Here is a great reminder from L.M. Montgomery in these trying times. When all seems lost and hopeless, when nothing seems to go right, when giving up is a lot easier than holding on, may we be reminded to seek and see life’s magic and endless surprises. In a child’s eyes, in a stranger’s smile, in the colors of the sky, in moonlit nights. May these not-so-little things give us reasons to carry on. One day at a time. 🌻💛
Angie Thomas’ novel revolves around this redefined meaning of THUG LIFE by Tupac Shakur, popularly known as 2Pac.
It follows 16-year-old Starr Carter whose uneasy balance between her poor neighborhood and her fancy suburban school is shattered when she witnesses the shooting of her best friend at the hands of a police officer. His name is Khalil, but the world calls him a thug. Everyone wants to know what went down that night. But Starr’s decision to stay silent or to speak comes with a risk for her people and her life.
Some people snicker at the thought of reading books under the young adult genre. They have this stereotyped belief that YA novels are shallow, sappy and superficial. They rarely see it as an avenue for discussing socio-political issues. But Angie Thomas proves these people wrong.
Without mincing her words, she delves into the most delicate and controversial subjects in America and the world today: racism, oppression, privilege and broken justice system. The book is thought-provoking without being preachy. It gave me different perspectives to look into. It made me introspect on what I have done and what I would do when faced with these issues. Other than posting about the hashtags and signing every petition there is, do I have it in me to act against racism, oppression or injustice?
In the end, this novel goes to warn the society that what it gives (hate/violence/injustice) to little infants (the poor/minority/less fortunate) will always come to haunt them. The THUG LIFE cycle continues…
My first foray into the written world of Michael Crichton was Congo. James, who loves the man as much as Dan Brown, never missed to mention his works whenever we talk about books. So I guess this is where curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back comes in.
The 1980 sci-fi novel centers on an expedition searching for rare blue diamonds and investigating the mysterious deaths of a previous expedition in the dense tropical rainforest of the Congo. At first I was worried that I’d be stuck in the complicated science and technical jargon but as it turns out, Crichton is a great de-jargonizer. I found myself immediately engaged in the story that capsulized science, history, and geography in each and every page.
Which brings me to this week’s WQW, Iron and Ironies. Congo left me emotionally, mentally and morally disturbed. In a simple story it raised provocative questions that I found hard to answer.
To what extent is animal cruelty? Is it limited to performing experiments/animal research? How about throwing lobsters on a boiling pot? Sticking pigs on bamboo poles? Exterminating rats? Do ALL animals have rights or just a selected few? Does man get to give them the reason to stay alive as a species?
These questions led me to reflect on our deeply ingrained habit of meat eating, on the equality among animals, and man’s idea of speciesism. I know there are multiple sides to these multifaceted issues and I would love to hear a thing or two from you. 🙂
There is, I assume most of you would agree, a long list of reasons why physical copies of books are better than their eBook counterparts. However, not everyone can bare the temptation for too long. A peak at a sentence that reads, IT WAS A PLEASURE TO BURN, could lead you to the very last page. And that’s what happened. I read Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 online.
This classic dystopia will take you to a time when books are banned and burned. In Guy Montag’s world, lives are dominated by televisions and literature is on the brink of extinction. Books and freethinkers are burned without a second thought. The storyline is good enough that it could stir the minds of many, but perhaps I was looking for more. More hard-hitting satire, more stimulation. Maybe a stronger revolt.
Nonetheless, it’s still a commendable piece of writing. This quote, for one, is very timely.
With all the happenings in different corners of the world — be it political, moral or environmental concerns — we really need to be bothered.
“What do you do when there is an evil you cannot defeat by just means? Do you stain your hands with evil to destroy evil? Or do you remain steadfastly just and righteous even if it means surrendering to evil?”
Just recently, I was thrown into an alternate world where a philosophical and moral battle strongly exist. The quote above is taken from the Japanese anime, Code Geass. I’ve heard of the series years ago but I never had the drive to watch it. James successfully lured me into the anime this time. No regrets. 😀
The story revolves around the Empire of Britannia who conquered Japan and now call it Area 11. Its residents lost their rights to self-govern and are now called Elevens. The Empire uses destructive robotic weapons called Knightmares to ensure control, but someone is about to stand up against it. Lelouch Lamperouge, a Britannian student, seeks to use the power of the Geass to build a world based on his ideals. Unfortunately he finds himself caught in a crossfire between the Britannian and the Area 11 rebel armed forces.
