Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

bedside reading

Whenever I’m asked, “What are you reading now?”, I’m sometimes hard pressed to answer. I do read one book at time, but there’s always a stack or two of volumes beside my bed,  some of which I’ve read, the others newly acquired and next in line for reading.

My tastes are eclectic. There are marketing and business books, holdovers from my MBA days – Marketing Gurus, all the Franklin Covey books. Lately I’m into memoirs – Matthew Polly’s hilarious American Shaolin, A. J. Jacob’s tongue-in-cheek The Year of Living Biblically, Laura Shaine Cunningham’s poignant and brave A Place in the Country.

Near the top, where I can easily reach them, are the latest thoroughbred catalogues from Australia’s Magic Millions and Keeneland in Kentucky. Keeneland’s November 2008 sale catalogues are the more interesting. It is a set of eight thick books, the information on weanlings and other bloodstock printed on thin paper. I open to the Index to Sires and roll their names in my mouth like candy – Cryptoclearance, Langfuhr, Star de Naskra.

Somewhere in those stacks are the latest edition of Strunk and White, my style manual ever since it was introduced to me in my freshman English class at the University of the Philippines; a Dummies guide to Adobe InDesign for print publication layouting; and three volumes of the Plaridel journal, the academic publication of the UP College of Mass Communication.

And at the bottom of the shorter pile is Julie Morgenstern’s Organizing from the Inside-Out – probably not the best place for it to be, if I want it to be of any help.

Any house I live in will be filled with books. It’s almost a psychological given; a house is not a home for me unless there are many books in it, spilling from shelves, stacked against the wall, piled on the coffee table.

My love for books stems from childhood. My mother raised me on science fiction and fantasy. This is a woman who kept her Lord of the Rings trilogy on the shelf below the TV set in her room, while all the other books were kept in the living room. This was back in the early ’80s, before fantasy became fashionable and when all of Tolkien’s books were out of print. Her copies, which she bought as a teenager at Lopue’s and China Rose in Bacolod City, were printed in the ’60s, before “acid-free” was heard of, and the pages were yellowed and crumbled at a touch. The spines were battered and mended many times with tape, which had also discolored to a color like weak tea.

In the tall wicker bookshelves in the sala she kept cookbooks. One of them was a ’50s hardbound Betty Crocker cookbook from her nanny who migrated to the United States. I have it now, and treat it as an heirloom. Others were cookbooks from the ’70s; those were filled with recipes for fondue, which seemed to me to be highly impractical since you needed a fondue burner.

That didn’t faze my mother. She improvised with a miniature saucepan on the stove. We gathered in the kitchen, dipping cubes of Kraft cheddar cheese in beaten egg, then breadcrumbs, then plunging them in hot oil till toasty brown.

Also on the shelves were my stepfather’s encyclopedias and his mother’s collection of children’s “two-in-one” hardbound classics. For instance, one side was Grimm’s Fairy Tales; flip the book and you got Hans Christian Andersen’s stories. My mother also had a good collection of adult classics – Aldous Huxley, Jonathan Swift, Charles Dickens, the Brontes. I wore out Bullfinch’s Mythology, though I later lost that particular copy.

My mother also possessed nearly all the Edgar Rice Burroughs books – my favorites being the Tarzan series (no, there wasn’t a “Cheeta” in the books) and the Mars series. The latter starred skimpily-clad Martian princess Dejah Thoris, who was constantly being saved by her husband, the manly Earthling John Carter, from predatory villains and robots controlled by evil scientists.


Fanart depiction of Barsoom (Mars); in the center, Dejah Thoris and John Carter face a myriad perils

Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes” stories were also well-represented. H. Rider Haggard and his endless yarns of hunter Allan Quatermain’s adventures in lost cities in Africa? Check. Jules Verne and H. G. Wells classics? Yes, there too, as well as L. Frank Baum’s “Oz” books, many of them with the original John R. Neill art nouveau illustrations.

