Monday, May 11, 2009

Dog Daze

"Over a dog!" Jack Nicholson sobs in As Good As It Gets. "Over an ugly dog!"

I find myself becoming sympathetic to his obsessive-compulsive, mean-spirited character because as bibliophilic luck would have it a very thin book would send my insecurity into an all-time high. I was reading Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog and I was stunned.

This seemingly effortless book has visceral effect on me despite its breezy nature. Its comic innocence coats the unadorned profundity and general marvel that only a child-at-heart can truly grasp. Not exactly superior to the almost reverential regard I place on Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Le Petit Prince and Jose Saramago’s Tale of The Unknown Island but Love That Dog sweeps me into the great, sweet pleasure of having discovered it. It’s nothing short of a gem.

It’s the unfussy but totally charismatic story of Jack, the little boy whose awakening towards the strange magnetism of writing poetry is gently nudge with positive encouragement by Miss Stretchberry, his teacher. The book (as previously noted) is digestible in one coffee break, written in an interesting way that would probably happen if you compound Anne Frank and E.E. Cummings into a less mischievous version of Calvin ( of Calvin & Hobbes). It has that hypnotic feel-good quality that warms over the jadedness of even hardcore cynics (present blogger included).

Take for instance the first entry:

September 13

I don’t want to
because boys
don’t write poetry.

Girls do.

Or his take on The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams:

September 17

I don’t understand
the poem about
the red wheelbarrow
and the white chickens
and why so much
depends upon

If that is a poem
about the red wheelbarrow
and the white chickens
then any words
can be a poem.

You’ve just got to


His almost-naïve wit is disarming. Take for instance his reaction to Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost:

October 17

What was up with
the snowy woods poem
you read today?

Why doesn’t the person just
keep going if he’s got
so many miles to go
before he sleeps?

And why do I have to tell more
about the blue car
splattered with mud
speeding down the road?

I don’t want to
write about that blue car
that had miles to go
before it slept,
so many miles to go
in such a hurry.

I was chuckling like a maniac when I read his understanding of The Pasture by Robert Frost:

January 10

I really really really
did NOT get
the pasture poem
you read today.

I mean:
somebody’s going out
to the pasture
to clean the spring
and to get
the tottery calf
while he’s out there
and he isn’t going
to be gone long
and he wants YOU
(who is YOU)
to come too.

I mean REALLY.

And you said that

Mr. Robert Frost
who wrote
about the pasture
as the one
who wrote about
those snowy woods
and the miles to go
before he sleeps—

I think Mr Robert Frost
has a little
on his

Kirkus Reviews called this compact treasure “A really special triumph” and I nod like a deranged woodpecker in absolute assent. This miniature tome defused my skepticism and I am wide eyed in amazement.

My ultimate, special triumph, is owning this book, courtesy of Booksale.

At forty five bucks it's practically a precious gift, if I ever see one!

= = =

A sampling of my recent Booksale loot:

01. The intelligent, compelling, lucid Kiss & Tell from the beautiful mind of Alain de Botton. Seventy five bucks.

02. The eloquent, tender and beguiling Floating In My Mother’s Palm by one of my favorite contemporary fiction authors, Ursula Hegi. Forty five bucks

03. The amply comical slash savage tragicomedy in Things We Do For Love by playwright/director/actor Alan Aykbourn. Twenty bucks.

Instead of paying my electricity bills I hoarded books which will make me the least favorite human being by Meralco inspectors, who will undoubtedly disconnect my power next week with mad glee.

I’ll be living in darkness but my mind will be glowing every time I put each volume down.

1 comment:

Mr. Scrooge said...

:P I got Seventh Son and Red Prophet, Parts 1 and 2 of the Tales of Alvin the Maker for P80 and P20 respectively. They're both by Orson Scott Card, the guy who wrote Ender's game. And another P80 for the Ill-Made mute by Cecilia Dart-Thornton. Hehehe.

I only read science-fiction/ Fantasy books, and as most of us fans know, it's really difficult to find some of the better authors of that genre. :P I actually read both Seventh Son and Ill-Made Mute via E-books already way way back (that's how I know its worth buying). Lol.

Booksale's Evil. I'm supposed to be saving money, but it drags me back there to continuously spend. I think I already spent about 2k on different books since I graduated >_<, I got Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, virtually brand new for 225 :D hahahaha.