book : William Golding | Lord of The Flies
song : James Brown | It’s a Man’s World
If you’re already familiar with the book, you might be asking why I use the magnum opus of blues ballads and the term it carries: man. But to begin with, I will walk through the reasons why this book stands out in the essential man’s library, among the books that would determine the lives of individual men and carve the spunk needed to be a man. Technically speaking, Lord of the Flies is a paragon of a kosher writer that is William Golding. While this is his first novel, he evoked the basis of human attitude: primal instinct.
Golding had an intimate encounter with World War II, and he poured what he saw through this story—putting aside all his rage. Consequently, some readers consider the book as repulsive for being too elucidative. The pivotal understanding throughout the chapters showcased human nature in its purest stature. To give a short visual, it has been said that Golding wrote this as an incarnation to respond Coral Island incident in which a crowd of boys was stranded on an Island involving cannibalism and pig-slaughtering. Thus, this was more than just an ugly boys escapade, it’s a self-voyage to conquer the coveted side of men; the bona fide devil within a human being. Jack, Piggy and Ralph are the three roles with engaging characters you wouldn’t want to miss. I call Jack the flaky, the one who’s juggling between survival and having a good time, powerless to his own impulse yet spreading a catchy habit amidst the other boys. Piggy, the mewl, always referring every decision to his aunt as unjustified reference and in any case able to create excuses not to do something. Ralph, the wordy, stands halfway on everything, in between of indulging his instincts but can’t seem to jump off the ledge. A composed English lad at times and fuzzy brat at others.
It’s crystal clear to point out how Sigmund Freud governed Golding’s writing. Nevertheless, his unique terminology and kinships made it more.. how do I put this in words.. aesthetically pleasing. The dictum of leadership is quite vigorously concealed—bear in mind that these boys are only 6-7 years old. As to the case of clashes between Jack—the leader—with Thomas’s principles. Thomas’s of the opinion that a prominent power should be in command of a civilization in order to run well. He expects the leader to be in charge of everything. Jack, on the other hand, oozes his force to lure people with his cogent enticement. Golding uses numerous epitomes within the story, and among other there are symbolism about freedom, order and unity. These ideologies are personified by the conch, in which became a tool of free speech and must be hold in order to express anything at the tribal council. As the story proceeds, the conch turns into a symbol of chaos within anarchy.
These reasons are the vindication why I used the song and the term man instead of referring them as children. The young boys shipwrecked on an island and all its turmoils are the allegory of predicaments face by every mature man. These boys are forced to function beyond their years, as to a gentleman entering adulthood compelled to suddenly relinquish his childish sentiment. A fictional study of the struggle for power and the unspeakable things that man (or child) will do when taken outside the order of civilization.. almost like seeing Peter Pan having no choice but to grow up.
book : Chuck Palahniuk | Invisible Monster
song : Apparat | Arcadia [mixed]
Disclaimer: [Palahniuk mode: ON] Before I go too far with my biased and somewhat judgmental opinion, this post is an epitome of self-contentment through my subjective perspective. I wrote this for me and myself only. Mind your own fault-finding elsewhere. *cheers*
Just before I wrote this extended blab of self-proclaimed interrelation between Chuck Palahniuk and moi, someone—and I say this in the sweetest way possible—mindlessly asked for my opinion about the first draft of his book. As luck would have it, he turned out to be a lovely human being with great composure and patience as I blatantly trashed his book. Staggeringly confused, I was highly flattered that he will fully trust my opinion—or so he said. Then what it has to do with Palahniuk?
Palahniuk knows how to leave traces of genuine morbid assessments in your head (and by your head I mean mine). He is—move over Nolan—the God of inception. I’ve read some books by local writers superficially yearning for reader’s after-effect the way Palahniuk did with his words. Sad to say, some of them fell flat. Some of them started off by calling their characters with nonnative names, then using hyperbolic phrases in hope for melodramatic repercussions, then plotting the scenes with over-the-top settings, then it became the love child of pompous fib and chintzy predictable knockoff. Chuck Palahniuk’s narratives are dark and twisted for a reason, and that is because he is…. dark and twisted. These writings came from a person who once a regular participant of Santa Rampage (celebrating Christmas with pranks and boozes), a person who’s grown attached to terminally ill patients whom he’s volunteering for. He’s as true as the color white in cotton.
