F2F30: The City and the City by China Miéville

TFG’s Book of the Month for June: The City and the City by China Miéville

The City and the City Face to Face Book Discussion Details:

  • Date: June 28, 2014
  • Place: Balboa, Shangri-la Plaza, Mandaluyong City
  • Time: 3 PM to 6 PM
  • Discussion Leaders: Gwaxa and Meliza
  • Attendees: Me, Aaron, Aldrin, Allan (my guest), Cary (after), Ella, Honey, Marie, Monique, Rhena, Tina, Tricia (after), Veronica, Ycel
  • Food I Ate: Banana and berry shake (I already ate before arriving at the venue).
  • Activities: True or false trivia, word games, unseeing and unhearing, and book raffle (I won one of the three books).
  • After the Book Discussion: I left right after the discussion so I don’t what the others did.
  • Other Nominated Books: Embassytown and Un Lun Dun, also by China Miéville.
Discussion Time

Discussion Time

The F2F30 Attendees

The F2F30 Attendees

  • Next Month: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. If you wish to join us, please visit the discussion thread and the event thread for more details.

Photos courtesy of Rhena and Ycel.

F2F29: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

TFG’s Book of the Month for May: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

To the Lighthouse Face to Face Book Discussion Details:

  • Date: May 31, 2014
  • Place: Borough, The Podium, Mandaluyong City (there’s a last minute change of venue and I’m too lazy to edit out the name of that horrible restaurant)
  • Time: 3 PM to 6 PM
  • Discussion Leader: Me
  • Attendees: Aaron, Aldrin, Alexa, Beejay (before), Bennard, Ella, Emir, Erlyn (my guest’s guest), Gwaxa, Ingrid, JL (after), Jonathan, Kristel, LouizeMariaMeliza, Momel (my guest), Monique, Ranee, Rhena, Roni (my guest), Tricia, Veronica, 
  • Food I Ate: Pumpkin ravioli and mojito.
  • Post-discussion Activity: None, hahaha! I chose to focus on the online and the offline discussions.
  • After the Book Discussion: Dinner at Teriyaki Boy. Then I went elsewhere.
  • Other Nominated Books: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner and The Trial by Franz Kafka.
Discussion Time

Discussion Time

The F2F29 Attendees

The F2F29 Attendees

Guests from Write Here, Write Now

Guests from Write Here, Write Now

  • Next Month: The City and the City by China Miéville. If you wish to join us, please visit the discussion thread for more details.

Wait! This post is part of the Writing 101 tasks, and here’s the prompt:

If you could zoom through space in the speed of light, what place would you go to right now?

Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?

Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.

So let’s talk about Borough. Because yes, I want to go back there to try more of their food. I was too busy leading the discussion that I forgot to order a second round of drinks even if I asked the waitress for the menu. And I was not able to taste the cookies and milk! Sheesh.

Anyway, I saw Borough through a restaurant aggregator (is that what you call those sites?) when I found out that Bistro Vignette, the original venue, didn’t honor my reservation and told me with an insincere apology that they are not open on Saturdays (and they have the temerity to ask me to move the event on a Friday). What’s worse is that they lost my contact number (that’s why they couldn’t contact me). So why take customers’ numbers and lose them, huh? They could’ve just checked the day of my reservation when I asked if they could accommodate us, right? That way, no one would have been bothered. That was just a really horrible and distressing experience. I would never eat there. Ever.

A few hours later, I was able to make another reservation at Borough, which I now consider a blessing. Borough is a 24/7 restaurant, but here’s the thing: it’s located inside a mall which is not 24/7. Isn’t that cool? They talk of comfort food, but upon looking at their menu, I didn’t see a lot of those (my comfort eats are pastries and cereals; I guess it really depends on who’s looking at the menu). But there are cookies! And besides, Borough is a real comfort, coming from my experience with that blasted bistro. It would be my first time to eat there, and I’m sure that I will not forget it because it’s going to be the place of the book discussion that I’ve been moderating for over a month. It will, in a few days, become the past.

The interior design makes one feel warm. I like the wood panels. They give the feeling that you are inside a cabin. Overall, it’s very modern. There are round tables for small groups, long tables for big groups (like us), high tables and high chairs, the bar, couches on the upper area (open only from 10 PM onwards). The lighting is warm, the service is okay. The waitresses that attended to us were attentive but they looked bored. It would be a shame if they were annoyed at us for discussing the book.

The Bar

The Bar

The food looks like it wouldn’t fill your stomach but it actually would. It took me nearly an hour to finish my food, the pumpkin ravioli. It is sprinkled with crushed pecans (or walnuts?) and dried cranberries. The only complaint that I have is the whole clove of garlic hiding underneath a raviolo (because I like my garlic minced; I just can’t seem to eat a clove). I always forget to bless my food with a photo. My foodie friends had the time to do that. According to them, it makes the food taste better.

Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Grilled cheese and tomato soup

Cookies and cold milk

Cookies and cold milk

I think the discussion was fairly successful. Great place, great food. Great thoughts, great opinions. Great book, great people. It was a  beautiful day. I couldn’t ask for more. So thank you to everyone who participated both in the online and offline discussion. As a token of my appreciation, I had asked an artist friend to design bookmarks and produce hand-made notebooks that might help in answering big questions.

The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

Really, a million thanks! :)

Okay, the twist says that I should organize this post around the description of a setting, not finish the post with an advertorial of a restaurant. Well, there are pictures of the venue taken here and there, so I guess that’s a workaround twist.

Photos courtesy of Ella, Monique, and Rhena.

F2F28: If on a Winter's Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

TFG’s Book of the Month for April: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler Face to Face Book Discussion Details:

  • Date: April 26, 2014
  • Place: The Sweet Spot, Sikatuna Village, Quezon City
  • Time: 11 AM to 5 PM
  • Discussion Leader: Ranee
  • Attendees: Me, Aaron, Aenna, Alexa (after), Bennard, Camille, Cary, Ella, Gwaxa, Ingrid (after), JL (after), Louize, Mae, Marie, Meliza, MoniqueRhena, Ruby, Tina, Tricia, Veronica, Ycel
  • Food I Ate: Beef broccoli and apple pie frappe.
  • Post-discussion Activity: Distribution of our latest novella, The Reading Club. It is a collaborative work of some members who volunteered, making it the third publication of our book group. Also, Adventure Time at UP Diliman! This is composed of 50 photography tasks of varying levels of difficulty. Example tasks are jump shots at building steps, group selfies on the streets, concept photos at hallways, and meeting new strangers (for those bonus points). Great fun but my feet nearly killed me.
  • After the Book Discussion: Dinner at Bon Chon and coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, both in Katipunan.
  • Other Nominated Books: The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde and The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón.
Discussion Time

Discussion Time

The F2F28 Attendees

The F2F28 Attendees

  • Next Month: To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. If you wish to join us, please visit the discussion thread and the event thread for more details.

Photos courtesy of Ella.

F2F27: The Alienist by Caleb Carr

TFG’s Book of the Month for March: The Alienist by Caleb Carr

The Alienist Face to Face Book Discussion Details:

  • Date: March 29, 2014
  • Place: K&B Resort, Pansol, Calamba, Laguna
  • Time: 7 AM to 7 PM
  • Discussion Leader: Maria
  • Attendees: Me, Aaron, Alona, Arizel (newbie), Bennard, Gwaxa, Ingrid, JL, Joy, Meliza, Ranee, Rhena, Sheryl, Veronica
  • Food I Ate: Adobo, carbonara, peanut butter sandwiches, mangoes, nuts, coke, root beer, well there’s a lot of food. 
  • Post-discussion Activity: None, because we were all excited to jump into the pool. I didn’t even bring swim clothes with me, but what the heck, I managed!
  • After the Book Discussion: Water games! What would we use a pool for? And there’s also singing, swimming lessons, more eating, more talking, underwater photo ops, and many more.
  • Other Nominated Books: Sharp Objects by Gilliam Flynn and The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris.
Discussion Time

Discussion Time

The F2F27 Attendees - I

The F2F27 Attendees – I

The F2F27 Attendees - II

The F2F27 Attendees – II

  • Next Month: If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino. If you wish to join us, please visit the discussion thread and the event thread for more details.

Photos courtesy of Alona and Maria.

F2F26: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

TFG’s Book of the Month for February: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver

What We Talk About When We Talk About Love Face to Face Book Discussion Details:

  • Date: February 22, 2014
  • Place: Cafe Adriatico, Ermita, Manila
  • Time: 2 PM to 6 PM
  • Discussion Leader: Monique
  • Attendees: Me, Aaron, AennaAlexaAlona, Aries, Beejay, Bennard, Ella, Gay, Gwaxa, Ingrid, JL, Jonathan (newbie), Joy, Louize, Mae, Maria, Marie, Meliza, Rhena, Rollie, Tina, Tricia, Veronica, Ycel
  • Food I Ate: Pancit palabok and guyabano juice.
  • Post-discussion Activity: Post-Valentine Exchange (I gave my three Valentines, uhm, highlighters when everyone else was giving away notes and undies) and Wear Your Love (I wore my The National concert tee). This discussion is rowdier than usual. The Bell of Power was powerless. We need new stuff, such as the Gong of Domination, the Megaphone of Doom, or the Duct Tape of Silence.
  • After the Book Discussion: Discussion of random topics while loitering on the streets, dinner at Gerry’s Grill – Robinson’s Midtown.
  • Other Nominated Books: Drown by Junot Díaz, Interpeter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, and Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Discussion Time

Discussion Time

The F2F26 Attendees

The F2F26 Attendees

Photos courtesy of Ella.