Neill’s drawings of Ozma’s hair – confined at the forehead by a thin diadem, tresses curling in whiplash tendrils – and her gauzy draperies, floating cloudlike around her slim body – captured my young imagination, representing an aesthetic that was otherworldly and unreachable. To this day, it is one of my favorite genres of art.


A Neill watercolor of Dorothy, Glinda, and Ozma of Oz.

Knowing of my insatiable – and indiscriminate – appetite for books, my mother kept those she felt inappropriate for my age in her closet, which we children never opened. When I was in college, she brought the books down, the ban lifted. One of them was Stephen King’s Dark Forces, a collection of horror and SF works by various writers. My mother probably didn’t object to the storylines but rather to King’s salty language.

In any case, it was just more grist for my mill, along with her more spinechilling H. P. Lovecraft books. The cover of one was horrifying - a worm snaked through the empty eye-socket of a half-decayed skull which bore clumps of matted hair and rodent-like teeth. I averted my eyes from that awful artwork whenever I opened that book to read about the Cthulhu, Yog-Sothoth, Nyarlathotep.

At the mere thought of that macabre painting, an involuntary shudder shakes my frame as chills riff up and down my spine. Uncannily, this is my exact same reaction when my eyes or fingers travel over the few old college mathematics and physics textbooks unexpurgated from my shelves. Cthulhu ftaghn!

My father was yet another heavy reader, but his tastes ran more to W. Somerset Maugham, John O’ Hara, Norman Mailer, Sholom Aleichem, Truman Capote, biographies. Pops lived in California for five years in the ’80s, and while there wrote me excitedly when he began Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,  Dee Brown’s novel on native American history. He wasn’t into science fiction; the most that he got into that genre was Ray Bradbury – I Sing the Body Electric, Something Wicked This Way Comes.

I usually finish what I start. The exception is one book that I bought at a secondhand bookstall in Morayta in the late ’80s, set aside because its dense language put me to sleep although its ideas were interesting; a paradox in its rules of engagement. It was Marshall McLuhan’s 1964 work Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man. This groundbreaking book had a profound impact on mass communication and media studies. As a mass comm major, I felt duty bound to read it. It’s one of the books by my bed. Sometimes I feel I keep it around not so much because I plan to finish reading it, but as a talisman to keep me focused on the particular discipline that is my life’s work.

Let me see – it’s in the taller stack, under the used copy of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast that I found a couple of years ago at Booksale for P45. It’s the second in the “Titus Groan” trilogy. I got the first book in the late ’80s, also at Morayta, deep in the University Belt in the heart of Manila. I’m still looking to complete the set. Perhaps twenty years from now, in another serendipitous moment, I’ll stumble upon a copy of Titus Alone and I will add it, yet another block in the tower of books by my bed.

People come into my house, find piles of books stacked chest-high against the walls and two- or three-deep in bookcases, and ask, “Have you read all those?” The answer is, yes, except for that darn McLuhan.

And often, “Why do you like reading so much?” and at that I am rendered inarticulate. It is difficult to explain to people who do not read, who do not relish the sensation of eyes tracking words across a page to be immersed in a story, momentarily losing touch of reality.

My own habit of reading is a result of childhood influence and a desire to escape. I lose myself in forests of words and in thickets of concepts, drown in rivers of language, wander through time and space. The volumes by my bed embody different worlds where I may go freely, through the simple expedient of cracking open a book and reading.

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ik’s triumphant poem

Hallo! I made a *rather* nice poem. LOL.

Sender: aaIk  Received: 02:31:35pm

That’s nice! Email it to me, pls tnx

To: aaIk  Sent: 02:32:07pm

Ookie! I shall email triumphantly!

Sender: aaIk  Received: 02:37:28pm

I look forward to your triumphant email! I luv u!

To: aaIk  Sent: 02:38:52pm

Sent, it is! :D

Sender: aaIk  Received: 02:54:45pm

ze poem ~ (via email)

To Fly

How I wish I could fly -
But I wonder where?
Well, as long as I could,
I would go anywhere!

