Day 077 – 2018.18.03

So I basically Drag Raced my ass to five in the morning because I couldn’t get enough of those queens’ drama! LOL This show is definitely very entertaining. 😀

So I decided to attend the second Haruki Murakami talk at Fullybooked with high expectations because of the previous day experience. But as life taught me over and over again, don’t expect too much from anything or anyone.

The talk was a bit on the dull side, which is quite ironic being that it focused on Murakami’s writing process along with his passion for running. I loved his memoir: “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running” which is also one of the reasons I attended this talk. But uhm, I had some issues with one of the speakers and so the disappointment just bled there. The other speaker was definitely more genuine and knowledgeable with Murakami, and he spoke with an air of a true Murakami fan (I’d catch him sighing and being awed as he spoke of the writer), but alas, it couldn’t save my damp mood because of the first speaker who, instead of discussing Murakami was more keen on showing off his taste in culture and lifestyle. He gave that elitist writer aura I avoided as a lit student, even if I should have been part of that crowd as a child of literature, so to speak.

Thank gosh I was with my good friend, Chantal, so there’s a distraction.

Later on, we traveled to the NBS Warehouse sale in Quezon City to grab some books on sale. Well, I was expecting Big Bad Wolf level, but this one was just as disappointing as the talk. Yes, I was able to buy some good books especially for class, and a few for my own collection (but a book went missing leche!), but since the books were sorted by price, it was very very challenging finding a good book from the pile of genres strewn together. It was like a book “ukay ukay” .

But well, you’re bound to get a good book if you know how to strategize from these big book sales:

1. Pick pick pick just anybook you like from the shelves/pile then decide whether to buy them or not before checking out. It will save you time and energy because by the time you really spend time with a potentially-yours book, you can just sit on the floor or by the corner with your basket of books!
2. See titles from the “unpurchased section”: Based on BBW and the NBS Warehouse sale, with the strategy used in number 1, people would have picked some really good titles from the shelves/piles but decide not to buy them last minute. So it will also save you time from going over random set of books to find the good stuff because more or less, somebody else have filtered them and rejected some–for you.
3. Have a mental layout of the place and decide from there how you will be able to touch on all lanes and corners of the place instead of jumping from one area to another. Move like a snake!

Good luck on that hunt!

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Day 050 – 2018.19.02

So, as I said, with this MALEC thing and my adoration of Magnus (easily, I love sassy characters), I ought to read “The Bane Chronicles” which is a book dedicated to the stories of Magnus over the centuries.

Honestly, there’s a part of me that wants to know about his entire history and learn his personal tragedies through his point of view, but with my apprehension to discover the “shadow world” in all it’s drama and glory, I wouldn’t know what to do with the additional information about him. Basically, I just wanted to read a few more canon materials about him and Alec.

Fortunately, there’s readily an ebook available and there’s a dedicated section for MALEC which was about their first date and Alec’s birthday.

MALEC first date was entirely different between the book and the TV show and I don’t really know which one I like more. I mean, their first meeting had been different, as well as the “asking out” part.

Magnus had a party in both versions where they first met each other, but in the book, there wasn’t any fighting involved and Magnus was just sharing about his life then he noticed Alec and Alec was attracted to him.

On the book, Alec was thankful to Magnus for saving his life, so he went to Magnus’ house and then asked him out. On TV, it was Magnus who asked Alec out. With Alec’s closeted case, I like the fact that he had the guts to follow his instinct and asked Magnus out in the book. Of course, they would continue to see each other in secret, but I like it that the first step to his freedom (coming out) was of his own accord. Nonetheless, I guess on the TV series, they wanted to show more internal conflict of Alec that Magnus served as conscience to him (season 1).

The first date was definitely more action-filled in the book with a warewolf involved and some making out! I actually really liked the book version because it reveals a lot of of Alec’s personality and insecurity especially about being gay and a virgin. Magnus was still not that into Alec at that point, so we’re able to read his impression of Alec change over the course of the night, from a simple “let’s get this over with” to “I want to get to know you more”. Yes, the make-out sessions were also very nice. The TV version basically used this as a way to iron-out some creases on the beginning of Alec and Magnus’ relationship like Alec being a virgin on everything romance, and well, Magnus being the total opposite of it.

