This Deserves a Post

After making a promise to myself that I would blog everyday (even if it were just memes), extreme laziness just washed over me the past two weeks. I was online, sure, but I couldn’t bring myself to write anything or even answer email messages. (Those two weeks were filled with small joys, though, that I might blog about in a few days.)

Anyway, I decided to add a new post today after I read something on Reading Matters. Take a look at this and see something amazing. I wish I were in Bristol right now. (It pains me to see them being stepped on, though.)

If this ever happens at the Booksale warehouse, I’m there.

Booking Through Thursday: Authors Talking


Do you read any author’s blogs? If so, are you looking for information on their next project? On the author personally? Something else?

I do. I read authors’ blogs to find out about their next projects, to know more about them, to join the contests they host, but mostly to enjoy their writing while waiting for their next book to come out.

I follow several blogs, but I especially love Megan McCafferty’s because she blogs as well as she writes. The smart, witty writing that you can find in her Jessica Darling books comes through even on her daily blog posts. She’s so funny and snarky, just like Jessica. I also love the fact that she’s on Facebook and constantly does status updates that crack me up.

Memes, Memes, Memes, and More Memes

I decided I will do memes for every day of the week. Just because.


One new random question each and every Monday.


Grab your current read and open it to a random page. Share two (2) Teaser sentences from between lines 7-12, without spoiling the plot!


Lists of ten about that week’s topic. They even tell you next week’s topic in advance.


Post a photo that tells a story.


A meme about books and reading.

A fun, easy, fill-in the blank meme for the end of the week.


Five weekly questions designed to get your neurons firing and your fingers typing.


Just a Silly Meme Every Saturday.


We invite readers to steal our meme each week. Every week is not only a new set of questions, but each week is unique. Some weeks are creative while others are more traditional.


A quick bit of free association, it lists a word/phrase and you are supposed to list the first thing that pops into your head.

And my weekly and monthly memes will be:

Every week there’ll be a different theme. One week might be “catch up on your library books” week and the next might be “redecorate your blog week” or “organize your challenges” week or “catch up on your reviews” week. It’ll be fairly bookblogocentric, but not exclusively.


Every week I will post a book review. Since I’m not big on writing reviews for the books I read, I will continue to use Dewey’s Book Review Questionnaire to help me out. Books reviewed may be ones that I have read recently or months (even years!) ago. I don’t think I’ll review every book that I read, just the ones that deserve a write-up. (This is more of a challenge than a meme.)


Every month, take a picture or simply give a list of the stack of books that you are in the process of reading or planning to read (it might be on your nightstand, on a bookshelf, or like me, under your bed).

Visit The Daily Meme to find more memes suited to your taste.

Find out what a meme is at The Daily Meme.

Weekly Geeks: 2009-05 – Judge a Book by its Cover!

This week it’s all about judging books by their covers! Pick a book–any book, really–and search out multiple book cover images for that book. They could span a decade or two (or more)…Or they could span several countries. Which cover is your favorite? Which one is your least favorite? Which one best ‘captures’ what the book is about?

Two of my most favorite books of all time are John Steinbeck’s East of Eden and Ken Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth. I could not decide which book to use for this week’s post, so I decided I would just pick both!

East of Eden by John Steinbeck

This is my favorite cover because of the cleanliness of design, typography and layout. And it doesn’t have the garish “Oprah” endorsement, which just destroys the book cover design for me. (I bought this edition when it came out several years ago. It did have the red Oprah label on it but the good thing was it can easily be taken it off and thrown away because it was just a piece of paper wrapped around the book.)

This is my least favorite cover because it’s so bland. It doesn’t evoke any feeling or desire to read the book. It just doesn’t do anything for me. I just don’t get it.

This book cover best captures what East of Eden is all about. If you’ve read it, you’ll see the meaning—both literally and figuratively.

The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

This is my favorite cover. I love how Ken Follett’s name looks like it’s engraved on stone. The image of Medieval men constructing the cathedral is beautiful, too. Just looking at the cover, I know that it’s a historical novel, unlike the other ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ covers…like the one below.

Looking at the cover you’d think that it was another Follett suspense novel and not a historical masterpiece. The first time I saw this book with this cover at the bookstore several years ago, I thought it was set in the present time because of the image used. This is definitely my least favorite. Sure there’s a cathedral on the cover, but it missed the mark.

