Because Women Writers = Rockstars

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Here’s your latest update from this absentee-blogger extraordinaire: I still procrastinate. A lot. Which is of course, never news, but that’s beside the point. Postponement will always be part of the package, I suppose, and I know how predictable that sounds.

Anyway, off to something more relevant: I’ve gone a bit sexist on my very recent episode at my favorite bookstore and decided to limit my purchases to books exclusively written by women. Because, as the title of my post very explicitly implies, they are rockstars to me. Relax, I’m not spearheading a gender debate here. I’m just openly (and affectionately) expressing how much I adore women who are never afraid to write their imaginations, beliefs and memories, on paper. Being an aspiring one myself, I know how much gut it takes to write, and understanding first-hand how accomplished these women are in their writing also evokes a sense of pride and fulfillment in me. Somehow, I can feel through their words that they’re encouraging me and cheering me on, the way they must’ve influenced a lot of dreamers and readers around the world. Almost like they’re telling me, “Someday, you’ll have your own book too.” Of course, maybe that’s just me hearing voices, but hey, this is my blog and I’m my own heroine. Or whatever.

Though not thoroughly premeditated, I planned to be as extensive as possible on my choices, so this time’s haul has been yet another peculiar yet lovely mix. I’ve got historical romances, chick-lit, short story collections, YA fictions, a memoir and a poetry collection. On a sidenote, I also like taking pretty pictures of books, and this one’s taken on a lazy sun-drenched afternoon. I was so happy seeing this picture set against a backdrop of soft, glowing light. I looked at the colorful spines of these books and the names of the women who wrote them, and I smile to myself, saluting in soliloquy, “How beautiful, how beautiful.”

Snow flower and the Secret fan, Lisa See
Emma, Jane Austen
The Brightest Star in the Sky, Marian Keyes
A Girl becomes a Comma like that, Lisa Glatt
The Inheritance of Beauty, Nicole Seitz
The Year of Disappearances, Susan Hubbard
The Little Friend, Donna Tartt
Shake Loose my Skin, Sonia Sanchez
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, Alice Munro

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Summer so far

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Hard to believe that we’re already done with the first quarter of the year, I suppose. So much has already happened, and yet summer still feels like on a standstill. What is irony. I learned so far that books can sometimes be the perfect barometers of days, and I’d like to believe that with every book I add on my shelf, I hopefully become a better, more grown-up person. Besides, summer sales abound a-plenty in the malls these days, and my resistance is relatively weaker than the usual. Finally purchasing books I’ve been hunting and wanting for sometime also kindled my ecstasy. (John Green, Agatha Christie & Alan Bennett! Yay!) I wish there are enough exclamation points to contain my emotions. Ahhh, joy. Just look at these lovely spines awaiting me. I know this is an odd mix of historical romances, mysteries and angst-ridden YA fiction, but hey, I REGRET NOTHING.

  • Mystery of the Blue Train, Agatha Christie
  • Someday this pain will be useful to you, Peter Cameron
  • No shame, No fear, Ann Turnbull
  • The Fault in our stars, John Green
  • Life Mask, Emma Donoghue
  • Time is a River, Mary Alice Monroe
  • The Man on the Ceiling, Steve Rasnic Tem & Melanie Tem

Myself, Homewards

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I know I have ignored and avoided you like the plague, but Blog, I still love you, and I hope you understand that my life right now is the messiest it has ever been by far in my twenty-one years of existence, so I needed time away to become a better, more improved edition of myself.

I don’t like divulging details and any unnecessary drama because I’m no celebrity; I am only a blogger who likes to share my musings on things that charm me. But I guess sometimes we all need our special platforms of healing, and in my case, I hope this could be one of my avenues to pick pieces of myself back. Here are ten songs that helped me got through the many weeks of anger, sadness and vulnerability. Here’s to liberty, endurance, and faith! Read the rest of this entry

Filipino Lit, represent!

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It’s high time I give my roots some lovin’, so I figured spending some moolah on buying books by Filipino authors wouldn’t be such a bad idea. I’ve always wanted to support Filipino Literature in my own little way, and of course, as a reader, buying books is obviously the simplest way to do so. It also happened that I’ve got two book-loving friends who also rally for the same cause. Dotay kept on tagging and updating me on Facebook about recent releases from Ricky Lee and our beloved Bob Ong, while Marga’s review of Sotto’s Before Ever After just won me over completely. I’m sold, and I’m holding the two of them responsible. Well yesterday, I finally had the chance to stroll around bookstores in Trinoma and I went home grinning like a whacko with these three books. My lustful bookslut heart rejoices!

