Don’t Forget the Soap Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway

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So I’m back, after a stressful two weeks. I promise to catch up on some reviews, but for now, let’s do some promotional blog tour stuff. Today on the blog is a new nonfiction collection of stories from Marie Claire Lim Moore, Don’t Forget the Soap. First off, I love the title. Second, the blurb reminds me a bit of Tweet Sering’s Astigirl, but you know, for moms. And perhaps for daughters, too? Hm, sounds interesting.

About the Book:

Don't Forget the Soap Book CoverAt the center of many good stories – inspiring, entertaining, admittedly corny – is Marie Claire Lim Moore. Ask her about the time she and her family sat down with former Philippine President Corazon Aquino. Or the time she built houses in Mexico alongside former American President Jimmy Carter. Equally engaging are her every day experiences and perspective on life. You will be interested to hear what she thinks is a relationship “deal breaker” or why Christmas should be regulated or why kids shouldn’t say, “I’m bored.”

Don’t Forget the Soap is a collection of anecdotes from different points in Claire’s life: stories from the tight-knit Filipino community in Vancouver mix with memories of her move to New York, experiences at Yale and travels as a young executive. Underlying this narrative is the story of a global citizen who does not want to forget the fundamental values that come along with the “immigrant experience” as she and her husband raise their children in the increasingly glitzy expat bubble of Singapore. Her parents continue to remain a big influence in her life and her mother’s reminders a grounding force. These stories will warm the heart and resonate with people of any culture.

Goodreads | Ebook | Paperback

Excerpt:

My parents were extremely supportive of my pursuing opportunities in different parts of the world (not exactly conducive to settling down), and they didn’t bat an eyelid when my long-term relationship (on path to marriage) ended abruptly just as so many of their friends’ children were walking down the aisle. People would comment, “You must be feeling some pressure from your parents to meet someone.” No, actually, I wasn’t.

Not until the year I turned 30 and met Alex did my mother make any comment in this regard. It was after I finished my assignment in the Philippines and was deciding whether to go back to Brazil, stay on in the Philippines or return to New York. Most of my colleagues in the program continued working abroad (it was considered the faster path to running a business since many of these roles were in emerging markets where one had the opportunity to take on a relatively big job, the equivalent of which would not be available in global headquarters).

“At this point in your life it’s OK to let a ‘friend’ factor into your decision,” she would say. (My parents never used the term “boyfriend.” It could be a “close” friend or a “special” friend but in their minds nothing was official until marriage, so why give anything in between a title.) She continued, “You’ve put a lot of focus on your career, which is great, so now you can balance it by putting some attention on other important things.” After our assignments had finished in Brazil, Alex went back to New York and I went to the Philippines. We left more as friends than anything else but soon found ourselves staying in close touch while on opposite sides of the globe. We spoke at least two times a day despite the time difference, and he even came out to see me in Manila. I decided to take a job back in New York and see where the relationship could go.

About the Author:

marie claire lim moore - author photoMarie Claire Lim Moore is a Filipina-Canadian-American working mother and author of Don’t Forget the Soap. After spending the early part of her childhood in Vancouver, Claire moved to New York City and attended the United Nations International School. She went on to study at Yale, climb the corporate ladder at Citi and travel around the world. She met her husband, Alex, while working in Sao Paulo, Brazil and they married in Manila, Philippines shortly before moving to Singapore. Now Mom to Carlos and Isabel, Claire also manages the Global Client business for Citi in Asia. She enjoys juggling career and family and likes to throw in community and politics for fun by campaigning for US political candidates, fundraising for organizations that advance the role of women in business and promoting foreign direct investment in the Philippines. She is also a guest contributor at Sassy Mama Singapore. She tweets at @MarieClaireLM.

Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can’t silence our love (Cross-post)

[Cross-posted from tinamats.com]

Look, it’s 11/12/13!

I’m a sucker for dates, which I have proven through some of the posts I made in the past years (except for 11/11/11 — totally wasn’t able to blog then; I wonder why), and today is no different when I got home past midnight and started seeing tweets saying, “Hey look, it’s 11/12/13!”

So look, it’s 11/12/13!