This is one of my favorite covers too. For me, this latest edition best captures what ‘The Pillars of the Earth’ is all about.  Combining the cover design with the weight of the book in your hands, you know that what you have before you is a historical, majestic, and sweeping masterpiece.

Weekly Geeks: 2009-04 – Other Passions

This week’s Weekly Geek is inspired by Dewey’s Knit-a-Long, a mini challenge of Dewey’s Reading Challenge. Dewey had other passions besides reading and blogging. Knitting was one of them. This made me think, what are the Weekly Geek’s other passions?

1. What are you passionate about besides reading and blogging? For example, are you crafty (knitting, woodworking, scrapbooking, model building)? Do you cook? Into gaming (computer or board)? Sports (player or spectator)? Photography? Maybe you like geocaching, rock climbing? Or love attending events like renaissance fairs, concerts? Music? Dancing? You get the idea.

Tell us why you’re passionate about it. Post photos of what you’ve made or of yourself doing whatever it is you love doing.

2. Get us involved. Link to tutorials, recipes, Youtube videos, websites, fan sites, etc, anything that will help us learn more about your interest or how to do your hobby. Maybe you’d like to link to another hobbyist whose work you admire or tell us about a book or magazine related to your interest.

3. Visit other Weekly Geeks. Link in your post to other Geeks who’ve peaked your interest in their passion. Or maybe you might find a fellow aficionado among us, link to them.


This really got me thinking. I just realized that almost everything I am passionate about has something to do with books, but not specifically reading or blogging, so I think I’m good to go.


The first thing that comes to mind is, of course, BookMooch. I am very passionate about BookMooch as is evident in my blog. I live, eat, breathe BookMooch every single day, it’s both crazy and wonderful. Not a day goes by that I don’t log in on the site, check my pending page, check my wish list page, and check the site for new books to mooch. I also read and post on all of the BookMooch forums (BM Discussion, BM on LibraryThing, and BM Pilipinas on Shelfari).

I love BookMooch so much that last week, my friend Triccie and I put up a BookMooch table at a high school fair to promote the joys of mooching. We even had t-shirts made! Oh the BookMooch awesomeness!

And every week (and on some weeks, every day) I answer email messages from BookMooch newbies who ask for tips and advice on how to maximize their BookMooching experience. I think it’s important to guide these new members so that they won’t encounter the same problems or hitches that I experienced as a newbie.

Another thing that keeps me on BookMooch everyday is the fact that I volunteer at the QC Public Library – Pasong Tamo. I manage their BookMooch account and handle all online and offline transactions, from requesting books to answering emails to receiving the books at the post office to delivering the books to the library. I love that this little library is getting help from all over the world. You should see how the kids and older students and the adults and senior citizens love to read at the library.

BookMooch is an online book-swapping community where you give your (unwanted) books away to get books you really want. BookMooch is free to join and use. Your only cost is mailing books to other members. BookMooch is open to everyone who has a computer, internet access, post office, and, of course, books to give away. I love that it’s international! And I love that John Buckman (BookMooch owner and developer) doesn’t hide behind a contact button. BookMooch is transparent, honest, and very user-friendly.

In the past year and a half that I have been a member, I have mooched over 400 books and given away 500 books worldwide. I remember that when I first joined I was so fascinated to be giving away my unwanted, well-read—but sometimes new and untouched—books to members in the UK, Australia, US, Japan, and Germany. One man’s trash is definitely another’s treasure! It was also super great to find books that were never released here in the Philippines. I have mooched so many books on so many different topics (Medieval History, British royalty, Tudors, learning Italian) that are hard to find here in my country. On BookMooch, since it’s international, you can find books in different languages, so I was able to mooch several Italian-language novels to help me learn Italian better.

BookMooch can be found here. All of the information you will need to know more about BookMooch or get started as a newbie can be found on this blog, left-hand column, under BookMooch Links. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or send me an email through BookMooch. If you are already on BookMooch, add me as a friend!


