Ex Libris
Comments 13

In which friends give me more books than I could read and I don’t give back

Gifts, Prizes, and Whatnot

Because nobody won my birthday giveaway due to technicalities. Anyway, let’s discuss the entries for a bit:

  • swright9 – suggested The Intrepid Islander but doesn’t have a reason. Thanks for the greeting! :)
  • thepagewalker – no entry but thanks so much for the greeting, Mommy Louize! :)
  • Monique – suggested Fragments but also doesn’t have a reason and posted beyond the deadline (submitted on 2013/04/26 at 2:01 PM). Sorry Buddy, but rules are rules. Thank you, Monique! :)
  • isaw08 – suggested The Sense of Being Angus. Same reasons with Monique (submitted on 2013/04/27 at 11:17 AM). Thank you, Tricia! :)

Seems to me like an epic fail (please remind me not to use that phrase again), or probably I have such stringent rules? Anyway, let me now post my recent book hoards and bookish birthday gifts.


[The Graveyard Book: from Mommy Louize, March 23]

This is really swapped with my copy of Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro through an exchange gifting scheme called The White Elephant swap. I wouldn’t even bother explaining the mechanics of it but if you are so inclined, there’s a Wikipedia entry for it. And yeah, I really targeted The Graveyard Book right from the start. I think I must read at least one Gaiman book. And look at the blurb: I was also one a child.

“Wistful, witty, wise–and creepy. This needs to be read by anyone who is or has ever been a child.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

[A Bell for Adano: Php 115.00, March 25, Book Sale – Cityland]

It’s been a while since I found a Pulitzer Prize winner. A Bell for Adano is an oldie. I’ve heard good things about John Hersey but not anything from this novel. However, the “dogmatically recommended” part of the blurb raises my eyebrows. I am not really sure what it is trying to say, but yeah, I should prepare myself for something dogmatic. It has something to do about a church bell, right?

”A well-written, funny, and, at times, serious and deeply disturbing story … dogmatically recommended.” – The New Yorker

[Short Cuts: USD 17.31, April 15, Better World Books]

I had a little trouble getting my copy of Short Cuts because 1.) I had to order it from an online book store, and 2.) it was inspected by the local customs officials. I had to pay a fee amounting to something that could give me cheap lunch but I didn’t really mind. What I did mind was the hot weather when I walked from our office to the post office. And yeah, I didn’t know that Short Cuts has a movie counterpart until last weekend. No, it’s more like I didn’t believe that there was one until one of my bookish friends explained that it’s like a collection of short films. Makes sense.

“Possibly no movie has ever made such a strong synthesis between a major American writer and a major American filmmaker. In Altman’s innovative structure, the stories interweave like themes in a jazz symphony.” – Newsweek

[The Death of Adam: Php 115.00, April 19, Book Sale – Robinson’s Ermita]

I’ve been hoping to find Robinson’s nonfictional works and voila! The Death of Adam presented itself to me when I made a quick trip to the nearest book store that I could find before meeting my friends for dinner. The copy is not new and I was insulted for seeing shoe marks on the first page of the book. Why would anyone step on this book? I erased the whole thing using a pencil eraser. Thank goodness that dirt is gone. And look at what Doris Lessing has to say about it:

“A useful antidote to the increasingly crude and slogan-loving culture we inhabit” – Doris Lessing

[Infinite Jest: Php 755.00, April 22, National Book Store – Glorietta 1]

I’ve seen a wonderful animated interview of David Foster Wallace and I was mesmerized by his voice. If there were a book store right across our office, I would have gone out as soon as the video interview ended. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that simply because there is no nearby book store. Infinite Jest will need to wait after work hours are over. Talk about compulsive buying, huh? But this book has been under my radar for quite a while, and I’m glad that I finally bought it because my wallet was picked a few minutes later. It’s the last thing that I bought with money from that wallet. Oh well. Should I take that as sign of something? The blurb below says “think Pynchon.” I don’t like Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49. Heh.

“The next step in fiction …. Edgy, accurate, and darkly witty …. Think Beckett, think Pynchon, think Gaddis. Think.” – Sven Birkerts, Atlantic Monthly

[Paper Towns: from Maria, April 24]

I have a suspicion: my book club friends are secretly conniving to turn me into a John Green fan. Of course they deny it, saying that they only wish for me to read at least one of his works. So Paper Towns will be one of them because there’s one more Green book below. There’s no blurb in this edition, and I really don’t know what to expect from this.

