Brb, writing

It’s been a while since I posted. Why the silence?

One word (or icon):

It’s National Novel Writing Month time! For some reason, I seem to be busier this year. It may be just because it’s the start of the writing season, so I’m still scrambling to put my ML duties within my normal everyday routines. I have a review backlog and a Google Reader backlog and I am not really doing well with some of my readings, so!

Yeah, expect it to be a little quiet for a while here. I will try to get some reviews out of the way soon — being on night shift does have its perks — but if I disappear here and on Twitter, I may be too busy catching up with my word count quota and researching about novel stuff, such as Psychiatric Aide Jobs. :)

Are you also doing NaNoWriMo this year? Come celebrate/commiserate with me by leaving a comment! Or add me up as a writing buddy — we can do this together! :)

Reading Buddies: A Monster Calls (2)

Part 1
Possible spoilers below.

Part 2 – From The Wildness of Stories to Champ

In the next chapters, the monster tells Conor his first story. We read of a tale of a prince, a witch and a farm girl, of a villain who isn’t quite what she seems. This first tale surprises Conor in such a way that it leaves him more confused.

Conor’s dad from arrives from America, and he wishes for him to be more approachable. But Conor’s dad is estranged and offers little comfort to his son.

1. Who is the hero in the monster’s first tale? Who is the villain? How does the story keep surprising Conor? What does Conor hope to learn from the story? What does he actually learn?

When I first read the story, I expected the same thing as everyone who’s read it: that there is a clearly defined hero and villain. So color me surprised too when the story was twisted. Like what everyone else had said in the discussion, Conor was expecting the monster to provide him straight answers, but the monster doesn’t work that way.

This tells us that life is rarely in black and white. People are rarely ever plain good or simply evil — we are more complicated than that. In every “evil” person there’s some good and in every good person, they have junk, too.

2. While the monster was finishing the story, Conor asked him, “So how is that supposed to save me from her?” The monster replied, “It is not her you need saving from.” If it wasn’t Conor’s grandma, then who do you think the monster means?

I think it’s pretty obvious that Conor needs saving from himself. While Conor knows that his mom was sick, I don’t think he’s ever really accepted that. Denial is a strong defense mechanism and I think it tends to keep people in a cage, or at least, blind them with what they need to see. I think Conor needs to see that he needs to save himself from his denial, and not from his grandma.

3. Describe Conor’s relationship with his dad. Do you think it would have been easier for him to go through this if his parents weren’t divorced?

Their relationship was awkward. I do think Conor wanted to get to know his dad even if he wasn’t close to him — there were those moments when Conor seemed to want to talk to his dad more, especially now that things were starting to get worse.

I’d like to believe that their strained relationship is an effect of the divorce. I’ve always believed that quality time is one of the things that builds relationships, and that’s what Conor and his dad lacked. As for making it easier, I think it would still depend on how his dad would handle the ordeal. I don’t have any experience to speak of (and I pray not to have that), but from what I’ve seen and read, people react differently to diseases, especially with cancer. However, I know that with whatever challenge, it’s always better when you have someone by your side.

Beach and Books

Hello, I’m back!

I wasn’t able to leave a notice that I’m going away for a while, because it wasn’t really such a long time, anyway. I wanted to leave some scheduled posts, but of course I didn’t get to do that. :P Anyway, just where was I exactly last weekend?

Finally a reading picture by the beach!

I was with my Goodreads friends for a weekend of books, drinks and beach! Much thanks to our moderator, Kuya Doni, for hosting us in his hometown. I didn’t get to finish reading anything because I was hardly able to read except during that long jeep ride to this beach. I don’t mind, because it was so much fun being around some of my favorite people. :)

The book I’m reading there is The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey, one of my Required Reading books for October. It’s not exactly very scary, but it’s creepy. Especially when you’re reading it while you’re in a semi-remote province where there are no tubs. :P

And as expected, too, I went home with a bunch of books. Oh, TBR pile.

Anyway, posts will resume soon! Let me just get them written down, of course. :D

A Monster Calls Trailer

Forgive me if I’ve been ignorant. I thought Patrick NessA Monster Calls has been released everywhere because…well, I have a copy and we have copies here, and some friends I know have copies. Imagine my slight surprise when I found out that it’s not yet released in the US, and won’t be until the 27th.

No wonder not a lot of people seemed to have read it yet. And why it’s so hard to find a copy here. (But hey, Book Depository has had that book for ages!)

Anyway, Candlewick Press has released a trailer for A Monster Calls, and I must say: like the book, the trailer is awesome. It definitely made use of the illustrations in the book well. Check it out:

YouTube Preview Image

You can check out a bigger version here.

There’s more Patrick Ness / A Monster Calls goodness in this Shelf Awareness Maximum Shelf August 24 issue (may be a bit spoilery, so if you haven’t read the book yet, proceed with caution!). A Monster Calls is one of my favorite books this year, and I definitely recommend that you get your hands on it if you haven’t yet. If you’re not a fan of his other books, don’t worry — this one is very different, and I’m pretty sure it will be worth your time. :)

Filipino Friday on a Sunday: Catch Up Post!

