Wiz aketch masabi: Thoughts on ‘If on a winter’s night a traveler’
14/01/2012 Leave a comment
Oh may gawd.
I just finished reading If on a winter’s night a traveler (aka Inception in a book) by Italo Calvino and oh mah gah. Please forgive the weird language (the title is beki btw. It felt appropriate and I always wanted to say that out loud.) that I am inclined to use while composing this post because I just can’t, oh Lord, there is so much to say.
This is going to be less about the book and it’s content–because holy hell, I have no idea how exactly to write about that–and more about my reading experience and its implications about my reading life in 2012.
My mother always said that you had to start things right, so you’ll set the pace for the rest of that…thing which you are starting. That hasn’t worked out for me all the time, because more often than not, I end up flaking out on things in the middle of doing them. I lose interest or attention or circumstances get in the way. So I’ve edited my mother’s wise words into something like: You have to start things right so even if you don’t finish, at least you got the first part done well.
So that’s how I’ve decided to look at the future of myself in relation to If on a winter’s night a traveler, which is the first book I’ve read in 2012. And what a book it is.
Quick summary (without spoilers because I don’t know how to spoil this book): It’s written in the second person and it describes ‘you’ while you’re reading. That’s how it goes in the first chapter. Then you get to the next chapter and you think, hey, okay, this is where the actual story starts. So it does. And then it ends just when things are about to get interesting. Then ‘you’ start looking for the rest of book and then you find another book and start reading that. And that ends prematurely too.
And so it goes.
One thing I really like about this book is that when people ask me what it’s about, I get to give a really interesting answer without even trying. I always feel obligated to justify that what I’m reading is interesting even if I’m only reading it for school. And it’s not like I have the responsibility to convince them to read the same thing I’m reading so I don’t have to play the book up or anything. Also, it’s hard to say what the book is about when you’re still in the middle of reading without telling the whole story like a bad movie trailer.
Hm, this is probably why it’s on Shortlist’s 50 Coolest Books Ever. Honestly, I just felt a bit pretentious lugging a book with a cover like this around. And I think I should’ve gotten more street cred for finishing this, but hey, that’s what you get when you live in a city where the bare minimum that anyone’s read is Precious Hearts Romance. (It’s like Mills and Boone, only, like, bad.)
I’ve mentioned that I’m reading this for school. It’s for my English 12 class, World Literatures it’s supposed to be. This is also the first real novel we’re discussing in that class. Previously, we’ve talked about The Odyssey, Dante’s Inferno and Gawain and the Green Knight, none of which I’ve actually finished reading. Oops.
Okay, I did read Gawain and the Green Knight. In one day. You know, the day before I had to go back to school and discuss it. And I did read Inferno. In high school. So what do you know, this is also the first novel I actually read for English 12. And I do indeed feel that I am a much better person for actually pushing through it and not giving in to the pull of the fifteen unread books that lie in wait on my legendary To-Read pile that may or may not include John Green’s The Fault in our Stars.
And because of that, If on a winter’s night a traveler has joined the ranks of Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude in the land of ‘Books I read for school that weren’t a total waste of time,’ making another personal record for being the first non-Latin American author to, well, not be a waste of time. Yay.
I will say this about Calvino though: The man knows to how to shake things up. If he were still alive, he and Christopher Nolan would probably be BFFs and they’d create Oscar-Pulitzer-winning movies within books within movies or something. My English 12 prof showed us a picture of Italo Calvino and he had that mischievous grandpa look about him, like he lived a life infinitely better than mine ever will be, but not in the nasty you-are-inferior-because-you’re-so-boring sense. More of the let’s-have-tea-together-and-I’ll-teach-you-how-to-write-like-a-badass.
Did anyone else get that? Just me? Okay.
Lastly, I’m undertaking various projects and activities this year. Yeah, I’m surprised, too. For a girl who didn’t even bother making a concrete set of resolutions, I’m kinda swamped with things to do, thing that might actually turn me into a better person. Among these things are the remodeling of my room, learning how to bake and/or knit, (hopefully) my first concert to a band that I really really like, a weekly vlog and–da-dada-dah–a book blog.
Onomatopeia fail aside, I’ve been thinking about starting a book blog ever since I found out that the people who run book blogs get free books. And you know, do cool bookish things. The Philippine book blog community seems pretty interesting actually. They seem like the kind of people I want to go on adventures with.
The only thing(s) stopping me from starting a book blog are
1.I am a very slow reader (took me two weeks to get through If on a winter’s night a traveler) and I highly doubt I have time to write reviews on all of the books I read in between my various
procrastinatory scholarly activities.
2. I’m thinking of doing this on Tumblr (sorry WordPress) because more followers –> more recognition –> more free books, but Tumblr’s still mad at me for leaving it behind in favor of (not doing) schoolwork and thus refuses to let me customize blogs.
3. I’m not entirely sure I’ve completely gotten the hang of this blogging thing. I mean, I’m barely coherent here.
I have chosen to ignore all that though, because if I can get through all that mindfuckery and write a blog entry currently at 1094 words long, I can do anything. Thanks for the push, Calvino.
My book blog will most likely be launched this summer, when I’ve gotten through all the tricky sticky sick-y that is school and I’ve started on that precipitous book pile. I’ll probably start by reviewing authors who are still, you know, alive. It feels weird, judging a dead guy’s work, like saying I love you to the sea. It shows signs of life, but it’s not really alive…so. /Ooh, profundity./
Shaniquasparkles will still be updated because well, no one reads this anyway and I like that.
Wow, that was one monster of a blog entry. Apparently, marami pala aketch na masasabi.
Hey, yo, off to study Philo. (Not happening.)