My Happy Finds

larawan ng isang kalsadang nag-aanyayang maglakbay

I have miles to go before I sleep/

In my own and fumbling way, I have traveled far and away somehow, in my reading journey. My excursions have taken me places – from the stiff and boring sides, through the dark and gore corners, to the highly cerebral end.  Among the playwrights, I recall George Bernard Shaw, Tennessee Williams and Thornton Wilder with affection. I have more than a dozen favorite essayists but among those I won’t forget are Montaigne, Jonathan Swift and D.H. Lawrence. Among the relatively modern fiction writers who made it to mainstream, these I remember fondly – William Golding, Saul Bellow and E.L. Doctorow.

I am not exactly the sort who makes a list of favorites. I usually have trouble deciding, afraid I might leave out someone or something important. In real life, I read a lot of non-fiction stuffs, the dry and logical kinds.  When the idea for making a list of favorite fictions occurred to me, the other tenants in me protested. Thus, herewith is not exactly a fave list, but a recitation of works that unsettled, bothered and touched me, in more ways than one. They are arranged in the order I encountered them:

1. The Little Prince – Antoine de-Saint Exupery

2. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

3. Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair –Pablo Neruda

4. Lily of the Valley – Honore de Balzac

5. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

6. The Ballad of the Sad Cafe – Carson McCullers

7. Twenty Years at Hull-House – Jane Addams

8. Frankenstein  – Mary Shelley

9. Dance of the Happy Shades – Alice Munro

10. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston

I guess I am partial to coming-of-age plots. I never tire of reading them. Like most of my contemporaries, I read and was enamored by A Separate Peace by John Knowles. Perhaps, I was moved by it more than J.D. Salinger’s Catcher In the Rye. But then, I hold that Robert Musil’s The Confusions of Young Torless is one of the best literary pieces on the subject of teenage confusion and rebellion. For me, that novel clearly illustrated the challenges, as well as the miseries, of growing up.

larawan ng isang batang nangangarap umangat sa mundo

If reading is going places, I must have conquered a few miles already/

D.H. Lawrence’s works, I found to be a far cry from the hushed tone Lawrence was talked about during my freshman year in college.  I did not find Lady Chatterly’s Lover scandalous, didn’t and don’t think it would hold a candle to Alfred de Musset’s writings. I would say that the collection of classic Italian stories is considerably more “pornographic,” ahaha. At any rate, I am among those who think that D.H. Lawrence should be read and interpreted beyond the pornographic tag. I enjoyed reading him than I did Thomas Mann, another author steeped in controversies.

There were years when I plowed through the works of the British authors and their so-called dry wit – John Galsworthy, E. M. Forster, C.P. Snow and E.F. Benson. It’s Benson’s social commentaries that I found humorous and endearing. On the lighter end, I also read a number of works by H.E. Bates and John Mortimer. Likewise, I am fond of Miss Read. I have come to love her fictional village and continue to read her writings, to these days. Her works, among those I consider as happy finds.

Among the American authors, I have high admiration for Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. I read Walt Whitman’s works, too, but for some reason, am not a big fan. I went through a number of Scott Fitzgerald’s novels but I must say I like Hemingway’s better. But I would agree to the observation that both authors dealt with boredom and rather superbly, ahaha.  I read and enjoyed most of Steinbeck’s writings, including his biography and minor works.

My favorite Filipino authors are Genevova Edroza-Matute and Kerima Polotan-Tuvera. I humbly believe that Matute’s short story Ang Kwento ni Mabuti (The Story of Well) is the kind one should strive for. On the other hand, I consider Tuvera’s Sounds of Sunday truly awesome, haha. I also read most of the works of Nick Joaquin and Alejandro Roces. Pouring over their works, I was and I am truly proud that Filipinos could write in English and that excellently, too. 😉

25 comments on “My Happy Finds

  1. juyjuy says:

    You are really one bookworm ate! I’ve only read one book on your list, The Happy Prince, and that was when I was in highschool. I’ve also stumbled upon Catcher in the Rye but I didn’t seem to have the enthusiasm to read it. Haha! Is it good?

