ReaderCon 2012 Filipino Friday 4: Books and Friends

Filipino FridayHappy Friday everyone! It feels like I’m waking up from a long, kind of unpleasant dream today, with the rains and floods that’s happened in Manila lately. I hope everyone’s okay, though, or at least, recovering well!

On another note, it’s a little over a week till the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon! Ahh, I’m so excited! Are you? :) It will be a very busy day for me, but I won’t mind. It’s going to be on August 18, at the Filipinas Heritage Library — if you haven’t pre-registered, make sure you do so now so you can secure your slot!

I also really like this week’s Filipino Friday topic — enough of the rambling now, let’s answer it. :)

August 10Books and Friends. We will have book discussions hosted by several book clubs during the ReaderCon, so to prepare us for that, let’s talk about books and friendships and book clubs. Are you a part of a book club? If yes, what made you join one? What’s your favorite activity that you have with them? If you’re not a part of one, will you consider joining one? Why or why not?

Or if you’re not (yet) a part of a book club, do you have friends who share the same passion for books as you do? Do you have a “bookish” best friend? If yes, tell us about them! How did you become friends? What’s your favorite memory with them?

I’ve been a part of Goodreads – The Filipino Group since late 2010. I’ve talked about the first meet-up I attended on the blog before, and like what I’ve kept on saying, it’s really one of the best decisions I’ve ever done. I’m a social person, and I really want to share the things I like with people who has the same interest. My online communities often die because I end up lurking forever, so I was kind of expecting that it would happen with this, too. But I guess meeting people in the flesh makes it different because ever since that first meet-up, I’ve been meeting with them quite regularly, and I can say that they really are my friends. *sniff*

gr-filipinos

The first meet-up I attended with TFG

It’s been two years since that meet-up, and we’ve done so many things as a group. We used to have palengke meet-ups, or just informal meet-ups where everyone talks and exchanges books and all that. We watched movies together, hunted for books together, attended conferences together, partied together, and even went on some trips out of town with each other. Our big meet-ups used to be four times a year, but just recently, we’ve been meeting more often because of our monthly face to face discussions.

*cue photo dump!*

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What I Read (3): Maria

What I Read

What I Read is a semi-regular guest feature in One More Page allows them to talk about what the title says: what they read. I believe that every reader has a unique reading preference and no reader is exactly the same. What I Read explores that idea, where I let the guests talk about their favorite, genre preferences, pet peeves and everything else in between. :)

So…it’s been a while since my last What I Read post. Apologies — it’s been…well, slow, and busy and quite honestly, I forgot about this feature for a while. I meant to have one a month for this, but alas, I’ve missed two months. Oh well. I did say this is a semi-regular feature, right?

Now that the apology is out of the way, it’s time to catch up! For the third installment of the What I Read feature, I have one of my book club friends with me here once again. A year ago, she sent me an email for an interview in her blog during Armchair BEA week. I don’t think we’ve met in person back then — I just knew her from Goodreads and her blog. I got to know her better during one of our book club trips, and we have pretty similar tastes in genres (but not necessarily books). :D I thought of featuring her this month too because she’s the moderator for our Fellowship of the Ring face to face discussion next week.

So without further ado, let’s give it up for Maria! :)

Maria and Jane Eyre

In ten words or less, what kind of books do you usually read?

Books that are adventurous, mysterious, suspenseful, and yes, a little romantic. :D

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On Anniversaries and Book Discussions

My April has been pretty packed, if you noticed based on my online disappearance. It wasn’t as busy as my March was (come on, birthday months are always busy), but April had a different kind of thing. I’m actually a little bit overwhelmed when I realized that April is ending on Monday. What happened to my month.

April is a big month for me, in terms of bookish activities though. I haven’t been reading that much, or reviewing, but I assure you, I’ve been doing lots of bookish things with bookish friends. And those are the best things, right? :)

Happy second birthday, book club!

Two years ago, my book club was born. Okay, it wasn’t really — the club has been online for how many years but they only started meeting face to face on April 2010. I wasn’t a part of the book club then — I only joined the group on their second official meet up — but looking back, it almost feels like I’ve been with them from the very start.

So on April 15, we all met to celebrate our book club’s birthday.

Happy second birthday, TFG!

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Where Have I Been?

There is always, always a time in the year when my reading and posting slows down, and I just…disappear from the surface of the reading and blogging world. Or, almost. I just checked my last post here, and I saw that it’s been a week ago! Gasp! Where was I?

Well, aside from the fact that it’s been a bit busy at work, I’ve just been cruising along. I’ve been a slow reader ever since last month, for some reason. I don’t want to think that this is a slump, but maybe it is, because I would sometimes rather sleep than read. Sometimes I feel so exhausted after work that I wish I could use an external power source like ls14250 to keep me reading. Or blogging. Of course, I have been reading a classic lately, so that also counts for my slowness.

But really, it’s been a slow few weeks. The Goodreads challenge widget has been mocking me since April started — as of this morning I am 9 books behind, but I have managed to trim it down to…seven. It doesn’t feel like it’s much difference, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.

