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

readercon2013-ff

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! :)

 

Corpse in the Mirror

Corpse in the Mirror by A.S. SantosCorpse in the Mirror by A.S. Santos
Student Paranormal Research Group # 2
Publisher: Flipside Digital
Number of pages: 207
My copy: Ebook review copy from publisher

Samantha Davidson’s powers have been growing. Now, not only can she hear other people’s thoughts, but she can also sometimes see things through others’ eyes. They aren’t much—momentary glimpses, really—but these are dark things. Twisted things. Things she can’t bear to watch. But since she is the only one who can see them as they happen, she may be the only one who can prevent them from happening again.

CORPSE IN THE MIRROR is the second installment of A.S. Santos’ three-book Young Adult Paranormal Romance. Follow Sam and her friends in the Student Paranormal Research Group as they encounter bizarre and often dangerous supernatural occurrences, battle demons both spiritual and psychological, and navigate adolescence and young love.

I can’t remember the last time I was so excited to receive an email about a review request from the publisher until I got an email from Katz of Flipside, about A.S. Santos’ new book, Corpse in the Mirror. I really enjoyed Voices in the Theater from last year, and it was one of those books that I didn’t think I would like but I ended up enjoying, so I was really looking forward to reading the next book. So imagine my joy when I received an email about this. I practically jumped in my seat (and I was having dinner with my family), and right after that, I started to reread the first book just so I can get ready for the second. (Oh, and I enjoyed reading the first book just as much as I did on the first time :D)

In the second book of the Student Paranormal Research Group (SPRG) series, Sam’s powers are growing, and more than just hearing things, she starts seeing things. But that’s not what really is taking a lot of her attention now, because her friend and fellow SPRG member, Richard, is being all too showy with her, almost like they’re dating but they’re not. When their next case brings them to Richard’s apartment where weird things have been happening lately, Sam realizes just how much her powers have changed. Now someone they know is in trouble, and only she can help her.

Just like the first book in the series, Corpse in the Mirror is very readable. It’s so easy to drop into Sam’s world (although perhaps it’s easier for me because the setting, again, was quite familiar) and be a quiet member of their group. The first few chapters of the book was equally creepy, so much that I realized I had to stop reading it when I realized I was reading it late at night, and I wanted to go to the bathroom to pee but there’s a mirror, and who knows what I’ll see there? :o But anyway, after the first initial creep-out part, it became more of a murder mystery with a supernatural twist, and it was quite interesting following the team in solving this mystery.

I think there’s a little less of the angel aspect in this book. I mean sure, there was still a bit of it, but there were more interactions between Sam and the other characters in the group instead of Sam and the angels. I liked this, and it was interesting to see how their relationships grew here, both in the platonic and romantic sense. I think I especially liked the romance aspect in this novel — it’s not cheesy, but it’s definitely a bit more complicated. But its complications felt grounded. A little spoiler: there’s some sort of a love triangle, but it’s not the usual triangle of the recent paranormal romance novels where one is the obvious choice. I liked how there were several voices of reason in the book when it came to the romance, and how the advice was sound and relevant. The lessons for the here were definitely something that everyone who’s ever been confused with relationships and romance need to hear. (Well I know I sort of needed to read them at that time. ;) )

I also really liked how this one ended, even more so than the last one. In a way, you would need to suspend your disbelief at how things were resolved, but I thought it worked well with the story’s universe. It reminded me a little bit of how the things worked in my favorite books, This Present Darkness, so I don’t have much complaint over that. It’s a bit of a cliffhanger, though, and now I can’t help but wonder what could happen next to Sam and her group? I have a few predictions on the romantic side though, so I really, really hope it works out that way. :D

If you enjoyed Voices in the Theater, I definitely recommend that you pick this up. Corpse in the Mirror is a good blend of horror, suspense, faith and romance. I am definitely, definitely looking forward to the third book in the series. :)

Number of dog-eared pages: 21

Favorite dog-eared quote(s):

That’s why relationships take effort. And because they do take effort, they’re more valuable when you make them work.

Then throughout our lives we make different choices and take different paths, and in the process we are changed, along with our souls. We either grow and expand with enlightenment, or become corrupted and weak and confused, because our souls and bodies are linked together…every choice and action we take in our lives also affects the lives of other people — other souls — creating a huge interconnected ripple effect throughout this world and the next.

We’re never really in full control of the things we feel. What we are always in control of, however, are the decisions we make and the actions we take…because of or in spite of the things we feel.

Love is always a gift.

Free will is what makes Love possible. You cannot force anyone to love you. Love only becomes love when it is a true and free choice.

Even when hearts are broken, they still keep beating.

Rating:

Book trailer:

I think this is the first book trailer the publishers have made for their books, so I thought I’d share it with you guys, too:

YouTube Preview Image

Corpse in the Mirror is out today! You can also read the first few chapters of Voices in the Theater here.

ReaderCon 2013 Filipino Friday (3): Book Drop!

Two reasons why this post is delayed: I did it on purpose, and I was just so darned busy again. I’m trying to catch up, really, but ack, I’m sorry if I’ve been neglecting this blog again.

But anyway, better late than never (and just in time for the wrap-up post, I hope! :D)
readercon2013-ff

 

Last week’s Filipino Friday is a little more interactive than the previous ones because it was the Pinoy Book Drop week. This idea started last year, after we started the Great Book Swap, which flew well. This year, we thought of putting it in a week (and onwards) so we could drive more activities. It was fun to see how many books were dropped through Twitter and Facebook, and I have a feeling there’s more that we haven’t heard from (like, you know, the ones with private profiles, or those who just didn’t tag us). I think people had fun doing the drops? :)

I have a little confession, though. I had five books to drop…but I only got to drop one. Like I said, I was so darned busy, that I hardly had time to prepare my books. :(

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols near Digital Walker in Eastwood

Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols near Digital Walker in Eastwood

I feel a little bad, because I should have done more. But the good thing is, even if Book Drop week is over, I can still drop some books. And it’s another long weekend, so I’d have the time, right?

Right.

Oh, and I checked and the book is gone. So yay, whoever you are who got it, I hope you enjoy the book! You can check out the other books dropped through the #pbdrop hashtag. :) Did you find one?

Now because I only have one book for this post, I’m going to answer the second question, too:

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?

This is years ago, as in I was still a freshman in college. My mom and I were in Robinson’s Galleria, where I met them after an event. I was browsing around National Bookstore, digging through the books to see if there’s anything there, when I found at the very bottom shelf, two books in a bundle. I pulled it out, just to fix it, when I saw the name of the author: Frank E. Peretti. I think I let out a little squeal when I read the titles: This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness.

I found out about This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti from a friend in high school, four years before I found that little treasure in National Bookstore. She lent me the book, and I read it in a few days and I was so amazed at it that I knew I wanted to have a copy of the book for myself. But it was an old book, so I didn’t really think I’d find a copy, until that day. And I was so surprised to find that there was a sequel to it, which made me even more excited because I had no idea there was a sequel.

So I begged my mom to buy it (because I don’t have enough money to do so yet), and I’m glad she did. I read the two books in a week, and I remember being so happy about that find that I emailed several friends about it. I was that happy — and I still have those books on my shelf. I don’t think I will ever let that go, even if the newer editions look nicer. Those two books sealed my love for Frank Peretti and reading longer novels. :D

It’s November tomorrow! That means the ReaderCon is just 9 days away! Don’t forget to pre-register here! 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. See you there! :)