No Reading No Care

No Reading No Care.

Except not completely.

It’s a new high for my reading slump this year. The other difference is that I do not feel as bothered by it. I thought developing an affinity for comic books and graphic novels will offset the lack of novels in my reading progress, but turns out 2017 is just not a reading year for me. And it’s okay.

Of course this desire will never ever go away. As in other pursuits, this feeling taught me that it’s okay to go with what I feel like doing and not stick to what I’ve been accustomed to. What it gives is an opportunity for me to miss the activity and something for me to look forward to doing in the future.

But the itch to buy is another matter. These tweets were in the last 48 hours. I have not sold a lot in my online store yet I’ve been getting more than what I have let go. Which is not new to you, if you’ve been following me long enough.

I can channel my overall indifference into plunging into reading but real life hardly agrees. Thus my wish, which I believe have always been mine, since I became an adult:

 

More Books, More Fun – The Online Store!

After years of planning it in my head, I woke up one morning with a desire to find some of my books a new home. I thought of it as early as when I discovered I bought duplicate titles not on purpose, and when I visited storage boxes and having had no memory at all of buying some books (the dreaded “Meron na pala ako nito???” bookhoarder lapse.)

Thus the birth of More Books, More Fun. I am used to managing Facebook pages but it turns out handling a virtual shop isn’t all I easily thought it would be. I’m having fun though, don’t get me wrong!

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My small bookshop in the vast Facebook sphere.

I uploaded close to 300 books and truth be told, they didn’t make a noticeable dent. In time. After almost three weeks, sales are picking up, and by the end of June I may just donate the ones left unsold. The reason for this is, no matter how insignificant the space they made in our tiny home, there’s no returning to shelves or boxes anymore. There’s a plan to do another do-over of the books that didn’t make the “ibebenta na ba kita?” cut, and a tiny part of me is excited.

Parting is so bittersweet, you know? This may seem so dramatic, and I know it is. For one, a friend who can only shake her head with my hoarding once told me good thing I don’t move every two to three years. It’s gonna be hard to hoard with that kind of lifestyle. While it was fun, when the reality of urban living hits you hard, you really have to.

So if you are into welcoming second hand books for reasonable prices, please visit the page and drop a comment or two!

#BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy

Agosto na naman and dahil buwan ng wika ito, what better time to promote and encourage Pinoy readers to engage in a readathon of Pinoy-authored books! (Ironic ba, ang lakas maka-Taglish?)

Ginawa ko na ito three years ago. Matapos ito, local books have peppered my reading progress. All-year round naman dapat ang appreciation na ito although aminin din natin, with the barrage of reading materials from abroad, minsan nababackseat mo sila.

Feeling ko I did pretty well sa unang Pinoy readathon ko. Siguro mas magandang approach ang looking from the inside, palabas. Kumbaga, priority talaga dapat ang mula dito, ang nalikha at naisulat dito, bago tumalon sa iba.

Mula sa isa sa hinahangaan kong Pinoy na manunulat na si Edgar Samar, narito ang mga exciting na pwedeng gawin upang umahok sa kampanyang ito sa #BuwanNgMgaAkdangPinoy:

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Halina at makilahok! Kung hindi mo bet sa ngayon ang akdang Pinoy, ito ang magandang panahon para lawakan ang iyong horizon at i-explore ang Pinoy literature. Magugulat ka sa makikita mo. Isang buwan ito, so kitakits sa kanya-kanyang cyberspace updates!

Review: CRUSHINGLY CLOSE

The blog tour for Stella Torres’ latest book makes a stop here in Citizen Judie!

Crushingly Close - CoverCrushingly Close
Release Date: July 19, 2016
Get the book: Amazon // Goodreads

I got an ARC from the author. This in no way affects my honest review of the book.

About the Book: At twenty-four years old, Agnes Escueta has risen from the ranks to become a producer for Sports Tonight. No one can touch her, it seems—not even crush-worthy anchorman Daniel Ferrer, who she gets to work with every single day. When a road trip to Indonesia throws Agnes and Daniel together, they find themselves working in close quarters. It doesn’t take long before Agnes finds herself being charmed by Daniel, and her defenses start to melt with his touch. With deadlines looming and a big game coming, Agnes must figure out how to let Daniel into her life without risking her professional reputation—and without breaking her own heart.

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When I read the synopsis of CRUSHINGLY CLOSE, I immediately thought, This is just what I need. It interested me because I’ve been missing The Newsroom lately (it has touches of Sports Night, too, right?) and my Timehop is rife with my Azkals adventures in recent years, so imagine how much I can relate to the story even before starting it.

What I liked about CRUSHINGLY CLOSE is that it’s very straightforward. Sometimes you really need not have too much issues and drama to weave a romantic story. The character-building may be short but the people turned out to be likable and more importantly, very relatable.