So I guess I wouldn’t need to touch this book anymore than I’d have to. But I wonder if I can ever find a copy of the part of the book when Alec asked Magnus out? Hmmm….

Day 048 – 2018.17.02

I’m not sure if it’s a boon or a bane that a big book sale coincides with my book-reading phase because it only means more books, but more expenses as well.

Money aint so easy these days, and probably for the next several months (hopefully not the entire year), so buying books had become a very big luxury. If only my Kindle would stop playing with my heart and just go back to pleasing me as it did before, I would go back to double-thinking my actions before I grab a book to the cashier.

But after “We Are the Ants”, I think I’ve fully readjusted myself to reading paperbacks.

With 60-80% off of books, people flooded the World Trade Center in Pasay like they would a grocery store on a payday. The usual 350-500php worth of paper backs are only 190 php. Even the expensive hardbounds are only around 230php!

Of course, even though it’s a big treat, I had to be mindful of my expenses, so I kept my budget to a thousand pesos or just a bit over that.

In the end, I bought my two nephews their activity books (it will be a belated and advanced gifts from Tita-Ninang), two novels I haven’t spotted in the bookstore (even from the huge one of Fullybooked BGC), and a reference book of psychology I’ve been puppy-eying to be magically mine since the moment I laid eyes on it. The last book is still the most expensive I’ve bought of the bunch, but fuck, it’s more than half of it’s regular price so did I have to think twice? Hell no!

To be honest, the crowd was triggering the hermit in me, so I cut my hunt short, and not only because my wallet was flashing red flags at me. But if given more budget and probably a friend who will give me a free ride, I’d love to go back and probably snag a few more titles.

Ugh, this hobby is so expensive!

Day 043 – 2018.12.02

If given the choice of genres, I’d usually avoid angst as my chosen flavor of a story because, heck, who wants their hearts clenched in that way?

I guess I do.

I can’t seem to stop reading this book, “We Are the Ants”. I love Henry’s voice: his sarcasm, the way he describes his dysfunctional but equally endearing and enduring family, his reflections on why , after all, it’s worth saving the world or often why it’s better to leave it to burn, and many references to science with life.

I’m thinking whether his abductions are a state of mind when he’s in doubt of himself, going through a turning point and his thoughts take form of the sluggers, or it’s real. Nonetheless, I don’t care.

There had been researches in the past stating that accounts of alien abductions are a state of hysteria, and that could be true. If one subscribe to the word of psychologists and social analysts, then it’s true.

I think I’m one of them.

Anyhow, I’m very intrigued if Henry will push the button or not. Somehow, Charlie’s growing on me despite Henry describing him as a royal asshole. He’s the very image of a rounded character: asshole to responsible (soon-to-be) father.

I’m also wondering about Marcus. I think he does like Henry a lot despite his actions, but I wonder if someone will ever save him from himself. I think he found peace in Henry, but he didn’t know how to deal with Henry’s loss along with his own confusion and issues, and think it’s easier being an asshole than to face the drama. He was working hard for the wrong reasons and the wrong way.

Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Back to reading!

Day 042 – 2018.11.02

You know when you have 12463894635 of things to do but the only thing you wanna do is lie in bed either to read or sleep? Or read then sleep?

My life right now.

Urrrgh.

Anyhow, books invading my life is always a lovely thing, but reading is time consuming and it makes me shut off from the world more than I already am. I have to control these impulsions better, even if it’s a good thing.

Anyhow, I’m already at my 9th book for my 10-book reading challenge for 2018. But I still have the drive to read, so let’s go beyond that challenge!

Next books to consume:
} Edward Unspooled
} A Man Named Ove
} My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry
} Two Boys Kissing
} The Red Sheet
} 1Q84
} The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Day 020 – 2018.20.18

As I wanted to stay away from the heat of this day, I stored myself in a bookstore instead.

