A few more Christmas reads


Because my plan to catch up with my blogging backlog over the holidays was an epic fail (so little time, so much to do!) , I will spend part of January in an attempt to mow it down to zero, so I can start fresh for 2010.

I am posting a list of the backlog in a subsequent entry (still working through the stacks), but I’m posting a few more of the Christmas reads, otherwise it’ll take me another year before I can post them again.

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One for Tomas (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats)

In memory of Tomas :)

I love cats. I like dogs, and animals in general, but I love cats most of all (shh, don’t tell my dog!).

Having raised two cats from birth (and feeding several other neighborhood strays), I find that cats are one of the smartest creatures (and yes, smarter than dogs, as I’ve raised more than my share of those too) on earth.

They’re clean, they’re naturally housebroken, and they’re low-maintenance. They won’t give their loyalty freely, but they make the most loyal and affectionate companions when they do.

And I love how easily they learn even without training. While I love our dog as much as my cats, my cats can open doors, climb onto bed with me and pull a blanket over themselves,  use their litterbox and keep it clean (our dog has a spraying problem), and get up and down the stairs faster than lightning (our dog forgets how to go up and down the stairs like every other hour).

Last year, my cat Tomas, an orange mackerel tabby that I raised since he was a kitten,  passed away due to kidney failure and subsequent cardiac arrest (I really suspect it was canned cat food tainted with melamine), and it was one of the hardest things I ever had to get through in my life.

I got a lot of cat books since then, including a beautiful copy of 99 Lives: Cats in History, Legend, and Literature, that was a present from fellow book lover Triccie. I still can’t get myself to finish reading that book (because I end up bawling), but I was able to find another cat book to cheer me up: Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot (book #112 for 2009).

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Love, love, love


For some reason, a bunch of books I’ve read recently has been about love. So in an attempt to hack off a chunk of the reading backlog, this post will tackle four books that revolve around this theme, namely: Aspects of Love by David Garnett; Oliver’s Story by Erich Segal; Forever by Judy Blume; and Shakespeare in Love: The Love Poetry of William Shakespeare (books # 91-94 of 2009).

aspectsAspects of Love is the novella on which the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same title is based. I’ve never seen the musical, but I remember reading about it when it was staged by a local production here in the Philippines, so I was curious about the book.

Aspects of Love deals with different forms of love, involving the web of relationships that involve the sultry actress Rose Vibert; her young admirer Alexis Dillingham; his uncle, the wealthy gentleman George Dillingham; George’s mistress, the fiery artist Giuletta Trappani; and Rose and George’s daughter, Jenny.

It was a quick read for me, but I wasn’t fully invested in it because I felt that it was merely narrating a story and didn’t really break the surface of what the characters were supposedly feeling. It was hard to empathize with the characters because the brevity of the novella (which spans 17 years) didn’t really give you much to work with, and it really reads as if it were meant for another medium, such as the stage, or even film.

I imagine it works better as a musical, as the characters can break out into song and act out their feelings. My officemates seem to love it though, as the book is currently making the rounds at work.

The next two books are two I’ve wanted to read for some time now, both mooched from Tina.

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