Back to the question, I have this weird feeling inside that has been weighing me down. As an INFP whose choices and decisions are tethered on emotion and idealism, I find it hard to agree with Lelouch’s ways. For him, the ends justify the means. This just doesn’t go right with me. However, by the end of the series, I felt like loosening up to his approach. It’s a dilemma still. Can’t one just remain righteous and destroy evil instead?
To some, this might just be an ordinary statement of inquiry. But to those who have read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, these four words carry too much weight.
Originally published in 1985, Atwood’s dystopian novel takes readers to the fictional Republic of Gilead. It follows Offred, a Handmaid assigned to a high-ranking commander and his wife. In an age of declining births, Handmaids are valued only for their capability to procreate. They are held prisoners — stripped off their past and future. They are forbidden to read, write, or interact with the outside world. They are meant only to bear children for their assigned commander and failure to do so warrants death.
The book ends with Professor Pieixoto’s final line, Are there any questions? To me this seems a rhetorical question asked not to get an answer but instead to emphasize a point. It forces us to question our role as witnesses, both of Offred’s tale and of our own history of oppression.
Do we forget and stay silent? Do we remain neutral and indifferent? Do we stand up and fight?
You! Yes, you. As The Handmaid’s Tale becomes grimly relevant these days, would you ask a question?
And every time you hurt me, the less that I cry And every time you leave me, the quicker these tears dry And every time you walk out, the less I love you Baby, we don’t stand a chance, it’s sad but it’s true I’m way too good at goodbyes
Have you ever been through a lot of goodbyes that you eventually become too good at it?
However poetically beautiful goodbyes may be, most of us here prefer the opposite. Nobody wants the dreaded separation from a fond moment or a person— for a while or for good.
I haven’t been through a lot of goodbyes (and I would like to keep it that way) but I think I’ve been through a number of unsaid ones. Those silent goodbyes that likens to letting go of a hand that you never held. Like the setting free of someone or something that wasn’t yours in the first place. You see, I learn my lessons slow and I’m only good at one sigh at a time.
Maybe this is why I’ve been replaying this certain song lately. Too Good at Goodbyes is a single by English singer-songwriter, Sam Smith, who has been away from the limelight for two years. The song just shoves depths of melancholy. It’s sad and hopeful intertwined.
“Is there any country, sir,” pursued the history student, “where submission to Government is not due to fear?” “The freedom that exists in any country,” I replied, “may be measured by the extent of this reign of fear. Where its threat is confined to those who would hurt or plunder, there the Government may claim to have freed man from the violence of man. But if fear is to regulate how people are to dress, where they shall trade, or what they must eat, then is man’s freedom of will utterly ignored, and manhood destroyed at the root.”
Last night, I finally finished reading Rabindranath Tagore’s The Home and the World. I’ve had this book for weeks but didn’t want to rush it to end. It was much more than a classic literary masterpiece to me. Each page was an awakening about the fragility of humanity. Each POV from the three central characters brought me to their shoes. I struggled with Nikhil in keeping his morals, I lost my way to sensationalism and terror with Bimala, and I breathed in Sandip’s clouded fanaticism.
This book resonated deeply, especially with what is happening to my country, the Philippines, and to the rest of the world. What is true freedom? How can we truly heal? Here’s an excerpt from the book that hits home:
And to anyone who hasn’t read it yet, I definitely recommend The Home and the World. ❤ #makelovenotwar
“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.”
― Charles Bukowski
Genius. Who? Not me.
Today I would like us to celebrate the greatest, the genius Charles Bukowski. Bukowski is a German-American poet, novelist, and short story writer whose works are depictions of the downtrodden American social, cultural, and economic life. Known for his satiric and sometimes vulgar remarks, he has caught the interest of many (including me) with his crisp and clever style of writing.
I have read and re-read his poems but one can never get enough of them. He has a way of bringing poetry to the streets, to the masses. He is smart and mad intertwined. And much more. I’ve always wanted to follow his style. To say profound things in simple ways. But as of this time, it’s a work in progress.