The attraction between Agnes and Daniel was simply laid out. No crazy long build up and back and forth, and when it happened, it was at the right moment. I liked the element of special things happening when you’re away from your comfort zone (or simply, home). It added to the satisfaction which turned to a momentary confusion when they got back and one of them thought, “What now?”

That, that chunk of time in the story was my favorite part. Things unfolding while away, where even the very few people who knew you there weren’t privy to it, that’s what got me. It may have happened too soon, but to me it was just the right time. The characters are human, and in giving in to emotions, in putting down the barrier, I saw that they’re perfectly normal (and again, human).

I liked how Agnes and Daniel were written. They’re both independent and vulnerable in their own ways and letting their guard down, especially for Agnes, wasn’t something done in an over the top way. Agnes knew what she’s in for and only needed a short time to sort things out and decide what she wanted in her life. In hindsight it did justice to her independent nature as a character. Daniel, on the other hand, was consistent. And we all like our men to be consistent, especially when it’s about going after you and staying true to their feelings for you. Naks.

When I liked a story, after finishing the last page, there’s a sappy me needing a sequel. As for Agnes and Daniel, I would love to read about their new adventures in the newsroom! More banter! More affection! More steamy editing room scenes! Maka-demand naman di ba? 🙂

This is my first book written by Stella Torres and I’m happy I signed up for this blog tour and got to read CRUSHINGLY CLOSE earlier. Off to read her other stories!

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SMT_AuthorPhoto2About the Author:

Stella Torres is the author of Save the Cake and the short story “Be Creative” from Kids These Days: Stories from Luna East Arts Academy (Vol. 1)). She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature and worked briefly in public relations, but has chosen to pursue her post-graduate studies in the field of education. She loves dark chocolate, hates flyaways, and is constantly in search of comfortable shoes.

Connect with the author:

Blog: http://thegreatbigjump.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://facebook.com/StellaTorresAuthor
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheStellaTorres
Instagram: http://instagram.com/stella_meimei

 

At the End of the Day

For the first time in months I had no reason to be out of the house last Saturday. While I slept most it off, I also used a considerable length of time poring over nooks and crannies of our small apartment where my books are. I long stopped listing down books I bought and I frankly cannot keep track of them. This is the kind of itch that will never go away.

I lifted cloth covers and found piles of them. I inspected brown paper bags and saw “I’m here so why not buy one” kind of purchases from different bookstores. The buying vs. reading ratio remains terrible and horrible. This is the kind of guilt that plagues me each time but cannot find the energy to do something about.

When I was a kid I used to imagine that life will be awesome if one minute of my life will be one full day, Earth time. I used to think of the many things I can do with my time, the skills I can master, the sleep I can get, the shows I can watch, the books I can read — without taking too much time in real life. Pardon me, I barely had playmates when I was growing up so I had plenty of time to think about how to have more time. I didn’t know then that this brilliant idea was foreshadowing a desire for when I get older.

The lure of social media and many forms of visual entertainment is very hard to resist. Very hard, not impossible. Plus we should also factor in interactions with people because apparently, real world existence necessitates so.

At the end of the day we can always choose where we spend time on. As a joke I made up how to divide my time in a week, sparing 30 hours for a potential partner. Jokes aside, as creatures capable of thinking and deliberately changing how we order our priorities, maybe I can find the push to read above everything else that requires my energy.

Ang haba ng drama ano, gusto ko lang naman sabihin, bigla ko namiss magbasa ng magbasa.

My 30-Hour-a-Week Lover

I wrote this 2 years ago. I don’t think my preference has significantly changed.

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Halata ba na gumamit ako ng Canva?

I meant to share this crazy computation since I conceived it one humid commute along Quirino Avenue. This was borne out of an impression that a man may think I would be clingy and may demand most of his time when we get into a relationship. I know I do not need to break it down like this but, just for fun, let me show you how easy it is to be with me. Well, THAT IS if you hate clinginess (is this even a word), Saran wrappiness (maybe not a legit word), and all that jazz. If you are the kind of man who is into tethering your girlfriend 24/7 to your man-shirt and man-pants, then it is a different story, and more importantly, I do not want to be with you.

See, we have 168 hours in one week. I am gainfully employed, with average social interactions outside of work, and so into television shows and books. So, in a week, I devote:

  • 49 hours   – Sleeping. I am not young in that I can no longer stay up until 3 am and go to work the next day. I have to get 6-7 hours of sleep per night if I don’t want to get sick on the 4th or 5th day of the week. I treasure weekends when I can sleep in longer.
  • 45 hours   – Working. Which includes my lunch break. I may stay beyond that but I don’t count them as work, being that I am only paid for 8 hours a day.
  • 12 hours   – Commuting. This is an average of the total time I spend five days a week going to and from work and my regular weekend plans, which means no out of towns.
  • 12 hours   – Reading. This is a conservative average. It could go higher but I try not to get too invested in faeries, necromancers, political spies, horny billionaires, and demon slayers, so let’s keep it at that.
  • 7 hours   – Watching TV or movies. Again, a conservative average.
  • 5 hours   – Socials. I have to have time with my friends and not always with you, my lover.
  • 8 hours   – Personal time. This includes actual grooming time and other lady quirks. But it’s only roughly one point something hours a day. I do not wear makeup other than lipstick which always gets smudged off when I eat my cheese bread in the morning so I don’t need much time beyond taking a bath and other personal, TMI activities.

