Getting back to reading (and how one book made me cry shitless)

Posted by Abdel Kadz on Tuesday, September 09, 2008 with 4 comments
Come on! A 20-something rockish-looking man with all the facial hair crying over a 100-page or so book written in the 1800s? It may be embarrassing to say the least. But I guess I'm one of them few men who's not afraid to blog about how a story of a boy and a dog could break open even the hardest of hearts, not that I have one for that matter. Enter A Dog of Flanders.

I just learned that this book was made into an anime and shown in the early '90s here in the country. What I find befuddling to this day is the fact that I haven't heard of it even though I was told it was such a big hit back then. I may have missed something for not having seen this during my childhood. But thankfully, poring over the book for an hour and a half compensated for it.

The ebook--I read it in its plain text format--is made available on Project Gutenberg for downloading where you can also find a find a menagerie of notable classics written by no-nonsense writers. I first got wind of it over conversation with Edward and Jasper at dinner with the former highly recommending it. My curiosity piqued, I found myself downloading all 78.68 kilobytes of it.

I like reading books that keep me glued to my seat and leaving me voraciously leafing the pages like there's no tomorrow (or autoscrolling on MobiPocket in my case), and A Dog of Flanders offered the same kind of reading pleasure. It's a light read, but the writing could get at you if you haven't read or don't like reading the classics; it's a known fact that authors from the bygone years had their own literay elan. Think Shakespeare.

I need not expound on what the story is about as I'm well aware you know it already if you happen to be a '90s baby. It was in the last few pages of the book that a soft spot in me was hit in piercing bull's eye fashion: Nello leaving Patrasche in Alois and her mom's care, Patrasche escaping from the Cogez's looking for Nello, Baas Cogez trying to make amends with what he's done, Nello and Patrasche inside the cathedral looking at the Rubens, Nello and Patrasche on the floor, under the Elevation of the Cross, dead. It was just too tragic and so much to take that I found my eyes welling up at 6:00 in the morning! Weheh.

Having finished a literary gem, I know that there are countless covers out there that would have given me the same level of intensity and satisfaction if I ever have them within arm's reach, in paperback or in its electronic form. Armed with a techie mobile ebook viewer, I began shortlisting books that I would like to read. I started off with the must-read classics, then the award winners (Nobel, Booker, Pulitzer, et al), then the best-sellers, then the "cults." And given the limited number of free ebooks available on the worldwide web without no need for software installations, I was able to download the following: CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia, George Orwell's 1984, John Grey's Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go and Remains of the Day, Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner, Mitch Albom's Five People You Meet in Heaven, Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game, Truman Capote's In Cold Blood, and Yann Martel's Life of Pi.

With all these now at the touch of a mobile keypad for my perusal, would I even be able to read all of them (and others waiting to be found yet)? These books would be a good start, and I'm more than willing to be taken away to the very world these literatis have laid out for us, if I ever get time on my hands. I'm thinking, after Flanders, what would be a good, this-book-will-make-you-cry-shitless read? Hmm. How about Eddie and the Five People he's supposed to meet in heaven? I heard a Filipino is one out of five.
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