This is a massive catch-up post for all ReaderCon Filipino Friday posts I missed in the past weeks. I meant to answer each question individually with scheduled posts and all, but you know how sometimes we mean things but never really end up doing them? Yeah, that. But better late than never, even if it means doing a Filipino Friday post on a Sunday. :)

So here’s a massive Filipino Friday catch-up post, answering all four questions that I missed. I promise will try not to be too talkative!

Filipino Friday

...on a Sunday! :)

Week 2: How did you become a reader? Why do you read?

The Best Thanksgiving Ever - SVK # 34[/caption]

I mentioned in my intro post that my dad used to read Pepito the Catfish to me when I was young, and I’d like to think that that was the thing that started me reading. My mom often told me that she was afraid I had problems with reading when I was a kid because it took a while for me to learn how to read. She’d tell me that I used to “pretend” to read, lying on bed with a book open, even if I can’t actually read. I remember in Grade 1, I’d borrow these Bible story books from my classmate and pore over them everyday while it was with me. But I think the time I really started to pick up books on my own was in Grade 3 (when scanner software was practically nonexistent), when a classmate brought some of her Sweet Valley Kids books to school. The colorful covers intrigued me and I borrowed one. I never finished that borrowed copy, but I begged my mom to buy me one book (back then it was only Php 59.75!), and that started everything. That started it all, and since then, the bookstore became my haven. :)

Why do I read? Well, that’s a harder question to answer. I could go on and on about how stories shape our lives and how books provide knowledge and all…but I think my real reason is this: I love words. English has always been my best subject (Science also was one, until the Math part of it kind of made it hard for me), and I have always found comfort in words. There’s just something beautiful about a words coming together to form a story, and I dream of being able to have my own story out there in the wild (no matter how scary that thought is :D).

Week 3: How hard or easy it is to become a book lover in the Philippines?

Okay, this is kind of a big question. Truth be told, I’ve only been looking at how different it is to be a book lover in our country lately, when I started getting more active in book blogger activities. Before I started blogging about books, I was only concerned about the books I find in the local bookstores. I don’t know if I’m lucky or I just don’t want too many books back then, but every time I look for a book I want, I find it. I guess I just happen to look in the right places? Or I just didn’t subscribe much to hype.

Now that I’m more aware…I’m kind of on the fence here. Yes, it’s hard to be a book lover in the Philippines because not all the books I want get here on time, and it’s hard to find some of the books I want, but like I said, for some reason, I always find ways. I guess I could count myself blessed enough to have the resources (and patience!) to get the books I want. Here’s my usual game plan in getting books:

  • I look for it first in local bookstores, usually a few days to a month after it gets released. If I’m lucky, I find it there and get it. Fully Booked (especially Eastwood) has never failed me with their reservation and transfer system, so they’re pretty good for me.
  • Before Book Depository and before I got my Kindle, I also often ask my dad to order some books for me from Amazon and for him to bring it when he goes home. I used to do this for Christian fiction books I want because that is harder to find here!
  • When I got my Kindle for iPhone, I had to weigh the option if I really want that book in ebook form or print form. Now my criteria of getting an ebook is if (1) I absolutely can’t wait for the book, (2) I don’t mind not having a print copy and (3) I love the author so much that I don’t mind buying a print copy after I read the ebook.
  • If it’s not there and I have extra cash in my Paypal account and I really want the book and I feel that it would be cheaper, I’ll order it on Book Depository. (Lately, though, I reserve BD for pre-orders).
  • And just lately: borrow from fellow book lovers. I don’t need to acquire every book I want to read, right?

So I guess I’m just really blessed to find ways. I still wish there are good libraries here, though, because I think it will help a lot of people, but I can’t really complain much since I still get to read what I want to read. :)

Week 4: Do I read Filipino literature?

I love that I can say yes to this. :) Yes, I do! Of course, I only started reading them last year, thanks to Project 20:10, and even if I’ve never met my reading challenge, I still try to read more. As an aspiring Filipino novelist, I think reading local fiction is required. I’m no expert with local fiction, and I must admit that I’m still choosy with local fiction (sorry, the books I used to read in school are the things I still avoid — I can’t handle reading too much social ills and dysfunctional families). I am very glad that local fiction is growing, even if it’s not in the usual channels. Some notable reads:

I look forward to reading more Filipino literature, and I dream for one of our Filipino NaNoWriMo novelists to publish their own novels and send it out in the wild. :)

Week 5: What do you hope will happen in the Filipino ReaderCon?

Filipino Readers Make it Social!Oh expectations. I’ve learned not to set expectations because it often leads to…

Oh wait, sorry, I’m not in my personal blog. =D

Kidding. Anyway, I don’t really have set expectations for the 1st Filipino Reader Conference (it’s only 3 DAYS AWAY! :D). I am looking forward to an afternoon filled with book talk, seeing old friends and meeting new ones, too. I expect to be busy on that day, being a volunteer and all, but I also expect it’s a good kind of busy because it’s for something that I am passionate about. :)

Whew, sorry for the long post! :) I hope that even if I blabbed on and on here, this would convince you to join us in the first ever Filipino Reader Conference on the first day of the 32nd Manila International Book Fair, September 14, 1-6pm at SMX MOA Meeting Room 2! If you can’t make it, then I hope to be able to talk to you over at the @PinoyReaderCon twitter — I’ll be the live Twitter-er for the event. :)

See you there! :D