Tag Archives: meme

BTT: Symbolic? Or Not?

Booking Through Thursday
Question suggested by Barbara H:

My husband is not an avid reader, and he used to get very frustrated in college when teachers would insist discussing symbolism in a literary work when there didn’t seem to him to be any. He felt that writers often just wrote the story for the story’s sake and other people read symbolism into it.
It does seem like modern fiction just “tells the story” without much symbolism. Is symbolism an older literary device, like excessive description, that is not used much any more? Do you think there was as much symbolism as English teachers seemed to think? What are some examples of symbolism from your reading?

When I was still in school, I found it interesting to know the symbolisms behind the things in a story… or at least, symbolisms that scholars think are behind the story.

In some cases, there are really those. Like George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”, or quite a few of the literary classics like Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” or even that of Shakespeare’s works. Not to mention the Greek classics like “Odessy” or “Illiad” (which both gave me headaches when I read the original text. Kudos to my English teacher Mrs. Fernandez who was so patient with the class for years).

In modern times, however (by modern I mean from late 1800’s to present), I do think that most books are straight to the point and rarely do use symbolism, especially in fiction. Sometimes though, especially those that are based on old myths and legends, symbolism occurs but not in the way old literary works do — lengthy descriptions or flowery words to describe something small. More like, a mention of an object here and there that refers to something that has a relevant (if obscure or not so obvious) meaning to the story. However, whether the reader would recognize it is another thing.

Not thatI didn’t enjoy those English classes. As I mentioned, my teacher (this was high school) was very good, and patient with us. Reading the text is hard, but when it finally dawns upon us what the writer was trying to say, it was quite enlightening. Makes me amazed at the power of words… and thankful that it has evolved to something more simple. In a way, I wouldn’t exactly call it as symbolism, but rather, it’s really just how they wrote (or spoke, even) in those old days.

Oddly enough, I read English text a bit more easily that I read old Tagalog ones. But that’s another story. 🙂

BTT: Windfall

Booking Through Thursday: Windfall

Yesterday, April 15th, was Tax Day here in the U.S., which means lots of lucky people will get refunds of over-paid taxes.

Whether you’re one of them or not, what would you spend an unexpected windfall on? Say … $50? How about $500?

(And, this is a reading meme, so by rights the answer should be book-related, but hey, feel free to go wild and splurge on anything you like.)

Wow, wish I had that much refund. Last one I had was a little over $10, so it wasn’t really much. 😛 I don’t remember what I spent it on.

If ever I get a tax refund, what I’ll use it on will depend on the amount I’ll get. If it’s small, I’ll probably add it to my daily budget. If it’s a rather big amount, I’ll definitely splurge on some books, maybe a few toys or some new gadget. Then again, I’ll probably end up using it for food… and books. 🙂

BTT: Movie Potential

Booking Through Thursday

What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

Or, What book do you think should NEVER be made into a movie?

Often, the scary thing about translating books into movies is that the vision of the author and the director may not be the same. Sometimes it’s a good thing, sometimes it isn’t. In the past, I enjoyed some movies from books, like the Harry Potter series (even though I didn’t like the treatment of some of them, I still had fun watching them), or Hayao Miyazaki’s take on Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle (I wouldn’t mind if he decides to anime the sequels, Castle in the Air and The House of Many Ways).

That said, I think I’d rather fancy seeing a few of my favorite fantasy books be turned into movies. Neil Gaiman’s works are coming to life on the big screen, with Stardust and Coraline out in the last two year, and I hear The Graveyard Book is in the works.

I’d love to see Jostein Gaarder’s The Solitaire Mystery as a movie, or maybe Isabel Allende’s Alex Cold series. Artemis Fowl also looks like it’ll look great on the big screen. Oh, and though it’s pretty epic and a very long series, David and Leigh Eddings’ Belgariad, Mallorean and the Elenium are ones I’d like to see too (but that’s wishful thinking already hehe).

Books turned to movies that should’ve been left alone? Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising and the Eragorn book. It was quite disappointing for me.