Since I was there for two hours and I basically finished reading a whole book, I opted to return the kindness and purchase a product. After all, I still had a gift card, so guilt free with the expenses!

I’m not into Science fiction, but I really found the creativity of Douglas Adams amazing and humorous. I liked the movie, but let’s see whether this book will be shelved and categorized as hoarded or as favorite.

Or, well, at least read.

Anyhow, the Family Day event at school was a success, so congratulations, work fam! ♥

Day 329: 11.25.2017

I fucking could not get a wink out of that fuck of a situation with that freagin parent and it’s a weekend URRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Alright, I needed to distract my mind. So.

I went o Fullybooked today to attend an event about reading. There were some talks and story telling. I really enjoyed the performance retelling of “The Little Prince”, the storytelling of a Filipino book, and the talk of a journalist from The New York Times. And hey, I won a mobile ring because I got a lot of correct answers for a grammar crossword!

NEEEERD.

Reading is indeed important. Very. I cannot stress enough how much I’m thankful that I found the joy in reading, even at a late start. I mean, I started getting into books around second year of high school when “Blood and Gold” of Anne Rice basically turned me into a novel-reader. As a child, of course I was exposed to children’s book: legends, folktales, fairytales, but they didn’t have that much influence on me. Creativity-wise, it was TV and anime that molded my imagination. My mom used to retell me stories of romance books she read (she’s a very good story teller), so I think that contributed to my writing and love of stories as well. But being more exposed to book, in a variety of genre, opened my consciousness to various perspectives about life. Especially when I got to college where the core of my degree is to drink the life out of literary works, I was able to appreciate stories, characters, and every single detail in a story in a deeper way.

My favorite quote from this event was from the journalist of The New York Times which goes: reading builds empathy. And I definitely, definitely, agree.

Being exposed to different kinds of perspective develops an understanding of personal motivations, intentions, personality, culture, and even the nuances of language that makes an impact in one’s life. In books, real-life conflicts are discussed, expounded, and resolved, but all varied depending on the character. Every single character in a book has a reason for their action and we have the privilege to have that window to understand why which build empathy.

Reading builds bridges for us to learn about the world at large through news articles, featured topics written for magazines online or print, through novels and short stories (you can learn about European culture even if you’re near the South Pole if you have access to books and the Internet)! We understood more about each other, feel more for each other as we get to know others stories through reading. And it’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

the stories and the dreams

The past two months of adjusting to a new work also meant adjusting my reading list.

From fanfiction and novels of September to March, I had to trade them for articles about how to handle children in a class and strategies for teaching reading and writing effectively to young kids. Yesterday, I had a craving for fiction. It didn’t have to be a novel, a short story would have sufficed.

And it did.

I think the stories I read before sleeping gives me more vivid dreams, albeit stranger, too (which I don’t mind). I remember them longer, and they are more interesting. Although I’ve never had a dream which was directly affected by the story I read before I sleep.

 

Nonetheless, reading fiction while sleeping is a must for vivid dreams!

 

Swimming_Shaman__Lake_Biwa_by_johnuptonphotography

Kindle versus Paperback

“I did not know people your age still read books,” Penumbra says. He raises an eyebrow. “I was under the impression they read everything on their mobile phones.”

“Not everyone. There are plenty of people who, you know–people who still like the smell of books.”

“The smell!” Penumbra repeats. “You know you are finished when people start talking about the smell.” He smiles at that–then something occurs to him, and he narrows his eyes. “I do not suppose you have a…Kindle?”

Uh-oh. It feels like it’s the principal asking me if I have weed in my backpack.

(Excerpt from Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan)

*raises hand* Kindle-user here. I feel ya, man.

About four months have passed since I received my Kindle Paperwhite (1st Generation) from Dad (who was still in California that time). My decision to finally get an e-reader, a Kindle in particular, was finalized when Dad himself suggested it, although in passing, I think, when I was giving him a list of books I want him to find for me in the States.

