Noli Me Tangere

Noli Me TangereNoli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal
Publisher: Bookmark
Number of pages: 601
My copy: paperback, Soledad Locsin-Lacson Translation, from FFP Book Swap

The Noli Me Tangere by Jose P. Rizal, national hero of the Philppines, is the novel with the greatest impact on Filipino political thinking in the 19th and 20th centuries, as well as the widest influence on contemporary fiction, drama, opera, dance and film. Its popularity was rooted in its relection of the times in which it was written, and has continued because of the characters Rizal created, set in situations that still ring true today.

Rizal finished the Noli in 1887, and published 2,000 copies in Berlin. Many thousands more have since circulated, in the original Spanish, and in translations into German, French, Chinese, English, Filipino, and other Philippine languages. The best known translations in English are those by Charles Derbyshire (1912) and Leon Ma. Guerrero (1961).

In this new translation, Soledad Lacson-Locsin, a bilingual writer, has restored the unpublished chapter about Elias and Salome, as well as the whole of the “Canto de Maria Clara,” wishing her translation to be a faithful rendition of the original.

* * *

Noli Me Tangere is a revolutionary book by our national hero, Jose Rizal, and is said to spark the revolution against the Spanish rule in our country. This was areal required reading book for Filipino high school students so I was able to read this book for our Filipino class. Or at least, I was able to read a condensed version of this book, since our textbook back then contained summarized chapters with discussion questions (which we have to summarize yet again and answer). We were also required to watch movies related to the book (and the author), as well as watch a stage play and produce our own in high school. So I was really, pretty much saturated by this then that I felt that I had no reason to read it again.

I remember liking it very much in high school. A few years later, when I was getting serious with reading more local fiction, I realized that I haven’t read the full text of Noli MeTangere. Because I was ambitious like that, I said that I would read it in its entirety someday. I planned to read it last year but gave up after the first 100 or so pages. ^^; Then the opportunity came again when it became our book club’s book of the month for August, so I thought: this is it. I thought I would be able to read it easier now, given that I’ve been venturing out of my reading comfort zone lately.

Of course, I was wrong. I don’t know if I was just simply busy, but Noli Me Tangere proved to be a difficult read. It was easy for the first third or so, but I lagged so much after that I wasn’t sure if I could finish it. Then I got past 400 pages, and I realized that there were about 50+ pages of appendices that didn’t count in the total story, so it was just 150+ pages before the end. I powered through and finished 3am on the day of our discussion. Buzzer beater!

To cut the long story short: as a piece of fiction, I didn’t see Noli Me Tangere as a really good book. It had a lot of good moments, but half the time, it was kind of dragging. There were a lot of chapters where nothing really happened except the people were talking about what just happened in the previous chapter — gossiping characters, which is actually a very Filipino trait, but it felt like fodder in the story. The main characters were a little one-dimensional, and I wonder why I actually liked reading about Crisostomo Ibarra back then when he can be so…boring. Maria Clara was far from the strong female character that I liked reading in my books, and in fact, I liked her best friend, Sinang, more. There was some kind of hope in Padre Damaso, who showed a bit more depth in his character, but it wasn’t until the very end.

Saying these makes me feel like I’m a bad Filipino, eep. :| But it’s not that it’s a bad book — Rizal is a talented writer and I liked several parts of the book for its descriptive but not purple writing. I really ended up still liking the book in the end, despite the struggle. Maybe I was just really busy for August that’s why it was hard to read? But I figure there may be two other reasons for this: first is that even if I first heard of the story 11 years ago, it was still too close to my schooling years that reading it again still felt too academic and I can’t get out of that mindset. Another is that…perhaps it’s just not really my kind of book just yet.

I really, really appreciate the effort behind producing this book, as well as how it was instrumental to major events in my country’s history. I wanted to give this book 3 stars, but I felt like I owe this book something because of what it sparked for my country’s freedom. I am gratefu for that, and it makes the difficulty of reading this book easier to forgive compared to the other difficult books I’ve read. Overall, it’s okay, and I honor Jose Rizal for it. I’m glad that I have finally read Noli Me Tangere and I will read the full text of its sequel someday (not sure how soon, but someday!). But I totally understand now why we were given a condensed version back in high school. :)

Rating:

Other reviews:
Book Rhapsody
Bookmarked!

Required Reading: September

Ahoy there, look, it’s September!

Some of my book club friends received a very perky text message this morning about the fact that it’s September, and it’s almost Christmas1 and because it’s the start of one of our biggest buddy reads ever today as well. September to remember? :)

I’m just really happy that we’re onto a new month because August was kind of…interesting. Some things are a bit too personal to divulge, but in terms of reading, August has been one of those slump-y months. I read, but I was terribly slow, and I hardly made a dent with my TBR because I ended up getting more new books and reading them instead of reading the ones I already have. It’s a vicious cycle, I tell you. But first, recap of my August Required Reading list (none of which I have written reviews for yet, eep!):

  • Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin by Bob Ong (1/5) – Ugh. I shouldn’t have expected much, really.
  • Paper Cuts by Pam Pastor (2/5) – I read this and Bob Ong’s book in one weekend. Aaron had to ask me if I was torturing myself on purpose. Not that it’s bad, but it’s not my kind of book after all. More details when I sit down and review it.
  • Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal (3-4/5) – Haven’t decided on the final rating. Rating it 3 seems so low because this is like THE novel that spurred the revolution against Spain in Filipino history so my Filipino heart feels that I should rate this higher. But as a reader…it’s not really that amazing.

