Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Reading List

Amidst thesis book-compiling and a paper/interview for one last major, I am so happy to finally brush the dust off the covers of some books I bought a while back for future reading. At last, said future is finally here and there is no more guilt in reading a couple of paragraphs to satiate this reader's thirst for pretty words strung together in equally pretty sentences.

I had the pleasure of stumbling upon Frances Mayes' A Year in the World one January evening. Good travel books are such a treat, and some of my favorite books fall under this category - Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence being one of them, what with his rich description of this region in France, of the people, of the season, of the food!

I cheated reading about three pages during thesis crunch time, and knew I had to stop once I came across this beautiful excerpt for fear of doing nothing else but reading the whole book:

Travel pushes my boundaries. Seemingly self-indulgent, travel paradoxically obliterates me-me-me, because very quickly - prestissimo - the own-little-self is unlocked from the present and released to move through layers of time. It is not 2006 all over the world. So who are you in a place where 1950 or 1920 is about to arrive? Or where the guide says, "We're not talking about A.D. today. Everything from now on is B.C." I remember the child who came out of a thatched shack deep in the back roads of Nicaragua. She ran to touch the car, her arms thrown up in wonder. She would have looked at the headlights turn on and off all night.
You are released also because you are insignificant to the life of the new place. When you travel, you become invisible, if you want. I do want. I like to be the observer. What makes these people who they are? Could I feel at home here? No one expects you to have the stacks of papers back by Tuesday, or to check messages, or to fertilize the geraniums, or to sit full of dread in the waiting room at the proctologist's office. When travelling, you have the delectable possibility of not understanding a word of what is said to you. Language becomes simply a musical background for watching bicycles zoom along a canal, calling for nothing from you. Even better, if you speak the language, you catch nuances and make more contact with people.
Travel releases spontaneity. You become a godlike creature full of choice, free to visit the stately pleasure domes, make love in the morning, sketch a bell tower, read a history of Byzantium, stare for one hour at the face of Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna dei fusi. You open, as in childhood, and - for a time - receive this world. There's the visceral aspect, too - the huntress who is free. Free to go, free to return home bringing memories to lay on the hearth. 

She's got it spot on, I think! This is one of those few moments when you're so happy that this writer gets you and has put what you feel (or would want to feel) into the perfect mix of words.

The other book on the list is David Levithan's The Lover's Dictionary, which I think I've mentioned before. As expensive as it had been, I'm happy I have it! The uniqueness in which it had been written is one of my favorite things - how a relationship between two people was described in the format of a dictionary is just lovely. One of my favorite words? Basis.

Cheers to a wonderful reading year!


  1. These are both seem like lovely books.

  2. I'll add them to my reading list once my obsession with romantic fairy tales come to an end

  3. As I was scanning through your post, looking for something that would interest me, I found something quite familiar tht caught my attention.

    I have seen the lover's dictionary once while my sister and I visited a local bookstore. I decided to check on it then my sister told me she has a copy of it in her reader. Several days or probably week later, I remembered about the book and decided to start reading it. Unmistakenly, I also fell in love with the word basis. Just something I or probably we can relate with. :)

    1. Of course I remember you! OMG LJ DAYS. I'm actually delighted you found me pa! HOW ARE YOUUUUUUUUUU. :D

      It's lovely, isn't it? It's quite the unique book.

    2. ikr! I miss reading your posts, went to your LJ account and found you here. :D

      I'm still the same pa rin though we moved to a different place. How about you? Musta ka na?

      Yeah, I find the book lovely though I get influenced by my sister's comments. She said the book is weird daw. Or something like that. She didn't like it that much that's why she didn't finish it.

      I'm not much into reading so probably it'll take me a while to finish it. :/

      Anyway, It's nice to see you again. Will drop by more often. :D


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