If we add them up, that’s 138 hours in a week. That leaves me 30 hours to be with you.

Just 30 hours. You are free to suggest whatever we can do during this time.  I could make adjustments and include you in other activities like commuting, watching movies, socials, and sleeping (that is 49 hours I am willing to devote not purely to sleeping, wink wink). At best, this is what I can offer.

Kidding aside (well, who says I am kidding in the first place?), it only means there are forms of freedom I can no longer give up. And I think it is healthy to have something like that. Some may say I am actually busy with all these things going on in my life. But if you focus on that 30 hours, that is still a void.

Just putting it out there because even with all these fun times, sometimes it can still get pretty boring and sad. Now don’t tell me be careful what you wish for because you just might get it (just might get it); don’t ruin it yet. It’s only 30 hours I’m trying to fill.

However, if you want to be with me longer, we can talk about it. Madali naman ako kausap.

The Humans by Matt Haig

From Goodreads: Our hero, Professor Andrew Martin, is dead before the book even begins. As it turns out, though, he wasn’t a very nice man–as the alien imposter who now occupies his body discovers. Sent to Earth to destroy evidence that Andrew had solved a major mathematical problem, the alien soon finds himself learning more about the professor, his family, and “the humans” than he ever expected. When he begins to fall for his own wife and son–who have no idea he’s not the real Andrew–the alien must choose between completing his mission and returning home or finding a new home right here on Earth.

Format: Trade Paperback
Source: Bought in National Bookstore Harrison Plaza (December 2014)

MY THOUGHTS ON THE BOOK:

I am glad I picked this book one random afternoon before 2014 ended. It turned out to be my best read of the year so far; well, depending on the materials I will get my hands on in the next 7 months.

The book could be dark but it’s hit-the-nail-on-the-head funny most of the time. It had me laughing at the alien protagonist even with his sinister plans (in the beginning) and journeyed with him when he realized that Earth and its underachieving, under-developed habitants have more to them that are worth appreciating. When he slowly learned to embrace Earth’s ironies and imperfections, the gradual transition felt genuine, if only because it also confused him. The narration always comes back to the funny bits. I particularly loved his “97 Advice to Humans.” So quotable, most of them. I love how Matt Haig used beautiful words to come up with such passages. Here is one I shared with my Facebook friends as I was reading it:

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After this, I will gladly welcome another Matt Haig book. I was lucky I chanced on The Radleys in Booksale last month. I may not be able to read it soon but I am sure I’m already going to enjoy it as I learned his writing style with this book.

Review : Counting Candles by Dustin Bradshaw

Counting Candles

Title: Counting Candles
Author: Dustin Bradshaw
Release date: June 10, 2014
Buy the book:  AmazonBarnes & NobleCedar Fort
I received an e-copy from the publisher for an honest review.

Photo from Cedar Fort Publishing.

About the book:

As accountant James Smith approaches his 40th birthday, he concludes that his life is tedious, ho-hum, dull, and, well . . . mediocre. He can’t image the vast ways that those around him are affected by his simple, caring acts. This tale of the extraordinary impact of ordinary lives is sure to touch your heart.

First off, I am two weeks late to this blog tour post! I am mortified. Anyway, here I am and what I thought of the book.

You must have heard the saying, “You can’t really understand another person’s experience until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” Counting Candles gave us glimpses of these different lives, of different shoes, showing us important lessons on love, life, and having faith in yourself. The characters were all connected to our protagonist James Smith who has struggles of his own. Nearing 40 years old, he started to look at his life and thought it was drab and dull. Unknowingly, there were people whose lives he touched, and these people have struggles of their own, too. So in a way, this whole story reflects how we’re all connected, all in our successes and failures.

The author has a way of making ordinary things still seem engaging. And by ordinary I mean feelings you have had at one point in your life, or events we have all seen on TV, movies, with real-life family and friends. More importantly, after reading about the stories, you did not just get a slice of life of different people; you are left thinking about your own and how you, as circumstances allow, have it easier. Or that what you’re going through is something that other people also do go through, enough for a writer to pen them down and weave them into one story.

One indication that I like what I’m reading is that I don’t get lost in alternating chapters. This book has it and I completely connected to the characters as they were introduced that I did not once flip back and ask, “Who’s this again?” I guess it’s natural when you’re reading about normal people like you. The characters are easily relatable and you cheer them on with each turn of the page. James Smith is likable because he seems to be a genuinely good person despite life’s challenges. However, I have to admit I rooted for the character of Shamanda the most. I don’t know, maybe because her struggle is something I slightly went through in recent past, that what happened to her gave me more hope that it’s gonna get easier. Also, one character made me tear up because he made me think a bit of my late father. If you know me enough, you’d know how much a sucker I am for daddy-daughter/children relationships.  🙂

I recommend you read the book to know what I am talking about. And I challenge you to say neither you nor anyone you know was mirrored in any of the story, and I bet you can’t.  This book is the kind that will make you feel good when you reach the last page. I had a great time reading it.