Interestingly, I think I read so many books by Filipino authors this month too! I’d like to think it’s because of the really awesome 2nd Filipino ReaderCon that drove me to get more local books. :) I still have several local books on my TBR shelf that I am pretty sure I’ll be able to read this year, and I’m quite excited about it. Maybe I’ll finally reach that 20 Filipino books goal!

My review backlog is still a backlog — let me work on that. :P

Now let’s move on to September!

Required Reading: September

Continue Reading →

  1. Yep, we Filipinos start counting down to Christmas this early []

Required Reading: August

You know I still owe the blog several a ton of reviews and posts? Ah, what is busy? I don’t think I am in a blogging slump, but I’ve been terribly busy with other real life stuff (some still connected to reading, but not requiring an easy site builder), and yes, sometimes I’m just too lazy to open my blog and write a review. For that, I apologize.

On another note, July reading was actually quite good, even if I was still terribly slow. I don’t think I’ll ever get out of the 4-book backlog for my Goodreads challenge, but right now, I don’t really care. Perhaps later? But anyway, I managed to finish my July books with a few days to spare!

  • Blackout by Mira Grant (5/5)
  • The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (4/5)
  • Honey, Baby, Sweetheart by Deb Caletti (4/5 — bordering to 5. I love this book :D)
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (4/5)

I like that most of my books were highly rated, which means I really enjoyed them all last month! :)

Required Reading: August

Now we go to August! It feels kind of weird writing this post in English because of the theme I picked for the month. August is our country’s language month, orBuwan ng Wika, and this is normally the time in the year where we are encouraged to speak in Filipino to celebrate our language. Oh, I speak in Filipino when conversing with friends, but for other forms of communication, I always switch to English because of the nature of my work.

So writing this post in English feels weird now because my theme for this month’s list are Filipino books. It’s not books written in Filipino (although there is one), but books written by Filipino authors. Love your own, right?

Yep, that’s a caricature of me behind the books. :)

  • Lumayo Ka Nga Sa Akin by Bob Ong. He’s one of the funny, local authors that has a huge following, and I have pretty much read almost everything he wrote. This is his latest, and I received this last Christmas and I am finally, finally going to read it. I figure it’s going to be light reading?
  • Paper Cuts by Pam Pastor. I got this in 2011, and it’s a collection of articles written by the author. Should be another light read, and I chose this on purpose because of the last book on my list.
  • Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal. I added this on my Required Reading post in June last year, and I abandoned it halfway because I found it too wordy. This was a required reading in high school, but since we only read the summarized version, I wanted to read the whole version. And then like I said, I stopped reading it last year. Now our book club has chosen this as book of the month and I have no choice but to finally read it. Challenge accepted.

I’m not sure if I will read only Filipino books this month (that’s an interesting idea!), but I will try. Again, love your own, right? It’s just timely because we’ll also be having the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon: United We Read on August 18, and it’s a celebration of/for Filipino readers, so maybe reading all things Filipino will make me feel more festive.

If you’re looking for a Filipino reading challenge for this month, you can also drop by Kikay Reader’s blog and join her challenge.

What are you reading this August? Share in the comments section! :)

Required Reading: June

May was a little forgiving compared to April when it came to work, so I was able to read faster than I usually do. That, and the books were, well, awesome, so it made for a very good reading month.

Of course, I still didn’t finish all on time, as I only finished the fourth book for my Required Reading challenge yesterday. Still, I think I made pretty good, and none of the books I chose to read last month were a drag.

So, Required Reading for May recap!

  • The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner – introduced me to the wonderful world of Sounis, Eddis and Attolia, and my new favorite lead character, Eugenides. :)
  • The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner – this further made me love The Queen’s Thief series. I can see here why the people who recommended this series to me love it so much. :)
  • The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner – this sealed the deal for me in the series. MWT = genius.
  • Mistwood by Leah Cypess – I finished this yesterday and it was pretty good, although all the conspiracies kind of bewildered me a bit. It may be not the best mood to read this after I’ve read the MWT novels I’ve had on hand — expectations are a bit higher. Still, it was pretty good. Review to come this week. :)

I think this may be my most successful month as far as this challenge is concerned. :)

On to June!

Required Reading - June

I will do a little variation this month, because when I first made my list for June books, I realized that all of them are a bit of a heavy reading, and I know for sure I won’t be able to finish all, So, instead of choosing four books, I’m only going for two.

Rules recap!

  • The books should be read within the specified month
  • These books should be in my TBR and not yet to be acquired
  • These books cannot be used for any other reading challenges I am participating in.