Maybe to the beach,
Even to the mall.
Anywhere, as long as I
Don’t fall!

But what if one day, Mama came
And I was nowhere to be found?
She would be so worried, so I know
It would be best to stay on ground.

© 2008 Erika Alcasid

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the poetry of joel h. vega

How mysterious is friendship, and the bonds that tie people together across years and distances. When I was in fifth or sixth grade in a Protestant school in Pasay City, one of the people I admired and looked up to was a senior named Joel H. Vega. We lent each other books, and talked about literature and how words could be  powerful enough to move us in ways others could not understand, or even care to learn.

Joel graduated, and I saw him only once after that. He visited our school about a year or two after he had left, to tell me that he had entered the University of the Philippines in Los Baños and was taking Journalism. He encouraged me to develop my writing skills and take Journalism too.

When I became a senior myself and had to decide on my college course, I was confused. My other classmates were going for Nursing, Biology, Dentistry, and the other life sciences. This was the career path encouraged by our school. Not being particularly altruistic nor desirous of encountering blood and other body fluids on a daily basis, I remembered Joel’s words, and so I ended up also in UP, in the Communication (Journalism) program, where I spent four happy years.

Now I make my living from writing. And my choice of career path, I owe to Joel H. Vega, and a chance remark on his part, perhaps forgotten soon as it was said, but with a profound and significant influence on my life.

After 24 or 25 years, we are in touch again, through the Internet. Joel is in the Netherlands, working as a medical journalist, and before that in other countries, always as a writer. Always as a writer.

His life is filled with words and music and art and travel and culture and I am so happy for him.

One thing that made me even happier – and proud – was when I learned that he is a published writer and poet. His poetry has been anthologized many times in Philippine and US literary journals, and he also wrote a collection of essays - Dir’iyah – about life as an expat in the Middle East.

Here’s one of his most popular poems -

The Fifth & Careful Season

Beyond October, before the lure
Of orange, the swarm flies across
Nevada’s skies.

Listen, the talebearer says,
Listen as they drag the weight
Of distances from as far as Peru
And Cebu.

Head, thorax, abdomen,
Two antennae, six legs.
Lepidoptera. Scaly wings
Open (inhale) close (exhale)
The dusty breath
Of mute birds.

What is an army of itinerant moths?
A catapulted piece of the moon,
Flung to earth from the Sea of Tranquility.

But ours is a season of agitation
When guns in an arid land
Hound orphans, their pain looming,
Bigger than a mountain.

Tonight, the moths seek shelter
In mossy ribs of fallen logs,
Their wings encoding
Secret trajectories of storms.
What we hear though is neither
Typhoon nor hurricane

But the solid rain
Of ricocheting bullets
Hissing in the dark.

Joel H. Vega
Copyright © 2004

About this piece, Joel says: “I am particularly delighted with the poem published by DMQreview (The Fifth and Careful Season), because I somehow hit a sensitive nerve with that poem. Besides, the images, words, rhythm, etc, just all came together…. Poems like that doesn’t come to me often. It can be my most successful poem to date as it has been re-printed thrice, and with that poem I bagged the Meritage Press ( a small Filipino-owned lit press in California ) annual poetry ‘fun’ contest in 2005.”

I look forward to reading all of Joel’s poems in one volume – whether published in the Philippines or abroad, as long as copies are available in this country – so that this wandering poet’s works may be read and appreciated in the land of his birth.

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butch dalisay launches latest novel

Anvil Publishing and Jose Y. Dalisay Jr., PhD, successfully launched Soledad’s Sister yesterday at the Claro M. Recto Hall of the Faculty Center, University of the Philippines, Diliman.

Dr. Dalisay’s second novel, after Killing Time in a Warm Place (1992), Soledad’s Sister has been widely acclaimed by both local and foreign critics and was shortlisted for the 2007 Man Asian Literary Prize.

