Book Review: 1000 books to Read Before You Die

1000 books to read before you die1000 books to read before you die by James Mustich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very informative and interesting commentary from the author

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Book Review: Elevation by Stephen King

ElevationElevation by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very quick read. I’d give it a 6 out of 11 in may ratings. I was expecting more of the story’s premise but I felt that I needn’t expect too much while following the protagonist’s own actions and inactions.

I do like it short and simple. Honestly, If he did use unnecessary dialogue and backstories, I would definitely give this a 3 out of 11.

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Harry Potter – to read or not to read

CNN2EM showed me a 2018 20th anniversary edition hardbound copy of J.K. Rowling’s HP and The Chamber of Secrets … that red dust jacket, sharp corners of the cover and fresh text block. Honestly, I haven’t read any of Rowling’s work though I have seen 4 out 7? of 8? of the films. Hmm… last year I read the first 2 of Rick Riordian’s Percy Jackson series and it was a wonderful treat and what about I give J.K. a chance this year? … kept me thinking for an hour…

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TEOTFWTEOTFW by Charles Forsman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Rated 4/11. Well, pretty much a typical American teen tragic story. The comic’s message is clear and yet it didn’t strike me as novel. From the starting pages I had the feeling that the ending will be tragic. Just by the title, you can tell the story is anger-filled. From where I come from, violence will never be an option. I do like the art work and the simplicity of backgrounds. Predictable and plain.

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Detective Boys of Masangkay: Ang Mangkukulam

Detective Boys of Masangkay: Ang MangkukulamDetective Boys of Masangkay: Ang Mangkukulam by Bernalyn Hapin Sastrillo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun read. Kids will enjoy, I think. Lei, actually was afraid of the story and decided not to continue with it so I took it and yeah, It is fun story, at the least.

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Why Men Want Sex and Women Need Love: Solving the Mystery of Attraction

Why Men Want Sex and Women Need Love: Solving the Mystery of AttractionWhy Men Want Sex and Women Need Love: Solving the Mystery of Attraction by Allan Pease
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gave it a 6/11. Typical info book. Most details here, I have already known before and that’s why I got bored and just wanted to finish it.

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Review: The Motorcycle Diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American JourneyThe Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey by Ernesto Che Guevara

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Rated 3/11:
I was not impressed. I do like Che “the rebellious attitude”, the socialist…not the communist. I see my musings before in his ideals, his works…[not this book(diary)]. I do believe that works defines personalities. The acts that we have done have defined us but not the acts that we will be doing as of yet. Thus we are constantly being defined, refined, cultivated … or we may be partially corrupted, uncivilized at some point in our lives. Personally, I think that if this book introduces Che to the naive…it will always fail to showcase his ideals. Unless the naive ponder on some sort of socialist writings as a book companion or follow up with his subsequent works. Or better yet study his biography and how we was truly developed in the armed struggle.

I did not feel the Che in this book. The Che that I knew only from articles and short summaries, some 45-minute cable documentaries was not in here. Or just maybe, reading about a very young Che is not truly essential to understanding the characteristics that made him a revolutionary icon. People have been wearing his face imprinted in shirts, patches and desktop wallpapers but we know that the problem lies in the fact that popularity almost all the time misleads people. How does one relate to him? How does one connect to his vision? Are we in the same page? His face in my chest, do I know him? Do I truly know him? “IBM”(I’ve Been Misled) meme applies to a specific number of people who are unaware. The question for me is: Am I right to think that Che is wrong and I’m not cool with him? But Hey! Who cares anyway. As long as he’s cool. I’m cool. I’m not a hater but I do like if people be more careful on what they try to project in themselves.

I assume that by the time Che was travelling “Pre-Motorcycle” days, he was already reading communist/socialist/leftist writings. The desire to see for himself that the reality is out there and the motivation of proving to himself that he has the capacity to do more. Be more! At that point, he is already a hero for doing what needs to be done. I do believe that heroes became heroes when they get “that opportunity” to be heroes. If you see that opportunity and got lazy, you’re done for the day, go home and wait for the next. Some people just don’t want to let those moments pass by without doing any kind of action/reaction. The important question “What If…?” Heroes eat these kinds of questions for breakfast, digest them at noon, take action in the afternoon and then rest in the evening. Its relative. Good or Bad. Your hero may be my villain. My Villain may be your hero. It’s human nature to connect to our heroes for us to be heroes ourselves at some point in our lives. It’s quite endearing to be a hero for a moment and become normally insignificant after that. I’m quite cool with that.

