Confined (mostly) to bed since Sunday due to an upper respiratory tract infection, I had time to catch up on my reading, and since Halloween and All Souls' (Hallows') Day and All Saints' Day are coming up, I thought to read accordingly.
First was "Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs. I can say that this is one of my best reads for the year, for the unusual presentation and the unusual story. I'm eagerly anticipating the sequel.
Then, finding my schedule will allow me to attend my friends' steampunk-themed (post-)Halloween party, I proceeded to get informed on the genre. I'm not sure mention of mechanical devices considered advanced for the Victorian period can be termed steampunk, but I am enjoying the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. It reminds me very much of my favorite Amelia Peabody series by Elizabeth Peters. (Incidental?)
Here is my pile for the rest of the week and the next...
"Trese: Mass Murder" & "Trese: Last Seen After Midnight" by Budjette Tan & KaJO Baldisimo
"How to Live with a Unicorn: The Fantastic Guide to Keeping Mythical Pets" by Jane Moseley
"I am Legend" by Richard Matheson
"Pure" by Andrew Miller
"From the Dust Returned" by Ray Bradbury
"A Hat Full of Sky" by Terry Pratchett
Nothing too long, nothing too scary. Not a guarantee that I will read them, but I like having my options at the ready.
... yet here I am again downloading another pile of ebooks...
... including Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking trilogy, which I have been looking for a copy of (both print and electronic) for months.
I did already finish one of the books I bought at the MIBF (Lourd de Veyra's "The Best of This is a Crazy Planets", which a friend had Lourd autograph for me :)), and am currently reading Ken Follett's "Winter of the World". :P
In a world where anyone can hire an
assassin and killing people in public is commonplace, what happens when
someone is commissioned to travel in time and eliminate Adolf Hitler?
anthropomorphic animals and the violence may be unsettling to some, but
Jason (pseudonym of Norwegian comic book artist John Arne Sæterøy)
manages to tell a thought-provoking story about morality and love in
less than 50 pages without spoon-feeding it to the reader.
Well-deserving of the Eisner Award it received in 2008 for Best US
Edition of International Material.
Another late post :P; this week's topic is School of Reading.
We all started reading somewhere, and more often than not, we were
influenced by someone. Who got you into reading? Your parents? A friend?
A librarian? One teacher who always lends out his/her books? How
helpful was your school in helping your reading habit / fueling your
My parents are not readers (unless it's the Bible for mother, and a newspaper for father), but I will forever be thankful that they encouraged the reader in me. It was my father who first taught me to read using this book (on the right), and posters and flashcards he made himself.
Some of my earliest and fondest memories of books were of A Child's First Library of Learning.
I remember looking forward to the arrival of each volume every month,
since my mother bought the series volume per volume from my nursery
school teacher, Mrs. Lansangan. Mrs. Lansangan was the person who
convinced my parents to enroll me in school at the young age of 4
years, so I have many things to be thankful to her for.
the 24 volumes of A Child's First Library of Learning
teacher stands out in my memory for turning me into even more of a
literature lover - Mrs. Oblepias, one of my English teachers in high
school. Because of her I read and loved "The Iliad" by Homer, "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare, and "Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo.
late 5th to early 6th century Iliad manuscript
grade school to high school to college, the library was my favorite
hangout. I am especially fond of my university's (old) Rizal Library, where I felt I had my own world inside my cubicle, with treasures in the shelves waiting for me to discover them.
In a month's time it will be the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon.
I was unable to attend the first one last year due to hospital duty, and
am unsure I can attend this year due to clinic duty, so I was happy to
learn that I can still participate through the Filipino Friday meme.
This week's topic is Introductions.
with every start of a weekly meme, we need to know a bit about you!
Talk about your top 3-5 (or more!) favorite books of all time, the
genres you read and would never read, the books that surprised you this
year. You can also talk about how you became a reader and why you love
it so much! And finally, if you were in the ReaderCon last year, talk
about your experience too! If you weren’t there, but you’re planning to
go this year, then what do you expect for the upcoming ReaderCon?