I’m a blessed BookWhore

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How do you make me tremendously happy? Send me a boxful of books. Which is exactly what salbehe did to fulfil my Christmas Wishlist for 2011, organized by Prinsesa Musang. Opening that massive package made me understand how long-lost heiresses must’ve felt on primetime dramas whenever their identities get ultimately revealed. Oh, what fortune! I squealed and squealed and squealed some more. And aside from these sixteen promising books, Miss Salbe also sent me an orange lipstick from Etude House, a handy 2012 planner and a cutesy headband! Seriously, how awesome is she? Thank you Miss Salbe, I officially love you!

Ang mga kaibigan ni Mama Susan, Bob Ong
The Captain’s Daughters, Benita Brown
Dog Walker, Leslie Schnur
Turning Thirty, Mike Gayle
Marly’s Ghost, David Levithan
Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman
Truck: a love story, Michael Perry
The Cabal and other stories, Ellen Gilchrist
The Good Guy, Dean Koontz
The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown
The Nanny Diaries, Emma Mclaughlin
Where the Heart is, Billie Letts
Big City Eyes, Delia Ephron
The Valkyries, Paulo Coelho
Heal my Heart, Doreen Laroya
Shut the door, Amanda Marquit

January: all booked out!

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…And this is how you open the year with a bang, bibliophile-style. I went on another mad book-shopping spree for the holidays and to gear myself up for a more awesome 2012. Two of these books are written by some of my favourite authors of which I am dying to read more about, like Alice Hoffman and Emma Donoghue, while some are very intriguing finds. All in all, I’ve got nine promising books which will make the first month of my year spectacular.

Ah, nothing could possibly be wonderfully dorkier than this.

  • Here on Earth, Alice Hoffman
  • Your own, Sylvia, Stephanie Hemphill
  • The Gardens of Kyoto, Kate Walbert
  • Chain Mail, Hiroshi Ishizaki
  • The Burn Journals, Brent Runyon
  • Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
  • Slammerkin, Emma Donoghue
  • Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet, Joanne Proulx
  • Open House, Patricia Williams

 

I read, I wept, I loved.

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I’m very iffy about Romances and I swear it has nothing to do with my apparent lack of experience in the love department. Sure, I sit down for the occasional chick-lit from time to time, but I usually avoid hardcore love stories because most of the time they end up pretty much generic; it’s either too draggy and full of fluff that I get bored waiting for my tears to come out or it’s too plain melodramatic that I get bored to tears. I blame it on my having read Nicholas Sparks at age 9.

I am therefore wonderfully caught off-guard by Christopher Castellani’s A Kiss from Maddalena, because it shattered all my juvenile traumas about romances. For once, no one’s dying from cancer, suffering from alzheimers, divorcing or killing each other, finding their lost parents, or are secretly vampires. It’s ironic because the plot and backdrop of the novel is in fact on a grander scale and yet the intimacy and the genuineness of the characters’ lives still resonate from cover to cover. We get a vivid first-hand account of the second world war and its aftermath in Italy—we don’t just meet a pair of lovers or a family; we meet an entire town and the many ties and traditions that binds them together. Most importantly, the book is still very much anchored around the bittersweet affair between Vito and Maddalena—probably the most passionate and saddest tale I’ve read for this year.

I’m not even embarrassed to admit that I still repeatedly read the last paragraphs like these are from a page torn off a haunted love letter my soul has been wanting to write for so long. This book gives heartache a voice. Thank you Mr. Castellani, my faith in Romances has been completely restored. Read the rest of this entry

The Mayhem and Magic of Weddings

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Zaquita-Obra Nuptials (December 10, 2011)

I’ve been ranting repeatedly on twitter a few weeks back about suddenly getting an influx of wedding invitations, like there’s a national conspiracy being brewed against me. Well, if you ask a girl who just had a boy haircut and has been perpetually single all her life to be a bridesmaid thrice, chances are she’ll get pretty cranky, you know.

But anyway, I’m glad I made it through all of three weddings in one piece. The last wedding was actually one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen in my life. So grand yet so intimate. I actually had to choke back a few tears during the moment that the groom was giving his personal speech of vows to his bride. “Salamat, kasi pinili mo akong maging first and last boyfriend mo. Kahit wala kang sense of direction, binigyan mo ng direksyon ang buhay ko,” he says in between tears. And yeah sure, cheesy stuff is cheesy, but it just totally killed me. Sapul sa puso eh. Will I ever hear those words from a guy?

It also had me thinking about my future other half, should there ever be a chance for us to meet. On the drive home that night after the wedding, I was so lost with this thoughts but ended up thinking about songs instead, about what defines me at the moment and what I want to be played in my wedding, in case I’ll be married someday. Yes, definitely just for emergency purposes.

So here’s my wedding inspired mix tape, ya’ll. What’s yours?  Read the rest of this entry

Ambition: Androgyny

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Yes, I know it’s creepy, beyond delusional, extremely preposterous and what-on-earth-was-I-thinking insane. But indulge me, ok? Haha. 

