Sunday, July 19, 2015

Go Home Faulkner, You're Drunk ('Difficult Books' series)

In my quest to 'broaden my literary horizon' I made a point to go out of this  terrible 'complaisant zone' I am currently at. To be honest, my reading state is probably a lot bleaker that what I'm letting on: I have not finished a novel since three months ago!

As penitensya for my incessant lack of drive and, I suppose, to jolt my brain back to the pace it used to enjoy prior to this reading drought, I decided that I must go the route of reading 'Difficult Books'.

"A difficult book is still just a book", I told myself; how silly to get hung up on what other people say about how much of a PitA it is to slough through. I pride myself on reading basically everything I get my hands on. Because when all your life you've felt that reading a book was the warmest, most comfortable state to just be, it feels as natural as a breeze turning a page.

So I grabbed a copy of William Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury.

I am lucky enough to be at this point in my life where I am allowed (and I allow
myself!) the pleasure of time to do the things I want to when the day is alive and bright and shining. I started to read Sound/Fury under a tree at a local park.

Others say Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco is a 'Difficult Book'. Despite the obvious bandwagon of people just determined to hate it, I beg to disagree. It was a superbly written, thrilling piece of literature that truly made me think about all the collosal records lost or preserved about the hidden knowlege of the world, throughout the history, throughout different societies, and the intricacies of hidden meaning that are protected from the collective. But this... this Sound/Fury is something else. It is a very Difficult Book.

Granted, the novels are completely different, but the level of reading comprehension feels, for me at least, almost the same. I was required to find the flow of the story, voices of the characters when in dialogue, and imagine worlds that I've never been in with just a few descriptive paragraphs. But Sound/Fury required me to let go of the usual/familiar structure.The first 5 pages were severe. It felt like lurching through a different time, landing in the middle of an arguing group of strangers.

I'm not giving up on reading this book, but I feel that its not the right moment for me to pick it up and resume reading but that's okay! We all get to read another day :) For now I'll think of what book to pick up next, and also play with the pigeons that want to join me on my picnic (but I have a nagging suspicion they're just in it for the bread.)

Ok then, next I'm picking up: The History of Sexuality (Vol. I) by Michel Foucault. Non-fiction. Philosophy and History. Bracing myself for the impact!

See you~
Happy reading

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Sweetest Read: A Review of "The Wedding Bees" by Sarah-Kate Lynch

A really sweet, easy read. Best enjoyed with a glass of iced honey tea.

I've always had a place in my heart for characters that sound like they're from the "polite" southern parts. In my head I always hear their endearing drawl, and I'm always reminded of their prim and proper ways.

The heroine of The Wedding Bees is just that: Proper, polite and charming to a fault. But she's no pampered southern belle. Sugar Wallace is a beekeeper and a whiz at honey-making. She earns her keep, traveling across the country with her honeybee queen, Elizabeth VI, and all the bee drones, in tow.

Her bees led her to set up her beehive on the balcony of an apartment in New York, where despite the stark difference to the southern states from which she hails, she gets to meet and help the residents of the building. Her southern manners and charm provides a refreshing change in the gray lives of her neighbors.

Sugar has resolutely tried to stay out of the path of romance, but it seems like Elizabeth VI and her bee subjects have something up their pollen-filled sleeves.

For me, its enchanting to imagine going on a cross-country adventure to find a place in a world just for yourself; and that's what Sugar Wallace did (with her bees!) She found a good place to stay and cultivated it to the best of her abilities, never mind that she's alone doing it, and in an unfamiliar place, too!

Although I can't imagine being a beekeeper (I'm not really afraid of honeybees, but I'm wary because I can't tell honeybees from killerbees or from wasps or some other kind of not-so-nice bees) but I love the thought that Sugar is an entrepreneur and a manufacturer all on her own. She made soaps, lotions, ointments and batches of honey in a jar from the produce that her bees give her.

Sugar has to survive in a crowded and bustling city without the benefit of knowing anyone before she moved. Luckily, she had her bright disposition and polite manners with her, and she easily made friends among her neighbors and won the heart of a good man.

Sugar was described to be beautiful, softt, with porcelain skin and bright hair. Theo is a lawyer; tall, good-hearted and still had his distinct Scottish accent.

Sugar was not without baggage however, because there's a reason why she's off traveling: To get away from her native South Carolina as far as possible. Despite her strength, she also has had a rough time growing up due to family issues.

I won't give out a lot of spoilers, because there's not really much to spoil since the story flows as sweet as warm honey. Overall the novel gives a bright, hopeful feeling. It also makes you want to make some toast to spread honey and sprinkle a little cinnamon on.