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Let’s start the new year with this interesting book meme I found here. I wanted to answer all the questions so here goes:

A to Z SURVEY

Author You’ve Read The Most Books From
Best Sequel Ever
Currently Reading
Drink of Choice While Reading
E-reader or Physical Book?
Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School
Glad You Gave This Book A Chance
Hidden Gem Book
Important Moment in your Reading Life
Just Finished
Kinds of Books You Won’t Read
Longest Book You’ve Read
Major book hangover because of
Number of Bookcases You Own
One Book You Have Read Multiple Times
Preferred Place To Read
Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read
Reading Regret
Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series)
Three of your All-Time Favorite Books
Unapologetic Fangirl For
Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others
Worst Bookish Habit
X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book
Your latest book purchase
ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late)


in which i talk about books books and more books )

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Starting a new blog post with a whiny rant under a read more. I wrote this on a journal like a year ago but I’m feeling it again and really, I’m too lazy to describe it again so I’ll just post it.



Anyway enough of that crap and let me bullet point stuff I’ve been doing this past month!
  • My roommate and I made a pact to finish all previous seasons of Breaking Bad before part 2 of season 5 starts in August 11. We’ve been at this for like two weeks now and we’re still at Season 4!! We’ve got like three days to finish 7 episodes plus part 1 of season 5, whew. Thank the gods today is a holiday!
  • Speaking of which, EID MUBARAK to everyone celebrating! (I seriously love my country, we get Christian and Muslim national holidays off ahh)
  • Finished season 2 of Boardwalk Empire, halfway done with season 3. I need more Rothstein.
  • I’M WATCHING ONGOING ANIME AFTER A LONG TIME?? Right now I’m into Shingeki no Kyojin and Free! So anybody who wants to talk about those, just hit me up!
  • I LOVE JEAN KIRSCHTEIN. I unironically sail every ship that he is in, Jean/Marco, Jean/Eren, Jean/Mikasa, Jean/Armin, basically Jean with everybody. Annie is a close second in my heart.
  • It’s so hard to say which of the swimming boys I love most, maybe Nagisa and Rei, but I love them all really. Rn I just want to see Samezuka-buchou in a speedo.
  • This is an important public service announcement: Welcome to Night Vale has swallowed my corporeal being. I can’t believe how attached I am to Cecil, like when did this happen.
  • I don’t know how I manage to juggle all these fandoms with two hands, possibly some tentacles, but I’m managing. It’s fun!
  • Oh and how could I forget: PACIFIC RIM. I’m brimming with ideas and I’m going to write semi-historical fic because that’s my jam.

Book update:

I am really behind on my reading list this year. I may not be able to finish the 50 book milestone I set for myself and I may whittle that down to a manageable 30. I’m currently juggling a couple of books too, as is my usual behaviour.
  • Finally got around to reading Les Miserables after all the heart-breaking ExRfanfiction I devoured a month ago. Something about modern AUs for the Les Amis and college friendships make me wish I had a tight-knit group growing up. Ah, I want to rec fanfics of these, but would anyone even be interested?
  • The thing is, my paperback of Les Mis is pretty inconvenient to bring along all the time, so I also have it on this tab that I use as a reader. Basically I’m simultaneously reading two different translations. I wish I just knew French.
  • I am slowly moving forward with Moby Dick. Very, very slowly.
  • And I also read a handful of HP Lovecraft’s short stories courtesy of this, because of Night Vale. IT’S GREAT. AND CREEPY. And I’m pretty sure one of them is anti-alcohol Prohibition Era propaganda.
  • Bought A Separate Peace and All Quiet on the Western Front for PHP90 a piece!

That’s mostly all for now, and I do hope I get to post more often. Hit me up on tumblr, maybe, I’m pretty much always there 
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I haven't been reading stuff lately and that makes me a bit sad. There's around 3 books that I'm stuck halfway through, but I just can't seem to pick them up and finish them. Hmm.

Nevertheless, I've been able to write and draw something, so that's good, we're getting back in the game. The other day I bought a couple of books too, as if I'm not already drowning in them. Sorry for the crappy picture.