I rarely request my dad to do favors for me, especially with the business of books (he’s not into it), but when I find myself out of option and craving my bones out to get a book in my hand, I resort to using connections. I recall Haruki Murakami’s Underground (non-fiction) was the root of it.

Almost all of Murakami’s books are sold in the Philippines: novels, short story collections, and memoir, except for that non-fiction. I’m not sure why. I suppose the topic of the book might seem to alien for the non-Japanese news/culture/society reader as it was about the 1995 Tokyo Sarin Gas Attack.

Anyhow, you might ask why not order online? Have I ever heard of Amazon? Well, I have no spare money for shipping fee, and my credit card is out of the question. Why go the extra peso/dollar when you have a father living in a place where ordering online is more preferable than walking to a bookstore? The catch is, I’d have to wait for my father to come home or his “balik-bayan” box to arrive. All indefinite in time.

I guess eight books taking space in his luggage was not a great sight for my father, so he suggested the next time that I should just get an e-reader. Previously, I was able to examine my friend’s Kindle, and boy was I blown away. I mean, I know the advantage of carrying a library with you wherever, but I guess the e-ink technology was a definite push. I was amazed at how clear the letters are on the monitor of a Kindle, as clear as reading words from paper. Hmm, in retrospect, I was so into paperback that I never bothered to investigate what the Kindle-fever was all about.

Pseudo-protesting the damage of ebooks to publishing, yada yada. Yep, I’m a snob like that. *snort*

Moreover, I learned that not only e-books but also personal files (fanfic, web articles, pdf, manga, etc) can be stored in the device, so that was great. Before the Kindle, I had to read manga and chapters of fanfiction from my mobile phone’s very humble screen and my eyes would hurt like a bitch the next day. Thankfully, I can read for three hours straight from this new device and my eyes sparkle in delight the next morning. Sweet! Thank you anti-glare, nice screen, e-ink, and bigger screen. YEY!

Now, Mr. Penumbra, I hear you, believe me I still do. No matter what, I would forever be a lover of paperbacks because I love the smell of the pages of a book. I love the feel of the tip of the page, waiting for turning, that miniscule second of a sound created between the spine and the paper interacting with each other. I love looking at book covers, different art to depict a story, typography exhibited for a catchy title. Oh, Mr. Penumbra, I do love paperbooks. I really do. But…

(yep, we have a but.)

I am somewhat getting more and more accustomed to reading stories from Sir Benedict (my Kindle’s name, yes, after my love, Benedict Cumberbatch).

The first novel I finished from this book was Welcome to the N.H.K. which was not a good experience because 1) the copy’s format was horrible: the paragraphs were indistinguishable and so many typographical errors, and 2) I was in adjusting stage with the device. Then came the web articles I am able to read directly in my device through Kindle Push in Mozilla/Chrome and the fanfics. My eyes and mind were getting more comfortable with the experience of an e-book reader. I am enjoying the fact that I can read stories in the dark because of the built-in light and I can adjust the fonts, font size, spacing, and margins to suit my need. I can highlight a passage (or a whole page) and save them in memory. I’d be damned to use a Stabilo on my paperbooks, hell no. The closest touching my books’ pages is a pencil’s lead. Moreover, I can add notes for my thoughts, and search the meaning of a word with single touch instead of opening Merriam-Webster from my phone. The Kindle is as any modern gadget out there, customizable and convenient

On the other hand, my relationship with paperback books is a bit more personal, intimate.

When I buy a book, I am first mesmerized by the cover, then the title, and then the synopsis tries to convince me if it’s my taste. Once I’ve decided to carry a book out of a shelf of a bookstore to the cashier, I’ve already committed to reading it, no matter how long it takes for me to get there. I removed it from the shelf of the bookstore to my dusty room, squeezing it to other paperback captives but dedicating necessary space, nonetheless, it’s my responsible from there on.  I make sure it’s protected from stains and liquid with a plastic cover while it waits for me, or even after our journey has concluded. When I decide to open a book, what I see is what I get. The pre-selected font, the size, spacing, margin, type of paper, every physical aspect of it is part of its personality, like a friend.