Review: One Night at the Palace Hotel by Bianca Mori #buqosteamyreads

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Here are five volumes of steamy reads brought to you by buqo. It is an application that’s a bookstore, newsstand, and reader in a single app. It was built to give Pinoys (and Pinoys-at-heart) everywhere a single place to access bestselling Filipino magazines, books, and more. Neat, eh? You can access buqo through the following:

Download the Android app: http://bit.ly/buqodroid
Download the iOS app: http://bit.ly/buqoapple

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We are now on Week 2 of the tour featuring Volume 2, the Seduction bundle! Today I am reviewing One Night at the Palace Hotel by Bianca Mori.

One Night at the Palace HotelIt’s the night before The Palace Hotel opens, and the entire city is abuzz with what everyone is calling a throwback to the Gilded Age. Everyone, that is, except Consuelo De la Red. Faced with a destiny picked out for her and a dream she just can’t forget, she confronts the choices she has made and the man she was forced to reject. When the past comes crashing into the present, will she listen to her duty, or give in to the urging of her heart?

 

My thoughts: For something so short, I was highly entertained and left wanting for more. I guess my penchant for reading about the happily miserable lives of rich people added to the fascination. There’s nothing convoluted in the story, everything is straightforward and if I may say, realistically sweet. It’s beautifully written that frankly, the steamy, passionate scenes were icing on top. But well, a giant icing, for that matter. 😉 The author has a way with words that I find very engaging; not just with the hot ones but in all parts of the story. 😉

Sam, the main guy in the story (who for some reason I picture Sam Milby; maybe because a movie of his was on while I was reading?) is the voice of reason, the guy you root for and wish you’d have for yourself. He’s not swooning and preachy — two things I tend to see in characters bent on proving he loves a woman and that being with him is the most reasonable thing to do…because of love. Sam’s not like that. Moreover, Consuelo/Con/Sue (read it to know why) was more beautifully written. Characters from the upper class to me almost always tread the thin line between believable/likable and outrageous/annoying. She’s the former. She has had bitchy quips and all but she’s likable. I may be doing a very loose comparison, and with my personal bias toward Jen Aniston, but it’s like what happened to Rachel Green’s character on Friends– you know, easily a bait for annoyance, but she turned out lovable and likable.

As short as this story is, it wrapped well. Though of course, if there’s going to be more, I’m not going to say no. I recommend you guys read this! 🙂

If you want to check out other posts this week for the Seduction bundle of #buqosteamyreads, visit this tour schedule.

Better yet, download buqo and get the #steamyreads! Let’s support local authors!

Review: Inappropriate Entanglement by D.R. Lee #buqosteamyreads

BuqoSteamyReadsHeader (1)

Here are five volumes of steamy reads brought to you by buqo. It is an application that’s a bookstore, newsstand, and reader in a single app. It was built to give Pinoys (and Pinoys-at-heart) everywhere a single place to access bestselling Filipino magazines, books, and more. Neat, eh? You can access buqo through the following:

Download the Android app: http://bit.ly/buqodroid
Download the iOS app: http://bit.ly/buqoapple

bookish

We are now on Week 2 of the tour featuring Volume 2, the Seduction bundle! Today I am reviewing Inappropriate Entanglement by D. R. Lee.

Inappropriate EntanglementOn their first meeting, she ordered him to strip.

Kaye is the independent and workaholic creative director of an ad agency. She’s been single for five straight years but she still isn’t so keen on joining the dating pool anytime soon. Unfortunately, Matt, a hunky client she needs to please and appease, has other plans.

On their first meeting, he stripped.

My thoughts: I liked this story but I’m sure those who have read it will agree when I say…it’s so bitin! I want more! Since we are into steamy reads, can I just say, this is the kind which leaves you with the pain in your stomach because of an unquenched desire, hahaha! But there’s hot and sexy times, no worries.

It being short did not mean no space for character movement. There wasn’t much but what was presented were enough to relate (or not, depends on you) to the characters. I have not read that many sexy/steamy books, and I am personally in the middle of an un-posted blog post about sexy stories such as these, but one thing I noticed present in most of them was throwing one’s self with reckless abandon, sloppily so that it becomes forced. I did not find it here. I saw the internal struggle (albeit for a very short time, haha), that to me made the deed satisfying (as a reader *grins*). The plot and the setting are of course nothing new but the author found ways to make it where Kaye and Matt were, and as a reader, I followed.

I could not have said it more bluntly: I am looking forward to the next book! (There’s going to be a next one…and possibly more…right, D?)