The launching ceremony featured a short lecture delivered by Dr. Dalisay on “Writing the Filipino Novel”, followed by reactions from fellow academics.  A short question-and-answer forum ensued, then a short speech by Anvil Publishing owner Karina Bolasco. Dr. Dalisay then read a brief excerpt of his novel. A book signing was the final activity, with Dr. Dalisay wielding either a Faber-Castell or a Pelikan M800 Souveran fountain pen.

Dr. Dalisay’s soundbites from the Q&A:

On how many more novels he plans to write: “Before I croak, I expect to write five novels…this is the second…after that, I’ll clean my fountain pens. That’s all I really want to do.”

On whether one can make money from writing novels: “Ang nobela dito (Philippines), unless it’s picked up in school, doesn’t go to second printing…often, the first doesn’t sell out.”

On whether Filipinos are a good market for books: “Filipinos buy books. They just don’t buy us (Filipino writers in English).”

On creating popular works with literary value that sell well: “I”m really serious about this…it’s an aesthetic challenge, to bridge that gap, to write something that’s popular and at the same time really well done.”

On the inspiration for latest novel: “The story of our OFWs (Overseas Foreign Workers) is the definitive Filipino story of our time…it’s the most outstanding feature of our economic landscape. We have become so dependent on them for our sustenance – their being there and coming home here changed our political landscape… They come back knowing that some things work, and that the government shold be accountable to you…that will create political changes… Masasaya, malulungkot ang kuwento nila.”

Dr. Dalisay reads an excerpt from “Soledad’s Sister”


Signing books with a Pelikan M800 Souveran, B nib, blue ink


Fellow fountain pen collector George Mamonluk snapping photos of the event

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jose dalisay jr.: soledad’s sister

From the MacAir and bountiful imagination of novelist Jose Y. Dalisay Jr. come Soledad’s Sister, exploring the hardships that may be encountered by Filipino OCWs (overseas contract workers) and their relatives in the Philippines.

Shortlisted for the 2007 Man Asian Literary Prize, the novel, Dalisay’s second after Killing Time in a Warm Place, tells of the homecoming of “Aurora V. Cabahug” from Saudi Arabia – in a casket. It is the story of Soledad, who used her sister Aurora’s name to skirt legal issues and leave the Philippines to work as domestic helper. It is the story of her sister Aurora, who tries to solve the mystery of her sister’s death, while managing to lose the corpse along the way.

Written with sincere warmth and sensitivity, it is also a story that could have been a reality for any of the millions of OCW families who have sent fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers into the Filipino exodus to slave for foreigners to be able to keep their loved ones alive.

It reflects a facet of our society, that squandered its chance to be an Asian Tiger and is now relegated to being the world’s labor pool.


On a personal level, as the sister of an OFW in Dubai, I see this story as my worst nightmare. My sister Aileen has worked for 16 years as a secretary in a land where no plants grow except by force, where they have no soil but sand, where water is more precious than petroleum. I fear for her safety every day. I pray for her health and happiness as she lives a life far away from her family. I wish that things would get better so that she can come home, and spend her days with us.

But as long as reality is manifest and dreams remain figments of desire, Aileen will work in Dubai until she can no longer, and I, and others who read stories such as Soledad’s Sister, can only reflect on the choices people make and the outcomes that may attend these choices.

Soledad’s Sister will be formally launched on 31 July 2008, Thursday, 4pm, at the Faculty Center of the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Dr. Dalisay will deliver a short lecture, followed by book-signing.

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monkey-bots produce bot-poetry.

Automated blogs are created using software that will “allow you to put various blogs that have been already written by someone else” on your website or blog, according to a website that offers such services.

Autoblogs are the scourge of bloggers everywhere, as they steal content from other people to put on their own sites. “Keyword-rich” content is plagiarized in order to increase traffic to their sites.