    • hello, juyjuy, thanks for the visit… 🙂

      am afraid i am… ^^ ah, iba yata ang The Happy Prince sa The Little Prince.Try reading the latter, almost everyone who has read it swears it’s a very good read. Catcher in the Rye is about the anguish of a young man told from the point of view of somebody born to rich parents, haha. it’s probably an acquired taste, you may like it or not. ^^

      i’ll recomm The Secret Garden, that’s a real good one. Also, Les Miserables (medyo mahaba) but it’s one of the best, if not the best lit on the subject of romantic love. ayon… regards sa ‘yow! 🙂

      • juyjuy says:

        Hahaha! Mali ata ang pagkakabasa ko ah! ^_^ Sige2, maghahanap ako ng kahit ebook ng dalawang books. :))

      • ah, walang mali sa pagbabasa. you’ll find your rhythm and preference after some time, juyjuy… anyway, read The Little Prince, you won’t regret it. cheers! 🙂

  2. I have some friends who brag about having read the ‘classics’ while shoving away Philippine literature like it is the ‘cool’ thing. It’s a good thing to find people who appreciate our own literature. 🙂

  3. hello, john, good to see you again. 🙂

    oh, i also have some some friends and acquaintances who have that thinking, haha. ^^

    thanks. i began my reading with the Filipino authors – Amado Hernandez, JG. Villa, Edgardo Reyes, Rio Alma, F. Sionil Jose and Lualhati Bautista. suki ako dati ng sale sa Anvil, La Salle and UP Press, haha, para sa mas modern na Fil. lit. ayon… halata na bang my idea of fun is the library? hehe…

    one of my quirky finds sa Fil authors, si Quennie Lee Chua, teacher sya ng Math sa Ateneo. she writes about what else, Math, haha. she makes it understandable for math-challenged people, hihi… regards! 🙂

  4. wonderful books. check out The Royal Game by Stefan Zweig, and The Crock of Gold by James Stephens continue…

    • hello, barking in the dark,

      certainly glad every time you drop by. i’ve googled those books already and yes, they sound interesting. hope i could find copies before the month ends…^^

      hope i could drop by your territory this weekend. regards and cheerio! 🙂

  5. You’re such an avid reader. From all those you list of works and authors, I only have read Nick Joaquin’s work. And maybe Les Miserables, as seen in Broadway….if that counts. But then again aside from Calvin and Hobbes, the list of books I have read is really pitiful. 🙂

    • hello, pinoytransplant, ah, you’ll have more time to read later, siguro…

      you had your medical books to deal with, plus the list of meds to memorize and they alone are not humane, hehe…^^ i used to have friends who were med students… ^^

      i suppose mahirap ma-miss si Nick Joaquin and the Les Mis. they’re fashionable, back then … halata po atang magkapanahon tayo? hehe^^

      yessir, Calvin and Hobbes, Archie and MAD magazine – early college years. could be why i didn’t do well at school, hi hi… i was reading Mad – cool ‘yon, dok. tapos, ngangata ng Tootsie Roll. 🙂

  6. renxkyoko says:

    Hi there !

    You’ve been tagged ! Pls check out my latest entry !

    Cheers, Ate !

    • salamat ng marami, renx… ain’t that nice? i know you have hundreds of fans and maybe three of them will click on this site, hehe. ^^

      i’ve read your entry. had a good laugh over your antics, errr, mishaps, haha. 🙂

      you’re such a sport, answering questions like those. and i see, you yourself made a question set that’s even harder to answer. is that thing like, do more unto others what they have unpleasantly done to you? haha, just kidding. ^^

      thanks for appreciating the site and for dropping by. you’re a sweet girl, am afraid. 🙂 🙂

  7. ayerarguelles says:

    daming nabasa. 🙂

  8. munchow says:

    You certainly are a bookworm – as somebody else here said. I think I could be regarded as one, too, and I have read quite a few of the books on the list. The Little Prince is a lovely, little story. Of the others beside the list you mentioned, I think my favourite writer would be Ernest Hemingway. What about contemporary authors? At the moment I am enjoying various books by Haruki Murakami.

