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A few welcome distractions.

Bought four books in one day. Oh, weekend, thank you for being so kind to me!

(L-R) One L by Scott Turow, T he Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan, The Best American Essays 2001 edited by Kathleen Norris and Robert Atwan, Break It Down (Stories) by Lydia Davis

One L is a somewhat-fictionalized memoir (labels are superfluous!) on Turow's experiences as a first year law student or "1L" at Harvard Law School. I've been looking for this book for about a year now, for very obvious reasons. It was only this week that I actually decided to call the major bookstores in Manila and asked if they had a copy. Only two branches had it: three copies at Fully Booked Rockwell and one copy at Fully Booked MOA. I didn't hesitate to have the remaining one at MOA reserved, just in case. I'm now only flipping through the first pages and already I'm kind of thrilled, and kind of scared. Let's hope I can actually gauge how realistic this book is four months from now. ;)

The Lover's Dictionary is yet another addition to David Levithan's brave attempts at fiction. I've always been a fan of form, especially since I learned about post-structuralism in my literary criticism class and realized how much the physicality of words can actually weigh just as much as their meaning. Levithan is just one of the few contemporary authors who is constantly reinventing the space in which words and stories are told. (David Foster Wallace [RIP], Mark Danielewski, and Junot Diaz are just a few others who did the same, and are also my favorites.) As can be guessed from the title, this book functions as a dictionary of sorts, with the entire narrative moving along through a series of definitions, much like a dictionary. I'm very interested on how this "gimmick" adds dimension to the story.

The Best American series is one elusive (and expensive!) bunch to find, especially here in the Philippines. The Best American Essays, particularly. I assume it's because nonfiction is more accessible to a lot of people, and it's quite extensive in form too making it a longer read, which I assume also makes it more worth it as a buy. But this is just my opinion, of course - I'm majoring in nonfiction, so this is my argument! Anyway, so far I've only had one other The Best American Essays book (the 2006 edition) and I bought it for Php 100 from someone selling books at my college. This one, I bought for Php 115 at Book Sale. I'm starting to believe the only chance I have of completing these is to scour for them at book sales and have them secondhand - which I don't mind at all, really.

Break It Down is one of those books whose cover just jumps at you and doesn't make you let go. And besides, it's Lydia Davis, how could I ever let it go? Her prose is something I truly admire for its succinctness and simplicity. These are two characteristics I love to find in reading but have a difficulty executing in writing. (Just goes to show I never had it in me to be a poet.) Just by skimming through the pages, her play with form also looked very interesting. I had to have it right then and there.


The weeks ahead can only get more stressful and I sense a lot of sleepless nights ahead. But books always comfort me in a way sleep or food never can - which sounds really unhealthy, yet actually refreshing for me. I admit I haven't been reading (for leisure) as much as I'd want to, but just the thought of having all these books to read, waiting for me by my bedside table, makes me want to just get everything done so I could go back to them right away.

I'm still going to start reading them tonight, though. Work or no work, these books are too good to be shelved for another time. :)