Legitimate bloghosts such as WordPress have declared war on autoblogs, and suspend such accounts when they come across them.

Here’s a sample from an autoblog – misspellings and lack of punctuation as-is - that popped up on my WordPress “Tag Surfer” page:

“Themselves is we who are peaky; her is thus we who graduate the embassy in order to impart our stress, our dolor, and our discomfort, en plus being as how our thinkability. we apprehend disagreeing hard statements encircling our moira, excepting appear like compelled in order to maintain creature clearer and farther orotund in comparison with what we’ve heard off others.

[We] are advantageous in passage to treasure affluxion into medications and stamina be concerned tabloid howbeit we realize not restrain smash against fix you. Bountiful as regards our soundness problems argue been resolved irrespective of[antiretroviral] medications. Predisposed to how fell our environs was prefatory in transit to prolegomenon, we submit benefited in great measure. Again stretch we grant favored up to put surge over against these services, we experience idealistic blues since others who mullah’t take in the Tweedledum and Tweedledee regime we prosecute.

And by crescendo in transit to our naturalness problems, we carry exotic tribulations.
However fewer contemplative in re our allergic disease, we deathlike silence prehend problems
advantageous in that doss. We identify fluster unweaving recruitment. We be present
perturbed all but sending our tots for religious order. One and all session we foreside the
disquieting event that we cannot bring to light the action for give permission her. Not
heterotrophic organism smart over against abet our young people is the peerless raise a howl faced wherewithal mothers and fathers obliquely the belt in regard to Haiti. We tamper with autodidactic that congenitor calamities and also have being advanced extraneous countries. Equivalently we allude to wherewithal A to izzard these tragedies we rancidity interrogate: is every kind present-time not a guy? (italics booby trap)

It doesn’t make sense, right? It’s as if several posts were integrated into one blog entry, with some random words or phrases sprinkled here and there. It brings to mind the “million monkeys typing on a million computers for a million years” thing.

Sorry, I couldn’t find a cheerful monkey robot image to P’Shop. Original image here.

Curiously, some of the words are rather interesting – “effluxion”, “prolegomenon”, “rancidity”, “izzard”. Some phrases are downright brilliant – “our stress, our dolor, and our discomfort”; “idealistic blues”; “Tweedledum and Tweedledee regime we prosecute”; “we carry exotic tribulations”.

There you have it – robotic poetry. And it didn’t take a million years to produce.

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my fiction: fire and ice

AS a horseracing writer, I’ve written many feature articles and television program scripts on the sport, and with journalism paying the bills, creative writing fell by the wayside after my college days.

I’ve written only one full-length novel so far, Fire and Ice. This was in 1991, when I was pregnant with my eldest daughter Alex, and the manuscript was published by Solar Publishing Corporation in 1993 as the seventh title in their “Hearts of Fire” series of light romances.

It was sold only at National Book Store for P40 a copy, a bit pricey considering the more popular Tagalog romances were selling for P30 or P25. As late as maybe 2001, a few copies were still available, marked down to P16.50. I bought the five remaining copies at the Glorietta branch.


This excerpt is from the first chapter, where the heroine, Corissa, the manager of a lingerie factory, meets her new employer Jaime, who had just bought the company. They had met previously, at a convention, where Jaime embarrassed Corissa with a flippant remark.

Corissa knocked a couple of times and swung the door open. The man seated on the edge of the desk had his back to her; he was looking out the big picture window that made up one wall of the office. He appeared to be admiring the tiny garden outside, an oasis of green in a large, utilitarian factory. Hearing her push the door open, he turned around. In the same instant that she saw his face, Corissa gasped.