So last October 26, a few days after I resigned from work, I decided on cutting my hair too. I think I mentioned in my previous posts that the last time I had an extreme haircut was back in January of 2008, making it more than three years ago since I did something equally drastic.

Anyway, this previous stunt I pulled wasn’t something I did out of a whim or anything. (My mom is a little scared about it at first, and I’m not quite sure how dad will react once he arrives this December.) It’s actually been part of my odd list of dreams for quite some time already. As expected though, my friends became hysterical when I posted a photo on facebook. And let me quote myself here: Yes, one of my quirky ambitions is to become gwapo. (Surprisingly, I looked decent as a guy, I guess, since I’ve gotten a couple of compliments saying so.) It’s overwhelming and flattering to be androgynous, I must say.

It has its perks and downsides though. Of course, getting rid of the hassle brought by long hair is already a given, but having a hair this short has really been a liberating experience. I don’t mind the weather as much anymore, so it’s no big deal if it’s extremely hot outside. I also don’t have to scavenge the house for my missing ponytails since it’s no longer necessary. Plus, I can dress shabbily to my heart’s content. Lol. (Having long curly hair like before somehow imposes a girly, straight-laced demeanour that I always have to be properly dressed everywhere.) However, disadvantages are inevitable, of course. To my horror, I’ve been invited to three weddings recently, and you can probably picture me struggling over having boy-hair and being a bridesmaid. Yeah, it’s so hard and embarrassingly awkward that I won’t go to further details. What’s even worse, there has been a couple of incidents where friends of my closest girl friends mistake me for being their boyfriend, whenever I post on their facebook walls! My ambiguous name doesn’t help, either. Hahaha.

And well, sometimes, I just go melodramatic whenever I see girls that have the same hairstyle I had back then. It’s nostalgia kicking in, I guess. Or maybe I just frequently miss my hair a lot. Everything’s good though. I really enjoy how I look right now, and I’d like to view it as a symbolic turning over of a new leaf in my life chapter. It’ll probably be a long time before it grows back, but for now I’ll just have fun being androgynous, because, you know, I just love adventure that much.

Dear Santa I’ve been good wishlist

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So on the very day of the deadline, I stumbled upon Prinsesa Musang’s Virtual Exchange Gift idea and I thought it was awesome and how come I’ve only heard about this now and blah blah blah. Anyway, I wanted to give it a try since it’s my first Christmas as a blogger so I want to make it a wee bit more meaningful than the others. So here’s my wishlist. And yes, dear Santa, I’ve been really really good this year.

  • Something small: A Bob Ong paperback, preferably ‘Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan‘ (Dahil alam kong late na ako sa uso, but it’s never too late for a BO Book.)
  • Something big: A Hunger Games Trilogy Set (Dahil late talaga ako sa uso. At ayokong panoorin ang movie hangga’t di ko to nababasa. Sabi nga, Don’t judge a book by its movie.)
  • Something cute: A headband with fancy prints or ribbons! (Dahil after three years, ngayon lang ulit ako nagpagupit ng extreme at dumadalas akong masabihan ng gwapo at kailangan ko na ulit magmukhang babae.)
  • Something soft: A big bag of Marshmallows. (Dahil sa pasko, bawal ang diet.)
  • Something techie: DSLR. lol. (Dahil ambisyosa ako.)
  • Something fancy: Pretty boxes from Papemelroti for book storage space. (Dahil kawawa naman ang mga patong-patong kong libro.)
  • Something (Orange): Orange Lipstick from Etude House! (See: Something cute.)
  • Something wearable: Black pair of underwear. (Dahil isa sa mga kaweirduhan ko ang hindi pagsusuot ng underwear na hindi itim, okay?)
  • Something you need: Money. Lots of it. Or Boyfriend. Lots of it too. Lol. (Dahil mukha akong pera at wala akong trabaho ngayon.)
  • Something you can use for work: A purple Wallet (Dahil kailangan ko ng lalagyan ng matatanggap kong pera, di ba?)
  • Something sweet: A used, worn-out paperback of your favorite novel. (Dahil die-hard akong naniniwala na libro pa rin ang pinaka romantic na regalo. At oo hindi ko naisip yung sweet as in sweet foods.)
  • Dear Santa I’ve Been Good and I really, really, really want: BOOK MONEY OR BOOK GIFT CERTIFICATES. (Dahil mukha nga talaga akong pera at hindi mo maiintindihan kung gaano ako ka-obsessed sa libro.)

To whomever shall I be partnered with…ayan…MAPRESSURE KA! Lol. Chos lang  itong list na ito. Pero sabi nga ng salawikain, ‘All Chos are half-meant.’ Haha. Pero seryoso, kahit isa lang dyan would already make my Christmas. Thank you in advance! Happy Holidays! 🙂