01 June 2011

Reading plan: June 2011

Here's my reading plan this month:

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1. El Filibusterismo (Subversion) by José Rizal, translated from the Spanish by Ma. Soledad Lacson-Locsin

The Filipino national hero is celebrating his 150th birth anniversary on June 19. In observance of it, the Malacañang Palace declared June 20 a non-working holiday. What better way to celebrate this than by reading one of his two masterpieces? The other one is Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) to which El Filibusterismo is the sequel.

Originally written in Spanish, the two novels are popularly known as the Noli and Fili. As I've written previously: "The novels of Rizal, the Noli Me Tangere and its sequel El Filibusterismo, are the formative documents in the securing of Philippine independence from the Spanish government before the turn of the twentieth century. The tinder that set on fire the hearts and spirits of Filipino freedom fighters, they inspired the revolutionaries to fight for their own independence."

Incidentally, Penguin is coming up with a new translation by Harold Augenbraum (via The Literary Saloon). But I don't have this copy. The one I have is by Ma. Soledad Lacson-Locsin so that's the one I'm going to read and blog about. It was also her version (a superb version, I think) of the Noli which I read in 2009. I've previously read both books in English translation by Leon Ma. Guerrero. The books were required reading in school. I'm excited about this read because I personally prefer the Fili over the Noli, although both are great really. 

2. Austerlitz by W G Sebald, translated from the German by Anthea Bell

This is for a group read in the Sebald group in Shelfari. Our discussion starts in July. This will be the fourth selection of the group. Austerlitz won for its author and translator the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2002.

3. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

This is the June selection by the Wolves. I sort of liked Díaz's short stories in Drown. Oscar Wao should be interesting, footnotes and irreverence and all.

4. The Japanese Literature Challenge 5, hosted by Dolce Bellezza, just took off today and I'm so hyped up I listed down the books I plan to read in the next 8 months. My short list comes to more than a dozen titles. Wishful thinking, I hope not. Last year I was able to finish 15 Japanese books, and this year I count 6 books already. As to which one to read first for this year's challenge, I'm thinking of finally starting something by Yasunari Kawabata or Shusaku Endo.

5. Your Face Tomorrow by Javier Marías, translated from the Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa

The Your Face Tomorrow Group Read is being hosted by Richard at Caravana de recuerdos. The discussion of the first volume, Fever and Spear, will officially start at the end of the month. I will be joining in August for the finale - Poison, Shadow and Farewell. I heard there's a twist at the end of the book. A twist no one could have seen coming.


  1. Great plans I loved the Sebald ,look forawrd to your remarks ,all the best stu

  2. I may try to read my first Rizal for his 150th anniversary-I have been to his house museum

  3. Sounds like wonderful reading ahead for you, Rise, and naturally I'm super excited that we'll be crossing paths on some of these adventures! I've started Argentine weirdo Macedonio Fernández's Museo de la novela de la Eterna and look forward to starting French weirdo Alfred Jarry's Tout Ubu compendium, both for June. Very excited about beginning the Marías as well, of course. Cheers!

  4. Great list,will be following your interest in Sebald having just Mooched The Rings of Saturn. Also have just found in a 2nd hand bookstore Dark back of Time by Marias will be interested in your view on this new to me writer. On a final note am glad to see your in the Japanese Lit challenge and am wondering what Kawabata or Endo you're going to start with?

  5. Stu, thanks! As a fellow Sebald "cult member", I hope to share soon your high esteem for this book.

    Mel, it will be a very timely read. I've never been to his house though I once passed it!

  6. Richard, cheers to June! No time for bad un-weird books, no.

    Gary, I wouldn't miss JLC for the universe. I'm thinking of The Old Capital or Stained Glass Elegies. I love the new acquisitions. "Picture books", I call them.

  7. Stained glass elegies was a book I thoroughly enjoyed, not read The Old Capital but I want to read some more Kawabata.

  8. I started a few pages of The Old Capital, which is a whole world different in pace from Oscar Wao (which I'm halfway through now).

  9. Rise - Sounds like an incredibly fun plan. I look forward to your future posts on these (particularly your take on the final Your Face Tomorrow volume).

  10. Scott, I just finished 2 books, including The Old Capital. It's like a sequence of haikus in prose. Makes me want to read more of Kawabata. I may read YFT 3 in advance, but will not be posting about it until end of August.

  11. Relaying the comment from JLit Challenge host Bellezza, who can't post here. It's either due to my settings or blogger has been acting up again! Here's what she said:

    Reading fifteen books last year was even more than I clocked in! I've read two books by Shusako Endo (Wonderful Fool and Silence); both were absolutely outstanding and unforgettable. But, he doesn't use a light hand when writing about faith. To me, that's a good thing. So glad to have you along again for the ride, Rise.


  12. My reply:

    It's a pleasure to join, Bellezza. Japanese lit books are wonderful tea companions. I keep hearing about Endo and your and Gary's unequivocal recommendation of him makes him stand out in my reading list. Always a pleasure to discover prolific writers as there's a long backlist to lose oneself into.

  13. Posting again for Bellezza, who still had trouble with the comment feature. She said:

    Thanks for posting my comment for me, Rise. I'm anxious to hear which Endo you choose. I, too, want to read more Kawabata. I think I even own The Old Capital after hearing so much praise about it last year.

    I see you are a few pages (or more) into Oscar Wao. That's a book I really disliked. We'll have to talk about that one, too, should you post on it.


    Bellezza, I finished Oscar Wao a few days ago. I myself had mixed feelings about it which I hope to be able to articulate in a review later. A post on The Old Capital is also in the offing. It will add another praise to the ones you already heard. And a reading of Endo's story collection is long overdue for me!

  14. I'm all for the JLC and definitely all for Endo after reading 'Silence' - a wonderful book :)

  15. Yes, cheers for JLC! I don't have that (wishlisted) title, Tony. But will count myself lucky for having Endo on the shelf.