I’ve read three books straight from December 23 to today and I’m polishing off my fourth one. I read half of The Lost Symbol, left it to sit for After Dark, read the next half, finished Norwegian Wood yesterday morning, and I’m in my last 12 pages of The Great Gatsby (I’m delaying the inevitable).
I’ve been sick since the 26th, enough to shun sitting in front of my laptop so I’ve just been lying in bed reading day in, day out. It’s pretty sad. I do log in once and a while but I get dizzy pretty quickly and retreat back to my hole. All the while I’m mourning all my would-be plans with my block mates which we never manage to concretize. And when we finally somehow do, I’m sick when it happens.
After Gatsby, I’m torn three ways between Kafka on the Shore, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, or The Stranger.
Since I’m being an invalid anyway, I might as well do this 50 Book Challenge thing, even if so far I haven’t really finished any of these “Challenges”. But I want a half-purpose attached to my being a hermit even if it’s just a meaningless challenge on the Internet intent on teaching me that “reading is fun!” Excuse me while I chortle to myself; I just read that in Judith’s voice.
Sometime ago, I half-promised to write more and whine less (it’s okay if you didn’t read that one though, it was unnecessarily long). While in my completely objective opinion I think I have been whining less, I haven’t really been writing more about things even if no one else will read them. Because I am a woman who never fails to half-commit to my half-promises, I’m half-promising right now to write something of a series on my thoughts on books I’ve recently read.
Eloquently, this series or whatever it is will be called My Thoughts on Books I’ve Recently Read/Read Recently (whichever is more catchy). This one is my thoughts on Haruki Murakami’s hugely popular Norwegian Wood—but you already knew that from the title. I don’t recommend you read this if you’re expecting a “proper” review in the sense that I’m going to try to convince you if it’s worth reading or not. It is, as mentioned, just my thoughts. Anywaaaay…
I’ve had people whose opinions I trust in these kinds of things tell me that Norwegian Wood is the best Murakami they’ve ever read. And even putting it away from the context of just Murakami’s body of works, this book is frequently mentioned as “favorite book of all time,” usually with “of all time” repeated for emphasis. So you can imagine I completely wound my spring (harhar) over reading this book. I was looking forward to it. I even read the shorter After Dark before it just to put me in the right mood.
Why don’t you believe in God? I get that question all the time. I always try to give a sensitive, reasoned answer. This is usually awkward, time consuming and pointless. People who believe in God don’t need proof of his existence, and they certainly don’t want evidence to the contrary. They are happy with their belief. They even say things like “it’s true to me” and “it’s faith.” I still give my logical answer because I feel that not being honest would be patronizing and impolite. It is ironic therefore that “I don’t believe in God because there is absolutely no scientific evidence for his existence and from what I’ve heard the very definition is a logical impossibility in this known universe,” comes across as both patronizing and impolite.
Arrogance is another accusation. Which seems particularly unfair. Science seeks the truth. And it does not discriminate. For better or worse it finds things out. Science is humble. It knows what it knows and it knows what it doesn’t know. It bases its conclusions and beliefs on hard evidence -- evidence that is constantly updated and upgraded. It doesn’t get offended when new facts come along. It embraces the body of knowledge. It doesn’t hold on to medieval practices because they are tradition. If it did, you wouldn’t get a shot of penicillin, you’d pop a leach down your trousers and pray. Whatever you “believe,” this is not as effective as medicine. Again you can say, “It works for me,” but so do placebos. My point being, I’m saying God doesn’t exist. I’m not saying faith doesn’t exist. I know faith exists. I see it all the time. But believing in something doesn’t make it true. Hoping that something is true doesn’t make it true. The existence of God is not subjective. He either exists or he doesn’t. It’s not a matter of opinion. You can have your own opinions. But you can’t have your own facts.
I am not concerned so much with Church teachings, but with the way men’s minds work. To put it bluntly, I believe the world is patriarchal because men are bigger and stronger than women, and can beat them up. The earliest archeological evidence we have for human family development indicates patriarchies preceded written language. Indeed, if we study other primates we see that their cultures are also male-dominant, and presumably they’ve not arrived at this state after careful discussion.