I was disappointed after I finished reading this. Wait what? Is that it??? I thought this diary would pave the way for us to connect. Not so true. When I read Anne Frank’s diary, I was stunned. Wow! For the record, that book got me inspired jotting down notes and still to this day keeps writing down in diaries, blogs, vlogs, song covers. Maybe it was just that the premise of Anne Frank and Che Guevara are so unlike. Or maybe the writing technique or the written voice. Or maybe their fates.

With careful introspection, serious readers will discover that Che is indeed one person to idolize or to hate or just a cool looking, handsome, masculine face. It’s quite different if you wear a Bob Marley shirt believing in his lyrics and music, attitude,inspirations and aspirations for the people of Africa.It’s quite different when you wear Lennon shirt coz’ you grew up with the Beatles, loved his songs, connect with Peace,Love and non-violence. It’s quite different when you wear a pair of Air Jordans, imagining your fade-away jump shot would win the championship. It’s quite different when you wear a Jesus Christ necklace glorifying his sacrifices and tenets or just indicating your one with Him, subject to his authority as part of Catholicism. It’s quite different when you wear or a Scuderia Ferrari cap during a Saturday Qualifying F1 race. What we project is almost always what we are a part of, or part of those are what defines us.

What I do admire in the book was the appendix; the speech that he did years later to a group of medical students. Inspirational? YES! Empowering? YES! When he did that speech, he was already a full-blown communist. His principles were already solidified unlike the time when he wrote the diaries. For me, the speech part was worth reading, worth sharing, worth quoting. And I quote:

“Then I realized one fundamental thing: to be a
revolutionary doctor, or to be a revolutionary, there must
first be a revolution. The isolated effort, the individual
effort, the purity of ideals, the desire to sacrifice an entire
lifetime to the noblest of ideals means naught if that effort is
made alone, solitary, in some corner in Latin America, fighting
against hostile governments and social conditions that do not
permit progress. A revolution needs what we have in Cuba: an entire
people mobilized, who have learned the use of arms and the practise
of combative unity, who know what a weapon is worth and what the
people’s unity is worth”

“The revolution is not, as some claim, a stardardizer of collective will
, of collective initiative. To the contrary, it is a liberator of human
beings’ individual capacity.”

“Our enemy, and the enemy of all Latin America, is the monopolistic
government of the United States of America.”

Now that one is how to get 2 thumbs up likes from anybody you don’t actually relate to. It’s the power of words, more than ever he has already took action to prove his words true before that speech. But honestly, I can’t relate to his pronouncements as I’m still cool with capitalism in my country. As long as don’t think about it much, I’m okay. No need to be pretentious. If I’m watching Netflix, buying mid-range D’ Addario classical guitar strings, uploading song covers to YouTube…that’s pro-capitalism. Funny quote insert here:

“Under capitalism man exploits man; under socialism the reverse is true”

I am not in the position to discuss his political ideologies but being part of the Bay of Pigs Invasion and indirectly, the Cuban missile crisis in which the USSR and Cuba are allies, I’m fairly sure that Che was just a piece needed for the Eastern Bloc Superpowers to challenge the U.S.’ dominance in Latin America. It’s power play with these proxy wars and small scale conflicts. Still happening to this day(Syria). So what’s the difference anyway? What’s funny is Che is so popular among capitalist nations too! How? Some crazy hype misunderstood for decades now. Che’s icon is all over the places he hated the most.

I do abhor communism. By all accounts, in all generations…past,present or future, in all realities…in all circumstances, communism is inhumane. I do “slightly” believe in socialism way back 13 years ago only because of its “varieties”. Still, socialism is dangerous. Even now, working in a corporate environment, junking my rebellious attitude, actions and ideas, I am still not a true believer in capitalism. I just believe that time is intangible so I just need to make most of it and limit my level of dissatisfaction of life in general.

Finally, Che is a hero to some but a criminal to others. Depends from where you come from.
I just realized that I had never worn a Che Guevara shirt and never felt the need to buy one. Seriously, from where I come from, being an urban cyclist for many years…I do believe in him making good use of the bicycle. So yeah! He still qualifies as my hero!

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