My Collection of Books.. ( just a few, really )

I’m not a book geek. Although sometimes other people will assume that I am. Though there are times when a book just find its way to reach you. Before you notice it, you can’t just drop it after reading few chapters. I sometimes become obsessed with the authors and look for other books they wrote. Sometimes, when I go to a mall and happen to pass by a Book Sale Store, I can’t resist to visit and browse (the cover may look used and faded but the content still comprehensible and it’s cheaper :P). And of course, I check for the new releases and best sellers in our local book store (National Bookstore).

But I seldom read. My wife would usually “persuade” me to read the books she loved so she have someone to talk to about it. I can read 5 books in 1 month (If the book has several parts or a trilogy), sometimes none for 4 months. Simply saying I’m not that crazy for it. It depends if the author captures my liking (and how mad my wife is going to be if I show any sign of  indifference to it.)

But when I do, can’t get enough of it. I love the concepts. Another perspective of theories. Conspiracies. Humorous Jest and Innuendos. I love how they tell stories.  Its like watching television but has more specifics. They’re giving life to imaginations, making it more vivid.

Yet, I don’t consider myself as a book geek. To call yourself a book geek, you’re supposed to read at least eight books in a month. A total of 80 books a year (that’s the least, I think. I’m not that sure). They have libraries or at least a mini library. They’re usually authors themselves; magazine, tabloid, article writers; and those earning their living by reading and criticizing authors and writers combined.

Anyway, I’d like to share some of the books I love that I remember reading in the past years. You might find them entertaining too.

Like Water for Chocolate

by Laura Esquivel

First glance:

The novel follows the story of a young girl named Tita who longs her entire life to marry her lover, Pedro, but can never have him because of her mother’s upholding of the family tradition of the youngest daughter not marrying but taking care of her mother until the day she dies. Tita is only able to express herself when she cooks.

Esquivel employs magical realism to combine the supernatural with the ordinary.

My story:

I was in college and I was looking for something to read one day. I think I just finished reading “Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice. A  friend call me up for coffee and decided to meet. We talked about stuffs and I notice this book he had with him. I borrowed and skimmed it and found it funny at first because it features a recipe beginning a chapter. I wasn’t sure if those were edible: “Quail in Rose Petals” with a description that reads “This dish is for lovers, abandon propriety and eat with you hands”.  Hehehe.. It’s easy to read. A story about passion, love and cooking. I know, you’re wondering why a man like me got hooked to something.. so feminine.. Well, I was wondering myself. I’m not really sure. It’s like watching a mexican telenovela. Once I started, I just want to know how it ends. And what a feiry, blazing end it has.

I have another story. I once have a crush with a teacher in college (She’s 8-10 years older than me). We’re kind of mentally-level linked (whatever you call it) that in the middle of her discussion of a certain topic, I would blurt out my own ideas and she would answer me back. Because of the series of exchanging thoughts and perspective, I haven’t noticed that her class, my classmates, are all in awe. The relationship never evolved to anything else though. I just liked her for being a great teacher (Because she really is). I remember, she noticed I’m reading this book and she asked me if she could borrow it sometime. She was wondering too then, why am I’m reading Laura Esquivel’s stuff. Well, the only answer I can think of at that time is “Why not?”

Interview with a Vampire

by Anne Rice

First glance:

Interview with the Vampire is a vampire novel by Anne Rice written in 1973 and published in 1976. It was the first novel to feature the enigmatic vampire Lestat, and was followed by several sequels, collectively known as The Vampire Chronicles. A film version, Interview with the Vampire: Vampire Chronicles, was released in 1994 starring Brad Pitt, Kirsten Dunst, Antonio Banderas, Christian Slater and Tom Cruise.

To date, the novel has sold some 8 million copies worldwide.

The story is a simple one. Having suffered a tremendous personal loss, an 18th-century Louisiana plantation owner named Louis Pointe du Lac descends into an alcoholiclifestyle. He is confronted by Lestat, a charismatic and powerful vampire who chooses Louis to be his fledgling. The two prey on innocents, give their “dark gift” to a young girl, and seek out others of their kind (Theatres de Vampires) in Paris. Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the plot. First and foremost, the method Rice chose to tell her tale, with Louis’ first-person confession to a skeptical interviewer. Transformed the vampire from a hideous predator into a highly sympathetic, seductive, and all-too-human figure. Second, by entering the experience of an immortal character, one raised with a deep Catholic faith, Rice was able to explore profound philosophical concerns. The nature of evil, the reality of death, and the limits of human perception.

My Story:

Well, I was in grade 5 when I watched its film version. I read the book, I think it was in High School. I forgot whom did I borrowed it from (I hope I did return it, though). Well the title is intriguing. Interviewing someone who’ll potentially eat you right after.

When I was in Third Year High School, I was already into chatting in MIRC/IRC. I’m not sure why but I always stumble upon those people who has a collection of Anne Rice’s novels. I don’t really know her or any of her works (not counting adaptation in the film). So I researched about it. I got into some strange sites regarding vampires, werewolves and other creatures of the night. (My family’s not really into books, especially vampire themed. They would freaked out if they know, scold me and would assume that I’m a member of a cult learning occult stuffs.) Then I just forgotten all about it until college. I got into a crowd who collected lots of books. They have a complete collection, so I borrowed it. I started my own collection since then.

