[Closed] One More Page – Anniversary Giveaway

One More Page Anniversary Giveaway

NOTE: This giveaway is closed! Thanks to everyone who joined. :-) Winners were announced here. :)

It’s Christmas Eve in my part of the world! :) I think I just about survived the most hectic Christmas season ever with parties, work and a wedding to attend, so now that things are winding down, it’s time to up some things here in the blog. :)

Other bloggers have set up their gratitude/Christmas/what-have-you giveaways in the past weeks, and I am kind of joining the bandwagon. My blog is about to celebrate its first anniversary in a couple of weeks (on January 9, to be exact), so what better way to celebrate that and Christmas (well, an extended reason to celebrate, anyway) than a book giveaway? :D Presenting:

One More Page Anniversary GiveawayOne More Page Anniversary Giveaway! I never really thought I’d be able to keep a niche blog for this long, and I have met so many people, read so many books and learned so many new things that I am really, really grateful. As a thank you to everyone who’s left comments, visited and followed my blog, I will be giving away copies of the following books:

I want to make this giveaway interactive, so instead of just making you fill out a form and making you do so many other things, all you need to do to enter this giveaway is leave a comment. Leave a comment in every entry from now up to January 9, 2011, and every comment will count as an entry to the giveaway. You can leave multiple comments on an entry, especially if it’s a discussion post. :) The more comments you leave, the more entries you get, and we will have meaningful conversations, too! :P

I will pick two winners at random: one in the Philippines and one international*. Winners get to pick one of the books listed above**. :)

Easy-peasy, right? :)

Again!

  • Contest runs starting today up to January 9, 2011
  • Every comment left starting this post up to January 9, 2011 will count as an entry to the contest (unless otherwise stated in the comment)***.
  • Two winners will be chosen at random (random.org), one in the Philippines and one international*
  • Winners get to pick one of the books listed above as their prize**

Alrightie then! Looking forward to hear from everyone! :)

* As long as Book Depository ships to your country
** In case the winner already has all of the books, they can pick any book worth $15 from Book Depository
*** I reserve the right not to include comments that are irrelevant to the entry or comments that are left just to leave a comment and nothing else. Again, one of the purposes of the contest is to encourage interaction, so meaningful/relevant comments, please. :)

An Abundance of Katherines

An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Publisher: Penguin USA
Number of pages: 272
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact.

On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy-loving best friend riding shotgun but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl.

Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself by Printz medalist John Green, acclaimed author of Looking for Alaska.

* * *

When the need to read contemporary novels hit me, it stays and it stays until the need decides it’s satisfied. And what better book to fill that contemporary need than something written by John Green?

I was really planning to read John Green’s books in order of publication, but Paper Towns had to come first due to an insistent friend and because I covered that with plastic first. I didn’t mind, although I was kind of wary thinking of how this book would fare against the rest, or how the other books would fare after I read this one, given the John Green formula. True to that formula, An Abundance of Katherines has the usual elements: a nerdy/loserish (by popularity’s standards)/socially awkward guy, a mysterious girl, a trusty and equally nerdy/loserish (by popularity’s standards)/socially awkward sidekick, and a car. But that’s when the similarities end, because this book is probably is indeed the funniest, quirkiest, and the happiest among all Green books.

Colin Singleton is an anagram loving child prodigy who has only one friend and strangely a lot of girlfriends, all named Katherines. After he gets dumped by the 19th Katherine, he sets off on a road trip with his Lebanese friend, Hassan. The two find themselves in Gutshot, Tennessee, where they meet Hollis and Lindsey, and find a job gathering stories from locals for some project. Colin finds himself consumed by trying to prove his Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which would predict his relationship with the next Katherine, and along the way (just like the other John Green books), our hero finds out more about himself.

The best thing about An Abundance of Katherines is how quirky the entire book is. It’s not just the characters or the story but how it was also written. Math geeks would definitely be happy about the Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, with graphs and whatnot inside the book. I love the little footnotes on the pages that translates some of the words Colin and Hassan say, as well as little anecdotes about Colin and his own quirkiness. If you don’t like math, well, don’t worry either. I’m pretty sure you will still enjoy this book because you don’t really need math to understand the graphs or equations. You don’t really need to understand them, anyway,  but if you’re like me who doesn’t really like math but want to understand things, there’s an appendix right at the end of the book that explains the equations and graphs. It reminds me a bit of analytic geometry in high school, but in a more fun scale. Why didn’t we have this book back then?