I was thinking of something to write today on my way home last night — you know, something personal and thought provoking and maybe a little dramatic, something normal for me — and then it hit me how selfish it seems to think of that now, in the light of the recent events that happened in my country.

So none of that now. Today is a good day to start doing something. If you haven’t started yet, that is.

Last weekend, Super Typhoon Yolanda (International Name: Haiyan) wrecked havoc in the Philippines. I’m pretty sure everyone knows about this already, and if you haven’t heard, then here’s a little infographic from UN-OCHA to give you the facts:

We were spared in Manila, and my friends and family are all safe, too, but the typhoon hit the area of the Philippines that don’t have enough capacity to bear with this kind of storm. WAIT, SCRATCH THAT. There is NO place here that can really take that kind of typhoon and not come face to face with devastation. Not to mention that’s also the part of the country devastated by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake a little less than a month ago. It’s just truly horrible and heartbreaking.

Today is a good day to start doing things, or to keep doing things. I’m a sucker for dates, and maybe you’re also amused with 11/12/13. If you want to do something different today, then I implore you: HELP. Every single help you can give is important and will go a long way. Donate your money, your time, your talent. This is not the time to be shy, or to think you can’t give something because everyone can give something.

It can be as easy as sending part of your salary/allowance for donation (and hey, it’s payday week this week). Or maybe even making personal sacrifices: bringing packed food to work so you won’t have to spend so much on food, or going for cheaper coffee instead of the overpriced ones for the rest of the month and giving what you saved to the groups organizing relief efforts. Or if you are going to eat out or get coffee, then dine at these places that promised to donate the proceeds for the typhoon victims.

Write about it, share information on your social media profiles.

Pray. And if you’re not the praying type, then just keep the people affected in mind for a few minutes in a day and let this be a factor in some of your decisions for the day.

Be kind, be patient, be gracious, be generous, be loving. Because we need to be this now more than ever.

We are never too poor not to give anything, or too powerless not to do anything.

Continue Reading →

Lolita

lolitaLolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Publisher: Vintage
Number of pages: 376
My copy: Kindle edition

Awe and exhilaration—along with heartbreak and mordant wit—abound in Lolita, Nabokov’s most famous and controversial novel, which tells the story of the aging Humbert Humbert’s obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America. Most of all, it is a meditation on love—love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

* * *

There are some books that I told myself I would never read. I would never put them in an actual list, really, but I know that these are the books that I would ignore in a bookstore, books that I wouldn’t even think of buying. Reasons behind this may vary, but you know how we readers have preferences depending on the books we enjoy, or the time we have or the things we value, and all that.

I said that about Les Miserables late last year. I’d never read it because it’s just too thick, and I simply have no time. Then I read it and finished it in 45 days.

I said the same thing for Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita. I didn’t think I would read it, because frankly, I found the topic icky. I mean, a grown man supposedly “in love” with a child? I squirm at the thought — just as how I squirmed and looked away when I watched those crime shows (based on a true story or not) that involved someone who sexually abuses a child. It’s just not something I would even want to read, quite honestly.

And then, Lolita won in our book club’s polls for our September discussion. I guess in a way it was my fault for suggesting banned books as a topic for September, and this one made it to the final list. Lolita was far more popular than the two other books in the list, so it was kind of a shoo-in to win. I remember thinking (and saying this to one of the discussion moderators): Perhaps it’s time for me to read this. Year of the Brave, you say?

I won’t talk about the plot anymore because this is a pretty popular novel, with its controversial themes and gorgeous prose, as they say. I knew I was a apprehensive when I started reading hits. No, not because I can relate to any of it (thank God I don’t), but because I was wary of how it would go with me. Lolita is readable overall, because its prose isn’t hard to read, nor it is boring. It’s very well-written, actually, and it’s commendable especially since Nabokov’s first language is Russian. Humbert Humbert comes off as an unreliable narrator from the start, and Lolita is his account of what happened with her and to some events that led him to make that statement. I got confused about that, honestly — why “statement”? I figure he did something wrong there, but what? Did he kill someone? Who? Did he kill Lolita? (No, this isn’t a spoiler)

Let me go back to the prose. It was gorgeous, and surprisingly, it isn’t explicit. I mean, sometimes I have to go back to some passages to understand what Nabokov was writing about and then I’ll realize what happened there. Huh. And then I read on, and I go all, “Huh” again. I mean that in a good way, really.

