Category Archives: Books

[Booking Through Thursday] For a Friend

It’s been a while since I participated in Booking Through Thursday. This week’s (or rather, last) question is:

If someone you know has just published a book—do you feel obliged to buy a copy? Even if it’s not the kind of book you’d normally read?

This has happened to me before. A friend of mine decided to write for romance stories for a local publisher. I wouldn’t think twice about buying her work, but it was written in Filipno, the Philippines’ official language. Even though I speak it, reading is another matter. I’m more comfortable reading and writing in English, so it was a challenge for me to read my friend’s work. Thankfully, I was able to read and understand it. Since then, she’s published more books and even translated a few English books into Filipino (the ironic thing is, my friend is even worse with writing and reading Filipino, but she improved over the years). However, I haven’t been able to keep up with her newer works, but she doesn’t really mind.

The number of people I know who have published works have increased. Thankfully, there has been (so far!) no pressure for me to buy their books. I do anyway, because I really do like to support them and the local publishing industry, and I really enjoy their works.

Don’t forget to check out Booking Through Thursday and join in the fun.

Filipino Fridays 2014 #2: Author Aspirations

On to week two! The countdown to the Filipino Reader Con 2014: Readers Turned Writers continues. This week, they ask this question:

As a reader, have you ever thought about writing a book? What kind of books/stories do you want to write? Or are you now a published author, and what compelled you to go fulfil this dream? How was your journey from reader to writer? How did you go about getting your book out there?

I have always wanted to write stories. My earliest memory of story creation was playing with my brother and neighbors, where we’d create scenarios that we’d act out. Eventually, my childhood best friend Lee and I would draw and write stories. All throughout my life, I had created snippets of fictional and fantastical worlds. In high school, I thought about creating manga. I had drafts of scripts and sketches of comic panels. In college, I got pushed more to write stories thanks to friends who were into the same thing. I started writing fanfiction, until eventually I went back to doing original stories. Long story short, yes. I’ve always thought about writing a book. Books, actually.

And what kind? Stories of adventure or mystery (think Nancy Drew or Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series), fantasy (Enid Blyton again, and Nick Joaquin’s Pop Stories for Groovy Kids), school stories/coming of age (Sweet Valley, The Babysitters Club), and romance (Sweet Dreams, Love Stories, Mills & Boon).

Today, the dream still hasn’t died. It hasn’t gone easier, either. I still find it challenging to put down words to paper (or the digital paper, as often the case may be), but I’m trying. It helps that there are friends who have successfully hurdled the challenge of getting their first work out there (I am so proud of them!), and while I’m not the competitive (much) sort, I want to have that achievement too. I’m working on it, really!

Let’s talk more about this, shall we? I’d love to hear your comments, or better yet, I hope to see you at the Filipino Reader Con on November 14. Face-to-face discussions are always the best. In the meantime, don’t forget to post your own answers to the question.

[Filipino Fridays] Intro + New Discoveries: Surprise, Reader!

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And we’re back! Can’t believe it’s been almost a year since the last ReaderCon. It was my first time to attend, and boy did I ever participate. I’m excited for this year, because the theme is something pretty close to my heart. Filipino ReaderCon 2014: Readers Turned Writers.

We count down to the event itself through the weekly Filipino Fridays. Click on the link to learn more about it. This week’s question is:

Surprise, Reader! Hello, it’s the first week of Filipino Fridays 2014! Whether it’s your first time to participate or not, tell us a bit about yourself. More specifically, tell us about your favorite book discoveries for this year. Any author you started reading this year that you can’t get enough of? A book you didn’t think you’d like, but you ended up liking/loving? Any book series that you just have to get your hands on? Have you discovered anything new from Filipino authors this year?

It’s my second time to join FF, and the past year has been an amazing ride of new reads. I had plenty of new reads this year, but I thought I’d share what my favorite books are from Filipino authors. In the last year, a few friends released their self-published works, which immediately became part of my must read pile. Then there’s the writing workshops I participated in a few months ago. I never got to finish my story, but the others were able to successfully finish theirs, so my reading list grew.