Another of my passions are bookplates and bookmarks. I am crazy for them! I buy most of bookplates online and at Barnes & Noble when I’m in the States. I don’t go to the US as often as I want to, so I make sure to purchase several packs whenever I’m there. Sometimes I am able to find great quality bookplates (like Antioch) at Fully Booked and Powerbooks, but they don’t always have them in stock.

My Bookplate Collection

Good bookmarks are also a bit hard to find here in Manila. But then again the only places I look for them are in bookstores. Maybe there are other places I can buy artsy ones? In the meantime, I can satisfy my bookmark cravings on Swap-bot, an online swapping site. I love that you can swap anything on the site, like postcards, penpal letters, tea cups, ATCs, crocheted and knitted items, books, CDs, jewelry, thimbles, trinkets, scrapbooking paper, stickers, and of course, bookmarks! You can either handmake the bookmark or buy them at the store and then swap them for other bookmarks. In the two months I have been a member, I have received really, really beautiful bookmarks. Awesome.

Some of my bookmarks (the rest are already inside most of my books!)

Here are some useful links about bookplates and bookmarks:

What is a bookplate?

Free downloadable bookplates online

Blog on bookplates

Free downloadable bookmarks online

Swap bookmarks on Swap-bot

An excellent site on bookmarks


Besides reading, BookMooching, collecting bookplates and bookmarks, I love to bake! My specialty is soft double chocolate chip cookies with walnuts. But I can’t share that recipe because it’s a *secret*! I also love baking all kinds of cookies like Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Ginger Cookies, Sugar Cookies, Snickerdoodle Cookies, Gingerbread, Peanut Butter Cookies, Truffle Cookies…I could go on and on. I also bake all kinds of cakes and brownies.

I started baking at age 12 after my cousin showed me how to make brownies from a Betty Crocker mix. In the beginning I only baked with mixes (brownie, cookie, cake) or frozen dough. I wasn’t brave enough to try it from scratch. When I was that age I was also freaked out by our oven—it was huge! So I always had someone else put in and take out the pan of brownies, cookies or cake for me.

A couple of years later I started reading about all these great recipes on the Internet and decided to try them myself. Measure the flour and sugar, soften the butter, crack the eggs, mix them all together—how hard could it be? I can’t remember the first thing  I made from scratch, but I imagine it went well because I just kept on baking more than a decade later. (I also overcame my fear of the oven—one day came that there wasn’t anyone to help me, so I had to do it myself!)

Most of the recipes I use I get from the Internet or in cookbooks. I only have a few recipes that I made myself, so I prefer to keep them under wraps for now. Super secret recipes!

The sites I frequent often for recipes are: Epicurious, AllRecipes, Recipezaar, the Food Network, Martha Stewart, and many, many others. I also love to read baking blogs! I have a huge folder with over 50 baking blog links.

If you have or know about a baking blog or recipe site that I should know about, please let me know!

***Photos courtesy stock.xchng

***I never take pictures of my baked goodies. I never remember to do so!


Other Weekly Geeks with passions the same as mine (or hobbies I would like to learn myself):

BookNut decorates cakes and loves photography! I like to bake cakes and love photography, too.

Fizzy Thoughts loves to travel. I love traveling, but I don’t get to do so as often as I want to.

The Cubicle Reverend loves The Big Bang Theory as much as I do. I heart Sheldon!

book-o-rama crochets beautiful scarves, hats, gloves, and toys. I don’t know how to crochet and have always wanted to learn how to do so.

Happiness is…


…having a bunch of packages to open! Gotta love BookMooch!

I was going to take an “after” shot, but I was so happy and distracted by the books that I forgot! Half of the packages were for QCPL, but half of them were mine…ALL MINE!!!

BookMooch Stand @ Ateneo High School Fair

Back in July John Buckman blogged about the MoochStand Project, an excellent idea from Teresa Malango. Teresa thought that it would be great to put together a kit filled with BookMooch promotional materials. This kit could be sent all over the world to people who want to participate in promoting BookMooch and getting more people interested in reading and mooching. I thought that it was a terrific idea. There are so many bazaars and fairs that BookMoochers Pilipinas members can go to, put up a BookMooch table, and spread the BookMooch love. So I requested for a MoochStand Kit on behalf of our group, and Teresa so kindly sent me the box of BookMooch goodies.


