Saturday, August 18, 2012

On 'Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children'

"Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of the suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize that we were alone? I have always known the sky was full of mysteries, but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was."
This line in Ransom Riggs' Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was one of the musings of Jacob Portman, a boy who has always been fascinated by the stories told by his grandfather Abe--stories about Abe's childhood, the peculiar kids he grew up with, even the monsters they were running from--and the photographs he showed to prove them. But when Jacob realized that he is already too old for fairy tales, he was convinced that these stories were only made up. It was not until the day of his grandfather's death that he began to question again which is true and which is not, for on that same day he saw the creature common in the stories he dismissed as unreal. And for the days after the tragedy, that creature continued to haunt him in his dreams. This urged Jacob to set out on an adventure to find out what his grandfather meant in his last words, and perhaps uncover the truth behind all the stories.

The book combines prose and vintage photographs which is an effective technique in creating a fantasy world such as this. For me, it felt like I was watching a movie in my head, the pictures contributing a lot in setting up the mood.

Friday, August 17, 2012

On 'That Kind of Guy'

It is not an uncommon trend on Philippine television shows and in romantic movies where the leading lady, often projected as someone who is plain-looking, will attract a bad boy type. You know the formula; boy is the appealing type with a long list of pretty and insecure girls that are now history, girl is your typical manang who still can't get over her last relationship which ended n years ago. Then the inevitable happened: boy meets girl, girl meets boy. For girl, the meeting was nothing special--she's wary of guys his type, and she's just not impressed. Meanwhile, the seemingly ordinary meeting for girl was actually a pivotal moment for boy, for he is, for the rarest of times, actually in love! We, girls, do not understand however this happened and so we begin to openly criticize the story for being so typical. But deep in our hearts, there is a very small question mark: "what are the chances that this can happen in real life?" Okay, I won't delve deeper into that. You get my point. There is a story that we know how it will end, always. Mina Esguerra's That Kind of Guy is not an exception. It is predictable, story-wise. But, as they say, it is not the destination, but the journey, which really matters. This chick-lit novella was a journey I was willing to take.

One of the reviews is right in saying that it is hard to put down. Primarily because it is a short and easy read. But mainly because it felt like listening to a girl friend I haven't seen for quite some time and there she was telling me her fairy tale all at once.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Blabbermouth #02: Fake It Til You Make It

One of the things on my wishlist is to be able to spread book love. Although I may not yet be confident enough to cross that out, I'd like to believe I am already on my way to attaining that goal. This post, my friend, is about how I helped persuade my sister, Ate Elvy, to start reading too.

Before anything else, you must know that it isn't the easiest of tasks. My sister is what you call a skeptic (hihi online backstabbing at its best).  She doesn't exactly hate books; she just feels like reading a non-required material is too daunting a task. She said she prefer watching movies because everything is visual and you can already know what you need to know just by looking. The best part is that it will be over in two hours, unlike reading which can last for days unless you're a speed reader or a bum. But then again, this might only be my perception of her! >:D

What convinced her to give reading a chance came along when she went to El Nido. She happened to enter a bookstore and I don't exactly know what's in it which made her realize she would like a library like that in her future home. I only know of the fact that she took a picture of a shelf of books and made it her Timeline's cover photo. Kuya Amar and I jokingly called her a poser for doing so. This was last March. My younger sister, Joy, and I, at this point are already sharing thoughts and feelings regarding the books we read. If you remember, last summer was a proud moment of my life because I was able to read six books--the same number which I read for entire 2011. My Ate of course didn't join these conversations because first, we were in Bicol and she's in Manila, and second, because it's not her thing. Unknown to us, she was slowly becoming envious that we can discuss topics such as this. 
We haven't a snobbish bone in our body!
To solve her predicament, she started this Fake it til you make it project. This meant she will pretend to love reading just because it's cool, until she eventually finds the light and realizes how worthwhile this activity actually is. Of course she had to start with what's hip that time: Hunger Games. I didn't recommend it, because my inner conscience that is Bennard, said so. But she argued that she have to take baby steps. Point taken. Better than nothing at all, I mused. After that I think she read Fifty Shades of Grey, too, which again is not something I'd want her to read. By this semester, she began dropping by Booksale and other bookstores too. Her first purchase as bargain was Tracy Chevalier's Girl with the Pearl Earrings. After reading it, she borrowed Joy's copy of Eat, Pray, Love. After much advertising of the literary books and enticing her with our book escapades, I noticed that she seemed genuinely interested with what I am talking about now. (She used to roll her eyes, I swear, when I steer our conversation with these kind of topics!) She even participates, can you believe it? She is now sharing about the trips she made to Booksale, or about how she spent the day on a coffee shop just reading Eat, Pray, Love. Her recent books, you ask? She bought Dumas' Count of Montecristo and Marquez' Love in the Time of Cholera, books to be read after she finishes her currently-reading Pride & Prejudice. Now, doesn't seem faking, does she?

PS. She'll kill me when she reads this!!! But I'm not taking it down because I couldn't be prouder of her! *le tear*

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Blabbermouth #01: Book Love Evolves to Book Hoarding

Tonight I feel like writing, just blather on about inane things and fill your head with unnecessary information. I hope that's forgivable since I haven't done so for a while now. :P My regular school workload plus some other org responsibilities had kept me from blogging since the start of the semester, but fortunately not from my books. Yes, I am still in my reading phase and I don't expect that to go away anytime soon. How about I blabber about that, hmm? *sings The Smiths' Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want*

If you read my earlier posts, you will know that I recently rediscovered my love for literature just this year. I originally thought it's not going to last that long because I didn't know I had that patience in me. But miracle of miracles, it exists! I signed up at Goodreads and, again through Bennard's coaxing, joined The Filipino Group. I had my first buddy reading with other members K.D., Mae, and the ever-supportive boyfriend Bennard, for Nicole Krauss' The History of Love and the experience was like a breath of fresh air. Never in my wildest dreams had I seen myself exchanging thoughts with hardcore bibliophiles. And so, as you may have already predicted, it only strengthened my bond with my books.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

On 'The History of Love'

"Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering."

The first time I read this line, I thought, I just have to read the book where this quote was lifted from! Being a sucker for fairy tales is one reason. Another is because I had a strong feeling that it's going to be a great read. You ever had that connection? You haven't read any works from that obscure author and yet after reading the blurb, you strongly felt like it's going to be your next favorite book. Well I had that with Nicole Krauss' The History of Love. And Bennard, being so supportive in my new hobby, bought the last copy Fully-Booked Shangri-La had that time.

The story revolves around Leo Gursky, a Holocaust survivor from Poland who came to America for refuge and for the hope to find the only girl he ever loved. Unknown to him, this girl, who left for America before the Germans invaded their place, was pregnant with his baby. She heard about the killings in Poland and, after not receiving replies to her letters, thought he was dead. She gave birth to a son, who grew up to become a famous writer, and married another man. Eventually, Leo found her and realized that he was too late. He stayed in America, learned the trade of being a locksmith, and watched his boy grow up from a distance. He then wrote a book which he titled "Words for Everything."