6.26.2016

To change with change is the changeless state

Even if Bruce Lee was never my favorite fighter in history (he is in my top five though), this book deserves a 4 star rating for his wisdom, sincerity and character-driven philosophy far from his Hollywood-celebrity persona. His first idea ("Be water my friend") clearly grabs your attention and will assure you that you can expect solid punches for the duration of the book. Moreover, he is also skillful in illustrating dynamic scenes that perfectly fit into his popular (like the title of this post) and non-popular mantra.

Genre: Collection, Philosophy, Non Fiction
Rating: 4 nonchaku


2.20.2016

Umberto Eco 1932-2016


“The real hero is always a hero by mistake; he dreams of being an honest coward like everybody else.”
 ― Umberto Eco

Ang Subersibo: Kabanata 1

Halaw ni Adam David at guhit ni Mervin Malonzo, ang aklat na ito ay isinalarawang kuwento ng Noli Me Tangere at El Filibusterismo ni Jose Rizal. Saklaw ng librong ito ang unang kabanata ng dalawang nobelang naging bahagi na ng pag aaral ng mga kabataang Pilipino ng panitikang makabayan sa sekondarya. Ikinalulugod kong makita ang pagsasakatuparan ng proyektong ito ng Anino Comics sa mga batang mambabasa ngayon at sana nga ay lalo silang ganahan na basahin ang Noli at El Fili sa labas ng klasrum imbes na magbabad sa pagse-selfie, FB, at Dota.

Akma ang pagkukuwento at pagsasalarawan sa estilo ni Jose Rizal at kahit na ang pagsasalarawan ng isang pagtitipon ay nagmukhang lamay kesa sa magmukhang piging posibleng sinadya ito para umayon sa temang madilim at seryoso.



Genre: Comic book adaptation
Rating: Tatlong patak ng tinta sa lima

1.26.2016

The Gun by Fuminori Nakamura

I completed listening to this award-winning debut novel by Funimori Nakamura as an audiobook narrated by Brian Nishii. It is fast in trying to build up the suspense and it has some interesting characters even if they never really stood out including the main character himself. It has a good beginning, average middle, and a good and very quick ending. While listening I was imagining the what if scenario if Raskolnikov discovered a gun instead of a hatchet in Fyodor Dostoevsky's masterful classic novel Crime and Punishment. But this is a modern crime fiction and the main character Nishikawa is different from Raskolnikov as much as the author Nakamura is far from the skill level of Dostoevsky. I would have given this 2.5 stars if not for the unexpected I-cant-do-it scene and then the quick return-to-the-original dark scheme of finally giving in under the spell of the Gun.

I just could not stop thinking about the self-imposed limits of using a gun in a traditional crime fiction and it left me asking if there is anything else aside from just tiptoing the boundary between being a bad guy or a good guy and back? I was hoping that Nakamura could break the cliche of good-or-bad only dichotomy and wished that his protagonist, the budding sociopath could have traversed the boundary of being grey than being just white, or black. I was just thinking what could be the outcome if Nishikawa became an accidental hero instead of being just a murderer? A situation where he is forced to use the gun to protect his own or somebody else's life (?the police investigator) and not just to murder somebody who is a child beater? How will that change his feverish, murderous obsession with the gun when he accidentally used it and saved an innocent's life instead? Would that alienate him more and drive him worse than before? Will it force him to shoot himself? As a reader i would like to find out more.

There's a lot of room for improvement but I think the quality of this book (as seen by the ones who gave this book the Shincho Award for New Author in 2002) lies within the context of being written and situated in the present-day Japan. As a gaijin reader (outsider) I learned something about  the current Japanese opinion and sentimentality regarding the Americanization of Japan. This is a good attempt as a debut novel for Nakamura but as a reader, I wanted something more in a crime fiction like this.


Genre: Noir, Crime Fiction
Rating: 3 black cats out of 5