MoochStand Kit from Teresa Malango

Included in the kit are several tabletop display signs, BookMooch hand-out cards, tear-off fliers, a CNET feature article on BookMooch and John Buckman, and a BookMooch fact sheet.


BookMooch Promotional Materials

After much planning and talking and deliberating, we were finally able to put up our first BookMooch Stand at the Ateneo High School Fair last Friday, January 30. A big, big thanks to Honey and Joel Falgui, who are both English teachers at the high school, for hooking us up.


Triccie and Patti at the BookMooch Table, AHS Fair

Triccie and I handled the logistics and preparation of our BookMooch table at AHS. Triccie did the talking with Ateneo, provided the table, chairs, electric fan (good call!), laptop, internet connection, transportation (thanks, Manong Bogs), and even left-over stock from her bookstore (we sold some books to recover the cost of the booth fee). I provided the kit, BookMooch tarpaulin, BookMooch t-shirts (thanks to my sister), and BookMooch information sheets, which supplied more information on what BookMooch is all about.


All About BookMooch!

Honey, Joel F., and Karen were also very helpful in promoting BookMooch. These three book-lovin’ teachers helped distribute fliers and information sheets to every classroom in the high school before the fair started. Their hard work paid off because when our table was all set up, students and teachers stopped by for more information, and others who just passed by would exclaim, “Hey, it’s BookMooch!”.


BookMooch tarpaulin

It was wonderful to meet so many booklovers. Triccie and I talked to AHS students, AHS alumni, parents, teachers, visitors, and even people from other booths. JoelG also helped us in encouraging the students to join BookMooch (thanks for coming, Joel!). Czar and Marie followed later in the evening as well.

Our stint at the AHS fair was, all in all, a success. A few days after the fair two students contacted me via email and wrote that they already joined BookMooch. I am now helping them get settled in.


With AHS students and teachers

Until the next BookMooch stand! Yay for BookMooch!

The MoochStand Project is run and organized by Teresa Malango, who also handles all press inquiries for BookMooch. If you would like to tell people about the joys of mooching and set up a BookMooch table at a local fair, festival, book sale, or other public event, just send an email to Teresa and mooch a MoochStand Kit.

Our BookMooch shirts were made by Giddy Shirts.

I have to give credit to my sister Jennie and her friends Berns and Mitch for helping me and BMP. They made the shirts, took care of the tarpaulin, had the BM information sheets photocopied, and gave me rides back and forth to Triccie’s place. Thanks!

The Silence is Killing Me!

I really need to keep this blog going. For years, I’ve been setting up blogs and then abandoning them after only a few months. I can’t (and shouldn’t) let that happen to this one!

I’m trying to find a way to encourage myself to blog every day or at least once a week. Apparently, Booking Through Thursday isn’t enough. But, I’ll try to restart my BTT posts.

Let’s see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Booking Through Thursday: Villainy

Today is the 7th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. I know that not all of you who read are in the U.S., but still, it’s vital that none of us who are decent people forget the scope of disaster that a few, evil people can cause–anywhere in the world. It’s not about religion, it’s not about politics, it’s about the acknowledgment that humans should try to work together, not tear each other apart, even when they disagree.

So, feeling my way to a question here … Terrorists aren’t just movie villains any more. Do real-world catastrophes such as 9/11 (and the bombs in Madrid, and the ones in London, and the war in Darfur, and … really, all the human-driven, mass loss-of-life events) affect what you choose to read? Personally, I used to enjoy reading Tom Clancy, but haven’t been able to stomach his fight-terrorist kinds of books since.

And, does the reality of that kind of heartless, vicious attack–which happen on smaller scales ALL the time–change the way you feel about villains in the books you read? Are they scarier? Or more two-dimensional and cookie-cutter in the face of the things you see on the news?

I don’t read espionage books or any book involving terrorists, crime, catastrophes, and real-world issues. I read for enjoyment and escape, so I take pleasure from books that are not too heavy and similar to the world I live in. I am aware of what is going on in my country and in the world, but I want to keep my reading separate from that. All the crime, the hatred, the violence…they are just too much for me to take, so I choose not to read books that involve those things.

Therefore, my answer is no.

(Excellent question, though. I agree that it is important not to forget the scope of the disaster no matter where we are in the world. And well said…”It’s not about religion, it’s not about politics, it’s about the acknowledgment that humans should try to work together, not tear each other apart, even when they disagree.”)