I love that this book not only talks about relationships and dumping, but it also manages to touch a bit on reading, books and telling stories — three things I like. I’ve never actually been a Dumpee or a Dumper (that is, in a “proper” relationship sense. By proper, I mean actual real relationships where both parties are in it, and not just one pining after the other, or what I like to call “Almost there, but not quite”. Okay, Dingleberries! :P), so I couldn’t really relate to that, but I like how there were some parts of Colin that I could relate to, particularly in books. I really liked one of his last Eureka moments, particularly this quote:

Even if it’s a dumb story, telling it changes other people just the slightest little bit, just as living the story changes me. An infinitesimal change. And that infinitesimal change ripples outward – ever smaller but everlasting. I will get forgotten, but the stories will last. And so we all matter – maybe less than a lot, but always more than some.

This really makes me wonder why I waited so long to read John Green’s books. But no matter, I’m glad I read them now. This makes me want to go to the book store and search for his works (namely Let It Snow, Geektastic, 21 Proms, and Will Grayson Will Grayson). More John Green over here, please.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering how this compares to Paper Towns for me? It’s a tie, really. I can’t pick which is better. But An Abundance of Katherines definitely has the happiest ending among all John Green books, so that’s something to keep in mind if you’re wondering which to read first. :)

Rating:

Other reviews:
Chachic’s Book Nook
Book Harbinger
The Book Smugglers

Paper Girl in a Paper Town

Paper Towns by John Green
Publisher: Puffin
Number of pages: 305
My copy: paperback, bought from Fully Booked

When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.

I wasn’t really planning on reading this book anytime soon, because I figure I should read my John Green novels in order of release: Looking for Alaska first, then An Abundance of Katherines and finally, Paper Towns. But sometimes, you will have some friends who absolutely love a certain book and they would not stop bugging you until you read that book they love, especially after they learned you got a copy (Hi Aaron!). So, Katherines, you’d have to wait for a while.

So yeah, I gave in, especially since I was still in the mood to read something contemporary after This Lullaby. It’s been mentioned a lot in other John Green reviews, but for the sake of discussion, I will mention it again: John Green’s cast of characters can come across as formulaic. There’s the geeky and awkward guy, the beautiful and imperfect unattainable girl and a couple of friends from the guys who will join him in the journey of discovering more about the girl and eventually discover more about themselves. This is also said about Sarah Dessen, and having read all her novels, I kind of agree. However, this doesn’t mean that her novels are boring, and after reading Paper Towns, I can say that same goes for John Green. They wouldn’t be staples in contemporary YA if their books didn’t have something good to offer, right?

In a word, Paper Towns was charming. I liked Looking for Alaska enough, but it was a dark novel and it’s not something I’d read to cheer myself up. Paper Towns is the opposite — it’s happy, but not bubblegum/fluffy happy. If I were to classify what kind of happiness this book has, it’s the victorious kind of happy: the joy you feel after you finally achieved something you’ve worked hard for that also comes with some sort of sadness when you realized that what you achieved isn’t exactly what you thought it was. John Green has perfectly captured the life of a senior who’s happy with routine in the form of the hero Q, and the life of someone who feels the need to get away in the form of Margo.

I know a lot of readers who disliked Margo, but I honestly didn’t find her so bad. I think maybe it’s because I felt genuine empathy for Q’s plight, on how he wanted to find her so much that it hurts him inside just to think of her. There’s a sense of desperation inside Q that I find familiar — the desperate need to hold on to the image of the girl he loved up until he realized that there was more to her than what he’s always thought of. I have to admit that I’ve felt like that a lot, and it’s caused me so many disappointments. Often times, I have an image for the guys I like, and I cling to this image so much that I put these guys in a pedestal where they can do no wrong. Once reality slaps me on the face, these guys become people and I find myself being shattered with the expectations I have about them. That’s not saying that the guys I liked were bad people; it was more of being affected by how much I wanted them to be “The One” when it’s too early to say anything about it.