He was handsome. Devastatingly handsome. From his perch on the desk several feet away, he radiated a wave of sexual appeal and attraction so strong it left Corissa weak-kneed and breathless. Suddenly she felt the room turn hot – terribly hot. She sucked in a lungful of cool air and tried to regain control. Funny, she though dazedly, the effect he has on me now. The first time she laid eyes on him, she had longed to belt him one for his offensive remark. This time, it was different. Totally different. She had not seen his features very well the first time, being some distance away from his seat. But this close – it was impossible to ignore his attractiveness. He was, she decided, not bad at all. Physically, at least. But would he be able to prove that her previous assessment of his personality was wrong?

Jaime Luzuriaga, her new employer, got up and stood facing her. His dark brown hair, a bit long in the back, was endearingly tousled in front, as if he had brushed it back with his fingers. The piercing dark eyes, aquiline nose, and Castilian features made Corissa compare him to a swashbuckling Spanish knight. She figured he was in his mid-thirties. As he strode closer to Corissa, she found she had to crane her neck up to look into his eyes. He was dressed in a blue-and-white pinstripe shirt, paisley-print burgundy tie, and navy twill slacks, all of the simplest cut but still bearing the unmistakable stamp of elegance and costliness. Corissa noted with approval that he completed his outfit with dress socks and black leather loafers. Her opinion of his dress sense went up as she realized he could have just pushed his sockless feet into a beat-up pair of Topsiders and pulled on jeans and a knit shirt, as far too many working men had a habit of doing nowadays.

He was right in front of her, only a pace or two away.

Slowly, deliberately, he swept his gaze over her, scrutinizing her dainty form from head to toe. Corissa felt slightly uncomfortable, but not from the inspection. It was the sheer masculinity that he exuded, the virility and power that he wore like an aura, that made her body quiver and her heart beat faster. She swallowed nervously, and held her head high, trying not to let her tension show. “I shouldn’t let him affect me like this,” she thought. Corissa could not deny, however, that it was an attraction that she felt for this man – a sudden, swift impulse, strong and magnetic, that drew her to him.

Jaime looked her full in the face, and put his strong hands on his hips. “I don’t believe it,” he said, shaking his head. “You’re that kid from the convention.”

Corissa’s eyes narrowed. Irritation swiftly replaced the attraction that she had initially felt. Her previous low opinion of him, she thought, was entirely justified. “This kid,” she said pointedly, “is general manager of your new company. And let me warn you – it doesn’t pay to underestimate me.”

I cringe now at the insubstantial candy floss spun by my younger, immature self. By preference drawn to science fiction and fantasy, I had to read dozens of Mills & Boon, Harlequin, and Silhouette romances just to psych myself up to write this cliche-studded drivel. Literature it ain’t.

How was it even published? That’s an interesting story.

In 1991, I joined a short-story writing contest sponsored by Woman Today magazine (published by Solar) and Clover Typewriters. (Typewriters were still in common use then. That’s how long ago this was.) I turned in only one story, something I had written for a creative writing course in college.

That story, “The Cups”, was chosen as one of the top four finalists. Some of the other finalists and contestants had sent in more than one entry. I was disappointed not to win the top prize of a typewriter, but I did get an acrylic plaque and an offer to write a novel for Solar’s line of romances in English.

At that time, Tagalog “pocketbooks” were all the rage, and Solar probably wanted to do something similar but differentiated. I think the series went up to nine novels before being discontinued. Readers of English-language fiction, at that time, disdained anything “local” and preferred to purchase the imported romances with which they were more familiar.

Things are better now, with readers becoming more appreciative of efforts by Filipino writers that place stories in this country, stories that tell familiar tales echoing our own culture.

But to be honest, as much as I may tear apart my own work with a mature critical eye, I’m still proud of it. It is after all, a product of my imagination, hacked out in fever heat on an old computer with a paper-white monitor, written straight through without an outline while floating on the euphoria of being married and pregnant, published “as is”, with hardly any edits, far as I can tell.

But time passes and we learn. We change. We mature. I don’t write fiction like this anymore.

I’m not saying I can do better now. What I can do, is different. And sometimes, different is enough of a change.

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book meme. pass it on!