Veronica Decides to Die

by Paulo Coelho

First glance:

When Paulo Coelho was a young man, his parents had him committed to mental hospitals three times because he wanted to be an artist–an unacceptable profession in Brazil at the time. During his numerous forced incarcerations he vowed to write some day about his experiences and the injustices of involuntary commitment. In this fable-like novel, Coelho makes good on his promise, with the creation of a fictional character named Veronika who decides to kill herself when faced with all that is wrong with the world and how powerless she feels to change anything. Although she survives her initial suicide attempt, she is committed to a mental hospital where she begins to wrestle with the meaning of mental illness and whether forced drugging should be inflicted on patients who don’t fit into the narrow definition of “normal.”

My Story:

One afternoon, my wife (girlfriend then) brought a book. I was intrigued by title and realized it must be another feministic book. Nevertheless, I decided to read it again, due to insistent Vem, and it’s worth it. Great story and great ending. After reading the book, It reminds me of a certain mentally ill person, who talked to me in a coffee shop. Hmmm.. That was a weird experience. (maybe I’ll share it next time)

I question life as it is. I mean, we all do at some point, right? There are times in my life, I was thinking of suicide. Not because I feel bad or in any agonizing pain (physically or mentally), but just to escape the redundancy and boredom. Then I read of Paulo Coelho’s works. Great stuff for those who are into soul searching. The only thing that I find uncomfortable (or maybe not really) about this experience, when this become part of the mainstream culture, is that lots of people assumed they really understand its content and claimed they were changed by it and become “spiritually matured”. And yet, their actions presents the opposite. Well, I can’t say it’s good but I secretly find it funny though. 🙂

King Arthur and his Knights

by Stuart Campbell

First Glance:

It’s a children’s book. It is a classic book tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. I’m not sure if it’s a complete version. It’s one of the first books I read. I almost forgotten it’s content and I can’t find any review about it in the net. Basically, it’s King Arthur’s adventure, on how he become a king, Merlin’s guidance, formation of the round table, Lady Guinivere, Betrayal of Lancelot, the coming of Galahad, the quest of Holy Grail, the battle with Mordred. The Greates Hits, I guessed.

My Story:

I was in Grade Four when I started reading this one. My interests in reading books started with King Arthur. I began to cultivate the idea of becoming a knight someday (somehow..). After finishing this, I continue on reading teeny bopper books like: Choose Your Own Adventure, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys etc. Well, this book became one of the reasons, I guess, that I joined “Booklovers Club”.

48 Laws of Power

by Robert Greene and Joost Elffers

First Glance:

The laws cull their principles from many great schemers–and scheming instructors–throughout history, from Sun-Tzu to Talleyrand, from Casanova to con man Yellow Kid Weil. They are straightforward in their amoral simplicity: “Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit,” or “Discover each man’s thumbscrew.” Each chapter provides examples of the consequences of observance or transgression of the law, along with “keys to power,” potential “reversals” (where the converse of the law might also be useful), and a single paragraph cleverly laid out to suggest an image (such as the aforementioned thumbscrew); the margins are filled with illustrative quotations. Practitioners of one-upmanship have been given a new, comprehensive training manual, as up-to-date as it is timeless. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

My Story:

I started to really collect books when I was around 18 years old. I mean, really browsing and buying one in bookstore or in book sale. I think the first book I ever bought was The Art of War by Sun Tzu. It is a great book. Being the first ever book I bought (I’m a little thrifty, you know) I would bring it anywhere I go. Then a friend of mine, offered to swap me with his “48 laws of power” for a week. It was a pocket size (my “Art of War” was hardbound), I didn’t find it appealing, at first, but being my friend for a long time (He was a childhood friend), I decided to let him borrowed it. So it’s settled. The “48 laws of power” was great. I would recommend it to all cutthroats. Great insights for dog-eat-dog situations.

Holy Blood, Holy Grail

by  Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln

First Glance:

In The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, the authors put forward a hypothesis, that the historical Jesus married Mary Magdalene, had one or more children, and that those children or their descendants emigrated to what is now southern France. Once there, they intermarried with the noble families that would eventually become the Merovingian dynasty, whose special claim to the throne of France is championed today by a secret society called the Priory of Sion. They concluded that the legendary Holy Grail is simultaneously the womb of saint Mary Magdalene and the sacred royal bloodline she gave birth to.

An international bestseller upon its release, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail spurred interest in a number of ideas related to its central thesis. Response from professional historians and scholars from related fields was universally negative. They argued that the bulk of the claims, ancient mysteries, and conspiracy theories presented as facts are pseudohistorical. Nevertheless, these ideas were considered blasphemous enough for the book to be banned in some Roman Catholic-dominated countries such as the Philippines.

My Story:

I was having dinner at my wife’s home. She was my girlfriend then at that time. After we eat, we went to her room so she can finish her homework and so I can help her out. There was a vacant room just in front of hers. It’s the creepiest room in the house. I remember I asked her about it but maybe I’ll tell you all about it next time. When Vem went to room to work on her homework, I checked out this creepiest room I’m telling you about. Then I see a shelf full of books. So I browse the shelf and saw some Sydney Sheldon stuffs and then I saw this book lying on the floor, with its cover already tattered. I decided to read it. (I thought it’s about knights and Arthurian Tales because of the title cover) This book really changed me (Da Vinci Code doesn’t exist yet) on how we should take on historical facts not basing it on verbal authorities. I’m not saying I believed  it, all am saying we should weigh on every aspects of truth before we accept it.

Copyright © 2011. Smokebear’s Paw. All rights reserved.

… to be continued..


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