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I wandered into a book sale and found Caleb Carr's The Angel of Darkness! I've been looking for this book since I read The Alienist some years ago, and I finally found a copy omg. That really made my day. Here was my description of The Alienist from this:

...which has got to be one of my favorite Victorian-era America novels of all time. There's a serial killer on the loose whose prey of choice are boy whores. And he cuts them up Jack the Ripper style. And the protagonist is an avant-garde psychiarist by the name of Laszlo Kriezler. And he's got a youngish crime reporter as a narrator Watson-style. What's not to love?

Also picked up Michael Crichton's The Lost World, not to be confused with ACD's The Lost World, because I read Jurassic Park once upon a time and it was fun. I have never finished ACD's though. Maybe someday.

Lastly, I now have the two volumes of Skyworld! Expect some fannish thoughts on it later, I've only read the first one and I'm bursting with ideas, complaints and arguments. 

Ending this with LLAP because STAR TREK UGH
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Bit of a life update or something:

My housemates are really pissing me off. They’re relatively new, compared to three of us who’ve been living here for about 3-4 years and know each other’s piss-off buttons and the like. But I don’t think that’s any excuse because they’ve been here more than six months already.

We hardly talk to each other, but we share a bathroom, and if there’s one thing I’m really obsessive about, it’s bathroom cleanliness. Seriously, if and when I get my own place, everywhere is gonna be a mess of paper and take-out, except the bathroom and the sink. I keep the bathroom clean. I don’t even wait for the landlady to come and clean, I clean the floor, the walls, the bowl, everything, because I can’t stand a dirty bathroom.

probably TMI )

--

Books I’ve read, recently (there are SPOILERS):

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Philip K. Dick. Rick Deckard is a bounty hunter. He hunts androids, or “andys”, who escape to Earth from the Martian colony, and retires them. Stuff happens and he has to hunt down 6 of the new Nexus-type brains, armed only with the Voigt-Kampff empathy scale to differentiate the android from the human. The story inspired films such as Blade Runner and Total Recall.

There’s a lot of interesting material in this story. First is the silence. Most of the people on Earth have gone on to live on Mars to escape the dust, which apparently causes brain damage and even death in the long run. One character lives alone in an apartment building outside the city, and when he turns off the TV, the surrounding silence threatens to engulf him, like something alive. I think I read an experiment somewhere, of a room that does not absorb sound, and that people can’t stay there for long for fear of going mad. We don’t usually give thought to the background sounds of everyday life, but imagine if there wasn’t anything left. What would happen?

Another was the lack of empathy in androids. Basically, these androids look just the same as human beings, and you wouldn’t know if he/she was an android at all unless you test them. The androids in Do Androids Dream can feel, emotions like panic and fear and even happiness. But they fail to empathize with other living things and that’s their defect. There’s a really chilling scene where they find a spider (animals/insects of all kinds are endangered) and proceed to cut off its legs, because they were curious what it needs eight legs for.

The thing is, you want to root for the andys, because they’re fleeing from slavery in another planet. But then, Dick shows you how different they are from real human beings, how screwed up they are, and how they can never be like us. The problem is, as said in the book, there is a percentage of people, real people, who cannot feel empathy, and the test can’t distinguish from that. You’ll only find out after you’ve shot them.

I personally prefer my androids developing personalities and feelings in the long run. Like David in AI. The andys here, however having personalities and rudimentary feelings, are treated as the other because they don’t have that human trait, empathy. And this lack of empathy makes it okay to hunt you down. David from Prometheus is a good example of this cerebral, sentient being. And HAL9000 too, of course.

Rating: 7/10, would recommend to anyone who likes androids and those wanting to watch Blade Runner. I understood that movie so much more afterwards.

The War of the Worlds, HG Wells. Cylinders fall from Mars and in it are Martians set to conquer the world. The events are seen through the eyes of an ordinary 19th century philosopher/professor and involves a lot of hiding and running from the Martians using dog carts and horses.

One thing I realized after reading it through, was that it can be read as a colonial/imperialist metaphor. I’m not sure about Wells’ stand on this but considering England, 1890s, British Empire, I think it’s safe to say that he was well aware of it. If so, the Martians are the imperialists, and the human race is the colonized country.