If you want to check out other posts this week for the Seduction bundle of #buqosteamyreads, visit this tour schedule.

Better yet, download buqo and get the #steamyreads! Let’s support local authors!

Robinson’s Ermita Needs More Bookstores

My post’s title could not have said it more directly: Robinsons Place Ermita needs more stores that sell books. I don’t want to think that books don’t sell there, it’s just a matter of putting them in good locations and basically existing. Put them there and people will come. I remember a Dymocks branch when I was in college at the Faura Wing, where Healthway is now. It was huge and pretty but it must have been the entire Dymocks franchise that pulled out because I don’t see any at all now. Powerbooks closed last year, replaced by Yakimix. I saw the branch manager in Powerbooks Shangri-La (so nakilala ko pa tlaga sya, di ba?), and he said it’s going to re-open, he just did not know when and where in the area, because apparently Robinsons wanted the wing where they were to be solely composed of restaurants. With other Powerbooks branches closing or shrinking, I don’t want to hold my breath for a re-opening anymore. Thus my cry: Robinsons Ermita needs more bookstores for variety and more book choices.

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Face it, our dependable National Bookstore isn’t a sufficient source. If it can expand to accommodate more books, it would be a welcome change. Their shelves are not as extensive and need more organization, if I may say.

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There is also this permanent fixture of a sale table. Nothing has changed in the last three months or so: no new books added to the pile and no one has bought any anyway — as far as I can see.


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Up at the fourth floor next to Max’s is Chapters and Pages. There was another one of its kind in front of Paeng’s Bowling Center but it disappeared. This one has few but sometimes very good finds but with its location, I don’t think people would remember it when they come to the mall.

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Of course, Booksale. I am glad it is always full of people — whether they are buying or simply using it as a meeting place, it’s still good, I guess. They used to be right in the middle of the old wing where more people pass by but it’s not exactly conducive for book browsing. They have been at this area for close to three years now.

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If you go outside the mall, at the Faura side, there’s the independent bookstore, Solidaridad. It does not carry contemporary mass market titles but it’s still a popular joint for readers. I like going here (and the sound of the bell when the door opens is music to my ears; weird ba?) even when I don’t buy anything, and I’m happy it continues to exist.

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Inside Solidaridad where you will find a treasure trove of Filipiniana books.

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Still inside Solidaridad. They have very interesting collections of books.

At any rate, I still believe that the mall needs more bookshops. Of course, if there will be more independent book stores within the Malate and Ermita area, it would be more awesome. Did I miss some? Anyway, there are universities and plenty of national agency offices in the area with people who I think would be interested to flock to different bookstores when they are nearby. I’m really hoping it happens soon. If I get very filthy rich, I’d actually do it, but now that I’m still poor, I can only make this appeal — more specifically, hey Fully Booked, I noticed you do not have a branch in the city of Manila AT ALL. Maybe it’s time you consider the idea. 🙂

March Demarche

The first quarter of 2014 is over, you guys. However, unlike previous first quarters, this one, at least for me, felt full and the pace was just right.

Everything’s peachy on the work front, save for small moments of whoopsies and wake up calls which were remedied by getting Foreign Affairs Manual refreshers (nothing too complicated though), and of course, the three letter word which entails an amount with a f*****g lot of f*****g zeroes (inevitable, next to death). Most of my mornings were spent checking what happened to the Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing, until I got bored. So yeah, same old, same old.

I am happy with my reading pace. My book-buying rate is relatively the same, although times are harder so when I say I have to choose between food and books, now it’s true — back then, when I was more liquid, it’s books versus letting go of second lunches or third cups of coffee for the day; now it’s buy this or have dinner. It’s worse because I discovered the awesomeness of graphic novels, which are relatively more expensive tomes, darnit. Oh well, someday, I’m going to look back at this part of my life and simply laugh while sitting on my golden throne surrounded by my beloved books.

As for my couch potato self, it’s time to re-focus on each of my regularly-watched TV shows because the season is wrapping up, which means reflect on surprise!deaths! and possible season finale plots before the Spring and Summer shows begin. I learned to drop shows (Bitten, The 100, Agents of Shield, Rake) and limit my comfort zone. I figured I could always go back to whatever I missed.

My heart was a little broken a few days ago and I brushed it off and charged it to experience, because that’s what Liz Lemon would do.

Nonetheless, let me say, there are bazillions of wittier ways to deflect a joke, but what I got was a painful zing that boomeranged in my face very fast. Open mics are fun yet dangerous traps, and reactions could go either way, but dude, plenty of classy, funny ways to deflect. I only said a name then went right on to a very boring invite to a basketball game intended for everyone in the room. I tried hard to discredit my pride because I’m almost always too narcissistic but as the day progressed, and even the day after, people were commenting on the uncoolness of it, so I realized, OH SHIT. So yeah, that hurt because it came from someone I really really like. If it’s just a random person I would have just punched him/her in the face IN MY HEAD-repeat-IN MY HEAD – then move on. But no.  Anyway, Milky Way….