[Breakfast at Tiffany’s: from Jonathan, April 25]

I asked my friend why he gave me a copy of this. He said that he was watching his interviews the night before and that we should support our own, meaning the gay writers. I liked In Cold Blood, but I feel that Breakfast at Tiffany’s will be very different. I am not sure if I should trust Norman Mailer because I haven’t even read him, and I don’t like his feisty reputation.

”Truman Capote is the most perfect writer of my generation. He writes the best sentences word for word, rhythm upon rhythm.” – Norman Mailer

[The Reader: from Jonathan, April 25]

The Reader almost turned out to be a disastrous gift because I already have a copy of this, also a gift from another bookish friend. Good thing that it’s a different edition (my first copy is the movie tie-in edition and it’s not a new copy). And I like the reason my friend gave me for picking this book. Clue: it has something to do with the title.

“[Schlink] examines the nature of understanding and tests the limits of forgiveness. He does these things with honesty , restraint and a moral precision both unsettling and rare. The result is as compelling as any thriller.” – The Times

[The Fault in Our Stars: from Aaron, Beejay, JL, and Tina, April 27]

Since The Fault in Our Stars made it to the finals of the 2013 Tournament of Books, I got curious. It’s not too often that young adult novels are celebrated in such events so I asked around for a copy that I could borrow. My friends got a little excited so they decided to give me a copy as a gift. Okay fine, they are not conniving because I am sincerely interested in reading this book.

“Genius …. Simply devastating …. Fearless in the face of powerful, uncomplicated, unironized emotion.” – Time

[Happy Moscow: from Monique, April 27]

Happy Moscow is supposed to jumpstart my NYRB Classics collection. Actually, I haven’t really decided which of these books should I purchase. I am not too keen in collecting every single NYRB Classic because they are so many, so obscure, and so hard to find. And I resent the fact that they have so many Georges Simenon books. I’m like, who’s this writer?

“Andrey Platonov is the most exciting Russian writer to be rediscovered since the end of the Soviet Union. Happy Moscow shows Platonov as a master of language, waving out of official names, political speeches, ideological exhortations and popular philosophical hopes a reality equal to the gut feel of Soviet life in the 1930s …. This is just what it felt like to be swept away by the Soviet ideal of a new humanity.” – The Independent

[Red Sorghum: from Monique, April 27]

I’ve been eyeing this since Mo Yan won the Nobel last year. Red Sorghum is supposed to be his masterpiece. I was going to buy it until I read somewhere that the writer is a promoter of censorship. That was a rather dispiriting news. I didn’t even bother finishing the article so I didn’t get to know the reasons behind it. But Amy Tan’s comparison of Yan to Kundera and Garcia Marquez is a little uplifting.

“Mo Yan’s voice will find it’s way into the heart of the American reader, just as Kundera and Garcia Marquez have.” – Amy Tan

[Smaller and Smaller Circles: from Miss Louize, April 27]

I won a copy of Smaller and Smaller Circles at our recent book club discussion. It was raffled out, and yes, it was my first time to win a raffle. Wait. No, I just lied. That was my second time because I already won a raffle at a local writer’s blog last year. Haha.

[The Dark Half: from Jason, April 29]

This is the last item. I really didn’t expect to receive a book from an office mate because if you really want to know, I barely exist. I am the least friendly person in the workplace, and I am very obnoxious. Perhaps I should take a cue from the title? I don’t know what to expect from The Dark Half because my copy is just plain black with barely anything on it.

I think I talked too much for today?

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13 Comments

    • LOL. I just bought it. Maybe June? Heeey! How are you? It’s been a while since I last heard from you. :)

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    • lol..fine…same old, same old..still in my reading rut so I’ve just been reading random books. I still stop by your blog, I just don’t comment all the time :)

      I have a feeling that Infinite Jest is going to be as hard to read as Ulysses….or maybe just a bit easier, but in the same sort of category lol.

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    • Nooo! I hope not. Please encourage me, hahaha! And you haven’t been blogging lately din. Have you been traveling?

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    • Sadly I haven’t been travelling…stuck in the office :( Just haven’t been reading a lot lately. I can’t seem to find a good book to read. All the books I’ve read this year are so bleh…. Any recommendations?

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