Kids These Days (Stories from Luna East Arts Academy Vol. 1) – Various authors
A few of the writers are my friends, so it was a given that I read their work right? Reading this threw me back to my high school years, where every encounter with my crush/es was something worth writing down in your journal. Or, Sweet Valley (twins, not High, ironically). I enjoyed the various points of view of the stories, and each one has little surprises that keep you wanting more.

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[Book Excerpt] The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao

A talented group of writers broke into the chick lit scene a little over a year ago and gave us fabulous reads since. It’s been a busy time for all of them, but let’s take a break and look into one of my favorite books from this bunch, Kesh Tanglao’s “The Real Score”.

The Real Score - Cover

I met Kesh during one of the Philippine Volcanoes’ rugby games here a few years ago. While we bonded over the game and its players, I never realised that she was such an amazing writer too. When “The Real Score” came out in 2013, there wasn’t any doubt that I would read it.

So what’s the book all about?

Caitlin’s friendship with Marcus, the de facto frontman of the world’s biggest boy band Gezellig, has long been an object of scrutiny by almost everyone–their friends and families, the media, and his fans–ever since they “went public” a couple of years back. Who wouldn’t be interested? She was a nobody, catapulted into the limelight of his fame when he struck an unusual friendship with her.

To both Caitlin and Marcus, what they have is a “perfect little thing.” But then something comes along and threatens it.

In a no-holds-barred interview, will they finally be forced to settle the score?

I won’t be reviewing the book, but instead I’ll let you take a peek into its pages. Here’s an excerpt from “The Real Score”.

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[Book Review] Finding Mr. Write by Adelaide Penne

Apologies first and foremost, because this post was supposed to be up last April 30. I blame all
the Justin Timberlake posts of “It’s gonna be May” on my Facebook timeline. Nah. I just plain
forgot.

Finding Mr. Write is one of the five books under the label #BuqoSteamyReads Sizzling pack. I
hope you were able to get this bundle, as well as the others, early on because now it’s P45 per
story instead of P45 for each book. No worries though, as you can check out the giveaways my
fellow book lovers are doing (link:
http://bookjunkieblogtours.blogspot.com/2014/04/blog-tour-buqosteamyreads-sizzling.html)

Finding Mr. Write by Adelaide Penne

Finding Mr. Write

Sometimes the best things come from the past…

Marcia Pelaez has it all: the curves, great friends, a successful career, and a loving boyfriend.
Or so she thought. After getting dumped by her boyfriend of three years, her best friends set her
up with blind dates from hell…until she meets Mystery Guy Number Three.

Clark has finally gotten everything he worked so hard to achieve: money and a successful
career. But he has never forgotten the woman who had stolen his heart eleven years ago. And
now that he finally has the chance to win back the feisty and independent Marcia, he’s willing to
pull out all the stops.

In a battle of wits, and between the sheets, will they both finally triumph and find a love that could
last forever?

I first thought that the main female protagonist (MFP) of this story was a writer and who was looking for her Mr. Write because, y’know, she was Miss Write. Play on words and all that. Imagine my surprise when I found that it was the guy who was a writer, and of erotica to boot. Not an unusual occurrence, but still pretty surprising.

I like that Marcia was portrayed as a strong, intelligent woman who doesn’t take any bullshit from people, both in her personal life and at work. At the same time, she’s still human and has a vulnerable side that she tries hard to cover.

Her friends rally around her, and that’s something all women can relate to. But my favorite character, if only for just one line, is Yaya Belen. I’m sure that at one point in our lives, we’ve had someone like her: One who isn’t a blood relation but cares for you like you were. Her “Stay the night!” comment had me laughing. It also reminded me of Mulan’s grandmother who said, “Would you like to stay forever?”

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[Book Review] The Best Friend Hook Up by Suzette de Borja

A few months ago, I participated in a writing class lead by Mina Esguerra and Buqo. I never got around to finishing my story, but quite a few of my classmates have and the results have been amazing. You can get the books from Buqo, a local online ebook store.

The first five books are bundled as “Sizzling: #buqosteamyreads Vol.1”, which you can get at the store for only P45! Five awesome reads for that price, it’s a bargain. But if you want to take a chance and win copies of the ebooks, you can check out the giveaways fellow book lovers have on their blogs.

