Comments 17

The Filipino ReaderCon 2012 Filipino Friday 4: Books and Friends

Filipino Friday

Filipino Friday

The Filipino Reader Conference is just 8 days away! And here’s the fourth Filipino Friday post. For this week:

August 10 – Books and Friends. We will have book discussions hosted by several book clubs during the ReaderCon, so to prepare us for that, let’s talk about books and friendships and book clubs. Are you a part of a book club? If yes, what made you join one? What’s your favorite activity that you have with them? If you’re not a part of one, will you consider joining one? Why or why not?

Are you a part of a book club? – Yes! I’m a member of Goodreads – The Filipino Group since January 26, 2011. In fact, I was once a moderator (from December 2011 to July 2012). I left the post because I felt that I’d enjoy the club better if I were an active member. Anyway, it’s an online-offline book club based on Goodreads. I first introduced myself to the members on the Introductions thread (it’s nearly impossible to find out about the group without visiting the threads). And here is the first message that I ever posted:

Hi everyone, I’m Angus from Makati City. I am not really into classifying books, but here are my Top Five Books from the top of my head: The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Lord of the Flies by William Golding, Death at Intervals by Jose Saramago, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, and The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers.

I am currently reading Possession by A. S. Byatt. I’m a little bored with it.

Other recent reads are One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Sea by John Banville, The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz.

I plan to read the following books this year: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand, The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy, and The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter.

I guess I talk too much? :)

Regarding the books that I intended to read last year, I was able to finish two out of five, namely Gone with the Wind and The Inheritance of Loss. Anna Karenina, I will be reading soon with Kwesi and Atty. Lynai (I hope they won’t back out) before the new adaptation comes out.

I’m also a member of The Classics Club. Members are from all over the world so it’s exclusively online. But who knows, we might do one giant meetup somewhere, hopefully in Santorini, Greece.

And then there are the blogging projects, but they are all inactive at the moment so I’d rather not mention them.

If yes, what made you join one? – With GR-TFG, I just wanted to catalogue my books. I first had an account at Librarything, but it did not become my thing. The communities there aren’t as active as the ones in Goodreads, and I found the site a tad boring. One time, I saw one of my Facebook friends post a Goodreads update. I was just scrolling through my newsfeed. So when my eyes caught the item, I clicked it, signed up for it, and the rest is history.

With TCC, it’s more of a challenge to make myself read more classics. You see, each member sets a goal and a deadline for himself. If you want to know mine, it’s 75 classics in 5 years. Yes, it’s a long-term commitment, and after nearly four months of being a member, I have finished a measly four.

What’s your favorite activity that you have with them? – I will focus on GR-TFG here. My favorite activities are the book discussions and the palengke (slang for wet market) meetups. We’ve only started the monthly book discussions this year, and if you are a frequent visitor of my blog, you’ll see my posts regarding each. If you have just stumbled here by chance, here they are:

The palengke meetups are just that: casual and informal meet-ups where we do anything book-related or not. We eat at random restaurants, we go book-hunting, we swap books, we give away books, we watch movies, or we just waste the hours away with each other’s company. I think these meetups made our connections with each other stronger.

If you want to make friends, join a book club. If you want to make money, go into business. Only a fool confuses the two.

I have forever been searching for whomever said that. Thanks to Google, I now know who it is: Richard Evans in his novel A Christmas List. And I couldn’t agree more; most of my friends in the city are from my book club.

There are other book clubs in the metro. There’s one based on Shelfari (Flips Flipping Pages). There’s one based on Read Philippines (I think it’s an independent forum/site). And there are more lurking out there (Ex Libris, Mysterious Reading Society). Maybe there are more in the provinces. I hope so. I really do.

The 2nd Filipino ReaderCon 2012

The 2nd Filipino ReaderCon 2012



  1. Hello, Angus! I’m interested in the Classics Club, but I don’t know if I can cope with the pressure of reading a certain number of classical works within a given time! Hehehehehe. I know a lot of book-ish friends who’re members of that online group as well. Good luck on the Anna Karenina read-along. By the way, are you reading the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation?


    • Hi Peter! The Classics Club was born last March. I just saw an announcement somewhere (I think it’s from a Filipino classics blogger), so I signed up. Most of the members are doing 50 in 5 years. I think that’s pretty manageable (10 classics in a year).

      And yes, I’m reading the PV translation. I’m a fan! I’m sort of collecting their translations (Dostoevsky, Pasternak). I’ve read their translation of W&P last year, and I’m very satisfied with it despite the numerous French and footnotes. However, one of my lurker friends said that the PV translation is too modern (feeling critic siya, haha), and prefers the Signet edition translated by David Magarshack.


  2. Hello again, Angus! Unfortunately, my War and Peace wasn’t translated by the PV duo. It looks like a trip to the bookstore is in order, yes? Hehehehehe.

    I’m not sure how the Signet translated edition of AK would compare to the one translated by PV. However, based on my experience, the language of the Signet translations that I’ve read back in high school and college feel a bit dated. Also, the Bantam editions can use some updating too, I think.

    During our discussion on The Count of Monte Cristo, the topic of translation came up. Most of the translations of that work come from the work of an anonymous translator. Penguin has recently released a new translation of TCoMC, which I heard from a fellow member makes the language more accessible. Also, the anonymous translator didn’t include a few details in the work, and it was only Penguin who included these nuances in the new edition.


    • I used not to mind who the translator is, but when I got a defective copy of W&P translated by Garnett (a chunk of pages were missing), I exchanged it for a P&V (and added an extra amount). I instantly noticed the differences. Garnett’s translation is bland. P&V’s are vibrant. I don’t know who’s being loyal for I have yet to learn Russian to know that, but really, maybe I don’t. I feel the latter is the more loyal one.

      I think that incident also made me a fan of the duo. So there, I’ll take advantage of the NBS sale and buy the P&V translation of Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago. :D


  3. Yes, I’m stilll in for AK. But oh, I have to check first which translation I downloaded from Amazon…oops, it’s by Garnett. Hm, I guess I should look for a PV translation for our buddy read, then. :)


  4. I really admire people who can read classics and award-winning books one after another! I find reading classics one after another leaves me feeling quite tired, and I always have to come up for air (by reading other genres, haha). I’ve never tried a palengke meet-up though! And I’ve only heard of it now! Shucks, such a noob :))


  5. I can still remember the first time I met you — I was a bit intimidated with all the piercings on your face! Then you started telling us about this book you had and I had a blank stare because I was still too hardcore YA then. :P Haha!

    Speaking of classics, I’ve always made it a goal to read 10 classics in a year but I always fail so I shot for 5. Now I think I’ll hit that goal because of our book discussions. :D


    • Oh my gosh, I am mentally hunting for my piercings! Unfortunately, I can’t find them. Yes, I remember your comment when I asked for Jzhun’s The Grapes of Wrath. You muttered, “Oh. Serious books.” I sometimes think that I might be deliberately intimidating others. Hahaha!

      I think I was bringing my copy of Hunger. Kasi someone said that we should bring the book that best describes us, but then nobody brought it up. :D


  6. “Measly 4” ..I’ve only read one! Now that’s ridiculously measley but I’m getting out of a slump so will jump into the classics. :)


    • Now that I think of it, it isn’t so bad. It’s like one book a month, but if I’m targeting 75 in 5 years, I should make it two classics a month, no? :D


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