I am Cecille, a doctor of internal, or adult, medicine. Because I
almost always get asked after having studied thick tomes of medical
books - no, I have not tired of reading. I was a reader first before I
became a doctor. :)
My Favorite Books of All Time I
have had many favorite books throughout the years, but the books that I
have and will still read over and over, the ones that I would like
stranded with me on a desert island, are...
"The Lord of the Rings" by J.R.R. Tolkien
I remember a high school friend reciting the poem - "...One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them..."
- from memory to me, but I first picked up the novel for myself in the
year the first film in Peter Jackson's adaptation was released. And
each served to enhance my love for both.
"The Stand" by Stephen King
I am a fan of Stephen King, but of all his works this is my absolute
favorite. I love its post-apocalyptic setting, and its epic tone. But as
with all his works, it is his characterization that I love the most. My Favorite Genres
both fiction and non-fiction, especially about ancient civilizations,
the 19th century, and the two world wars, Mystery, Fantasy, and
combinations of the above
I Avoid Reading...
I will probably read anything, but will not pick these up on my own - Sports Fiction, Techno-Thrillers, Westerns.
Being a fan of history books, non-fiction and fiction alike, I checked out The Guardian's Top 10 Best Historical Novels, and was struck by the phrases "the destruction of the church of Les Innocents and the clearance of its cemetery" and "major conflicts... between history and progress, remembering and forgetting". It was part of the list-compiler's description of "Pure" by Andrew Miller, winner of the 2011 Costa Book Awards.
I was intrigued, and read more. And learned that his first novel, "Ingenious Pain", whose main character reminds me of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille from "Perfume" by Patrick Suskind, won several awards.
Also, Andrew Miller is hot (for a 52-year-old)!
How could I have not heard of him before? Well, the only thing to do is
to rectify the situation and get my hands on the above books.
THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows I have seen this novel a couple of times at my favorite secondhand
bookstore, but what finally made me buy a copy were the recommendations
from members of The Historical Fiction Group at Shelfari.
to rebuild their lives after the Second World War, writer Juliet Ashton
receives a letter from farmer Dawsey Adams, who lives on the island of
Guernsey in the English Channel, asking her to recommend a book seller
who would send him Charles Lamb's works. Thus begins the correspondence
between Juliet and the other members of The Guernsey Literary and Potato
Peel Society, and other characters that inhabit Juliet's life in London
and Dawsey's life in Guernsey.
I finished the book in an
afternoon, stopping near the end for a cup of tea and a tuna sandwich (I
dislike cucumbers) to savor the book longer. I was charmed by Guernsey
and its people. Each character's personality comes across in the letters
he or she writes, making me mourn the disappearing art of
letter-writing in this age of the internet. I especially empathize with
Juliet, who at the age of 32 has mostly resigned herself to living a
solitary life with her writing and her books, breaking off her
engagement with a man who would dare empty her bookshelves and pack her
books in boxes.
The story wanders, although Juliet remains the
center, but that's how life happens; one can't impose order on it.
Still, the novel affirms the fact that sometimes it is not the book that
matters, but the company of people who enjoy books and reading as much
as one does.
THE FAULT IN OUR STARS John Green Have you ever read a book you had difficulty trying to tell other people
about, because you feel that your words are inadequate to describe what
the book meant to you, and you're afraid that your attempt might
diminish its meaning, and afraid you would not be understood? "The Fault
in Our Stars" is such a book. To say that it is about a girl with
cancer who falls in love with a boy who also has cancer, and their
experience living with cancer, is a simplification; It cannot convey the
depths of a life aware of its nearing death, and its impact not only on
the way that life is lived but also its impact on the lives around it.
would recommend this book not only to people who have cancer or people
who know people who have cancer, but also people who have a long-term
illness and those who know them, and people who have had experience with
death, which is all of us.
Some of these titles are part of series I follow [Discworld, the
Rick Riordan's], one is a book up for discussion at my book club, a
handful are recommendations by friends, and the rest are books I've read
good reviews of.
The Keys to the Kingdom is another series I want to try because I liked
Garth Nix's previous work, the Abhorsen / Old Kingdom trilogy, and a
friend says this is good.