The Best Friend Hook Up by Suzette de Borja

The Best Friend Hook Up

A bridesmaid in distress…

Mara is desperate to find a “hot” date for a beach wedding she has no wish to attend. The groom is her almost-boyfriend and the bride, her hated cousin. Her list of available, eligible men is virtually nonexistent. What is a girl to do?

Enter scorching hot Ian Stapleton, Mara’s best bud and go-to guy, to the rescue. Seeing his best friend in a red bikini for the first time is triggering a lot of reactions in Ian, the non-platonic kind! Does Ian dare take their friendship to a whole new level?

I’m a sucker for friends-turned-lovers stories, which is what got me reading Suzette’s story. There’s something quite satisfying about seeing people who know so much about each other stumble about falling in love and then getting it on.

I love Ian’s character. He seems like the kind of guy all girls want to have as a boyfriend and all the guys want as a buddy. On the other hand, I can relate to Mara because of my moments of insecurity and lack of self-confidence. Yet she found herself, and got the guy to boot. Let’s not forget that hot encounter by the beach and… Whoops. Spoilers.

Some parts of the story tend to run into each other, to the point where I got confused. Perhaps it was the book’s formatting, but at one point I didn’t know if what I’m reading was a flashback or an event currently happening. I guess it’s the limit of the words (10,000 or less, if I remember it right) that makes it seem that way.

That aside, the story is a fun, fast read. Personally, I couldn’t help but cheer for Ian as he pushes his way through Mara’s defenses, and it was endearing to see Mara become more confident in herself (even if she’s a bit of a drama queen). If you’re interested in a friends-to-lovers story with a lot of sweetness, this one’s for you.

Disclaimer: Story copy was received for review. No compensation was given.

 

Digitizing Filipiniana

The Filipinas Heritage Library recently launched their newest endeavour, the Filipiniana Online, last January 22, 2014. It is the digitized version of FHL’s rare Filipiniana collection. They have over 2,000 rare books, many of which are too fragile to be handled and lent out to their users. The idea of digitizing the books was born a few years ago and to date, they have around 500 books digitized and uploaded as flipbooks to the website, with many more in the works.

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Our class was able to attend through the invitation of our professor, and was considered to be part of our collection management and development curriculum. Prior to the launch, we took a tour of the Ayala Musuem and the Filipinas Heritage Library.

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The FHL was previously located at the Nielssen Tower along Makati Avenue. Personally, I found it a very picturesque location, and quite unique too. But times change, so the library was moved to its present location at the 6th floor of the Ayala Museum.

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Here we saw their collection, and in line with our studies, talked to the librarians who were in charge of developing the collection as well as digitizing it. As libraries in the Philippines go, FHL is one of the better ones, support and budget-wise, but that doesn’t mean they are without challenges. Still, it was very interesting to see their process of how they gathered the resources to purchase the equipment they needed to digitize the books.

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The Filipiniana Online is open to the public. However, only the preliminary pages are available for viewing and full access to the books requires a paid membership.

Congratulations to the team of the Filipinas Heritage Library for the successful launch.

Related links:
FHL launches Filipiniana Online
What is Filipiniana?

Filipino Friday #4: This is still reading, right?

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The question for this week’s Filipino Friday is, in my interpretation, all about technology.

Do you read (or have at least tried to read) books in other formats aside from print? How was your experience with these different book formats?

I’ve started reading ebooks long before I had an ebook reader or a smartphone. I had pdf or lit files that I’d read on my computer. These were books that were mostly free, and stuff that I don’t normally see in bookstores (because they were from indie writers and publishers).

I got a Kindle Touch as a birthday gift from my aunt and since then, I think 90% of the books I’ve read were digital versions. I still buy printed books, but because of my recent lack of space at home and smaller budget, ebooks are space and cost efficient alternatives.

Thanks to the Kindle, I have no problems with ebooks. I hated reading on my laptop because it was bulky, and after a while my eyes hurt from the screen’s glare. Same goes with my phones. The Kindle was easy on the eyes and lightweight. I guess so long as I have that, reading digital books won’t be such a problem for me. Also, here is a somewhat related post.

I have tried audiobooks, but it wasn’t for me. If I listen to an audiobook in bed, I end up falling asleep even before the chapter’s done. If I listen to it while trying to do chores, I don’t understand anything. I did try to listen to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, specifically, the chapter about Harry’s 18th birthday. I eventually memorized the first five or so paragraphs — because I kept starting there and I’d be asleep around that part.

