Posts tagged: books
Here’s my personal rendition of the cover of White Apples written by Jonathan Carroll.
This has got to be one of the most reassuring books I’ve ever read. It’s quirky, romantic without being too cheesy, enigmatic and also horrifying in some parts. I didn’t want it to end.
When I buy a book, even if it’s on sale, I rarely fold the corners because I often think of having to part with it in the future, of selling my precious books when I am starving in the future, or of giving them to special people who’d love them as much as I did. But I couldn’t resist with this book. The description of God and how our lives fit in the universal puzzle of life mystified and intrigued me. I read Glass Soup before I read this, and I have to say this book exceeded my expectations. I’m planning on rereading Glass Soup so I can further fall in love with Isabelle and get to know Vincent more.
This book made me: cherish animals, want to visit the zoo, cherish the idea of reincarnation, swoon, stalk Jonathan Carroll’s blog
Because we wanted to earn a bit, and didn’t have anything else to sell, we decided to sell what we had the most of when we were around 7. Stationery. We sold stationery for 1 peso each sheet, 50 centavos for the smaller ones. The Barbie ones were 3 pesos per sheet, higher priced because it was more valuable for us then, and because we didn’t want anyone to buy it. We peddled it on the streets of our baranggay in Malabon. Our total earnings amounted to Php3.50, placed inside a duck-shaped, plastic toilet paper holder. My cousin told me he’d guard it for safekeeping but I never saw it again.
My mom had this gift idea for my brother. She bought a huge spiral notebook, then wrote a ghost story for him. We then made the “book” interactive by creating pop-up pages. For several afternoons, we’d create collages using recycled gift wrappers and draw ghosts on the said book. In one page there’s a holographic Santa Claus, grinning diabolically from the window. In another page, there’s a ghost popping up to say “boo!” from behind a door. She had all these craft ideas when I was younger, like creating tiny pots and pans out of airdry clay, or using leaves as stamps for my very own stationery. We gathered different leaves from my grandma’s garden and she cut brown kraft paper into small rectangles. Using poster paint, we painted on one side of the leaves and used it to stamp unique leafbone shapes on the brown paper. She labelled it with my name after: Rean’s notecards, with a tiny drawing of me, smiling.
I was obsessed with pop-up books for the longest time. I was given a book about how it was like in the Wild Wild West, and I constantly played with pull-out dog from the second floor in that book, chasing after that kid in a cowboy hat. It also amazed me that the barrels outside the house contained different fruits: oranges and apples. The barrels were tiny, and the act of peeking inside it made me feel like a happy snooping giant.
There’s this book with stick figures that I found upstairs, photocopied and bound in red, called “Yoga for Children”. We had this neighbour from Romblon named Florence, around my age, and I’d call her and we’d go inside the bedroom of my parents and try out each pose. We were more bendy and flexible then, and with that kiddie naivete I’d wonder what was so special about the poses we just did, it didn’t feel like much of an effort back then.
At my cousin’s house, they had an endless supply of thick, A4 sized cartons, used for their “bibingka” business. They were brown on one side, eggshell white on the other. She’d get a huge stack, some pens, and we’d get ready for our drawing session. She had some Pinoy komiks like Fantasy and Nightmare, and some Archie comics, which we’d then use as our reference for drawing. I remember telling her how I wanted to draw something like that girl singing Vogue, Vogue because the girl there had long flowy hair which made copying it exciting. She had those pens that change color when you use the color changer pen that came with it. That was the first time I experienced coloring with gold and silver crayolas. My favorites were sea green and gold, so I often drew mermaids so I could have an excuse to keep on using those two colors.
Went to Dia Del Libro 2011 yesterday at Instituto Cervantes. After that we headed to Pedro Gil’s Booksale branch, another Booksale branch at Robinson’s Place, Chapters and Pages, and another Booksale branch at Makati Cinema Square. Here’s my book haul. I need to stop buying books, but I can’t! Especially since they’re all mostly below a hundred pesos. That cat book there is only Php5, how could I resist???
