The cruelty of beautiful sentences

 

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“Forgetting,” I said, “is probably as much a part of life as remembering. We’re all amnesiacs.” –page 18

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Plot Twist: This blog isn’t dead yet.

My ability to procrastinate never fails to amaze me. 

I’m so incredibly good at forgetting priorities and even better at getting preoccupied with distractions and I swear on every poet that ever walked the earth that I am not proud of this.  I wish I have words for the intensity of shame I feel whenever I remember how long since I last wrote an entry, how grotesquely behind I am on my list of book reviews to draft, how I’ve somewhat lost my focus in getting through my reading plans for the year. I am my worst critic and I get so ruthless with myself sometimes that I feel unworthy of catching up and stealing the momentum back, of starting all over again.

Before my eyes, the months waltzed by to the tune of techno-grunge apathy, routines in pop ballad rhythm and anthems of neglect. August, September. I sing in high-pitched nothingness and the concerto of regrets wouldn’t stop replaying. October, November. A crisis of forgetfulness. December. Dear 2016, how the hell would I ever be ready for you?

I keep thinking: this blog deserves a better blogger.  Someone who actually writes book reviews instead of someone who writes about excuses for being unable to do so. Someone consistent, no matter how the world infinitely shows no mercy at shattering schedules to chaos, instead of someone who succumbs to assorted whims on a daily basis. Someone who just keeps going, instead of someone who just keeps going away.

But then there are days like this when I also think about how there are bigger, more urgent things than the torture of being a spectator to your own failure. I think:  what this blogs needs most of all is a resurrection.

I try to coax myself out of this self-induced amnesia to recall the heart of a phrase I have written so many years back. I don’t believe in epilogues because I don’t believe in things ending—everything is an introduction.

So even if the pain of self-scorn burns me raw, I return to the madness of the written word to remember why this is the kind of love I will never let go of: because the pages never runs out for a reader who keeps on reading. Because the ever-after is endless.

Because the fiction goes on forever.

 

Monthly Wrap-Up: Atta Girl! April

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If beauty is in the eye of the reader, what is your definition of an excellent heroine?

Is it someone with otherworldly charm that makes her an instant standout among the crowd? Or is it someone with superior intelligence and a natural talent for sass? Would it be someone who is as mysterious and profound as a wallflower? Or would she be fierce and fearless as a fighter? Is it someone with extraordinary kindness of heart or someone with an admirable sense of resilience against hardships? Is she noble and self-sacrificing for the sake of the ones she love or is she bravely pursuing independence because she appreciates her self-worth and her entitlement to freedom?

It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for years. Hence, I vowed to dedicate at least a month to celebrate the many types of young women in fiction—a hurrah for the heroines, because why not? And so I decided April would be the perfect time for this mission: when summer is at its zenith and the promise of hot heroines can set the whole world on fire.

Seven books later and this is the most important thing I learned: there is no such thing as a perfect heroine. Sometimes they are capable of being stuck-up, annoying, intimidating, conceited, distant, insecure, and unlikeable. But these flaws are important because it makes them real; it makes them representatives of our hurts, our dreams, and our passions. The best heroines are the ones that make us understand that no matter how ugly the world could be, there are still infinite ways of being beautiful, if only we search deeper than what meets the eye. Continue reading

The Game That Plays Us

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I tried looking for the best word that could describe this book yet failed big time not because of my limited vocabulary but because this book resisted, no, defied, being boxed in a one-word description. At first I decided ‘thought-provoking’ is accurate enough because it had me thinking from the first page down to the last, had me conflicted about the multitude of themes it touched on, had me revisiting things I learned from college (I graduated with a degree on Consular and Diplomatic Affairs, what a coincidence!). But then I also like to tell you that it’s also just as equally intense, compelling and just well, for the lack of a cooler adjective, fantastic. So kindly excuse the lengthy, pretentious-sounding review ahead, friends. You are warned. Continue reading

Bittersweet

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“When I crossed the street, according to my mother, I still had to hold someone’s hand. At ten, I would be able to cross streets unhanded. I’d held on to Joseph’s many times before, for many years, but holding his was like holding a plant, and the disappointment of fingers that didn’t grasp back was so acute that at some point I’d opted to take his forearm instead. For the first few street crossings, that’s what I did, but on the corner at Oakwood, on an impulse, I grabbed George’s hand. Right away: fingers, holding back. The sun. More clustery vines of bougainvillea draping over windows in bulges of dark pink. His warm palm. An orange tabby lounging on the sidewalk. People in torn black T-shirts sitting and smoking on steps. The city, opening up. We hit the sidewalk, and dropped hands.

How I wished, right then, that the whole world was a street.”

-Aimee Bender, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake

Punk Love Not Dead

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Opening sentence, page one and I am already smitten. It’s always interesting to read about love and relationships as told from a guy’s point of view because you can clearly see the glaring, frighteningly obvious contrast from that of the female perspective. It’s highly amusing and at its very best, hilarious. Although it can be inevitably obnoxious at some points, whaddaya know, it can be surprisingly enlightening too. Note to self: See what reading with an open mind does?

“It would be nice to think that as I’ve got older, times have changed, relationships have become more sophisticated, females less cruel, skins thicker, reactions sharper, instincts more developed. But there still seems to be an element of that evening in everything that happened to me since; all my other romantic stories seem to be a scrambled version of that first one. Of course, I have never had to take that long walk again, and my ears have not burned with quite the same fury, and I have never had to count the packs of cheap cigarettes in order to avoid mocking eyes and floods of tears… not really, not actually, not as such. It just feels that way, sometimes.”

My expectations, I must say, had been met and so much more. I liked that Rob, our main character, is as genuine as he is unapologetic for being so. His candid humor in narrating the relationships that mattered the most in his life plus his unabashed, honest principles on women and dating make for a very potent, opinionated voice that speaks in behalf of all the laidback, passive-aggressive males of his generation. Continue reading