Catching up on Booking Through Thursday Part II

And here we go again…June to August 2008.

Let’s continue.

June 5, 2008

Have your book-tastes changed over the years? More fiction? Less? Books that are darker and more serious? Lighter and more frivolous? Challenging? Easy? How-to books over novels? Mysteries over Romance?

I think my taste in books has changed over the years. Of course, when I was very young, I could only appreciate Archie Comics, Sweet Valley Twins (not High, not Kids, just Twins), Sweet Dreams, and Love Stories (Mills & Boon for teens, I suppose). I didn’t read too much in grade school and high school except for these teen fluff books. I absolutely had no interest in Newbery titles or other recommended books for the YA/teen set. I did read Judy Blume but enjoyed the teen romances more.

It was in college when I started to appreciate the better written YA book. I’m not sure how I stepped out of my teen-romance phase and into broader genres. I can’t remember what it is exactly that made me realize that there are more books out there. But I do know that it was only after high school that I became a booklover.

After high school I started to read Newbery titles, other award-winning and controversial teen books, and then branched out to general fiction. And then over the years I started to appreciate a few classics, some historical titles, and then even tried reading non-fiction books. I grew to love the Medieval era books and books on the Tudors and Tudor era. Memoirs and biographies became good reads for me, but I still preferred memoirs by non-political and celebrity figures. I still love a good YA book and I am addicted to a few teen series. And it is only recently that I discovered that I liked regency romances.

Yes, my taste has changed over the years and will continue to do so.

Right now, I very much enjoy light fiction (not frivolous, just light). I can only take books with serious and challenging issues once in a while. I try to appreciate sci-fi/fantasy, but I think I’m not at that stage yet. I do know that I will never like mysteries and suspense novels. I get scared too easily. I want to read more of the heavy classics, but I also know I’m not ready for that yet. Soon, soon.

June 12, 2008

Have you ever been a member of a book club? How did your group choose (or, if you haven’t been, what do you think is the best way to choose) the next book and who would lead discussion?

Do you feel more or less likely to appreciate books if you are obliged to read them for book groups rather than choosing them of your own free will? Does knowing they are going to be read as part of a group affect the reading experience?

I am not a part of a book club and will never be a part of a book club. I am a solitary reader. I like it that way. I read to escape reality and immerse myself in a good story. Whenever someone asks me what the book I’m reading is about, I get annoyed and just shove the back cover under their noses. Read it yourself, I always think. And when I’m done reading a book and they ask me what I thought of it, I just say I loved it, I liked it, I didn’t care for it, or I hated it. I’m not the kind of person who analyzes books and the characters’ motives. I prefer to enjoy the reading experience by merely letting myself be enveloped by the story. I may muse about a book for a while after reading, but never aloud or to someone.

Maybe that’s why I never liked writing long-winded book reviews. I prefer just giving my star-rating, giving a synopsis in one sentence, and then just saying what I liked or hated about the book in a few sentences as well. Some people love doing book reviews or talking about books with their friends or even joining book clubs. Good for them, but those aren’t for me. I may talk about some books with my friends, but never the in-depth kind (books, not friends). I may do book-ratings or mini-reviews, but never the super long and intense kinds. But I just can’t take part in a book discussion with a book club because it lessens the fun in reading. It will start to feel like homework, and I don’t ever want to turn my reading pleasure into something obligatory.

June 19, 2008

Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

I love Megan McCafferty, Emily Giffin, and Curtis Sittenfeld. Their writing is witty, smart, funny, sarcastic, and straightforward. I am not a big fan of flowery and lyrical writing. I don’t like very descriptive prose. I don’t need two pages of a description of a sunset. One sentence will do. And these three authors know just how to capture a scene or an emotion without overdoing it. That’s why I like them so much.

My favorite book is The Pillars of the Earth. I love its sweeping majesty. Follett took everything that I love and put it in one book: the Middle Ages, a good love story, a good versus evil situation (and good triumphing over evil), and straightforward and gripping writing (okay, I admit I dozed off during the part where Follett was describing the cathedral ceiling or something). I was also so disappointed when I only had a couple of pages to go, and was more disappointed when the story ended because I wanted more. Great books do that to me. Make me want more!