Anyway, I know I owe a lot of reviews here, but I may have to hold that off until after this weekend since I’m moderating my first book discussion! Okay, fine, I have moderated a book discussion before but it was online and it was pretty much a fail since I was out most of the time and the discussion never took off. But since my book club started having Face to Face discussions (what we call F2F) at the start of this year, these discussions have become some of my favorite times of the month. Being moderator of the club, too, I feel like I should exert extra effort to be there, because you know, I am a moderator.

But I digress! On Saturday, I’ll be moderating my first face to face book discussion, and it’s Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I just finished reading it earlier and I must say, I am very excited to moderate the discussion. :)

Hipstamatic shot of Jane Eyre!

Hipstamatic shot of Jane Eyre!

The discussion seems to be a record-breaker in terms of attendance too, and I’m nervous and excited about that. Hee. There’s a certain thrill about meeting people and discussing books, and hearing different opinions about it and of course, agreeing to disagree. :) Who says reading is always a solitary thing?

Anyway, preparing for this will make me busy this week, but I hope I can get back to a blogging groove next week and you know, write the reviews I said I’d write. :) But right now, I just thought I’d say hello, I’m still alive. :D

And Goodreads challenge, I will conquer you soon enough!

1984

1984 by George Orwell1984 by George Orwell
Signet Classics, 298 pages

Written in 1948, 1984 was George Orwell’s chilling prophecy about the future. And while 1984 has come and gone, Orwell’s narrative is timelier than ever. 1984 presents a startling and haunting vision of the world, so powerful that it is completely convincing from start to finish. No one can deny the power of this novel, its hold on the imaginations of multiple generations of readers, or the resiliency of its admonitions a legacy that seems only to grow with the passage of time.

It’s the year 1984, and the world people live in isn’t the same as the world we know today. In this version of the world, everyone lives under close scrutiny of Big Brother — or at least representatives of Big Brother in the form of the Inner Party and the Thought Police. Here we meet Winston, a simple Party guy who is slowly realizing that maybe, there is something else other than the life he is living. Maybe the Party and Big Brother isn’t always right. Maybe, just maybe, the truth that he’s known all his life isn’t the truth at all. What follows is Winston’s “quest” to find out the real truth and perhaps even bring down Big Brother. But is Winston a big enough force to be reckoned with?

Totally honest moment: I would not have read 1984 if it wasn’t our book club’s book discussion book for January 2012. Perhaps I would have read it someday later, but not anytime soon. As much as I like dystopian novels (although not as much as I used to), I just didn’t have enough interest in this book as my other friends did. But like I said, I should read it because I’m a moderator of the book club and it feels like I should read it.

During our book discussion, we were asked to give a word to describe the book, and my chosen word was challenging. It was challenging for me not because I couldn’t grasp the story but because it took me an entire month to read the book. And it was a pretty short book too, if you think about it and I read pretty fast, so taking that long to read a certain book is really a new thing. But the truth is, I just wasn’t that invested in it. You know how there are some books that reel you right in and would make you want to lose sleep while reading it? Well, 1984 didn’t give me that impression. It’s not that I didn’t like it — I did, but I just wasn’t that invested in it to keep on reading it continuously. I think I may have read 10 books while reading this book — if that isn’t proof enough, then I don’t know already. :P

1984 is a good novel, but I feel like my reading is slightly tainted by all the similarly themed YA dystopia books I have read. You know how the main characters often prevailed, or at least almost prevailed in all the YA dystopia books? Well, it isn’t exactly the case here. I liked how the first part of the book started, but the second and third parts weren’t exactly my cup of tea. Oh sure, they were brutal, they were unexpected, but like I said, I was used to reading characters who go against all the odds and somehow win even against a TOTALLY EVIL GOVERNMENT. Perhaps it’s a YA thing, and this book was written way before the ones I know, so it has a really different approach.

The thing about 1984 though, is how it could have been real. Granted, I had myself pulled away form the narrative so much that I couldn’t imagine it being real in the current society and all, but some points during our discussion got me thinking that yeah, maybe it could be possible. Just take social networking for example — how many people can truly say they have their own privacy when they have a Facebook profile or update Twitter every minute or so? Or do we even really know how much information we put out online and how it affects us? It’s a lot to think about.

Even so, there’s a certain separation for me and 1984. Again, it’s not that I didn’t like it, but I also did not really love it as much as other people do. It’s definitely one of those books that should be read if only to get a real grasp of how a dystopian society could look like. Honestly, I don’t think a reader can be a true dystopian fan unless you have read 1984 (and Lois Lowry’s The Giver). You haven’t really seen a big bad evil government until you’ve read the classics, IMHO.

On a related note, though, I think having a real and intelligent book discussion on this book helped me understand and appreciate it more than I would have. It just goes to show that reading isn’t always a solitary activity, and it’s nice to be with like-minded people often with differing opinions to discuss a piece of literature. :)

Rating:

My copy: Kindle edition

Other reviews:
Bookish Little Me
Reading is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac