Sunday, December 2, 2012

Rereading the great Philippine novel

Rereading the "great Philippine novel" this month

So it's finally come to the last book for the year for the book club. And this month, it's José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not).

A lot has been said about this novel written by the national hero of the Philippines. How it sparked the Philippine revolution, how it has become the great Philippine novel, why is has found itself in the high school curriculum in the country and thus has become required reading.

Perhaps it's the concept of the book being required reading that made it a very unenjoyable reading experience more than 20 years ago in high school. I recall memorizing all those details about the characters: their full names, their roles, what they symbolize. Tedious and boring stuff, I tell you.

I never did get into the novel, despite having finished it and all its non-relevant details. I found it too political, too serious for itself, and too symbolic. It's lengthy too, with my current trade paperback copy at more than 420 pages.

Nevertheless, I'm determined to still give it another go. Perhaps this time time, I'd find some gems in Rizal's opus. Maybe reading Noli Me Tangere solely for its literary value would elicit an appreciation for it, or maybe that would just heighten my disdain for it. We will see, dear readers.

So now we're saying good-bye to 2012, and it's been a good year as well for the book club. The books we chose this year were our most eclectic mix yet. We've read not just "literary" novels but also graphic fiction, short stories, fantasy, food and travel essays, young adult, and nonfiction.

One more book to go, and then we're saying hello to 2013.

The books chosen for discussion for 2012
by Flips Flipping Pages
(Click to enlarge.)


ןıuǝ oɟ ɟןıƃɥʇ said...

that's the great filipino novel while fili is the greatest filipino novel. lol

Peter S. said...

Ah, El Filibusterismo. Another nightmare read for me.

Jack said...

Amazing, isn't it, how schools can ruin anything by forcing it down your throat sideways. I've always thought that to be at the root of my intense dislike of Dickens. My hat's off to you for holding your nose and swallowing the medicine...

Peter S. said...

Hello, Jack! I'll be starting on my Dickens readathon next year! Kinda excited for it!

ןıuǝ oɟ ɟןıƃɥʇ said...

nightmare? hahaha. that's my favorite, favorite, favorite book in the whole world....