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A Guy's Moleskine Notebook

Thoughts and reflections on works of fiction and literature. Pondering of life through pictures and words. Babbling about gay rights. Travelogues and anecdotes.

  • [1] Annie Proulx: Brokeback Mountain
  • [2] Arthur Golden: Memoirs of a Geisha
  • [3] Yu Hua: To Live
  • [4] Alan Hollinghurst: The Line of Beauty
  • [5] Colm Toibin: The Master
  • [6] Carlos Ruiz Zafon: The Shadow of the Wind
  • [7] William James: The Varieties of Religious Experience
  • [8] Charles Higham: The Civilization of Angkor
  • [9] Graham Greene: A Burnt-Out Case
  • [10] Dai Sijie: Mr. Muo's Travelling Couch
  • [11] Alan Hollinghurst: The Swimming-Pool Library
  • [12] Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita
  • [13] Colm Toibin: The Blackwater Lightship
  • [14] Alan Hollinghurst: The Folding Star
  • [15] Ross King: Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
  • [16] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov
  • [17] Jonathan Franzen: The Corrections
  • [18] Colm Toibin: The Story of the Night
  • [19] John Banville: Shroud
  • [20] Leo Tolstoy: Resurrection
  • [21] Peter Hessler: River Town, Two Years on the Yangtze
  • [22] Ian McEwan: The Atonement
  • [24] Gabriel Garcia Marquez: Love in the Time of Cholera
  • [25] Ignacio Padilla: Shadow without a Name
  • [26] Umberto Eco: The Name of the Rose
  • [27] Richard Russo: Straight Man
  • [28] Fyodor Dostoevsky: Notes from Underground
  • [29] Alan Hollinghurst: The Spell
  • [30] Hermann Broch: The Death of Virgil
  • [31] James Baldwin: Giovanni's Room
  • [32] Ken Kesey: One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • [33] Xingjian Gao: One Man's Bible
  • [34] C. Jay Cox: Latter Days
  • [35] Harper Lee: To Kill A Mockingbird
  • [36] William Shakespeare: The Taming of the Shrew
  • [37] Daniel A. Helminiak: What The Bible Really Says about Homosexuality
  • [38] James Baldwin: Tell Me How Long the Train's Been Gone
  • [39] Kenji Yoshino: Covering - The Hidden Assault of Civil Rights
  • [40] Italo Calvino: If, On a Winter's Night A Traveler
  • [41] Arthur Phillips: The Egyptologist
  • [42] George Orwell: 1984
  • [43] Michael Warner: The Trouble with Normal: Sex, Politics, and Ethics of Queer Life
  • [44] Andrew Sullivan: Virtually Normal
  • [45] Henry James: The Wings of the Dove
  • [46] Jose Saramago: Blindness
  • [47] Umberto Eco: The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana
  • [48] Dan Brown: Da Vinci Code
  • [49] Kazuo Ishiguro: Never Let Me Go
  • [50] Ken Follett: The Pillars of Earth
  • [51] Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace
  • [52] Michael Thomas Ford: Alec Baldwin Doesn't Like Me
  • [53] Jonathan Franzen: How To Be Alone
  • [54] Jonathan Lethem: The Fortress of Solitude
  • [55] Matthew Pearl: The Dante Club
  • [56] Zadie Smith: White Teeth
  • [57] Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Double
  • [58] Jose Saramago: The Double
  • [59] Andrew Holleran: Dancer from the Dance
  • [60] Heinrich von Kleist: The Marquise of O & Other Stories
  • [61] Andrew Holleran: In September, the Light Changes
  • [62] Tom Perrotta: Little Children
  • April 20, 2006


    Snooty 2 Cents on Wedding Preparation

    My friends Patricia and Wei finally decide to tie the knot this October and preparation for the wedding is immediately in full gear. The top items off the list will be venue, wedding theme, colors, budget, wedding party, guest lists, gift registry... Like buying a house, everyone (especially the bride) since the coming of age and from experiences of going to weddings formulates mind the intricate ceremonious details, the setting, the nuances of style, the undertone of music, the drifting aroma of hors d'oeuvres of a dream wedding. Practical consideration and plain reality may inevitably introduce conditions under which the ideal could not be met. Imagine the behind-the-scene undertaking, the collaboration of a team of people who assiduously work to coordinate various aspects of the wedding to make it the most memorable event for the couple and the family and friends. If life is broken down into snapshots of choices and decisions, then the snapshots of wedding must be impeccable.

    Once the wedding gets past the planning stage, responsibilities seem to have befallen the coordinator and the wedding party (wedding party namely limits to the maiden of honor and the best man). I've been a best man three times so I can give my two cents about the all the errands and expectations rained on this right-hand man to the groom. Best man should have the ability to think clear when something very wrong happens, such as when one of your groomsmen locked out of his car two hours before the ceremony. Always allow room for mistake. Always be cogitant of the wedding run-down. Be prepared to run errands for the groom and bride until 2 AM before the big day. The three weddings in which I was the best man might proceed in ways dictated by the respective culture and tradition, the responsibility of the best man is immutable. My best friends Fernando and Maria, who just celebrated his birthday and found out Maria is pregnant again, had one of the most memorable, heart-warming outdoor wedding back in 2000. The sunny, elegant lakeside wedding brought more guests than the prospect of catering, owing to their warm, magnetic personality. Ceremony proceeded in the beautiful undertone of an oboe/flute concerto that culminated perfectly at their kiss. That was the first time I ever wrote a toasting speech (the delivery of which overcame my stage fright and stuttering) and buy a wedding cake (the cloy tasting session was a buffet of some 20 samplings of cakes).

    My other best friend Victor got married in 2002. The low-key wedding afforded a completely different style and rundown owing to the family's religious preference and the traditional Chinese ritual. The father didn't walk down the aisle and marry his daughter to my friend. Instead my friend would bring brocade and red envelopes to the bride's house and ask for her hands, after completing stunts (designed by the bridesmaids) that subjected him to self-humiliation. Gestures tinged with symbolism and superstition dominate the ritual: tea bestowing, butchering hens, touching coconuts, unveiling the bride, etc. The evening banquet was the highlight of the wedding day. It was a sumptuous meal with a convivial atmosphere lavishing with roasted pig, steamed fish, shark-fin soup, abalone, crispy hens, and other colorful colors delights that embody all major style and methods of Chinese cooking. Wedding party would gaily make the round of all the guests and give toast. The best man will embrace a very significant role to take the brunt of all the drinks offered and demanded of the groom.

    I can here the wedding bells now...


    Anonymous iliana said...

    Congrats to your friends. I can feel the "pain" of the duties involved with weddings. I've been a bridesmaid 6 times! When I got married I opted to not have any bridesmaids. Now thinking about it, I should have made those girls pay back the hard work not to mention the trauma of wearing a bridesmaid dress - ha,ha...

    4/21/2006 8:22 AM  

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