The Silkworm

The Silkworm is the second book in the Cormoran Strike series.

20180129_213915-01.jpeg

Similar with the first one, I liked the dynamics and how the author fleshed out both Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. For me, just two books in, their dynamic is the strength of the series. I am looking forward reading about how Robin further develops her detective skills.

Story wise, the Silkworm had a good story to tell… there were a number of quirky characters in place here that my mind had a hard time wrapping around but is probably a good representation of the various personalities in the publishing world. There was also a web of relationships and pasts among the characters that makes it a consistent guessing game on who is really responsible for the death of Owen Quine.

The killer of Owen Quine was like that blacktip, he thought. There were no frenzied, indiscriminate predators among the suspects in this case. None of them had a known history of violence. There was not, as so often when bodies turned up, a trail of past misdemeanors leading to the door of the suspect, no bloodstained past dragging behind any of them like a bag of offal for hungry hounds. This killer was a rarer, stranger beast: the one who conceals its true nature until sufficiently disturbed.

On how the story was told, however, is where my reservation with the book lies. I just felt like it was too dragging at some points with references and descriptions being mentioned repeatedly. I was more than halfway to the book and I felt like I was still not getting anywhere with the story. The narrative picks up pace near the end with the killer not known until the last chapter of the book. But for me, it was quite a stretch. It was not that enjoyable. But given the author’s style, this book may be worth a reread since there are probably a lot of hidden references and nuggets within the story. But, for now, I feel like I had enough of Bombyx Mori.

Still, I am curious how the third book goes considering how this book ended for Robin. (Maybe I am with Team Robin after all in these books)

Random thought: Silkworm is the first physical book I have read this year (and probably for quite some time). I definitely missed Kindle’s dictionary feature the most while reading, especially given the use of complex words by the author. I am starting to realize I am now for ebooks though purchase of physical ones from time to time would not hurt at all.

Advertisements

Quick Notes: Coron

Welcome from Barracuda Lake

I visited Coron last 27 October to 02 November 2017, primarily to see the Dugong and the wrecks, which are two of the main attractions the province is known for.

It is not actually my first time in Coron. My first time was way back in 2013 with my friends from the office. We did the island hopping, hot springs and climb to Mt. Tapyas back then. But, this trip is different as it is more focused on dives and the other side of Busuanga island.

Dugong infographic from Cashew Grove Resort

Best to start that I was quite unfortunate with the Dugong. I  was part of the group that did not see the Dugong.. the first in almost two months (based on the the resort owner and the guides)!

Main factor was the poor visibility. Prior to the trip, the guides were quite optimistic and confident since there is a friendly Dugong that regularly feeds in a specific area. But, due to a number of factors, visibility was not good that day. Our group was advised not to proceed either with snorkeling or diving.

Ou group was then transferred to a reef (note: a beautiful reef with diverse marine life) where there is a chance of seeing one since it is also a feeding ground; but, luck was still not on our side. I guess it was not yet in my cards to see the Dugong (that is mother nature for you). But, I do hope I get the chance to see them in the future in their habitat. I do pray that the surrounding community really moves towards saving the Dugong.

Coron Wrecks from Reggae Dive Center

For the wrecks, this was quite an experience. First off, let me say that I am not really a fan of wrecks, especially when there is penetration involved. My main fear is getting disoriented and lost inside the wreck.

After this trip, I could say that wrecks are really not my cup of tea. I love the history behind the wrecks but the experience being in one is totally different.

My fear was not baseless after all; but, the risk of getting lost and disoriented can be managed if you get competent dive masters to accompany you (slow clap to our guide Arjay from the Reggae Dive Center). I tried to be real focused during dive orientations but the dark seems to erase everything I tried processing and remembering. I ended up being completely reliant on my dive master (well, and my dive computer) inside the wrecks.

Window

Random rails underwater

Again, it is just not my cup of tea but I can sense that there are divers that prefer this, probably those that knows about ships. Still, a great experience. In some ways, I felt like an austronaut floating into unchartered territory researching for something.

Coron definitely has a lot to offer – both wrecks and marine life. For the latter, even if I was not able to see the Dugong, Coron still has a lot to offer – first time to see an electric clam, cuttlefish, blue dragon nudibranch, second time to see an octopus, ray and leaf fish, school of jacks, and lots of scorpion fishes.

Will I go back? Yes, hopefully when there is better visibility. After all, I have not yet dived Siete Picados and seen a Dugong.

Credits: Dugong infographic as posted in Cashew Grove Resort and Coron Wreck Summary as posted in Reggae Dive Center

Note to self

Dear me,

 

Let us not enter 2017 with a frightened spirit and a heavy heart.  2016 was tough but we survived! A lot of things may not have gone our way, but there are still a lot of things to be grateful for.

2016 was a wonderful year full of adventures with two major milestones: diving in Tubbataha, Palawan and African safari in Tanzania.  Things we dreamed of that now came into fruition.  Bird watching also came in the picture as a new hobby this year – discovering a new way to appreciate God’s creation.  For through it all, we are firm believers that we live in a very beautiful and wonderful world.

It was also the year we journeyed back to Hogwarts, Oz and to other parts of the world through books.  Or, through time and space we journeyed accompanied by the Doctor and his companions.

If there is one thing I’d like you to remember: take time for yourself.  2016 was a great initial step towards this as we spent more time on things we love – handmade products, nature and exercise.  It is not selfish.

As 2016 comes to a close, let us hold on to the positive memories as we march forward full of hope. May 2017 be as wonderful, if not better, than 2016.

 

Love: yourself

 

First Time: Sitting through an 8-hour movie

My family loves to watch movies. Our mall trips during weekends generally involves setting aside time for a movie. It is a shared experience and our means to bond.

Personally, I am inclined towards animated movies. Aside from being colorful, imaginative and playful, there are lots of lessons (and quotes) to be picked up in every movie. Not to take anything away from other movie genres, I just want the message to be delivered in a lighter way.

Curiosity got the best of me, however, upon hearing about Hele sa Hiwagang Hapis (Lullaby of the Sorrowful Mystery), which runs for about 8 hours (NOTE: 20 minute break was provided by the cinema after every 3 hours). First of, I was surprised that it was shown in cinemas given its run time! Thinking it will be a unique experience, I grabbed the opportunity and went for it. Prior to this one, the longest movie I watched ran for just 3 hours.

The experience

The first 2 hours was manageable, which I think was purely because it is the average runtime nowadays for a movie.

3rd to 6th hour was the struggle. Aside from being in the middle of the plot, my mind was already starting to wander elsewhere. It was almost as if my brain is telling me I have other things to do. Food is running low. Legs were getting tight. Thankfully there was a break in between. My friend was already inviting me to leave early.

7th hour felt like the longest especially since I knew it was about to end. Suddenly I almost become impatient and felt like minutes started to slow down.

8th hour was bliss. I knew the movie was ending and my brain was suddenly alert.

The movie

It was a black and white film with two key narratives: the search for Andres Bonifacio’s body and events after the failed attempt in El Filibusterismo.

Admittedly, I felt lost for around 5 hours of the movie. Its strength came in the last 2 hours, especially in the conversations between the two protagonists (Simoun and Isagani) and Simoun and a priest. The Kundimans (traditional love songs) at the start were also stunning.

Takeaway

Overall, I’d say I am not meant for this type of movie given my attention span, which has significantly grown shorter through time. Personally, I need to mature as a moviegoer to engage myself in this kind of movie both length and theme wise.

Nevertheless, it was a good experience and I am proud to say I was part of the 7 who finished the movie out of almost 20 moviegoers who started.