For example, the artilleryman, friend of the narrator, imagines a possible future with the Martians in charge. They won’t kill everybody, just enough to make a point. And the remaining peoples will flourish with the Martians, who would fatten them up (for food, the Martians drink men’s blood), and use them for entertainment, like pets. And soon enough, these people would forget everything before the coming of the Martians and be satisfied with the way things were. Sounds very colonialist, doesn’t it?

But, the major difference with this and real life is, the Martians are defeated. By bacteria and pathogens native to our soil. Because apparently they don’t have that in Mars. I would argue that it’s different from the way it worked IRL, because the coming of the conquistadors brought and spread diseases from which the native populations had no immunity against. Like the case with the Maya, and the Aztecs, and other peoples around the globe. I haven’t heard of any case where the conquerors fall prey to the diseases of the native land, although there may be a few. Here's a lecture on it if you're interested, I'm still downloading it though, I'll listen later.

EDIT: There are cases of the opposite! Like apparently, syphilis, for example. Still, that did not decimate the colonialist populations like smallpox and measles, though.

They don’t have that in Mars, bollocks. Of course they have bacteria. And the more probable ending would be a worldwide Martian plague bringing the planet to its knees. But yeah, it’s a scifi story, I concede anything could happen.

Rating: 6/10, if only for the hilariousness of the 1890s people and general mass hysteria. +1 because it made me cry a bit on the THUNDER CHILD chapter. Yeah, go read.

I am halfway through The Great Gatsby and it’s really great. It’s my first time reading this bc I’m not American, though.

PS: Habemus Papam Franciscum! Yeah.

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Sometimes, I think maybe I should spend my money on something else, other than books. But then something whispers, "What else is there besides books?", and I promptly forget I even thought of that until my next bout with self-doubt.

I got my paycheck the other day, and proceeded to spend it in the most rewarding way possible - in a bookstore! I've been thinking about buying Tolkien for a while now (and returning the LoTR I borrowed to its rightful owner), but I couldn't decide between a) a box set of The Hobbit + separate books of the trilogy, or b) The Hobbit (illustrated by Alan Lee) and a single volume edition LoTR.

I mean, a) is a box set, and box sets are pretty, they look real nice together, but b) has ALAN LEE ILLUSTRATIONS and LoTR in a single volume as Tolkien wanted it to be.

Ah, yes, I was leaning towards the latter. I have The Hobbit as illustrated by Alan Lee now and it's really very pretty!!

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Also picked up Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietschze. That day was a really good day, because my copy of The Sound of Music was finally returned! Now my rainy days will be filled with music and joy againnnnn~
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Yesterday’s book sale trip was pretty slow, I only got two books, one of which I’ve already read.

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I lost my Earthsea book four years ago(?) at my first dormitory and I haven’t read it since. Looking forward to reading Ged again! I used to be so into this, but now I barely remember anything… I also have Tehanu at home, which I haven’t read yet because I don’t have The Farthest Shore.

Lucked out on Geoffrey of Monmouth! Very fitting since I recently continued watching Merlin.

In other news, I saw Les Miserables at yesterday’s opening night! What can I say? I thought it was FANTASTIC!

But I’ve a feeling that unfamiliar viewers may not enjoy it as much as fans do, because it’s quite long, and there are parts which can be boring. I mean, if you don’t like this type of music, you probably won’t like it. But since my bro and I are huge suckers for this, we ate it up like ravenous wolves etc etc.

those who falter and those who fall must pay the price )

People clapped and cheered and somebody even shouted “Bravo!” afterwards, which was reassuring, because (I love doing that and) nobody clapped when I saw The Hobbit. Sigh. Anyway, when the credits came, applauses were for Hugh, Anne, Sacha and Helena. I clapped for everyone (even Russell), especially for Colm haha. It was nice because the audience was appreciative, truly, the best way to see this film is with Les Mis fans.

We met some of my brother’s film friends, and they started chatting about how it was a very Tom Hooper film, etc. All I know is that it had a lot of long takes, close ups, and too much 45 degree diagonal shots.

