Essential Reading: February 2013

This month’s theme, which is books about love, may be very predictable (owing to the fact that it’s Valentine’s month) but I still wanted to do it. Love is a universal subject and it is something that I like reading about (to be fair, I like reading about anything as long as it is well-written). But before we go to the list, let me review my January reads:

  • Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (4/5)
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (4/5)
  • Any Human Heart by William Boyd (4/5)
  • Auggie Wren’s Christmas Story by Paul Auster (5/5)
  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (4/5)
  • The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster (4/5)
  • Exile and The Kingdom by Albert Camus (4/5)

All in all, January was an excellent month filled with great reads. Nothing in my January reads are below 4 stars which is exceptionally awesome. I hope that the same goes February and the Essential Reads for the month of love is:


  • Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda – Aside from Shakespeare, Neruda is the undisputed king of love poetry and I think that it is very apt to include his collection of poems that include the famous Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines.
  • Alien Hearts by Guy de Maupassant – I remember liking The Necklace when we read it in highschool and this book about a man who does not care for anything but “devote[s] himself to being in love” seems to be one of the books that  I have that matches this month’s theme.
  • Journey into the Past by Stefan Zweig – I read Chess last year and I liked the psychological elements of the novella. This time, I am curious as to how Zweig’s psychological examinations will be put to use in a novella about a couple who resumes their suspended relationship after 9 years.
  • My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead edited by Jeffrey Eugenides – This is an anthology of short works by famous writers like Joyce, Chekov, and Carver. The short stories are all about love and I think that this will be the centerpiece of this month’s list.
  • Fourteen Love Stories edited by Dalisay and Lacuesta – A collection of Filipino short stories that, like the anthology above, also talks about love. This collection includes the very famous Dead Stars by Paz Marquez Benitez which is also this month’s subject for our bookclub’s F2F.
  • The End of an Affair by Graham Greene – A story about the affair of a couple that was suddenly ended by the woman. The man descends into obsession as he tries to follow the woman through the course of her life.

There you have it, this month’s Essential Reads. I upped the quantity from the usual five to six because I think the length of Neruda’s collection is almost negligible. However, I still expect to enjoy these books regardless of their respective lengths. That’s all for now and until next time.

8 Responses to “Essential Reading: February 2013”
  1. Do you collect NYRB books? I’ve always been interested but I never got around to actually buying one. (Maybe a part of me is trying to tell me that I should stop trying to collect everything.)

    And can I borrow Sparrow when you’re done? 😀

    • NYRBs are expensive but I try to buy the works of authors that I like or authors whose works are only published by the NYRB. So far, I have a very meager collection.:D

      As for Sparrow, of course, you can borrow it. I’ll lend it to you when I finish it.:)

  2. Monique says:

    I’m falling in line and claiming dibs after Buddy is through with Sparrow. Borrow please? 😀

    Tonight I Can Write The Saddest Lines is one of two favorite Neruda poems. The other is Ode To A Beautiful Nude. ❤

  3. Peter S. says:

    Hi, Bennard!

    I see that you’re planning to read The End of the Affair. Yay! Graham Greene is one of my favorite writers, and The End of the Affair is a favorite book. I really enjoyed it! It’s basically a love triangle: the man, the woman, and somebody else totally unexpected! I do hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I even reread it for the book club, as we discussed it a couple of years back.

    • I have high expectations for this ever since I read a short story by Graham Greene. Plus, since you said that he is one of your favorites, I feel much much better with my choice.:D

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