Suffice to say, I had fun with the last three months; overall, it’s a cool one. Not perfect because nothing is. For now, I’m looking forward to more laughter-filled days, ways to learn how to save, eat less (yeah right, Judie, you’re funny), and walk more, and not die in this heat. I still live in the same apartment where the summer sun’s ray of death is aimed at my room, directly at my airconditioning unit, from 10 am to 3 pm. So yeah, goodbye daytime coolness. I hope with proper hydration, I’d actually lose weight from sweating and I would just be standing in place. That’s the hope.

I wish you rainbows and cold summer nights, my friends. Hugs and more hugs.

p.s. I actually do not have a point in using demarche on the title. I just needed something to rhyme with March. Yo boi.

Showcase Sunday (5)

Showcase Sunday is a meme hosted by Books, Biscuits  & Tea.  It aims to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto e-Readers each week.

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I’ve been remiss sharing my book hauls in the past weeks but here I am again! I am on scrimping mode lately but it didn’t stop me from buying; I just had to dive straight to the sale/discounted bin. 😉

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These were impulse buys after one stressful workday (oh come on, hahaha!) and I think I chose good. The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner has been buzzed about since last year and since I don’t think a copy reached the Philippines yet, I’m lucky to chance upon her earlier work which was also hailed by critics. Telex from Cuba, a National Book Award finalist, showed itself to me for ten pesos (or 25 cents). Wow, right?

Mulengro is also a book of an author whose other work interested me but I have not found it yet. Two bloggers I follow wrote about Charles de Lint’s The Onion Girl so I became interested, as I’m slowly dabbling into fantasy. I saw Mulengro and just had to buy it. I saw less stellar reviews for it but nah, won’t let them affect me. 😉

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One buy I’m so giddy about this week is the third book in The Monstrumologist series, The Isle of Blood. I really loved the first two books even if most times I had to ask myself, “Is this YA???”. National Bookstore looks like it’s having a sale table per branch and I got lucky. This is a sealed copy for a dollar fifty!

Another good buy for a dollar is Agent to the Stars. I rarely see John Scalzi books in Philippine shelves, and even rarer in second-hand bookshops. This is a lucky find, especially since this is one of two Scalzis in my to-buy priority (Redshirts is the other one).

These are the books I got this week. If you want to share yours, sound off below and head to Books, Biscuits, and Tea for other Showcase Sunday posts. Happy weekend!

March is for books that are not mine!

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EDITED!!! — Well hello there, March. February was a good month for me, reading-wise, even with my flurry of activities.

I said when the year started I won’t dabble into reading challenges but may do customized ones to spice it up a bit. For this month, I thought of cleaning my borrowed books pile. One reason why my TBR pile is too high is because I love borrowing books (taking dibs, convincing people to lend me, however you want to put it!) from friends.

A grainy shot of books generously entrusted to me by fellow booklovers. Which one should I read first?

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Two more! And yes, that’s my hand making a cameo 😉

Some of these books I borrowed months and months ago. And while I have not heard any of them tell me to return a book or two, it might be high time for me to finally dabble into them. What are these books, you ask?

I have my book club friend Gabi’s copy of The Portable Dorothy Parker for a year and a half now. I started it right then but wasn’t able to pull through. This is the kind of book where you have to be in the mood for, and I have yet to nail that mood again. 🙂 This month though, let’s, let’s!

I also have The Bronze Horseman and Tatiana & Alexander which Gabi also lent me July of last year. I started Bronze two weeks ago but stopped at around page 40. I haven’t gone to the blossoming of the lovestory yet!

The Angelmaker is from my friend at the office, Luke. This will be my first Harkaway read, if ever. I have an e-book of The Gone Away World and many said while they are not connected at all, it’s always best to start Harkaway with Angelmaker. Let’s see. Luke will leave the country in a few months so what better time to read this book than now so I could return it before he packs his things.

From last month’s book session, I took dibs on The Patmans of Sweet Valley from Nerry. It’s my favorite Sweet Valley saga edition (where I never forgot that Alice and Hank were canon!). It made me think of the entire Sweet Valley franchise and how good we all had it back then with the tons of installments of Sweet Valley Twins and High (my two favorites in the series). I wish we can still find old editions. Reprints, though few, are never the same.

And oh, The Love Slave. It’s been a long-running gag in my book club that all kinds of guilty pleasure books be categorized under the The Love Slave umbrella. This book is an Ex Libris Philippines symbolic tome, mind you! 😉 Since our theme of sorts last month was about love in any of its forms, Tata had to whip it out of her bag straight to my lap. Of the pile, I may really pick this one first.