Of course, printed books will always be the priority, but ebooks on a proper ebook reader is a very close second.

Also… just a friendly reminder, ReaderCon is on November 9!!!!

Filipino ReaderCon 2013

Filipino Friday #3: The Pinoy Book Drop

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As much as I wanted to participate in the book drop activity, I couldn’t. Happily, there’s two questions in today’s Filipino Friday so the non-participants can join in still.

Tell us about your most memorable or favorite book hunting experience. Have you ever found a book in a most unexpected place? If you find a dropped book somewhere, what would you do with it? Where do you get your books nowadays? Do you still go to bookstores, or do you buy/order books online?

My main source of books are still the bookstores. They’re easy to go to and these days, many already have the latest releases nearly on the same date as the Western releases, so it’s not hard to find something you want. I can’t think of a specific memorable book buying/hunting experience though. I’d like to think that each trip I take for books is fun and memorable in its own way.

I do, however, love visiting secondhand bookstores and diving into the bargain bins. I also love exploring places along Recto that sell used books, but many of which are still in fairly good condition. These places are also where I find books that are no longer in print, or haven’t been reprinted and sold in the regular shops. It’s also a great place to find good books at bargain prices. I love looking for books here so much that I have a post about secondhand bookstores and buying books from there.

I’ve had plenty of luck finding great books in bargain bins and secondhand bookstores. I’ve been able to complete series thanks to these jaunts. My friends have taken to bringing me along when they want to find specific books, because I somehow uncannily find them without really exerting much effort.

I’ve done some buying of books online too, but this is mostly for secondhand books as well. The only books I’ve bought over sites like Amazon are digital books, which I read over my Kindle.

If I find a dropped book, I definitely take it home and read it. Unless, it’s something that I’ve read before and then I’d probably leave it for some other person to find. On that note, I’ll try to drop a book over the weekend. Just because the Filipino Friday question has been done, doesn’t mean I can’t continue it. 😀

Filipino ReaderCon 2013

Don’t forget that the 3rd Filipino ReaderCon: What Do Readers Want? will be on November 9, 2013, 8:00am to 6:00pm at the Rizal Library of the Ateneo de Manila University. See you there.

Filipino Friday (2): Kids and Books

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This week’s Filipino Friday question is something close to my heart. Well, it is books so that’s a given, but it’s also about children’s books (which I’d include young adult fiction).

What were your favorite books as a kid or while you were growing up? Do you still read children’s books? If you could give your younger self a book to read, what would it be?

Difficult, difficult question. I had a lot of favorite books when I was a kid. Every weekend my parents would let me buy one toy or book, and my godmother/aunt would give me books every birthday and Christmas. Not to mention the people I could borrow books from: other aunts and uncles, friends, the library.

I suppose if I had to trim it down, my favorite books would be the works of Enid Blyton, my Lolo’s big book of stories, the Nancy Drew series and Sweet Valley Twins. Enid Blyton was the first British writer I’ve ever read, so at a young age I was already aware of pixies and brownies and lorries and bobbies. Her stories were those of mischievous kids and other-world beings that spoke of grand adventures, treasure hunts and mysteries.

Nancy Drew, of course, is a classic. To a young girl, she embodied the “girl power” kind of mantra. Because Nancy goes out and solves mysteries, fights bad guys and always wins in the end. The Sweet Valley series gave me glimpse into a world very different from my own. Middle school (or in my case, Intermediate) for me didn’t have cliques or bullies or cheering squads. Girls and boys don’t date (but crushes are all right) and we were still kids by Pinoy standards, but in Sweet Valley, twelve seems so mature.

The book my grandpa had was one he brought home from the time he studied in the U.S. It’s a very thick book filled with hundreds of stories: some fairy tales, some excerpts from other works, some adaptations and the like. Unfortunately, someone borrowed it and lost it, which breaks my heart.

Ok, I’ll stop at these because if I don’t, this post will reach a thousand words. 😛

Young Adult Books
Couple of YA books that I have, still fairly new. The rest I’ve got stashed back in Zamables.

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