So you see, paperbacks come with more baggage, they weigh a lot more than Sir Benedict, and needs more room in a bag. Furthermore, they are more expensive too. So even if I want to grow my collection of paperbacks to start a library (which I’ll pass on to my child/ren), my working class fee does not support this vision. A paperback is worth two hours of work, whereas I can get some e-book for free on the internet. I know, it’s shameful. As much as I want to support writers and publishing companies, I am just greedy with stories to read, so I’m getting in a way that I can. Well, at least for now.

I still buy paperback though more second-hand than brand new. It also occurred to me that I’m now always having second-thoughts on whether to buy a paperback book from a bookstore or not, even with enough to spend on, because I’d tell myself I can get it somewhere on the net for free.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHH THE SHAME. Yes, I’ve had that episode of every time I store a novel in my gadget, I hear someone say “TRAITOR!” in my head. Oh, I’m afraid the the voice is losing its edge.

Well, this is how it is now.

Anyhow, I’m trying to not always use Sir Benedict when I have the paperback copy. I switch between versions in the morning and at night. Recently, I’ve also made a stand for Sir Benedict from an old picture frame stand I found in our blackhole of rubbles:

CYMERA_20140309_085248

(Do forgive my doodles. I love the hot-air balloon though. Alright, I’m kinda proud now. Hyukhyuk.)

I place this thing beside my netbook, so I can read between work hands-free! If I manage to find a bigger stand, I’d also decorate that for a real bookstand. See? Equal chances!

Anyway, I love reading, I realized I really do. I’m not a bookworm, far from a bibliophile, but I do enjoy reading whatever tickles my fancy. It’s not my preference to read important stories or books, I read the ones which are interesting to me. That may sound selfish and ignorant, and quite unlikely of a Lit graduate, but that’s my relationship with stories. I can only wish that the ones which I find interesting, or the stories which have already connected to me, touched me, are important in my life, or for the world at large.

Quotes: “Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore”

There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care. All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight. It takes forty-one seconds to climb a ladder three stories tall. It’s not easy to imagine the year 3012, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. We have new capabilities now–strange powers we’re still getting used to. The mountains are a message from Aldrag the Wyrm-Father. Your life must be an open city, with all sorts of ways to wander in. After that the book will fade, the way all books fade in your mind. But I hope you will remember this: A man walking fast down a dark lonely street. Quick steps and hard breathing, all wonder and need. A bell above a door and the tinkle it makes. A clerk and a ladder and warm golden light, and then: the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.”

“He has the strangest expression on his face- the emotional equivalent of 404 PAGE NOT FOUND.”

“But I kept at it with the help-wanted ads. My standards were sliding swiftly. At first I had insisted I would only work at a company with a mission I believed in. Then I thought maybe it would be fine as long as I was learning something new. After that I decided it just couldn’t be evil. Now I was carefully delineating my personal definition of evil.”

“Some of them are working very hard indeed. “What are they doing?” “My boy!” he said, eyebrows raised. As if nothing could be more obvious. “They are reading!”

“(about Kindles) I have one and I use it most nights. I always imagine the books staring and whispering, Traitor!”

“I’ve never listened to an audiobook before, and I have to say it’s a totally different experience. When you read a book, the story definitely takes place in your head. When you listen, it seems to happen in a little cloud all around it, like a fuzzy knit cap pulled down over your eyes”

Robin SloanMr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore (novel)

 

I just finished this book this afternoon, and I loved it! In the end, the message is simple enough…but you’d have to read the book to find out.

I never expected this book to have a detective-story touch (what was I thinking when I read the synopsis? Probably: “Just buy it!”), but as most mystery novels I have experienced, they are very fun to read, indeed.

I love the fact that the author played with the idea, and possibly the arguments, around how we aquire knowledge nowadays: the traditional way through reading and analyzing texts from physical books, or the ultra-modern way of Googling everything. Nonetheless, there’s no judgment, only a very nice and touching moral lesson.

Give it a go. 🙂