I’m also bending my third rule a bit because one of the books I chose this month passes for my local book challenge. I can afford to bend it, right? Right.

The theme for June is revolution, since we celebrate the Philippines’ Independence Day this month. :) See why I mean it’s a pretty heavy subject? The books:

  • Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal – For my non-Filipino readers, Jose Rizal is the national hero of the Philippines. Noli Me Tangere (or Noli) is required reading for us during high school, but we didn’t actually read the novel back then — we were reading a summarized version of the book (which we had to summarize further — go figure). I liked Noli’s story, so I want to read it in its full glory. :) June 2011 is his 150th birthday, so I figure it’s also just right.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – By revolution, I remember war. The Book Thiefis set in WW2, so this should fit the theme quite well. :)

I also have a back-up book, just in case I end up having more time, or I’m having a particularly good reading month, too.

  • Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly – French revolution. Enough said.

Pretty thick books up ahead. And I have some books I still have to finish reading. Let’s see how well June goes. :D

 

In My Mailbox (13): The First Weeks of January

It’s been a while since I did an In My Mailbox post, and it’s not because I went on a book buying ban, but because I was just too lazy to make a post about the stuff I got. I thought I’d be able to make it long into a the new year without buying new books, but alas. Who am I kidding?

So this is a consolidated post for the past three weeks of January, and maybe even some in December. If I can remember what I got back then, of course. :P

In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store.

BOUGHT:

  1. White Cat by Holly Black – I only got this because Chachic posted a positive review of the book, and see, I’m still easily swayed. It helps that I got the e-galley of the next book from Simon and Schuster, so when I saw this in Fully Booked, I knew I can’t let it go anymore. :P
  2. Some Girls Are by Courtney SummersHolly reviewed this early this week, and well, consider me sold. I love contemporary and I like reading about high school cliques (sans the scandals, of course), and this one got really good reviews. I’m so glad I spotted this one yesterday when we visited Fully Booked after the FBB/Flippers meet up. :)
  3. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta – This was actually the first print book I purchased this year. I saw it in Fully Booked Eastwood and didn’t let it go, forgetting that there was a sale that weekend. Pfft. Ah well. :)

GRABBED:

Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal, translated by Soledad Lacson-Locsin. At yesterday’s Filipino Book Bloggers/Flips Flipping Pages meet up, someone had this translation of Noli Me Tangere up for book swap. I have been wanting to get my hands on a translated copy of this novel for a long time now, but I wasn’t sure which was the best translation. This one was what Blooey and the Flippers read last year, and is said to be a really good translation. I got it and no one stole it from me, so…yay. Finally!

Now a little backgrounder: Noli Me Tangere is written by the Philippines’ National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. This is a required reading in high school, but I never really read the novel in its entirety because our copy in high school was the summarized version (no, it’s not abridged, if you’re thinking that’s the term — it was actual chapter summaries that we had to summarize for another report. Hmph). I figure in my life as a reader, I must read this novel at least once in my life. So yay.

The bookmark is one of the giveaways for the Flippers meet-up. :)

GIFTED/BORROWED:

  1. Captivating by John and Stasi Elredge – this is a Christmas gift from my friend RE. I’ve read this one in college and it was one of those good books for women that I really liked. My mom has my other copy of this and I don’t even know where it is right now. Haha. I don’t know if I will read this anytime soon, but it’s nice to know I have another copy here to refer to when I need it. :)
  2. Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis – this is lent to me by RE, too, and this is the best C.S. Lewis work according to him. This is only a lending copy though. Heh. I have a feeling I’ll like this one, too, and I’ve reserved it for February reading already. Now to find a copy of this one. Hmm.

WON:

Being Jamie Baker by Kelly Oram. I’ve seen this book from Kai‘s blog, and I added it on my wish list for the sheer pink-ness of it. :P I followed the author on Twitter, then on Facebook for her contest and even exchanged tweets with her during NaNoWriMo. I never expected to win because I’m not really lucky with winning, but lo and behold: I was her second winner! :) Thanks, Kelly!

This kind of took its sweet time to arrive at home, and I thought it would be lost in the mail forever, but good thing it arrived just before 2010 ended. :) I love how pink the book really is. :D The book is signed, too:

EBOOKS:

I got too many ebooks since December. Talk about crazy buying binge? Sort of. :P I also got a ton of e-galleys from Simon and Schuster’s Galley Grab. :D

Bought:

  • Miss Match and Match Point by Erynn Mangum
  • Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John – loved this!
  • Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen – my physical copy is with some friend, so I splurged on an ebook.
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro – loved this, too! Review coming up soon
  • Infinity by Sarah Dessen

For Review:

  • Save as Draft by Cavanaugh Lee
  • Ten Miles Past Normal by Frances O’Roark Dowell
  • Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis
  • Red Glove by Holly Black
  • Stay by Deb Caletti
  • Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

There is probably more, but I forgot about them.

I know I said I won’t be stressing over my TBR, but I really think I should get to reading the other books that are starting to pile up in the apartment, the ones I acquired before 2010 ended. I really should work on that. I should.

Yeah, I always say that. :P I bet most of you guys do too. :P