Saturday, October 26, 2013

Easy Reading: Fortunately, the Milk

TGIF! What a nice day it was to go down to the local library and get some easy reading material. I heard about Fortunately, the Milk from Neil Gaiman's Tumblr (Nice marketing, Mr. Gaiman!), and had wanted to get my hands on one ever since its publication last month. Imagine my excitement when I found out that the library already have several copies and I can place a hold for one (They circulate fast and were all checked out.). Now imagine what it's like to finally get a message after a week's waiting:

The following item(s) you requested are being held for you:
Gaiman, Neil.
Fortunately, the milk /
The item will be held until: 11/04/2013

It was heavenly! Skipping down the streets with my headphone on, I couldn't be sure if the silly grin was due to the giddiness of knowing what I was about to pick up or the cheerful audio book playing on my headphones (The book was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang narrated by David Tennant.) was simply too much fun.

With all these excitement, I finished the book in no time. And I am happy to say, it absolutely lived up to my expectations. The story was most curious. 10 years ago I would find it fantastic. Now, nearly an adult, I find it cute and silly. I nearly forgot how good it is to read adventure stories without having to feel anxious about the characters. Another great element of children's books are the illustrations. How I adore them! People with curly fingers, animals standing on their hind legs, strange creatures with big eyes.... Fortunately, the Milk has become one of my all time favorite children's books. It is something I would love to share with my younger cousins and probably read to them when I have the chance.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: Flappers and Philosophers

Romance rarely top my list of enjoyable stories. Recall seeing lovebirds engage in passionate kisses with hands over the place at public places and make everyone present uncomfortable? The show off cannot compare to the sight of the couples holding hands with shyness and a hint of a smile lingering on both sweet faces. Love stories can be like that: Showy but unconvincing or subtle and sweet. When two people fell in love in a story, it should be believable. Let readers feel the love! The audience should not be merely the spectator. They should be engaged in a relationship.

What I love most about Fitzgerald's love stories is their realness. The characters can do incredibly romantic things or be madly in love with one another, with good reason. There are ups and downs in the relationship - just like in real life! His characters have very distinctive personality. Some are proud, some strong, some shy, some bold. They might not be perfect, but they feel like real human beings. One would worry about them when they made the wrong judgement and cheer them on when they did the right thing. They are people we can relate to, be it pain or joy. We see ourselves in their shoes.

Overall I find Flappers and Philosophers a fun and charming. It is a collection of very different types of romance. I read the book on my kindle. Having no knowledge of the construction of the book and no physical volume as hint. I did not expect The Offshore Pirate, my favorite story in the collection, to end where it did. The result was a wonderful surprise at the plot twist I would otherwise have guessed. (I have long since learned not to read book descriptions just to leave myself at the mercy of surprise.) It was a romantic journey as impacting as first love.