I was remarkably drawn by the main character, a scenic model named Shannon McFarland whose jaw was shot off while she was on the road (I did say twisted, didn’t I?). This nightmare is just the beginning. To name a few, her best friend walks off with her clothing when she’s being treated in the hospital, her fiancé leaves her, and well.. you should read the rest by yourself. Yet the storyline is anything but flat or straightly plummeting because you are in for (a number of) surprises. Somewhere in the book, Shannon will meet her conundrum, a pill-popping
transgendered diva and decides to do a riotous trip. The book was never about the plot—nor the character if I may asses due to the ramifications done upon me up to the point when I no longer give a hoot to even recollect their names. Constant flashbacks, twists over twists and cockamamie ending drove me back and forth relentlessly. Since I happen to love veiled monstrously beautiful figure who constantly grouching about self-pity and bathos, it was all worth the ride.
book : Evan S. Connell | Mrs. Bridge
song : Ella Fitzgerald | Cry You Out of My Heart
Firstly, apology for the one-day late submission. Yesterday the internet was DEFINITELY not a friend in need. Secondly, tumblr won’t allow submitting two audio posts per day (BOO!) hence the youtube link as a substitution for 4th song. BUT, doesn’t mean that I would belittle the value of this book since I do think Mrs. Bridge is one of the most peculiar-yet-amusing characters I’ve ever come across. I was wandering around the book store when I noticed a lovely middle-aged lady on the cover. As soon as I opened the first page, its first line captivated me within a second:
Her first name was India..
In spite of the fact that I’m a huge classic literature groupie, I’m never too keen on American writings—with the exception of just a few books, including this one. Purportedly a portrayal of a marriage, the husband is conspicuously absent from the whole story. Mr. Bridge—the alpha male—is an eminent lawyer, allegedly incapable to proclaim his endearment to the family. The man is strong-minded towards wealth and triumph, a man whose distinctiveness is prone to tangible materials. The wife, the main character, Mrs. Bridge, is a forcefully subdued character as well. Beguiled by her own feelings of discontentment, presaged with paranoia of admiration and bedeviled with outward show. From their children’s standpoint, it’s not a surprise that these attitudes drive them away, so as to their parents outrageous homage to social status which destroys any window of possible genuine human relation between them.
Noted as one of the most exceptional books of American literature in 20th century, Connell’s work superbly mold the fabricated illustration of marriage lives in an upper middle class. What I truly love is how Connell articulated India Bridge in short chapters as opposed to seemingly-endless bundles of words—that for the most part bored me to death. Set in a Kansas City suburb, this book offers countless vignettes of perfect-and altogether-fatigued life, way way back before Stepford Wives stepped in. The storyline is painstakingly manicured as realistic as possible in its own way, the book guides us from India’s marriage-birth-grown children-family rejection-all the way to forlorn widowhood. As depressed as it may sound, this book is a joy to read. For someone who once worked for ELLE Decoration magazine like yours truly, India’s pseudo-conversation concerning Royal Doulton, Wedgewood, and all those la-di-das might come as a reality slap. Then slowly comes Grace Barron—conceivably an apparent manifestation of India’s frustration, the woman’s living the exact life as India; but not as claustrophobic. And I will leave a question—in Grace’s words—dedicated to all you pompous and material minded individuals:
Have you ever felt like those people in the Grimm fairy tale-the ones who were all hollowed out in the back?
book : John Moyne & Coleman Barks | Open Secrets: Versions of Rumi
song : Tasavvuf Ilahi
Jalal ad-Dīn Muhammad Rumi. The name was spoken to me through my grandfather’s writings. I noticed him reading Rumi’s poetry just a few months after he started teaching me how to read The Holy Qur’an (might be bewildered to some knowing he’s a devout Catholic). He was—in his words—“enchanted” with Sufism. After he passed away, I grew farther away from Islam—despite the fact that his religion is different, he was the sole reason why i love mine. I kept his little diary about the books he read which hauled me to sufi poetry, particularly Mevlana Rumi’s. It was then the world of Persian literature started to unfold.
The title Open Secret: Versions of Rumi speaks for itself. It unveils worlds of the person who’s notable for epitomizing sufi stances on life and establishing the Mevlevi (Maulaviyya) order of dervishes, oftentimes called whirling dervishes (if you must ask, yes, they are the guys twirling around with long skirts—but let’s not reduce their presence by calling the robe as skirt, shall we?). And YES, he initiated those hypnotic and ravishing whirling dervishes. It might sound ludicrous, but I did try this. After I read this book—which was the first book I read of Rumi—I tried enacting as a dervish, put on a long skirt and was mainly spinning round and round in circular motions until I plunged into trances where I commune with the divine. This is exactly what reading Rumi’s poetry will affect readers. Any fan of poetry would know how picturesque and scriptural his poems are. It’s a pity I don’t have any knowledge in Arabic writings because reading his true language would be a celestial experience. I have 8 books of his poetry in English translation but nobody can understand Rumi the way Coleman Barks does. Barks renders his word with austerity and unequivocal sentences, evoking senses about the world of Sufi without barging its sacred value with western culture through English language.
I’ve squandered hundreds of nights contemplating the meaning of the poems in Open Secret and disbursed other nights pondering just how a human can baste words into such alluring artwork. His words are too beautiful, I resist myself from interpreting them.
Friend, our closeness is this.
Anywhere you put your foot, feel me.
In the firmness under you.
How is it with this love,
I see your world and not you?
To understand him implies to know him from a different time, that he was a scholar in all sense of the word. Sufism did not make him held captive by Islam or any religious form by its very nature. His short phrases utter only immense life fundamentals.
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.
