Skip to main content

This Will Shock You Senseless

As a writer, I make it a point that I read and read and read some more , because the only way any self-respecting writer would improve in his craft is to amass as much experience and information as he can, which, of course, is a rather difficult endeavor (given the restrictions of time and money, among other viable resources).

There's also the question of knowing what to read. Which is an important question, because while everything readable is always a valuable resource depending on the person, not all books are actually conducive for writerly inspiration. You could spend hours and hours going through books like The Name of the Rose or Solzhenitsyn's The Gulag Archipelago and you wouldn't come up with anything inspiring. Those are two awesome books, don't get me wrong, but they're both two rather difficult books - and when books get difficult, they tend to render you useless for the next couple of days (at least, in my experience).

Just recently, I came across, through sheer serendipity, a list of books given by Donald Barthelme to his students when the writer was still teaching. The list is an eighty-strong bum rush of novels and the occasional short story collection, all rumored to be of varying levels of awesome and guaranteed somewhat to be anything but boring. In his article, Kevin Moffett exudes that each and every one of the books he found within the list were guaranteed to intrigue and to entrap the reader within its world, and I'd have to agree; I've read several of the books within the list (not enough, apparently, but sufficient to keep me happy as of now), and I have to say that the ones I've read are life-changing pieces of absolute brilliance.

Take, for example, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. This is, I think, THE prime example of magic-realism in the known world. It rendered me incapable of coherent, happy thoughts for a month due to the breadth and width of its powerful imagery and convoluted cast of the most indescribably tragic characters I have ever seen.

Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities takes the magic of the former book, condenses it, makes go to bed with a little bit of history, then tosses that same history out the back door because it cramped the magic's style. Really, there is no other way to describe this book, since the entire thing is made up of various snippets of story that illuminates the period of time Marco Polo spent with Kublai Khan.

Some of the other books that I've read (or will be reading) in his list are; A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess; V by Thomas Pynchon; and The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera. For a full list of the books, you can visit Kevin Moffett's article here; you can find photographs of a much-stained and ratty-looking list, which for some reason, is very, very stimulating.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Maynilad Water Chronicles: The Clusterf$%#, Part 2

This is the third post in our Maynilad Water chronicles. This time, we will talk about just how inept their record keeping skills are in the face of a massive overhaul in a given area. This involves a technique used by Meralco in high-risk areas called clustering, and is efficient – if utilized correctly. Needless to say, Maynilad has yet to be able to do this.

The Furious Muse in the Room Upstairs (part 3)

This is a story in progress. I will post it in chunks, for the next few weeks, as I complete it. A warning: this tale is definitely not for children, so parental advisory is advised. Or don’t let your kids read this. At all. Story begins after the jump.

Today's Philippines...

...is the worst. Everybody's suddenly an expert in politics, and suddenly the lines just have  to be drawn. You're either a Dutertard, or you're not. If you're pro-Duterte, you're a horrible person who doesn't care one bit about human rights. If you're anti, you're an unpatriotic yellowtard. How the flying fuck did we come to this? Just how divided, how deeply wounded are we as a country, that we can't be civilized in the way we approach the criticism of the other side? And why can there be no middle ground? I understand just how bad the government's recent actions are - and it isn't even past Digong's first 100 days yet! There's absolutely no excuse for how he's behaving - katokayo Martin, if you're reading this, take note - and seriously, there's only so much spin you can put on a story until it comes back full circle. Get somebody up there to slap your boss before he says something stupid again, he's making the godda…