Category Archives: Book

Book Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

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I’ve always been fascinated with time-traveling and alternate universes. Not that I’ve cut through the cloth of time and have disrupted the time-space continuum, let alone have seen my evil version in another existence. (She’d probably have ultra-straight hair and a corporate sell-out.)

 

My interest with it, as you might have guessed, started with DC and Marvel comic books. But I wasn’t one of the kids who avidly followed each installment. My brother was. Whenever he would finish a comic book, he would retell it to me with all his hand gestures and facial expressions. I’d go wide-eyed at how MARVELous (The pun was already there. I just had to do it.) these comic book heroes were.

 

But I wasn’t that much emotionally invested on these characters. I was more interested on these different stories with essentially the same heroes but end up with different conclusions all because they made different decisions. Each decision meant a different timeline, a different universe, a different outcome, a different life.

 

With these comic books running for decades, this was bound to happen.

 

As young as nine years old, I listened to my brother explain these multiverses as plainly as he could so that I could understand. And understand I did.

 

11/22/63: The reading experience

 

            JFK’s assassination has brought about many conspiracy theories which led me to be curious about its details. With his assassination date as the title of this novel, I instinctly felt it was either a period novel about the early sixties OR a time-travel science fiction novel. It was both.

 

            Following the story wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. His premise was simple. The rabbit hole, the spot where they’d go back in the past, will always lead them to September 9, 1958. Each time will be the first time. Each time will be a reset, undoing whatever they’ve changed in the previous trip. But when Jake aka George Amberson tried to change the past, it met him with challenges.

 

The past is obdurate. It doesn’t want to be changed.

 

There were details, especially regarding references to the pop culture and current events in the late 50s to early 60s that I didn’t understand. But I just googled them.

 

…hit enter and let Google, that twenty-first century Big Brother, take care of the rest

 

And Stephen King slyly wrote in Jake Epping to Derry, Maine – the setting of his novel about a malevolent, fear-sucking alien, It. If you are a die-hard fan of this sumbitch, you’d shit bricks when you come across familiar characters who were mentioned and appeared in the novel. Seriously, I wasn’t a fan until I read this magnum opus, but I still dropped my jaw.

 

The ending rendered me hopeful. I wouldn’t want to spoil you with details. Let’s just say it used a circular plot.

 

It was a roller coaster ride of emotions. It was sprinkled with suspense, horror, drama, action, comedy, and romance. I could say it was the whole package.

 

 

Retro Book Review: The Kobayashi Maru of Love and the quest in obtaining the said book

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The first time  I heard about Carljoe Javier’s The Kobayashi Maru of Love (hereon in referred to as KMoL), a friend of mine shared a photo over at Facebook about its book launching. Mind you, that was back in 2010. I  couldn’t go there coz the venue was in the nation’s capital and I was (still am) in Cagayan de Oro City. Ever since I saw the book cover, I swore to myself that I will get a hold of it one day.

I eventually found out that the book was self published and there was an astronomical possibility that it wouldn’t reach Mindanao, let alone my hometown. You know what I did? I searched the author’s name on Facebook and chatted him up asking him how to get a hold of his book. I think I even said “Please help out a fellow geek.” Now that I think about it, what I did was utterly humiliating. But wouldn’t you know it? He replied and said that I could look it up at Fully Booked and National Bookstore branches or ask Visprint for copies.

Two years later, I was scheduled to spend January 2012 at Cebu where I knew there was a Fully Booked branch over there. I did PM their FB page but I was inquiring on Up Dharma Down’s (hereon in referred to as UDD) Capacities album. Well, they did reserve the album for me. I even had a spat with another customer but that’s another story.

So I wandered around Fully Booked and was amazed at how the place was so huge and so full of books. There was no place like this back home. I found books I’ve been looking for years. But I didn’t get them all. I was broke. Haha.. Still am. But I left the place with UDD’s Capacities and Javier’s KMoL. Talk about broken hearted.

Imagine what it would be like reading a man’s collection of short stories about being dumped out of a long  term relationship while listening to Capacities. (Try reading it with Luna or Indak and you’ll know what I mean). It was heart wrenching.

KMoL is divided into three parts.

Part I is about the persona’s (or the author’s) compromises he has done to please his partner. It was suppose to be a template for a book about how their relationship endured even though they were polar opposites; he was a geek and she was a preppy popular girl. He wrote KMoL instead because well, she left him.

Part II is a collection of short stories each chronicling seven days after the break up. All of the entries are named after a day of the week. The stages of grief was aptly displayed in the chapters. My favorite entry was “Thursday” because he talked about the dreams he has built with the girl and how he has come to terms with the fact that they will not be fulfilled anymore.

Part III is about how the persona bounced back from the break up and meeting other people and spending time with friends. (Wew. There are a lot of ands in that sentence.) The one with the plan of picking up a girl in the comic book section of Fully Booked has potential but the execution sucked. Instead of having his eyes on the prize, he and his friend were stunned at a Superman cape being displayed in the store. They were so enamored at the cape; one girl even scoffed at them for being such nerds.

That’s why I love reading this book. Even if you’re not a hard core geek, you can still sympathize with the author because he talked about his views about being broken and how the bounced back from that. Of course, he didn’t do that alone. He had friends to lift his spirits up playing Guitar Hero and spending his time at Comic Alley (where he bought a Emma Frost action figure to telepathically spite his ex).

Two years later and I still read it on a whim. I read it chronologically. Sometimes I just pick out my favorite entry. Either way, I keep it in my bag daily coz I never know when boredom strikes.

Grab a copy at the nearest Fully Booked and National BS branches.

See what I did there?

Peace out!