Below is an excerpt from my Nanowrimo Novel 2010, Palpitations:
It all started with you, I guess. You with your anatomically-correct drawings and confusing Tagalog terms. Baba would mean three different things, depending on the accent. After my morning classes, Ate Remy would be reading some local comics rented from the neighbor for 2 pesos a day and she’d read that to herself in bed while she attempted to make me sleep beside her. I would have to read you and then sleep afterwards. I couldn’t sleep, and Ate Remy would take one of mom’s beaded belts, and threaten me with it if I failed to obey her orders to sleep. While I pretended by closing my eyes for a long time, I would sometimes sneak glances over her shoulder and see her reading something like Love Story comics with Manilyn Reyes in the cover and I’d long for the time when I could read what she’s reading.
Dear local comics:
Since you were found right beside our house, I saved 2 pesos or more and picked my victim for a day. I despised the romance wakasans, finding it so boring, and I’d settle with gruesome horror or sci-fi ones like “Nightmare” or “Fantasy”. I loved Fantasy the most, with tales like that old lady who aged backwards. In Fantasy there was this story about this pervy guy who became bath soap because of his desire to be near this woman. Of course she used “him” all over her body. It wasn’t very appropriate for an 8-year-old to read, but we never had censorship in our house. The ending had the guy back to his pervert human form, only to find out that his crotch area was now flat because of the girl’s soap usage. It was my first exposure to the world of speculative fiction, but this was in graphic form. The rental factor made me less careful with you, so I bought you everywhere with me, and sometimes I even bought you to our spiritism church and got a scolding for reading while the session was ongoing. But I didn’t let that incident take you away from me. I bought you with me to my cousin’s house, and we’d try to copy your drawings in the pudding cartons that they were using for their business. I discovered the more wholesome world of Bata Batuta and Funny comics, and every Friday my baon would be spent there. I had amassed quite a collection. A friend I just met named Cynthia invited me to her house and she had a kuya who made my collection seem weak. I stayed there in her bed, pretending to listen to her chatter while my mind was with the Planet of the apes, which I was reading while she was talking. Our neighborhood hair dresser always had this tall comics pile and I’d gladly accompany anyone who wanted to get their hair cut. I was so amazed at how I could enter new worlds just by learning how to read. It felt like discovering a hidden talent.
I remember your cover. It was ube violet, with a papier mache owl. I wondered if there were others as marvelous as you. With more than twenty colored stories and poems, it was like entering wonderland. Each poem/story had a different drawing than the last one, with review questions at the end. You reminded me of that reading comprehension by color skill exam we had in elementary. I loved those exams. I get all excited when the teacher brings a huge box filled with the reading materials and pencils. I imagine how lucky they are, these kids from where you came from. You were hardbound and thick and sturdy and had glossy paper. Everything was colored. It was delightful, and I’d maximize my library card borrowing books which reminded me of you. My classmates called me a “nerd” before being a nerd became cool because I lugged as many as three of your kind with me from the library to class. Even if you had different covers, you looked and smelled the same inside: a different illustration style per story, no less than twenty stories inside. You all had the same tattoo: Books for Asia.
Dear Mysteries of Time and Space:
You really mystified us. My classmates and I would each get a book from your encyclopedic series and nudge each other when we came upon really gruesome photos. Through you I learned about vampires, werewolves and poltergeists. I saw pictures of crop circles like those ones appearing in the OBB of that television show Shaider and that convinced me that everything inside you was real. You were colored and glossy, and talked about things in an encyclopedic (read: boring but factual) manner so you must have been true.
I was at that age where even the psychic connection of twins mystified me, that age where the scariest thing we could do was climb up to the highschool science laboratory and shriek when we saw that real baby fetus in a bottle. I heard about that from a friend, and a couple of girls and I went to see it for ourselves. It was small and hunched, preserved in formalin. We were afraid that constantly staring at it would cause it to open its eyes and become alive. We wondered if it was aborted. We wondered about where the parents of that baby were, how they felt about their baby on display in the lab, like a science experiment.