And if you excuse me, I think I’m going to whirl around again now..
images from wikipedia
book : Matthew Reinhart | Cinderella [A Pop-up Fairy Tale]
song : Ilene Woods & Mike Douglas | So This is Love
Who doesn’t know Cinderella? Her tales have been told for hundreds of years. The world called her Cinderella, Cenerentola, Askepott, Aschenputtel, Cendrillon—and probably the oldest known portrayal of this lady—Rhodopis. I won’t re-tell you her story because everyone’s familiar with that, thus I’d share to you my experience with her.
I still remember boldly in one afternoon when I was 5, my father sat me on his lap and showed me its 1950s animated movie by Walt Disney. Ever since, my world grew as rose-pink as Cindy’s cheeks. I became the hopelessly romantic, the girliest of a girl, the toddler in a fantasy world full of unicorns and rainbows—and believe it or not, still goes on. It’s not until college that I started reading Disney’s
princesses classics. Why? I remember all the way from junior high to high school, I was itching to toss all the girlish childhood recollections that can drag me away from being called as an adult. I hated pink, I hated fluffy bears, flowers, hearts, what have you. I hankered for rebellion and disobedience. But the minute I found Cinderella’s old movie and re-watched it, I realized I was wrong. I am—forever—a little girl.
All tales of Cinderella is a mimic of my world—and most probably all girls’. Personally, it’s neither about stumbling upon prince charming nor ordained with the presence of fairy god mother. It’s about repossessing the bygones, taking hold of the second chance, finding the other glass slipper.
As mesmerizing as it is, Cinderella is still at the helm for the overwhelming impact of princess outbreak coloring the world with pink and baby blue. Apparently not all parents want their daughters to be called princess. Might sound cynical to segregate fairy tales from children but Peggy Orenstein has a point in her New York Times article, What’s Wrong With Cinderella.
And that’s exactly what I love about this particular book in the photographs. Matthew Reinhart doesn’t dwell on pinkish l’amour between Cinderella and prince charming (Cindy’s even portrayed as carrot-haired!), proving her story a corpus of rising above agony and prejudice with a twist of humor and a soupçon of liaison.
Reinhart meticulously constructed six spreads of Cinderella’s most renowned scenes. As I turn the pages, an outlandish and starry-eyed world transpires, gorging me with three-dimensional wonders. The glass slipper motion and character morphing literally stopped me from blinking for a minute. I’ve had Reinhart’s Cinderella since December 2010 and currently opening it for the 20th time. The reality is an ugly sight, thus each time I open the book—even without listening to Ilene Woods’s voice—I always find myself at peace while mumbling, “hmm hmm.. hmm hmm…..”
PS: the photographs are mine. if you want to use them, feel free to email me beforehand :)
book : Jack Kerouac | Dharma Bums
song : Owen Pallett | Scandal at the Parkade
The first time I read this book was in high school. It was my brother’s. A few years later I bought the book and this was the moment where I first fell in love with Mr. Kerouac. Just a few weeks before I wrote this review, a nice stranger whom I only met for a few hours gave me the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition of it (with exclusive illustrations within the pages hence my ultimate favorite version of the book). After I get to know him for a while, oddly he grew as a vivid realization of Raymond Smith (the main character). It has been reckoned that Ray is an autobiographical depiction of Kerouac.
The story was firstly colored as he pops “a freight out of Los Angeles at high-noon one day in late September 1955,” mercifully stands in as your ordinary bum (or so we commonly known them as) who recklessly steps from one journey to another. Ray defies the term pilgrimage, sporting his lifetime belongings in a rucksack and sipping wine within any chance provided. Nonetheless, this was not intended for lotus-seeking per se, ergo his triggered insight to the principles of Buddhism. He finds himself—within this voyage—dispatching each layer of life to discover that it was all agony and suffering. This book itself didn’t gag me with Buddhist ground rules, it did everything in spite of that. It showed me the parallel universe between ideologies of all religions. It was intensely displayed when he embarks the journey where the relationship between Catholic-raised Ray and his belief in God and Christ is confronted by Japhy Ryder (another portrayal of Zen poet Gary Synder), a gentleman walking alongside him with roguish twinkling eye and heart that loudly shouts love and compassion towards the world. Their first goal to conquer the Matterhorn’s pinnacle shifts into harbingers and conversations of a blooming brotherhood bond.
I could go on and on and on about this book but it will leave you with no surprise. The title bum is actually meant as us human. Workers, politicians, writers, activists, priests, ordinary people commencing different directions. The term allows us to grasp that no one is better than anyone. Religions, races, genders aside, we all born and die. Then who are these people we called as Dharma Bums? Why should we be captivated with their story? Maybe wanting to be like them? in real life or merely in imagination? It embodies a time, (a naive time perhaps) that all mankind should enter at least once in his/her life. A dreamer, a free-spirited wayfarer, a fitful pilgrim yearning after dharma, the perpetual honesty about how things are and will always be. Raymond Smith, Japhy Ryder, as also the nice stranger who gave me the book, are the Dharma Bums.