Another thing, my pride as a Les Mis fan was injured when the guy next to me wouldn’t stop crying for the whole of the second act?? By the end, he was positively sobbing and I only teared up a couple of times? Maybe watching/listening to it too much has desensitized me already??? ( I think if it was Alfie Boe with Bring Him Home I could have sobbed like that too, maybe.)
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Book: Smaller and Smaller Circles
Author: FH Batacan
Published: 2002 University of the Philippines Press


Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhere else in the world would a detective story with priests as main characters work, aside from, perhaps, the Vatican? The Philippines, with its 80% Catholic population, is as good a guess as any. Father Gus Saenz is a Jesuit priest and a highly-regarded forensic anthropologist, two occupations that would seem incongruent but somehow work smoothly. Working with him is his former student, Father Jerome Lucero, who is also a noted clinical psychologist. When a child is found on a dumpsite, eviscerated and decaying, the two are called in to investigate an apparent series of gruesome murders and to catch a rarity in Filipino crime – a serial killer.


If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss with gaze back at you. (Nietzsche) )


I enjoyed the book very much, and it begs a sequel. But it was written a decade or so ago, and there doesn’t seem to be any plan for one. FH Batacan is one of the contributors in the crime anthology Manila Noir, and I’m guessing (and hoping) she’ll bring back the two priests for another crime-solving mystery.

Some other notes on the book )

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A bit overdue but, last Sunday, my brother and I went to the last day of the National Bookstore Warehouse Sale. It was a bit of an overwhelming experience, because we both didn't know where it was (we took a cab and felt really wasteful), and I honestly did not expect it to be in an actual fourth-floor warehouse! There was a lot of people and boxes and boxes of books and other goods, all priced down for the holidays. Whenever a staff opened another box, people would flock and fight over its contents like Battle Royale or something. Some had boxes full to the brim - perhaps they owned a bookstore too, that's the only explanation. I met some old school friends from UP too. I managed to pick up a few things...
 
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- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell audiobook - I'm not really into motivational stuff, but it's 7 CDs for P100 (around $2.5), that's a bargain.
- Pacific Rims, Rafe Bartholomew - Basketball! In the Philippines! I've long wanted this book alright.
- Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature, Emma Donoghue - OH YES. My roommate was a bit scandalized by the pictures, but I fail to see it, haha.
- Dancing in the Dark: A Cultural History of the Great Depression, Morris Dickstein - Woops, my love for this era is showing...
- The Aeneid, Virgil - S C R E A M I NG
- Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte - P50! I really lucked out on this, it's a very pretty copy.
- How to Read Literature Like a Professor, Thomas Foster - I'm reading it now and it's both funny and informative?
 
My brother the ass bought a Gio Ponti design book for P500, and made me pay for it. Ponti, more like Ponzi, I thought this was a sale.
 
Anyway, my review for Smaller and Smaller Circles is almost finished - it became a paper somewhere along the way and I really want to add references but I can't find what I want. Also, I started this last weekend.

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Starting this book later!

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I'm really excited about this because it's a detective story! Set in the Philippines! With a Jesuit priest as the 'detective'! I wish there were more Filipino crime/noir novels, but as it is, they're incredibly rare. The only other book I can think of is Manila Noir, an anthology edited by Jessica Hagedorn, with stories by Lourd de Veyra, Gina Apostol, Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo, FH Batacan and Jose Dalisay Jr. among others. It's still coming soon from what I see.

Maybe it's up to the younger generations to fill this gap? It's a challenge to all my writer friends!

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 So the things I have so far done in bullets:
  • Finished The Casual Vacancy! Somebody talk to me, that wasn’t a happy book…
  • Finished Suits S2 in a weekend ahahahaaa. It was FANTASTIC!! The last episode did have some weird where-the-hell-did-this-come-from moments but overall it was pretty damn enjoyable.
  • HOW AWESOME ARE THE FIRST TWO EPISODES OF THE WALKING DEAD?? I really really hope they sustain this much gore and energy and badassery! (I was all but ready to give up after S2 but this restored my faith thank zombies.) ALSO MICHONNE!!!
  • I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT DOWNTON ABBEY OK, JFC I NEVER CRIED THAT MUCH ON A SINGLE EPISODE KFJALFKJASD;FLK. All I want is to stand on a cliff, hold up a fist and scream JULIAN FELLOWES!!!! as the night wind screams back at me.
  • Still wondering whether to read 2001 A Space Odyssey or watch the movie first.
  • I have tickets for the Ruroken showing!!!!!
  • Also, very excited for TRESE 5!!

May 2014

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