June 26, 2008

What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?

A reader is someone who reads all the time. It doesn’t matter if it is for leisure (fiction? romance? graphic novels?) or for academic reasons or for enlightenment. As long as he or she picks up a book, understands what he’s/she’s reading, takes pleasure/enlightenment from that reading, then he or she is a reader.

July 3, 2008

It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S., so let’s keep today’s question simple––What are you reading? Anything special? Any particularly juicy summer reading?

Let’s see. July in the Philippines isn’t summer. Summer ended in May. But looking back on early July, I was reading Lori Lansens’ The Girls. Not exactly light reading, but it was good!

July 10, 2008

One of my favorite bookstores burned down last weekend, and while I only got to visit there while I was on vacation, it made me stop and think.

What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?

Whether it’s a local book shop, your town library, or an internet shop … what would you do if, suddenly, they were out of business? Devastatingly, and with no warning? Where would you go for books instead? What would you do? If it was a local business you would try to help out the owners? Would you just calmly start buying from some other store? Visit the library in the next town instead? Would it be devastating? Or just a blip in your reading habit?

My favorite book source right now is BookMooch. If something were to happen to my beloved BookMooch, suddenly, devastatingly, and with no warning, I would probably mourn for weeks. I really would. Every day, since the day I joined BookMooch, I make time for the site, whether it’s to check my wish list, accept mooches, request for books, see what my friends are up to, or merely to window shop. I log in every day. I have to have BookMooch every day. So if BookMooch were to be taken away from me, I’d be completely at a loss as to what to do next. I could still get my books at the secondhand bookstore, Booksale, or at National Bookstore, Powerbooks, or Fully Booked, but it wouldn’t be the same. Sure, I could get my hard-to-find books on Amazon, but it still wouldn’t be the same. One big part of BookMooch’s success is the people who I trade books with. There’s something so amazing about exchanging books with someone in France or Canada or Portugal or Israel. It feels good to be part of a worldwide group of readers and booklovers. It would definitely be devastating if BookMooch would disappear from my life. I wouldn’t know how to pick up the pieces.

July 17, 2008

Vacation Spots
Another question inspired by the Bunch of Grapes on Martha’s Vineyard having burned down on the Fourth of July.

Do you buy books while on vacation/holiday?
Do you have favorite bookstores that you only get to visit while away on a trip?
What/Where are they?

All of the bookstores in the Philippines are the same: National, Powerbooks, Fully Booked, Booksale, A Different Bookstore, Goodwill…what else? If there are independent bookstores out here in the country, I would love to know about them. Most of the places I’ve been to on vacation had no bookstores. But abroad, I just go to the big bookstores like Barnes and Noble. I also like Books-A-Million in Chicago (love the remainder table). If I don’t have time to go to bookstores, I just do my book shopping at the airport!

July 24, 2008

Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?

“A few months ago, my husband and I decided to mix our books together.”

I love that line. And I look forward to mixing my books with my future husband. There’s something so comforting in sharing you love for books with the love of your life.

From Anne Fadiman’s Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

July 31, 2008

I had a couple of people (Readerville and Nithin) leave me suggestions in response to last week’s post on Beginnings, but this one was already on its way! I mean, it was the obvious next question….

What are your favourite final sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked especially because of its last sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the last line?

Adam looked up with sick weariness. His lips parted and failed and tried again. Then his lungs filled. He expelled the air and his lips combed the rushing sigh. His whispered word seemed to hang in the air.


His eyes closed and he slept.

From John Steinbeck’s East of Eden

August 7, 2008

Other Worlds
Are there any particular worlds in books where you’d like to live? Or where you certainly would NOT want to live?

What about authors? If you were a character, who would you trust to write your life?

(This came to me when reviewing a Jonathan Carroll book – I’m not sure I’d like to live in the worlds of his books.)

I am a very big Medieval Ages enthusiast, but I sure as hell don’t want to be alive during those times. Maybe as an invisible observant, yes. I would also love to have seen the Tudor court and all of Henry VIII’s wives, but still I wouldn’t want to be alive then.

So maybe I would like to live in Judith McNaught’s Regency England. Assuming, of course, that I am one of her strong-willed heroines with a happily ever after.