Here’s the thing: I sort of predicted from the start that I would probably not rate Lolita higher than three stars, given that this isn’t really the kind of book I would read. I think even my friends expected that. But when I got to the end while I waited in line at the bank to pay some bills…I don’t know, I knew I couldn’t rate it that. I can’t explain it in full, but there was something in that ending that just made me change my mind. Is it the writing? Probably. Is it how Nabokov somehow made Humbert Humbert seemed deserving of sympathy? Maybe. I don’t know, really. It’s been a little over a month since I finished this book, but I still can’t answer that. All I know is I found myself thinking at the ending. It doesn’t make everything that he did or whatever happened in the story less icky because it is icky, period. But somehow, there was something in the ending that made me change my mind about rating this novel.

Lolita is controversial, I have to agree. But I also agree that this is just one of those books that a reader has to read in their lifetime. I’m glad my book club made me read this.

Number of dog-ears: 15

Favorite dog-eared quote(s):

We loved each other with a premature love, marked by a fierceness that so often destroys adult lives.

My heart was a hysterical, unreliable organ.

And presently I was driving through the drizzle of the dying day, with the windshield wipers in full action but unable to cope with my tears.

Rating:

Required Reading: September

Other reviews:

Mish-mash: ReaderCon FF4 + RR November 2013

I’m just a tad late for this weekly and monthly post. I’m going to combine this post because I might forget one or the other, plus I think I made a way to connect these two topics. Let’s see if I can get away with it.

So a Filipino Friday on a Saturday! :D

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This is Still Reading, Right? 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 have answered this several times, but let me talk about how things have changed now. Ever since I got Hannah the Kindle Paperwhite, I’ve been using it more often than I actually read print books. I realized that in the past three months, I’ve read the assigned book club book in my Kindle. Most of the books I finished recently were all in ebook form, which goes to show how much I’m enjoying using the Paperwhite. I mean, I used Astrid the Kindle a lot, but after some time I stopped using it because…I’m not really sure why. I have a feeling it’s the front light feature of the Paperwhite that hooked me in — it’s just so useful.

Plus, I seem to read ebooks faster than I read print books.

And then I looked at my actual print book TBR, and I feel a little bad, because I’m not making a dent at it at all. Not that I’m still pressured to get rid of all the books in my Mt. TBR. It’s just that I was starting to miss the feel of print books. And dog-earing actual pages.

So that is why for my November Required Reading, I have decided to go for print books. :)

Required Reading: November

Just two books! Two print books! :D

November 2013

  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater – I had this in my November 2012 reading list because it had November written all over it (I mean, the story was set in November) but I got hit by the slow reading bug that month so I never even touched it. This time, I’m going to try to really read it. (I started already, fyi.)
  • The New York Trilogy by Paul Auster – Our book club’s book of the month. I love anything New York, so I’m quite excited to read this. Plus I heard good things about this. Lady Liberty approves. :D

Of course I will probably read something from my Kindle again, but that’s already a given. I’m going to try to read more print books at the last two months of the year, just so I can dog-ear properly.

Back to formats: other than ebooks, I have listened to a few audiobooks. I just get distracted too fast so I don’t always listen to them. I find that enjoy audiobooks more when it’s a “reread”, and it’s a book I loved — case in point: Jellicoe Road. Even the audiobook broke my heart. And I can’t dog-ear with audiobooks! (Yes, that’s really important. :P)

It is exactly one week till the ReaderCon! It’s going to be a busy week, but I am so, so, so excited for November 9! I hope you are too! The 3rd Filipino ReaderCon: What Do Readers Want? will be on November 9, 2013, 8:00am to 6:00pm at the Rizal Library – Ateneo de Manila University. This event is held in partnership with Rizal Library and National Book Development Board (NBDB), and sponsored by Buqo, Fully Booked, Adarna House, Scholastic, Flipreads, OMF Literature, Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Island Merchants Corporation, with media partner When In Manila. I’ll see you, yes? Say hi! :)