18 May 2009

armchair traveling

Because I had nothing to do this Sunday (and because I was still reeling from the mini trauma of having my possessions stolen from me in broad daylight last Saturday), I stayed at home. Spent the first half of my day Facebooking and downloading Mac software updates and torrent files.

Then I saw my younger sister Karla's copy of The Time Traveler's Wife lying around the house, and out of idle curiousity, I picked it up. I was bored, it was a book I haven't read yet, and I knew that Hollywood had just made a movie adaptation. So I figured, might as well read it before the movie came out.

The book is 518 pages long, and I read it in one sitting. Specifically within a 4-hour period. Not because it was captivatingly good, but because it was an easy read. I'm not a big fan of flowery romance books, and although Audrey Niffenegger's The Time Traveler's Wife isn't as silly as other romance books out there (coughtwilightcough and ahemnicholassparksahem), it was, in my opinion, close to being romantic drivel. I suppose that some people who share my opinion may have given up halfway through the book, but I don't quit on a book altogether, whether it's trashy bad or boring. I suppose it's a discipline that most readers have, the will to finish a book. The only novel that I've totally given up on was Marcel Proust's Remembrance Of Things Past but that was because it was too cerebrally exhausting, and I was humble enough to admit to myself that I wasn't ready to read him yet. Will probably read Proust when I'm in my patient 60's or 70's. As for Hitler's Mein Kampf, I am still reading it in small doses, because one can't simply take in all that frenzied fanaticism in one sitting.

I am digressing. Anyway, people will always have different definitions of what a good book is like. The Time Traveler's Wife, in my opinion, is just one of those bland reads. I found the whole time travel / switching from one period to another exhausting, as it was happening every, say, 3 pages or so. The whole thing gave me a headache. I think the story could have been told in a more condensed manner, even if the sequencing was non-linear. There were just too many unnecessary demonstrations of "I-love-you-regardless-of-whatever-time-and-age-we're-in"--which is basically the theme of the novel.

Maybe I'm just being cynical about love. Although come to think of it, I totally love Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love In The Time Of Cholera, and that was an unabashedly romantic story.

I admire though Niffenegger's efforts to tell the story in such a radical, rapid time-switching fashion and still manage to establish a solid element of linearity in her novel; as a reader, I am still taken through the usual plot conventions of exposition, conflict, etc., but the novel's climactic scenes take place not in the present but as flashbacks in time--flashbacks which have now become clearer and more explained to the reader since the pieces of the puzzle have fallen mostly into place.

The good part about spending the whole afternoon reading is finding out that I still haven't lost that ability to read fast. I used to finish one novel (average of 500-700 pages?) in less than a day when I had more time and work was less demanding. So even if The Time Traveler's Wife isn't something I'd read again ever, at least I was able to spend some time reading. No pun intended, haha.


Can't wait to box later this evening. I hope my trainer isn't sick anymore, so that I can pretend he's The-Good-For-Nothing-Who-Stole-My-Stuff. Now that'll make me punch away for an hour or so.


  1. Steffi1:02 PM

    Dude, that was my book, not Ate Karla's. Haha.

  2. That's even worse! Hahaha. I would have expected Karla to bring that home, instead of you. Hahaha.

    Sorry, the book isn't so good, in my opinion.