August 14, 2008

Gold Medal Reading

You, um, may have noticed that the Olympics are going on right now, so that’s the genesis of this week’s question, in two parts:

Do you or have you ever read books about the Olympics? About sports in general? Fictional ones? Or non-fiction? Or both?

And, Second:

Do you consider yourself a sports fan? Because, of course, if you’re a rabid fan and read about sports constantly, there’s a logic there; if you hate sports and never read anything sports-related, that, too … but you don’t have to love sports to enjoy a good sports story. (Or a good sports movie, for that matter. Feel free to expand this into a discussion about “Friday Night Lights” or “The Natural” or whatever…)

This week’s answer will be super short because I don’t like sports-related books. I also don’t follow any sport or sports team. I may watch the occasional basketball game, but that’s about it. I do watch ‘Friday Night Lights’ though, but mainly for the hot guys.

August 21, 2008

Whether you usually read off of your own book pile or from the library shelves NOW, chances are you started off with trips to the library. (There’s no way my parents could otherwise have kept up with my book habit when I was 10.) So … What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you? Do you have you any funny/odd memories of the library?

My earliest memories of the library weren’t great ones. I didn’t enjoy going to the library because the nuns at my school were very strict. I had to be very quiet, had to have my hair tied back, and had to have my uniform clean and presentable before I was allowed to enter. I was also very, very obsessed with being cool when I was young (you know, peer pressure and all that) and since being at the library wasn’t cool, I didn’t go as often. I do remember sneaking in a few times to borrow some Judy Blume books. I wish I didn’t care so much about status when I was younger. I could have enjoyed all those books at the library.

I also remember that we had a special reading class every week at the library. We were required to read several short stories and then answer an assessment test. Depending on your score, you were labeled a certain color (let’s say red being the best reader and brown being the worst). I remember hating those reading assignments because I didn’t like being forced to read and then being rated afterwards. I don’t think I ever reached the best reader status even if I loved to read. Those forced reading classes ruined the library experience for me. (Well, that and the coolness factor, too.)

In college, I had a much greater appreciation for libraries. I checked out as many books as I could. That was a fun time because there were no more forced reading classes and I no longer cared about popularity.

Now that I am out of school, of course I can no longer use the school libraries. The public libraries here are in a very sad state, so I just get my books somewhere else. However, I do volunteer at one of the public libraries in QC. I help them acquire books through BookMooch and I make sure to get a variety of genres so that the library can attract more readers. Hopefully, I can help turn this library into a good one so that other libraries will follow suit.

August 28, 2008

If you’re anything like me, one of your favorite reasons to read is for the story. Not for the character development and interaction. Not because of the descriptive, emotive powers of the writer. Not because of deep, literary meaning hidden beneath layers of metaphor. (Even though those are all good things.) No … it’s because you want to know what happens next?

Or, um, is it just me?

It’s me, too. I tried to give in to the pressure and read those award-winning and critically-acclaimed books, but I soon gave up the pretense. I don’t want to waste my time on books that are hard to read and so heavily laden with metaphor and meaning that it takes out the enjoyment in reading. I know some people love books like that (and others who pretend they love books like that) but I’m not one of them. Reading should be enjoyed. And I just enjoy reading a good, well-written story.

So, yes, it’s because I want to know what happens next. I’m just like you.

September 4, 2008

Peer Pressure
I was looking through books yesterday at the shops and saw all the Twilight books, which I know basically nothing about. What I do know is that I’m beginning to feel like I’m the *only* person who knows nothing about them.

Despite being almost broke and trying to save money, I almost bought the expensive book (Australian book prices are often completely nutty) just because I felt the need to be ‘up’ on what everyone else was reading.

Have you ever felt pressured to read something because ‘everyone else’ was reading it? Have you ever given in and read the book(s) in question or do you resist? If you are a reviewer, etc, do you feel it’s your duty to keep up on current trends?

No, I don’t feel pressured to read trendy books. I read what I like. But I am sometimes curious about certain popular books. I don’t go out of my way and buy them full-price, though. I wait until I can find a copy on sale or on BookMooch or from my sister (who likes buying books full-price). And then I read them. If I don’t like it, I don’t finish the book. If I do, then great!

Done! Yay!