When the movie version of David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas hit Philippine cinemas, I wanted to read it but was not keen on buying a copy. My friend Celina brought her copy during one of many football matches we watch live and said I could read it first. That was September 2012. I remember trying reading the first page and giving up right then. The last time I saw Celina I said the book is still with me and she encouraged me keeping it because she’s not ready to read it yet either. 😉

Main Battle Tank and No Country For Old Men are from another friend at work, Diego. I want to believe he gave them to me already because he’s done reading, but I’ll double-check. I don’t think he gave them to me because I might be interested; for all I know he sees me as a human bin where books can be dropped off when you’re done reading. Well, it works for me! I have no keen interest in military warfare at all, although finally owning Code Name Verity and Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy might spin me toward this direction. Might, because these are YA fiction books and Main Battle Tank is non-fiction! At any rate, let’s see. No Country is something I started but had to put off because of a zombie novel [which I also haven’t finished — are we close to defining mediocre reading now?]. If I don’t finish it this month, I may next month because of another loosely planned reading theme.

In addition: D.C. Noir is from my friend Shei (the same person whose HP and the Deathly Hallows I’m still keeping somewhere here in the house!) which she smugly told me she found in Booksale for 5-repeat-5 pesos! An Akashic noir book for five pesos!!! I borrowed it right before I went to DC for training last year but forgot it in the office. Boo, me!

The Natural History of the Senses is something my friend Thess has been telling me about since that lull in a meeting of our employee association four years ago. At an employee gathering last month, she handed it to me. It looks so new I wonder how crazy careful she must be when reading a book. I must take care of it really well. 😉

So there. I will not be able to wipe them off clean from my to-read pile but finishing a few will be awesome.

What’s on your reading plate this month?

Showcase Sunday (4)


Showcase Sunday is a meme hosted by Books, Biscuits  & Tea.  It aims to highlight our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto e-Readers each week.

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It’s been a busy week at work so I did not have time to swing by bookshops until today. I bought two YA books I’ve set my eyes on long ago but because of availability and size reasons (I’ll explain in a few), I only bought them today.

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Pardon the glare: GOLIATH by Scott Westerfeld and CLOCKWORK PRINCESS by Cassandra Clare. Finally, editions that will fit the rest. Both are third books in a trilogy, too!

First is CLOCKWORK PRINCESS, the third book in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series. I bought Clockwork Prince long ago and told myself I won’t read it until Princess comes out. Early last year, it did, and for a long time I did not buy it because the available size of the editions in my country are not the same one as Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince! Yes, for that shallow reason alone. [They wouldn’t look good together with one being taller, right? Hehe.] The hardback and large trade copy editions went for as cheap as 250 pesos (almost $5) but I didn’t buy, no matter how tempting [the size! the size!]. But today, I finally saw a copy the same size as the first two installments! Yay!

Second is GOLIATH, the third book in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy. I featured Leviathan when I bought it last year and two months after that, I bought the second book, Behemoth. It took a while before I saw a copy of Goliath because it was always out of stock. I found a lone copy of it today and I snatched it immediately.

I have a hazy reading plan that does not include these (now complete) trilogy in my TBR pile. Because of this unplanned completion, I may bump them up soon. 🙂

For e-books downloaded to S. Eloise, here are the books I got for free from Amazon, thanks to Book Gorilla:

Care to share what books you got this week?

For other Showcase Sunday posts, visit this site.

January Wrap Up

One month down, eleven to go!

The first month of the year swished just like that. It was fun though. And fast.

Let’s see, what was I up to last month?

January holds a soft spot for me mainly because of my birthday. Cash-strapped but adventurous, I managed to enjoy my 32nd birthday up at a mountain in Benguet. The first two weeks of January were actually spent scrimping and buying [yes, that’s possible], and mostly preparing for the Mt. Pulag trip. Not so much, physically…to the detriment of my legs. But I survived. My separate blog update is still in the works so I will link it up when it’s done [hopefully, within this century].

One hour into the trek, we saw this. This does not do the place justice. It's majestic, magnificent, and when we went, insanely cold.

One hour into the trek, we saw this. This photo does not do the place justice. It’s majestic, magnificent, and when we went, insanely cold.

I started the year on staycation because of forfeitable leave credits from last year. I cut it short by two days, much to our office timekeeper’s cute annoyance, because I got bored. Yes. I got bored. Plus it was crazy hot that week. Had it been this semi-chilly, I would not even think about the office.

My book haul is at a modest six — five bought, one received as a gift. I think it was conservatively countered by my Kindle. I don’t want to speak prematurely though. As I said, we have eleven months to go.

Four out of six books hauled in January. I picked up MIDWIVES to add to my Chris Bohjalian pile, WEAVEWORLD to add to my Clive Barker I-will-see-you-in-my-horror-reading-month pile, FAR NORTH by Marcel Theroux because it's dystopian that's less mainstream, and WICKETT'S REMEDY because I need something to pair with Midwives to avail the Buy One, Take One sale. Not in photo are JOYLAND by Stephen King [gift] and THE ANTHOLOGIST by Nicholson Baker.