Once primates got started on this track, it seems to have been fixed in our nature. I know evolutionary and biological theories have been advanced to explain it. I can think of a theological reason: Eve was required to tempt Adam so that Man would be stained with Original Sin, and then Jesus could die to redeem us. Two sexes were required. Parthenogenesis provided few opportunities for sin.
Today such reasons are less compelling. A lot of it comes down to: Men like it this way, it suits their nature, and they have the power to enforce it. There must be something abhorrent to some men in the ideas of female rights and equality. Does it threaten them? Does it diminish them?
Today we had a ~high school reunion~ Christmas party even if only around 10 of us showed up from a class of 47. We were supposed to have it in my friend Bea’s house, but she had something going on so we ended up trooping to McDonald’s as usual. And since we’re in college now and there are boxes to be ticked, we sort of decided to move to Blue Ginger—it’s like Dencio’s but cheaper and more grimy.
Long story short, I went home early because we have a family Christmas party to attend tomorrow, and recovering from a hangover-induced migraine is not the way to show my relatives my mother’s smashing parenting skills (also: beer…eew).
So while I wile away my forever alone-ness on the eve of Christmas Eve, have this song from Darren Criss (I watched him yesterday btw).
how when you’re writing something, you start off thinking it’s brilliant but as you go along it just gets crappier and crappier you start to think it wasn’t brilliant to begin with and end up scrapping it?
because for some reason, whenever I try to tag my friends on the Facebook Note version of this, when I start typing @Sel or @Are the drop down thingy doesn’t display my friends’ names but fan pages (“David Wong” is apparently a director). It’s weird and because I’m completely inept when it comes to techno know-how, I gave up and just decided on posting it here. Well, I already wrote it and it’s a shame to not put it anywhere.
This is where it starts to read like it’s a Facebook Note. Play along with me here.
So I had this in my drafts for a while because I was considering how detrimental it would be to my reputation, but then I remembered I didn’t have one anyway, so I’m just going to tag those people who I think would semi-care. Congratulations.
The Rules: Don’t take too long to think about it. Fifteen fictional characters (television, films, plays, books, video games) who’ve influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first fifteen you can recall in no more than fifteen minutes. Tag at least fifteen friends, including me, because I’m interested in seeing what characters my friends choose (although I completely understand if you think your embarrassing attachment towards fictional characters is not something that should be splashed on peoples’ feeds).
Please be warned that I’m broke and whether or not I will return the favor is the wrong question; whether or not I will be able to save enough money by next Friday is the right one.
In any case, if you’re the sort of person who will get weepy if you will not be given a gift in return, then please kindly (or, you know, happily) cross my name off your list. I’m sorry for the inconvenience. If you accept payments in shitty prose or those “it’s the thought that counts” kind of gifts, then kindly Liquid Paper that messy spot in your list where you angrily scrawled my name out, and write my name down again.
For the people whom I love with the burning intensity of a million suns (and I hope you know who you are), you will be given presents. Even if begging, cheating and stealing will be involved in their acquisition.
…Or I could give you a shitty card explaining how consumerist I think this whole holiday is that comes with a coupon for a “free hug”.
to find a gift for the social nuisance that is Secret Santa InTACT-style. It was okay, though. Even if I was by myself. (Btw, InTACT is a pseudo-homeroom class freshies have in Ateneo called Introduction to Ateneo Culture and Traditions which manages to strangely be both more fun and more boring than high school homeroom—oh, the conflicting emotions of a freshie.)
But before I elaborate further on that story, let me first tell you something about myself (because I just love to do that). I greatly enjoy gifting a book that I think the person whom I will give it to will love and yet it won’t be his/her usual pick if s/he were the one buying a title for his/herself. Even worse, I have this Messianic complex towards my non-reader friends. I just know that if I find the perfect book, I can make him/her suddenly love books like a snap. Which is silly and I haven’t had the funds to implement it so far, and gods it’s perfectly okay to not like books as much as I do; but it’s a dream.