Category Archives: Books

When Necrotizing Fasciitis Sounds More Interesting Than Unrequited Love

Lately, my choice of good reads is taking on the other side of the spectrum–non-fiction. Medical books, at that.

Now, before you raise that eyebrow and think that I have absolutely gone crazy, I am really interested in medicine. Alongside MTV, writing and makeup, I read on diseases, symptoms, cures for no particular reason (past life?). But no, I did not pursue it not because I get queasy at the sight of blood (actually, I do not) but because Medicine is for…special people. Whatever that means.

Anyway, since I can’t exactly live the Doctor-dream, books exist to give us a sneak peak of the lives that, well,  got away. Atul Gawande (Complications) is now my poster-child for a dramatic non-fiction that pushes my intellectual capacity to the edge. Each case feels like watching films–surreal and incredibly disconcerting–only that they were real-life cases, provided that some names were changed, and cases were slightly tweaked for confidentiality. Still, I did not expect to get hooked with non-fiction tales. I really did not. I thought non-fiction is just as taxing to read as academic papers (no offense!). And look now, I began browsing the pages of Gawande’s second book, Better!

Perhaps, as a follower of young adult novels and chic-literature, I am always looking for drama, controversy and witty banter, or impeccably written narratives in lieu of dialogues (and alright alright, profusely-described gorgeous male characters). Precision in vocabulary excites the reader in me because I lack in those as a writer. I want reading to be a learning experience, too; the book, however, must be simple enough for my comprehension but complex enough to stretch my thoughts. And Gawande’s ‘Notes’ give me that, and more (no male characters–but the male point-of-view is refreshing, seriously). I am really impressed with his writing (not that he has to); I admire people who have the ability to fuse his scientific background with his creative side. A special skill for special people, indeed.

Speaking of creativity in narratives, bordering on poetic and theatrical–I also started reading An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison. It is her memoirs on living with manic-depressive disorder. Reading it feels almost as if I am looking straight at her while she weighs her options–to take lithium or not. I also admire her for writing about her illness–it goes to show that she’s not a victim of her circumstance, but a fighter. That, is reason enough for me.

One of these days, I just know I will return to my roots and read the exhilarating lives of teens and mid-life-crises of young professionals. But until then, I will enjoy going through medical cases and indulge in the drama of surgery and mental disorders. They might shed some light on my rather dark days, they just might.

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#10 on My New Year’s Resolution

Christmas is just around the corner, but I am more concerned with my plans for 2010 that I’m starting to fill-out my top 10 things to do differently next year. Since I haven’t got the time to go deep into my soul-searching, I just came up with my #10, ergo, the least essential but still worth the effort.

I love reading. I’ve been reading novels since I was 12 years old. That age isn’t exactly young and it doesn’t scream ‘gifted child’. But for what it’s worth, I sucked at writing and vocabulary way before I started reading. Not that I’m a big-shot writer now, but at least, I can express (haha!). I didn’t sit around the family room whenever they catch an episode of LA Law or The X-Files because I seriously cannot understand a word they were saying. In school, when we were asked to write an essay about Linggo ng Wika or United Nations Day, I came up with two paragraphs good for nothing. Senseless sentences, wrong grammar and misspellings. I mean, that’s embarrassing for someone who’s got a father who writes for a living and has a library of classic novels. I was maarte in speaking because I just listen to actors’ accents but I had no idea what the hell I was talking about. That’s why I thought I was going to be an actress, I was good at mimicking –kickass good. Hah!

But then my friends in school were always reading. They were like bookworms squirming every break time with the V.C. Andrews’ novels and Harry Potter series. I was all: what the hell are you doing, talk to me! But fate has it, a book cover caught my attention. It was a book included in the Orphans’ Series by V.C. Andrews.  The cover featured embossed ripples, the color of bright blue green; a sad-looking blonde in the middle, titled: Brooke. I thought it was pretty cool. So, I asked my friend, if I could borrow it. I finished the book in a day. And then I knew there were three more books and a final book wherein the four characters get together. I was addicted. From then on, at 12, books became my refuge.

the cover that changed my life. third book from the Orphans' series by V.C. Andrews (

Then I was inspired to write because the words, the stories, the lines captured the writer in me. I like how storytelling can make you escape from reality and join an entirely new world and setting. It made me learn about things other than my own pink world. It made me more dramatic, nonetheless, it made me knowledgeable about the English language and it trained me to appreciate literature.

But the inner girly-girl prevailed. I leaned towards reading chick lits more, which explains my quirky and casual style of writing. But I must admit, they are not as enlightening as some of the novels my dad used to lend me. Chick lit is the queen of entertainment and women panache but I feel I’m on one note. And I do feel that my favorite authors, Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries) and Sophie Kinsella (Shopaholic Series), would want me to take on the classics as well. For a bookworm, I haven’t even read Shakespeare and the Greeks. I have a Jane Austen compilation with me but I still haven’t burned the pages of it. I have this annoying anxiety on Old English, I easily give up on trying to understand their wordplay. But I feel the need to read the classics, the Brit contemporaries and other celebrated (and the not-so) novels to broaden horizons and widen my vocabulary and of course, study different perspectives.

So, here goes the list of the books I want to read next year. I scanned the titles from All-Time 100 Novels from Time Magazine and website called Best 100, and I came up with my Top 60.  I also included a few of my own finds.  Look for interesting titles for yourself, too, and suggest other interesting reads. 🙂

1)   1984 by George Orwell

2)   The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

3)   The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

4)   Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

5)   The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

6)    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

7)    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

8)   Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

9)   Animal Farm by George Orwell

10) Lord of the Flies by William Golding

11) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

12) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

13) The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

14) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

15) A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

16) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

17) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

18) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

19) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

20) Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

21) Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

22) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

23) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

24) The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

25) The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

26) Moby Dick by Herman Melville

27) The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

28) Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

29) The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

30) A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

31) Life of Pi by Yann Martel

32) On the Road by Jack Kerouac

33) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

34) Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

35) To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

36) The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

37) For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

38) Dune by Frank Herbert

39) The Trial by Franz Kafka

40) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

41) Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham

42) Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

43) The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

44) The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

45) As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

46) Light in August by William Faulkner

47) Angels and Demons by Dan Brown

48) All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

49) The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

50) The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank

51) Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

52) My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

53) Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie

54) The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

55) Rabbit, Run by John Updike

56) Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

57) Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

58) A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

59) I, Claudius by Robert Graves

60) Beloved by Toni Morrison

I know some of the titles are already read by the whole world and I haven’t, hence, the resolution. Italicized titles are the ones I already own, but still haven’t started/finished reading. 😀

UPDATE 1: more titles are being italicized. tee hee. if you can share links for the copies aforementioned, please do not hesitate to leave a comment. and book donations are always welcome! haha 😀


Filed under 10 Things, Books, Walk and Talk