Four out of six books hauled in January. I picked up MIDWIVES to add to my Chris Bohjalian pile, WEAVEWORLD to add to my Clive Barker I-will-see-you-in-my-horror-reading-month pile, FAR NORTH by Marcel Theroux because it’s dystopian that’s less mainstream, and WICKETT’S REMEDY because I need something to pair with Midwives to avail the Buy One, Take One sale. Not in photo are JOYLAND by Stephen King [gift] and THE ANTHOLOGIST by Nicholson Baker.

As for books read last month, I book-ended it with 7 books. That’s just right for my 75-book challenge this year. I try to keep a sane balance between e-books [a swooning post about S. Eloise, my Paperwhite, is in the works, too] and printed books so as not to start a jealous fit. Yes, my thick, thin, page-foxing books have feelings!

One highlight of the last month was the first book session of my book club at The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros. I loved it! I also cannot forget the yumminess of 9 Spoons’ tokwa’t bagnet. It’s a take on tokwa’t baboy but they substituted, obviously, bagnet, but more than that, the vinegary spice made a huge difference. The flavor seeps through the bagnet strips and tokwa cubes. Oh man, I’m drooling just typing about it. Will definitely come back. You can actually order off the 9 Spoons menu even when you are at the SkyDeck. It made the experience more interesting. Hint to my future date! Although it probably wouldn’t be wise to ravage tokwa’t bagnet on a first date. 🙂

Taken from the Skydeck of The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros. I love my city!

Taken from the Skydeck of The Bayleaf Hotel in Intramuros. I love my city!

On the work front, I marked my 11th year in the office. There are days when I think it’s time to move on, move forward. I don’t know; it comes and goes. I’ll see. As always, I will actively seek and wait for the chance to present itself. I also welcomed a new staff so if only for this new addition, this change, there’s something fresh to look forward to. Plus yummy friend is going back to the building in a two weeks! My lunchmate will be back.

Speaking of people, someone makes me smile everyday, more often lately.  Meh, I’m just going to enjoy it. And of course if I’m doing anything else about it, I will not tell you. Well, that is, assuming you are interested.

So, how have you been?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila of Book Journey.   This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

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I am happy to still be home when most of the Philippine work force (and schools, too) are back to usual business. This means I get extra more time to read. I am happy that I finished two books already, owing it to the long holiday break.

KokoroToday, I am reading Kokoro by Natsume Soseki, as translated by Edward McCellan, on S. Eloise (what will be the official name of my Paperwhite, hahaha). I am on the 28th of its 110 chapters and I’m loving it. I didn’t know anything at all about the book when I started it, so maybe that’s why page after page, I’m getting hooked. Basically it’s the friendship that developed between a young Japanese student and a man he’s so fascinated with whom he decided to call Sensei. It was a random meeting and in each chapter we are treated to how their friendship developed. The student who at present narration is now himself an older man, narrates what happened between meeting Sensei up until his death which will unfold in later chapters. Somehow I like this because I already know the beginning and the end and I’m simply watching out for the rich chronicling of what happened in between.

What are you reading this Monday?

To read Book Journey’s Monday read and see a link to other “It’s Monday…” entries, please visit Book Journey’s post.

2013 Reading Report

Well hello there. I bring you my somewhat underperforming bookish self in 2013. Now, the rundown:

I had to downsize my reading goal from 82 to to 60 and I still didn’t even reach it. The “challenges” I posted, none except for one was met.

However, I consider reading 18 Philippine-published books out of 56 an achievement. While I failed in my ridiculous promise of buying only 12 books last year, I take pride in all my loot from the book fairs in September.

I also started joining blog tours of books by locally-published authors. I only did three participations and they were all learning experiences. I was also lucky to be part of Book Junkie Blog Tour’s Circle of Bloggers [thanks, Dia!].

Okay, so maybe it’s not all bad! 🙂 Out of 56 I read last year, here are my top ten. I put them in alphabetical order because ranking them would take longer deliberation. *snickers*

  1. Eleanor & Park [Rainbow Rowell]
  2. Gone Girl [Gillian Flynn]
  3. The Mango Bride [Marivi Soliven]
  4. Manila Noir [Jessica Hagedorn, ed.]
  5. Me Before You [Jojo Moyes]
  6. The Ocean at the End of the Lane [Neil Gaiman]
  7. The Silver Linings Playbook [Matthew Quirk]
  8. Skyworld 1 /Skyworld 2 [Mervin Ignacio]
  9. The Spindlers [Lauren Oliver]
  10. Unseen Moon [Eliza Victoria]

There. For this year, I will go back to reading on my own. While readathon participations are fun and a great way to expand my bibliophile network, toward the end it becomes more of a race for me, even when it shouldn’t be that way. I would like to remove my self-imposed (invisible) pressure and just go back to reading enjoyably. There’d still be themed reading once in a while but it’s more for order and method to the madness than anything else. Here’s to a more active reading plate in 2014!