the first one I finished this year was Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Frankly it was only the 2nd best novel I’d read from a modern-day author (modern-day meaning 20th century). Too bad she only published one book. Her book started out a little boring for me but the last half really had my attention. After I finished I re-read the first 2 pages and they finally made sense. The best novel so far has been JD Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. I have to thank the Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex series for leading me to that interesting read. On the other hand, the most disappointing so far has been Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. It’s trying to tell something but ends up boring and fantasizing. Or maybe I just didn’t ‘get it.’ I’m not buying another book by Coelho ever again. Maybe his writing style just doesn’t appeal to me.

And now I find myself with a backlog, not only of anime, but also of books. Probably much better for exercising my mind. So even if I’m no longer complaining about overtime and bad internet connections but still not posting much, one more reason has been revealed. So how about the others? What are you reading right now? If you have some good novel/author to recommend, just post a comment about why it’s a good read. It would certainly be welcomed. If not, well, this list will have to do. 🙂

10 responses »

  1. I was led towards Catcher in the Rye through the SAC too, but the character of Holden Caulfield is so extraordinary I loved it on its own merits.

    As far as the list is concerned, I’ve read Lord of the Flies (at school, sadly), Animal Farm, The Big Sleep, Catch 22 and 1984; I still need to read The Blind Assassin, Lord of the Rings, The Grapes of Wrath, On the Road and The Power and the Glory (jeez, my wishlist is growing!).

    Stuff that I’d personally recommend on top of these are Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, American Gods by Neil Gaiman, The Trial by Franz Kafka and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle or Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami (my favourite writer).

    I’ve rediscovered reading in recent months too – it’s good to have a full hour lunch break at work! ^_^

  2. >>Lord of the Flies

    I’ve spotted this one so many times in the bookstore but the funny thing is the cover design turns me off. lol

    Hmm…1984 is already on my reading queue, but I guess it won’t hurt to add Animal Farm. (Somehow I feel my wallet getting thinner…)

    Is American Gods a novel? When I hear/read Neil Gaiman ‘graphic novel’ comes to my mind.

    >>jeez, my wishlist is growing!

    And expect cash to dwindle ^_^;

    >>I’ve rediscovered reading in recent months too

    Let’s hope the flame keeps on burning, comrade. 🙂

  3. Of that Top 100 list, I’ve read 21. The five I liked best were The Catcher in the Rye, Lolita, The Painted Bird, The Lord of the Rings, and The Sound and the Fury.

    The ones I didn’t care for mostly came from being forced to read them. Sadly, I don’t read that much anymore. I also second Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy.

    On that list I’ve read Animal Farm, Blood Meridian, Brideshead Revisited, Catch-22, Catcher in the Rye (awesome, though I prefer Salinger’s Nine Stories, of which one is called The Laughing Man…I really got a kick that SAC used Salinger’s works as a point of reference as a long time Salinger fan…Nine Stories is worth it just for ‘A Perfect Day for Banana Fish’), The Crying of Lot 49, The Day of the Locust, The Great Gatsby (yuck), The Heart of the Matter, Invisible Man, A Light in August, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lolita, Lord of the Flies, Lord of the Rings, Mrs. Dalloway, 1984, The Painted Bird, The Sound and the Fury, The Sun Also Rises, Things Fall Apart.

  4. @super rats

    >>Of that Top 100 list, I’ve read 21

    21! For me the grand total amounts to 2–‘Catcher’ and ‘To Kill A Mockingbird.’ Add 1/3 for The Return of the King. (I don’t remember if I finished The Two Towers.)

    I read ‘The Laughing Man’, didn’t impress me much though. It’s nice to know we both like Catcher and LOTR.

    @concretebadger

    I got ‘American Gods’–there was only one copy left. I also got a nice discount on it. 🙂

  5. I read Narnia, although only 1 book was listed of the whole series was listed. I read all the books except for the last one. I didn’t like it that they changed main characters near the end.

    Personally, I enjoy Sidney Sheldon books the most. I recommend “Tell Me Your Dreams” and “If Tomorrow Comes”. Though, his books are not up there with those epic books on the list, his stories are entertaining and wonderfully woven. When I start reading them, it’s hard for me to sleep because I can’t help but turn the page🙂

    Enjoy your new books ^__^

  6. >>Sidney Sheldon

    My introduction to Sheldon was through The Doomsday Conspiracy and Nothing Lasts Forever. My favorite is the latter. I haven’t read any other books of his though–I just borrowed the books from a friend in high school. After high school I practically forgot about Sheldon. But thanks for reminding me about him. 🙂

  7. I recommend Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, and Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. For even more contemporary fare, I just read The Wars by Timothy Findley. It’s great also.

    For Asian sensibilities, I suggest Kawabata or Akutagawa Ryonosuke’s stories. Beauty and Sadness or Snow Country for Kawabata are best bets.

    Hey, another Filipino who’s finally a fan of both classics and anime.😀

    Sorry, I haven’t been visiting. After the Ergo Proxy posts I didn’t watch the shows you did, so I refrained.😦

    Cheers, though. Don’t hesitate to ask me for recommendations.😀

  8. @Michael

    I already have Crime and Punishment, but with my reading backlog and blogging duties and Nihongo studies I might get to read it next year. 😦

    As for The Sound and the Fury maybe I’ll get that after 6 months. I didn’t know I overspent on my book buying spree. T_T

    >>Hey, another Filipino who’s finally a fan of both classics and anime.

    I was fan way back but it’s only now that I’ve talked about it in this blog. My reading hobby went into a coma after I graduated from college and only recently did my passion for it rekindle. 🙂

    So yeah one of these days I might ask for a recommendation. Too bad I don’t have time for IRC. Might be better to chat.

  9. I have five copies of The Sound and the Fury, all different versions to represent the number of times I’ve read it. I lent one, and the rest aren’t with me right now, but I can buy a cheap one for you.

    I don’t know; I’m glad I finally saw someone who likes a lot of anime and a lot of literature (classical, no less), and wrote about it. I don’t have much backlogs because when there are classes I don’t read at all. I read voraciously in the breaks, so even if it’s vacation time I don’t feel lazy or unproductive.

    I’m currently reading Dream of the Red Chamber, one of the four classical Chinese novels and had just done with The Wars. Before that I read Sophie’s Choice and The White Peacock. Not bad for little more than a week of no classes.🙂

  10. @Michael

    >>I don’t know; I’m glad I finally saw someone who likes a lot of anime and a lot of literature (classical, no less), and wrote about it.

    I guess that’s just the consequence of a passion re-ignited. The hard part now is balancing between these two hobbies. 🙂

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