Total number of books owned:

Over a lifetime, perhaps two thousand. Many titles (romance, science fiction, fantasy) were given away through the years. Currently I am keeping about eight hundred books, stacked two-three deep in my inadequate bookshelves. I guess I have to give most of them away – to make room for more.

Wide bookcase on the left holds photo albums, paperbacks, etc. two-three deep. Tall bookcase on the right has my quilting magazines, MBA books, other hardbounds.


Pile of books on the left are behind the dining table, and are mostly F & SF; on the right, books on my bedside table. Not included in photos are other heaps of books. Many other heaps.

Last book bought:

The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown. I grew up on Princess Di, and wanted to get a backgrounder on her life.

Last book read:

Starbucked by Taylor Clark, all about that global coffee chain that you either love or hate.


Five books that mean a lot to you:

-1. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. “The canon”, and these were the books I told my husband I would choose when he asked which of them I would bring out of a burning house. That was way before reprints became readily available. Before the movies came out, it was out of print. My copies were printed in the ‘60s.

•2. The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis. I built my collection in the ‘80s by haunting used-books stalls in Morayta. Again, I kept aging copies, but can safely let go of them now as convenient all-in-one editions are available, again after the movie was released this year!

•3. The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge. One of my favorites as a young child, my battered copy was passed on to me by my mother, also a voracious reader. When I was in college twenty years ago, I had it hard-bound. Now I hear they are adapting it into a movie, shooting to begin in Hungary this summer. I guess the book will be coming out again in bookstores, and I can misplace my old copy!


•4. Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. The only poem I have ever memorized is “Jabberwocky”…


•5. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Thankfully a complete collection came out in two volumes around twenty years ago; it’s still available in bookstores.

These are books I read as a child or teenager, maybe that’s why they are still so special, filled as they are with all the pleasant memories associated with them of curling up in a corner and escaping into other worlds.

Currently reading:

-1. Creative Suite 3 for Dummies and InDesign CS3 for Dummies

-2. They’re Racing! The Complete Story of Australian Racing by Les Carlyon


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fox books: palalim ng palalim

Following the lead of other publishing trailblazers, Fox Books reveals its own take on the horror genre with Palalim ng Palalim, Padilim ng Padilim at Iba Pang Kuwento ng Dilim.

But unlike the badly-written, ungrammatical, and obviously made-up stories touted as “true-to-life” that you’ve had to suffer through for lack of anything better to read, Fox Books delivers a collection that is light-years higher in literary quality.

Pieces by Wennie Fajilan, Beverly Siy, Mar Anthony de la Cruz, Rita de la Cruz, and Haidee Pineda reflect storytelling genius, brought to life by the grotesque illustrations of Josel Nicolas (which nearly did not see print due to their shock factor).

If you want to enjoy not just good but terrific stories and writing, showcasing some of the country’s most imaginative literary talents, then this book will be a valuable addition to your collection of Filipino fiction.

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fox books: dagta

Is it a sign of maturity for a nation or a culture’s readers when books on erotica are published – and bought? With the publication of Fox Books’ Dagta: Antolohiya ng Erotika, then, we are progressing along the literary evolutionary scale, from bomba komiks,  Tiktik magazine, columns by Xerex Xaviera in tabloids and Dr. Margie Holmes in broadsheets, and even soft porn glossy magazines like the local editions of FHM and Maxim.

Filipinos are primarily a visual people. Whether this is a cultural preference or one ingrained by the media itself, it seems that magazines and other visual material sell than books. Fox Books, then, is testing new waters by offering the same subject in a more intellectual format.

Dagta offers stories by many, including Vlad Gonzales, Suzy Anonas, Michael Andrada, UZ Eliserio, and “Sarah Bulalacao” (pen name of Fox editor Sarah Grutas); and poems from the “Bikini Idolatry” cycle of Adam David (who also crafted the illustrations for the anthology).

Fox Books are available at National Bookstore, Fully Booked, and other retail outlets.

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