Literary Blues

Philjeduc1_1 Since i learned how to read printed text, i became hooked on reading anything that comes my way.

My mother was a public school teacher and she was subscribed to The Modern Teacher and Philippine Journal of Education. Those were great reading materials in those times. There was also this Social Studies book called More Stories on Parade. I think i spent more time on that book that all my other textbook.

Then my elder sister Arlene, started subscribing to Reader’s Digest, and i was the glad recipient of her hand-me-down archive. I carried these collections as we moved from place to place. In fact, when i started working, i also subscribed for two years to RD.

My first introduction to serious literature was when my brother, a Pastor, came home for vacation and brought home some old American-donated books. We had a hard-bound copy of Introduction to American and English Literature. It covered novels, short stories, essays and poems of famous writers. I think the book was circa 60’s. It was part of the American Public Library donation.

While classical literature are gems of a reading, but me not being philosophical, i just get tired of the classics. I can’t stand reading Taming of a Shrew, not even Jane Eyre. Or some Dickens classics.

Dickens_a_tale_of_two_cities The only Dickens i can remember was the story on an explorer to Amazon savannah who got lost. He was pick by a ‘hermit’ who had a stacks of books. Problem is he doesn’t know how to read. So he told the explorer he will lead him out of the savannah if he will read a book to him every night. The man agreed. But as months passed on, he finally realized it will take a long time to finish all those books. He tried to escape but he got lost and injured seriously he can’t walk anymore. The hermit found him and brought him back to the hut — and forever resigned to the fact he will be reading books till the day he dies. It was kind of a literary sadism. I can’t remember the exact title but it’s like “The Man who liked to read“.

But i like action stories like Last of the Mohicans and believe it, the colossal Moby Dick. I also tried reading Das Kapital and War and Peace, but i can’t even finish the first chapter. Daphne du Maurier and Edgar Allan Poe also makes short thrillers.

In college, an English professor named Sir Essex, and who would insist being called “Sir Sex”, made a good impression on involving the class in dissecting Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. Fo a week that was our only topic and i’d say that it was one of my unforgettable lesson in understanding and enjoying literature — knowing what you read.

Anyway, here is a list of authors i have read.

1. Robert Ludlum. Except for Trevayne and Osterman Weekend, i love all the rest of Ludlum books.
2. John Le Carre
3. Daphne du Maurier
4. James Michener
5. Herman Wouk
6. Mario Puzo
7. Leon Uris
8. Beowulf
9. Herman Melville
10. James Fenimore Cooper
11. Franklin Dixon
12. John Grisham
13. Stephen King
14. Sidney Sheldon
15. Sir Thomas Mallory
1664 16. Emily Bronte
17. Childrens’ Lit. (featuring children’s stories from around the world)
18. Isaac Asimov (the only sci-fi writer i can tolerate reading)
19. Ernest Hemingway
20. William Faulkner
21. Trevanian
22. Frederick Forsyth
23. Tom Clancy
24. J.M. Barrie
25. Alexandre Dumas
26. Danielle Steele
27. Dan Brown
28. Graham Greene
29. Ken Follet
30. Jack Higgins
31. J.G. Ballard
32. J.K. Rowlings
33. Arthur Hailey
34. Harold Robbins
35. Joseph Wambaugh
36. James Clavell
37. Michael Crichton
38. John Steinbeck
39. Elia Kazan
40. Ayn Rand
41. D.H. Lawrence
42. Mitch Albom
43. Robert Kiyosaki
44. Og Mandino
45. Kahlil Gibran
46. Charles Dickens (the other night, i finally decided to read A Tale of Two Cities – IX.18.07)
47. Washington Irving
48. Nathaniel Hawthorne
49. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

On the national side,  i’ve read selected books of the following:
1. Manuel Arguilla
2. Carlos Bulusan
3. Eric GamalindaPhilit_1
4. N.V.M. Gonzales
5. Nick Joaquin
6. F. Sionil Jose
7. Jose Rizal (mandatory)

i like Filipino short stories, especially the ones on Carlos Palanca awards. I was also an avid komiks reader when i was young.

i recommend reading plenty of classical literature and get yourself this book on (Bartlett or Bartleby or Barnes and Noble) English Grammar and Composition. Also this Norton’s Anthology on American or English Literature.
Then again, for local flavor, get any textbook on Philippine Literature.

or a copy of Palanca awardees.

Quotable Quotes:

I took a speed reading course and read ‘War and Peace’ in twenty minutes. It involves Russia.
    Woody Allen (1935 – )
From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend reading it.
    Groucho Marx (1890 – 1977)
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.
        Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

Thank you for sending me a copy of your book. I’ll waste no time reading it.
    Moses Hadas (1900 – 1966)

When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading.
    Henny Youngman (1906 – 1998)

Education… has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
G. M. Trevelyan (1876 – 1962), English Social History (1942)

Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock.
Ben Hecht (1893 – 1964)

Reading this book is like waiting for the first shoe to drop.
Ralph Novak