    • Hello, Sir,

      I guess I am one. Hope to be able to write about how I became so, one of these days. Glad to come across somebody who loves books as well. ^^

      I was still a teenager when I read The Little Prince and yes, the book delighted me so much. Hemingway, I recall visiting the library a lot of times in my freshman, so I could reread For Whom the Bell Tolls, ahaha.

      Am afraid am not updated in reading these days… :c Since I started blogging a year and a half ago (in Tagalog language), I have only finished maybe five. I’ve heard about Murakami in reviews, might have to check him out, sir… Glad you dropped by and left a comment. Cheers to you! 🙂

  9. i can’t believe i already left almost the exact same comment. oh well, if nothing else i am consistent. continue…

    • ahaha, it’s owkey. just happy you’re dropping by… 🙂

      btw, my next post will be about tagging. you’re among those i’ll tag, sir, hehe. there’ll be a brief description of the tagged sites. i hope it’s alright with you… 🙂

  10. bagotilyo says:

    isa kang certified bookworm 🙂 ..

    sa lahat ng nakalista sa taas yung the little prince pa lang nababasa ko. One of my favorite books.

    oo mahilig ako magbasa pero tamad ako bumili ng libro.hahaha

    • ahaha, ikaw na ang nag-certify sa’kin. ay, sorry pala, di ko agad nasagot ‘to. :c

      btw, basahin mo ang the secret garden at ang frankenstein tapos, tell me what you think. magaganda rin ‘yong iba like the ballad of the sad cafe and their eyes were watching god (peyborit ko ‘to), pero medyo malalalim, malalim ang silip sa human nature, ika nga, ahaha. ^^

      pero, budding writer ka naman, it would help you a lot to read. to broaden your perspective sa range of emotions, approach in writing, mga ganyan…

      weh, ako rin, nag-umpisa lang sa puro hiram ang binabasa, ahehe. cheers! 🙂

  11. Orville says:

    Nakakainggit ka naman.. hehe.. ang dami mo nang nabasang aklat.. hope marami din akong matapos.. hirap lang kasi pag daming works to do.. pero hopefully this June pag papasok na ako sa college ay marami na akong time sa pagbabasa para makapagsulat din ako ng sing ganda ng mga sinusulat mo.. 🙂

    • hello, orville,

      salamat sa pagdaan. ahaha, hindi rin. ang sekreto ryan, hindi ako mahilig manood ng tv, hehe. ang pangalawang sekreto, matanda na me, pag ganito ka na ring edad, baka two or three times as much ang nabasa mo.^^

      mag-uumpisa ka pa lang ng college? aba e, sumilip ako sa site mo, ang dami mong naisusulat… noong ako ang papasok pa lang ng college, wala pang sangdosena ang naisulat ko – possibly, apat na tula, tatlong di tapos na short stories at tatlo pang sulating hindi ko alam kung anong form, ahaha.

      so, you’re off to a better start. just keep on reading and practise writing! 🙂

  12. Napadaan lang po. See, this is why I am intimidated that you read my blog, hehe. Tibay mo, Ate. Kaya mong mag-maintain ng ilang blogs.

    • hello, Cats,

      hala, swing by as often as you can. ^^ but you are more fluent than me, your narrations flow more smoothly, no kidding there. to think that you are way younger, ahaha.

      ah, just one Tagalog site and one in English, for now. and the combined number of posts for the two is less, compared to the old Tagalog site, dear. yong dating site na mahahaba ang posts ang ma-ambisyon, hehe…

      btw, i intend to go back to your site to continue reading your travel posts. 🙂

  13. […] My Happy Finds – a continuation of my reading journey and the authors whose works I truly enjoyed reading […]

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