Now Margo. Like I said, I’m probably one of the people who did not dislike her. I admired her for being brave enough to do what she wanted. Granted, it wasn’t the most well-executed plans, but actually going through with doing what she wanted despite the consequences is something I applaud. I wonder if I will be brave enough to do what she did and leave. Leave what, exactly, I do not know yet. I find myself wondering how Q felt when he said this:

It is so hard to leave — until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world. (p. 229)

I guess I will never know until I do so myself.

There were so many things in Paper Towns that can be discussed, and I bet I’ll pick up something else here if ever I decide to re-read this sometime later. This book is very re-readable, and I think the pacing helped that. John Green managed to keep enough suspense and mystery throughout the book without making me feel like I’m going around in circles. And like everyone else, I loved the last few pages of the book. Poignant and bittersweet. :)

My favorite character of all in the book, however, is Radar. You just have to love the ultimate geek in their trio, whose parents own the biggest collection of black Santas in the world and who will drop everything just to help out a friend.

Paper Towns is a great book. I’d say it’s awesome, but right now I’m going to give the final verdict to this book after I have read An Abundance of Katherines. But if you’re looking for a good contemporary YA novel, Paper Towns is a very good place to start. :)

Rating:

Other reviews:
Guy Gone Geek

The Book Smugglers

Book Harbinger

In My Mailbox (8): Zombies and shoes

I mean to write an In My Mailbox post last week but of course, I didn’t because I was just lazy to do so. I did buy some books last week, but I’ve been sort of good because I didn’t buy much. I did succumb to retail therapy, though, because I had a very bad Friday last week. Fridays aren’t supposed to be bad, so when you have a bad Friday, you just have to cope up, and my way of coping is of course, through books. ;) Then this week, I actually received something in my mailbox, so it’s high time to write something about it.

In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store. And here we go with this week’s (and last week’s) stash!

From  bottom up:

  1. Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry (Fully Booked) – this book isn’t mine, but a birthday gift to one of the Mighty Evil Overlords. ;)  Gifts are supposed to be a surprise, but I wouldn’t want him to get the same book, so I told him not to get this one on his birthday. When I opened the book, though, I knew I’d a copy for myself eventually — the artwork inside is awesome. :)
  2. Paper Towns by John Green (Fully Booked) – I was having a bad Friday, yes? I saw this in Fully Booked and got it to appease my mood. That, and I know it’s a good book, and last because it’s hard to find this book here. :P I’ll read this soon, promise.
  3. Flight to the Stars by Samantha Mae Coyuito (National Bookstore) – I’m always on the lookout for Filipino fiction. When I spotted this at NBS, I knew I had to have it, because it’s Filipino fiction. That, and it was written by a 16 year old! Seems like an interesting book. :)
  4. Married with Zombies by Jesse Petersen – my first ARC for the longest time! And the first one from a fellow blogger! I read Janice’s review of this book on her blog, and left a comment, which led to her offering to send me her extra ARC. Of course I can’t say no to that. :) And again, I am amazed at the speed of our post office here — this arrived two weeks after she sent it. It pays to have the post man know that you get packages a lot and have it delivered to your home. Thanks again, Janice! :)

That’s it for me this week. :) It’s been a very busy week, hence the lack of posts here, and the lack of books I finished reading. Work was (still is, and will be) crazy, I have to prepare for NaNoWriMo, and it was my brother’s wedding last week! Craziness, but all is still good (and that’s a good thing because if it’s bad craziness, I’m going to get wrinkles on forehead)! Because of my brother’s wedding, I decided to hold off reading The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness for a little more and pick up something romantic. I settled on re-reading Sarah Dessen’s This Lullaby and I am enjoying it a lot. :)

I must go back to reading now, and try to ignore the gloominess that’s going on outside . There’s a typhoon (Megi) heading for our country, so if you can spare a prayer or a good thought for us, please do so! In the meantime, I leave you with another photo of my stash this week, plus the shoes I wore at my brother’s wedding — just because. :P

In My Mailbox + Shoes! :)

Have a great Sunday, everyone. :) To my fellow Filipinos, stay safe!

The Great Perhaps

Looking for Alaska by John GreenLooking for Alaska by John Green
Publisher: Puffin
Number of pages: 256
My copy: ebook, bought from Amazon Kindle Store

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then . . . After. Nothing is ever the same.