The time I was reading you, I was also reading my lolo’s old issues of FATE magazine. I was obsessed about the paranormal, and each year I’d eagerly wait for the Halloween special of Magandang Gabi Bayan, where they’d feature reports about the paranormal happenings in this country. My classmates and I discussed the show when we returned to class and we’d pepper our conversation with our own ghost stories, overheard from siblings or friends, things that happened to a friend of a friend of a friend. When “Are you afraid of the dark?” was shown on television, we watched it religiously, and in school we would sit ourselves in a circle, with the standard opening spiel for “Are you afraid of the dark?” memorized:
“Submitted for the approval of the midnight society, I call this tale….the tale of the White lady”, we’d begin, then launch into Tagalog for the storytelling section. In Grade 6 our classroom was near the stage, and backstage there was a spiral staircase leading down to the office of the school newspaper. That area was creepy, and there were rumors of ghosts haunting that general area, so we seldom explored it by our lonesome. One time a teacher was talking in class when he suddenly stopped, because he claimed that he saw a spirit in black crossing the room and disappearing in the blackboard. He had to tell us the tale when we asked him what happened and this caused us all to scream and to stampede towards the door.
Dear Ms. and Mother Jones:
When my mother brought home copies of you from Booksale or wherever, I’d flip through the pages and stare at the toy ads. Fisher-price toys were the best, with children looking like they were having a great time playing with these Technicolor plastic toys and I’d secretly envy them. My mom cut out the children’s story that came with the magazine, and filed it inside a plain folder so we can reread it when we wanted. I was just learning how to read, and to motivate me, she’d buy a nice Hootenanny-like book (see Dear Hootenanny above) and ask me to read a poem or short story aloud. If I finish it, I would be getting a red tag which I’d put in a book and when a page is completed, I could pick myself a new book. I loved this routine and there is no doubt that this highly influenced my passion for the written word.
Today was a great book day.
I was able to buy these babies from National Bookstore and Booksale. Each book costs less than a hundred pesos. AWESOME! :)
2010 Book survey:
The first book you read this year: The Adrian Mole Diaries by Sue Townsend
The last book you finished this year: Little Bee by Chris Cleabe
The first book you will finish in the new year: Until the real thing comes along by Elizabeth Berg
Your favorite “classic” you read this year: Is “I capture the Castle” a modern classic? Haha.
The book series you read the most volumes of this year: The Hunger Games trilogy, Scott Pilgrim comics, Pretty Little Liars (It wasn’t as bad as I imagined it to be. It was actually intriguing, like Veronica Mars meets Mean Girls meets Gossip Girl meets Skins, with all that rainbowy sexual tension)
The genre you read the most this year: LGBT fiction, young adult, haha.
The book that disappointed you: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. I expected something Ruth Reichl-y, or Sarah Addison Allen-y, or even Hoffman-y, but ended with some serious Wally Lamb like emo drudgery mixed with Kafkaesque philosophizing. Ugh.
The book you liked better than you expected to: Pretty Little Liars. See reasons above.
The hardest book you read this year (topic or writing style): I gave up midway on a lot of books for 2010. Maybe it was the writing style mostly, but I’m sure they were awesome books. The Unnamed, since it depressed me, Bee Season, because I got bored by it, The Little Stranger, which I bet is interesting, but it was an audiobook which I really couldn’t finish, work got in the way.
The funniest book you read this year: I like the Runaways. Oh Joss Whedon, you genius, you.
The saddest book you read this year: Little Bee by Chris Cleave. Read it, and weep. And be disturbed.
The shortest book you read this year: Plain Janes?
The longest book you read this year: I can’t remember.
A book that touched you: If by touched you mean I cried, here’s my weepy list:
-Between Mom and Jo
-A lot of Berg books, if not all, haha.
-The Year of Fog
A book you read this year you want to recommend: If you’re queer, try the comics of Ariel Schrag, books by David Levithan and Julie Anne Peters. If not and you like the magical realism of Alice Hoffman and Isabel Allende, try books by Sarah Addison Allen. If you like Anne Tyler or Anna Quindlen, try reading books by Elizabeth Berg.
A book that you discovered this year that you will definitely read again: A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
A book that you never want to read again: Cruddy by Lynda Barry. It was amazing but also horrific and scary.
And finally, make a New Year’s Resolution: Review all the books I read, even if it’s just one sentence. :) Create an organized Books I’ve read list and organized TBR list.
What books did you love for 2010?