BTT: Storage

Booking Through Thursday

This week’s question is suggested by Kat:

I recently got new bookshelves for my room, and I’m just loving them. Spent the afternoon putting up my books and sharing it on my blog . One of my friends asked a question and I thought it would be a great BTT question. So from Tina & myself, we’d like to know “How do you arrange your books on your shelves? Is it by author, by genre, or you just put it where it falls on?”

Well this is a surprise! My question was picked for this week's BTT! I changed my blog recently so the link on my name won't work. I haven't gotten around to letting everybody know (just a handful at best) that I've changed blogs, so, my apologies!

Ok, I tend to be a bit cluttered with things, but cluttered in my own orderly way (or should it be "organized in my own clutterly way"?). One thing I've very OC about is my books, and they can't be scattered all over the place. My books are currently in two houses: the one where I live now, and my grandparents' home.

Taking a look at my books, I realize that I put them mostly by author, then by series (first book to the leftmost, or at the bottom since most of my books are stored lying down). I also tend to put them by genre: romance here, sci-fi there, fantasy over on the other side (or wherever there's space). Non-fiction books are on a different area and are arranged by topic. My comics are arranged by author and by series as well.

Unconciously, I further arrange them by order of favorite. Say if I like a certain author, s/he goes to the part of the shelf that's easier to reach. Her/his books are also arranged by favorite and so on…

Here's a few of my books… there's still a lot more on the other shelf and at my grandparents' home 😀

I once spent the whole day cataloging my books and figuring out how to pack them when I moved. There was a lot, and I keep adding to them.

BTT: Electronic vs Paper

This week’s Booking Through Thursday is unusual. Rather than asking a question that’s book related, Deb gave a link to a Time Magazine article and asked us to talk about it.

The article is “Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature” by Lev Grossman, and it tackles the state of the publishing industry nowadays, how its being changed by the growth of ebooks and portable ebook readers.

Here’s my take:

I already aired my views on ebooks on several previous BTT entries, but I’m always up to sharing my thoughts about it.

I read ebooks. In some ways, it’s preferable to regular books because based on the price of each title, it’s cheaper. All I have to do is search and I can get it in less than a minute. I read ebooks on my laptop, or on my Nokia N92 with MobiReader when I’m commuting to and fro work. Thanks to it, I’m able to read approximately twenty to thirty books a month.

However, in a nutshell, I’ll pick an actual book over an ebook. There’s nothing quite like the feel of holding the book in your hands, thumbing through the pages, sniffing its smell. And I don’t know about you but I somehow like the idea of reading a book during a busy commute. It’s kinda like telling the world, “Hey, I’m reading this!” and you can tell a bit about people with what they read. For example, in the past few months I’ve been seeing a lot of kids reading Twilight books and I figured these kids were just riding on the bandwagon. I was the only one who read something else (Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book) and felt smug about it.

Somehow, it just won’t feel the same if I’m using an ebook reader, never mind if it’s a Kindle (I’m willing to bet that half of the people I commute with don’t even have an idea what that is). Sure you have a fancy piece of technology, but people don’t know what you’re reading. Besides, after staring at a computer monitor or my phone screen for lengths of time, my eyes hurt.

On the publishing industry, well, I can’t really say much about it because really, I don’t know how it works. Personally, I don’t think that it will go down just like that. Sure anybody can go and publish their own stories and sell it to the world, but how many can claim that it was well written and well presented? I’d read a friend’s book, sure, but I won’t g buying someone’s book off the Internet just because it’s there. I agree with Trish on this one, anyone can publish, but not anyone can hit the jackpot.

Besides, I think that in the end, even if you self-publish, nothing still beats having a publisher at your back to help you promote and sell your story right?

Where I live, I can safely say that the publishing industry is thriving. There’s a couple of bookstores (mostly big chain ones) that’s always full of people and I see patrons leaving the with a lot of purchases. Also, there’s a market for local authors, those who write various genres (both in English and the vernacular, Tagalog): romance, horror, humor and even some branching out to sci-fi and fantasy.

Traditional publishing isn’t dying, for me. It’s just changing.

You can read the comment on the page as well.