Aside from the above, I still have several books on my download queue. Not to mention the ones already on my computer. :P I currently read ebooks through iBooks on my iPhone. Small screen, I
know, but it serves. I want to buy an ebook reader, but because I am
not technology savvy I'm afraid of investing in a Kindle or a Nook.
Like bibliophiles that have come before me, I am beset by the eternal dilemma - "So many books, so little time."
LINCOLN'S DREAMS Connie Willis While doing research on Abraham Lincoln and his prophetic dreams, Jeff
meets Annie, herself experiencing the Civil War in sleep, and tries to
help her find meaning to her dreams.
I know next to nothing about
the American Civil War, but it did not hinder me from enjoying Connie
Willis' "Lincoln's Dreams". Annie's experience was gripping, and the
We are conditioned to look up to our heroes on
their pedestals, but we need to remember that they were human too. Even
though they inspire us by their courage and with their triumphs, they
also suffered loss and failure.
Jeff, turning down a job
opportunity on studying the effects of the Vietnam War, says, "I haven't
figured out the long-term effects of the Civil War yet." It seems that
mankind has not even recovered from one war before he becomes involved
in another. In the last century alone, we had World War I, World War II,
Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq, with Afghanistan at the start of this
century. Does no one understand that war does not solve anything? It is a
waste of human lives and material resources. War does not resolve
conflict, it only postpones it until the "losing" side musters strength
to fight again. Which is a lesson mankind, sadly, seems slow to learn.
LAMB: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal Christopher Moore The first Moore novel I read, "Fool", turned out to be my worst read of
2011, but I decided to give his work another chance before giving up on
it for good. I especially reserved "Lamb" to read for Lent, expecting to
dislike it, for pointless mentions of sex and for blasphemy, but I'm
glad I gave Moore a second chance [although "Lamb" did have numerous
mentions of sex].
"Lamb" tells us the story of Jesus', or Joshua
in Hebrew, "lost years" from the age of 1 to 33, as told by his best
friend Levi who is called Biff. It may be improbable, but given the
little that is known about that period of time, who is to say that it
was impossible? To enjoy the tale, one needs to view it not as a result
of serious religious contemplation, but rather as entertainment.
the story is not only about Joshua, but about Biff. Biff represents the
ugly in all of us, our lust, our envy, but he is also that part of
ourselves who try to be better despite our failings. And Joshua is
always there at our side to accept us as we are.
think "Lamb" is a story about friendship, loyalty, and love. Who else
but a friend would follow you wherever you went, to try and protect you
from harm, to support you and cheer you up, who would share your
suffering, who would place your well-being first and his second? Anyone
who has a Biff in their life is lucky, and should be grateful for that
Took a break from reading after finishing "A Storm of Swords", but not from book buying. :P
I'm looking forward to "Robbie Ross",
because most articles focus on Oscar Wilde's relationship with Lord
Alfred Douglas, but this book also shows what happened to Oscar and his
sons after the trial. "The Virgin's Lover" I have been looking for a copy of, because I want to read on Elizabeth I and Sir Dudley. Ditto "Those Who Hunt the Night", apparently a good vampire book. "The Man Who Loved China" I picked up because it touches on Ancient China, which I want to learn more about.
My friend Triccie's bookstore Libreria closed last Saturday, 24 March 2012, :( and I went there for one last hurrah.
A STORM OF SWORDS George R.R. Martin In the aftermath of The War of the Five Kings, unexpected and uneasy
partnerships form among the characters, making the reader re-examine
his/her opinions of them. And by the end of this installment, Martin has
managed to remove several of his pieces from the board, to make way for
For the first time in the span of three books, I
finally like Daenerys Targaryen. And if I didn't already love Jon Snow, I
would love him for his defense of Castle Black, which reminded me of
the Battle of Helm's Deep in J.R.R. Tolkien's "The Two Towers".
I can't believe I spent nearly a month in Westeros and its environs,
reading books 2 and 3 of "A Song of Ice and Fire". I think it's time for
me to move on. Who knows when I might return?