28 July 2005
Goodbye Ayn, Hello Stephen
Can you believe it? I finished my Atlas Shrugged yesterday! After 6 months! Well, that six months included the final semester of my undergrad year, and since I had a lot of stuff to read as well, I didn't get to immerse myself in the book as much as I wanted to. But now that I have a few months off from school (which by this time, is only 2 weeks and five days left), I got to read much. And I finished it! 1067 pages of it!
So, I proudly replaced the book in my library, and got a new one. Stephen King's The Shining. I know, it's not classical reading. But one of my guilty pleasures is reading Stephen King novels. So let me play his sales representative for a while.
I've read Thinner, Christine, Firestarter, The Tommyknockers, Misery, and The Dark Half. Particularly, I like his writing style of interpolating the dialogue and the thoughts of the characters in between paragraphs.
But, even though I like reading his novels, I hate watching the movies inspired by their novels, with the exception of The Shawshank Redemption. I don't know, maybe the one who writes the story for the movies just makes a really bad job. Take the movie for Dreamcatcher, for example. The flow isn't just logical. It is one mistake I made. I watched the movie before reading the book. I haven't read the book Dreamcatcher yet.
Why Stephen King after Ayn Rand? Well, I guess I wanted something less serious now. Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged was too philosophical and serious. It dealt with the theme of individualism versus collectivism, of political ideals and economic control. It dealt with dystopia and described a world that would result if the thinkers of the world would go on strike. So horror would be a perfect book after this eh?
Yes, books play a big part of my life. I would credit my mother who taught me how to read at an early age. Ever since my memory can remember, I was surrounded with books. I used to read those little abridged classical books, about 48 pages thick. Then I moved to the regular versions. The thing I was looking forward to whenever my Dad would take us to the mall was the trip to the bookstore.
Until now, I never figured out why I never read books other than classical novels up to my senior year in high school. From early on till 2001 (the year I graduated high school), I only read classical novels. By the time I graduated, I already read Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, and Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote (this one I can't see the value of this, I was so bummed by the story). I also read Homer's Iliad and Odyssey in my senior year. I also read some political classics, like George Orwell's 1984. I also read a controversial book, banned when it was released for the first time, Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer. It was so good that I gave it to a friend after I read it, for his "baptism". The writing style was amazing, very mind-blowing indeed.
My college years started, and I started to read non-classical novels as well. There started my Stephen King inclinations. But aside from King, I also read other books, mostly on the horror/suspense genre. But I never find them satisfying myself the same way as the classical novels do. After reading them, I would go like, "Ok, next." It wasn't moving enough. A few did so, like Anchee Min's Becoming Madame Mao, and Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha. So I still read classical from time to time. Some of the books I read during college was D. H. Lawrence's The Rainbow, and the sequel Women in Love. No I didn't get a chance to read Lady Chatterly's Lover. But both The Rainbow and Women in Love were banned books as well, when they were released. I guess I just have a fondness for banned literature.
Another banned literature I read during college was James Joyce's Ulysses. This is the most amazing book I encountered, having tons of pages, but the things that take place in this story takes just 24 hours! 24 chapters in all, one chapter per hour.
So, I guess I am making progress in that Books-I-need-to-read-before-I-die list. Some other books in this list include Mario Puzo's The Godfather, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Days of Solitude, and Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum. If only I'd have enough time to spare while in graduate school...