Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl

Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl | 1990, Random House Vintage Books (book cover from http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/394689.Tales_of_the_Unexpected)

This afternoon’s thunderstorm caused intermittent brownouts in my office today, and soon enough it became a full-fledged brownout that lasted for an hour.  I was left with nothing to do while waiting for my brother to pick me up from work, so I finished reading Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected. Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors–he’s one of the many people whose work motivated me to write.

Tales of the Unexpected is the first ebook I’ve finished reading in my new smartphone. I used the app Aldiko, which is a pretty nice reading app. The only drawback is the limitation of features–there were so many passages I wanted to highlight but I couldn’t because I have to upgrade to the premium version of the app for that certain feature. iBooks is still the best reading app for me.

I immediately noted down my critique after swiping to the last page of the ebook through my phone’s Quick Notes app. I didn’t bother rewriting them here into a nice, coherent review anymore because I’m a colossal bag of lazy bones.

  1. The stories in this collection reminds me a lot of O. Henry’s.
  2. There’s no doubt about Dahl’s writing prowess.
  3. But it gets tiring to read too. Until now, I’ve never bothered to finish reading my collection of O. Henry stories because I know that I will be surprised in every story.
  4. First, a disclaimer: I haven’t read other reviews for this book. But it didn’t quite exceed my expectations. When an author decides to switch flavors–in this case, when a known children’s literature writer ventures into writing books for an older audience, it’s not always well-received. It reminds me of how people reacted to The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.
  5. But it’s weird that I immensely enjoyed The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More, another short story collection by Dahl that is also for older readers. I first read it in grade school and if my memory serves me right, I borrowed it twice from my school’s library.
  6. The women in these stories are so kawawa (pitiful). The wives, especially. Take for example Louisa from “Edward the Conqueror,” the last story in the collection. She was trying to convince his husband, Edward, that getting this certain cat is the most exciting thing that has happened to her recently. And how did Edward react? By telling her to go make her dinner. Good grief.
  7. Some subjects and topics in the book are too… foreign for my taste. There was a story about an auction–see, I can’t recall the title! And it really, really, really bored me.
  8. My favorites from this bunch of stories are “Galloping Foxley,””Royal Jelly,” and “Nunc Dimittis.”

 

Friday Fave: A Round-Up

I shall try to make up for all the Fridays I missed with today’s post! My music listening has been pretty good lately, thank to my Spotify Premium account I’ve availed through Globe’s GoSurf  promo. The Discover tab has been very useful. I haven’t tried Apple Music yet, but some reviews say that until Apple fixes its glitches, Spotify is still king in music streaming.

Anyway, here are my five favorite tracks as of late, in no particular order. Do give these listen!

RAN – Nirwana

“Nirwana (Nirvana)” is the sixth track of Indonesian group RAN’s third album, Hari Baru (New Day, thanks Google Translate!) released in November 2013. I’ve been a fan of the group since 2009/2010-ish, and I have to say that I’m glad to say that their sound has greatly improved. “Nirwana” is a testament to this: both vocals and guitars are refined. But if it’s your first time to listen to RAN, this is a great track to start with as it introduces you to RAN’s musical vibe: fresh, pleasant, and relaxed. Never mind if you don’t understand Bahasa.

OJ Law – Tongue Tied

“Tongue-Tied” by OJ Law rightfully deserves a spot in the must-listen The Ultimate SEA Indie playlist by Spotify Philippines. The synths are nice and they build up its disco-ey character. Law’s voice reminds me of another artist’s (I just cannot pinpoint it) but I think it’s excellent. My favorite part is when Law croons, “I dreamed of love before we met.” It comes with a kinda cute music video too.

Childish Gambino – U Don’t Have to Call

Look, I love Drake. But here’s the thing: if you ask me who the better singer is between Drake and Childish Gambino, I will flat out say it’s Childish. This track from his mixtape STN MTN, which you can download for free at  DatPiff.com, is a cover of Usher’s 2001 song. Though it’s stripped of layers unlike the original, it’s just as sexy. This track shows off Childish’s vocal chops; how his voice can reach different heights (listen to “And I”). And when the beat drops, it introduces you to his other talent, one of his many: telling a story. From reaching high notes, his voice sinks deep as he tells you a story about race, strip clubs, and how he’s gon’ steal yo girl.

Kimbra – Madhouse

Kimbra is more than just the girl who sang with Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know”. Her 2014 record The Golden Echo, to which “Madhouse” belongs, is worth a listen. But for “Madhouse,” my focus is not on her voice but on the funky feel of the song.  I absolutely liked the riffs and percussions at the 3:21 mark. I really, really, really liked it.

Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight

I first heard roots rock band Alabama Shakes on Saturday Night Live, when they were the musical guests when Dakota Johnson was the host. I’ve never head them before, but after that performance, I really got into them. “Don’t Wanna Fight” from their sophomore album Sound and Color has an unforgettable intro with its guitars. And as I’ve told my friend, frontwoman Brittany Howard’s restrained scream to soul vocals in this track forecasted that the whole album is, for a lack of a more suitable word, great.