* * *

I have been seeing John green’s novels for a while now, but I never had the time to pick them up. I think I saw Paper Towns first, but they reviews were saying that Looking for Alaska has more awards, so I was always on the lookout for it. Of course, I promptly forgot all about it, until I saw other book bloggers I am following posting reviews on his books. After one particularly boring night at work where I wrestled with the urge to buy a new book, I got this one, thinking his first novel should be a good place to discover if John Green is really as good as people say he is.

I guess I wasn’t sure what I was expecting in this novel, except maybe for a dorky guy character to fall in love with a cool but not exactly popular girl, and will turn his world upside down as he tries to get out of his shell to impress her. I can’t remember where I read this, but I hear John Green is the king of nerdy guys in contemporary YA. I have yet to prove that, but with Looking for Alaska, I was very surprised. I can’t say pleasantly, but I was surprised.

I won’t say much about the story, so as not to ruin a reading experience of those who haven’t read this yet. Looking for Alaska is about Miles “Pudge” Halter, who transfers to Culver Creek Boarding School in search of The Great Perhaps. Here he meets new friends Chip “The Colonel” Martin and Takumi, and Alaska Young, the girl across the hall that rocks Miles’ world and ultimately divides his world into a “Before” and “After”. I wasn’t sure about what “After” meant in the book until I got to it, and that was where I experienced John Green’s magic with words.

The question that readers will get here is the same question that Alaska and the other characters wrestled with: How will I get out of this labyrinth of suffering? I admit that it’s not a question that I would ask myself. I’m generally a cheerful and happy person, with random bursts of sentimentality and sadness every now and then. I can relate to Miles a lot in the sense that his life is generally okay: good parents, good school, and no big traumatic problems in his past. Save for the lack of a group of friends (or even just a single friend), we’re pretty much the same. I guess I can say his approach to the labyrinth would be essentially the same as mine: pretend it doesn’t exist, and live in a self-sufficient world. But one can only live like that for so long, until the suffocation of living on my own will crush me and break me, just as like those people who get lost in their own labyrinths. I don’t think there is ever one answer to this question, because I think every person has their own labyrinths, and it’s never the same with others. I thought that Miles’ answer to the question was brilliant, though, and it may be one of good exit plans that other people (myself included) use in their own labyrinths.

I don’t know if that paragraph made sense, but I hope it does when you decide to read this book. Looking for Alaska is more than your nerdy guy meets cool girl and things change story. This is a surprisingly heavy book that deals with a lot of growing up issues, yet John Green’s prose made it somewhat light and funny, and poignant all at the same time. This isn’t the same world I grew up in (with all the smoking and sex and all that going on. And by smoking, it’s real cigarettes and not the fake ones, so no one is wondering about the taste of an electronic cigarettes), but this world felt real and their situations were something that I know other teens can get into, and it’s something that I appreciate. John Green doesn’t sacrifice dialogue for it to sound real (one that I think Take Me There by Susane Colasanti kind of failed in), but instead makes use of the setting and the situations to bring us all into Miles’ world.

I think my favorite lesson in Looking for Alaska was how you never really own a person, regardless of your relation to him or her. I don’t know about you, but I know I have a tendency to feel like I own the person just because we’re friends, or because I like the person. It’s like their world should revolve around me, because my world can easily revolve around them — it’s just fair, right? But the truth is, we never own anyone, and there’s always something we don’t know about the other person even if we feel like we know them, like we’ve figured them out. We may be important to the other person, but that doesn’t mean they don’t think other people are also important, or that other people think the world of them like you do. The best thing we can do for the people that mean a lot to us is to love them and accept them and forgive them and be content at the fact that they will always surprise us. It may not always be in a good way, but it was what made Miles like, love and forgive Alaska for in the end.

This isn’t my favorite, but I liked Looking for Alaska. It’s left me hopeful and smiling and thinking of things that I have never really thought about, or at least, never really bothered to think about. I am definitely going to read the rest of John Green’s novels.

Rating:

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 71 out of 100 for 2010

My copy: ebook, Advanced Reading Copy from Netgalley

Cover & Blurb: Goodreads