Month: January 2015

14 out of 20.

The 21st century’s 12 greatest novels (so far)

The BBC Culture section asked several book critics to list the best novels that were published since the first day of this century. It has been 15 years since, and look at the books at the top of a list of over 150 novels. The Top 12: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (2007) The Known World by Edward P. Jones (2003) Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (2009) Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (2004) The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (2001) The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (2000) A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (2010) Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain (2012) Atonement by Ian McEwan (2001) Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2006) White Teeth by Zadie Smith (2000) Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (2002) The Runners-up: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2013) Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald (2001) My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (2011) The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (2004) The Road by Cormac McCarthy (2006) NW by Zadie Smith …

Four

And the winner of our bloggy birthday guessing game contest…

…will be announced after we read the entries. This year, we have eight. We see familiar names and new names (hello there). I usually disqualify first-time commenters because I don’t feel like giving a book to a stranger, but hey, let’s try something new this year to rev up the competition. Anyway, here are the entries, in the order that they were submitted (will also add my comments on the guesses. themisanthropologist (January 7, 2015 at 7:35 AM, January 7, 2015 at 8:41 AM) Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – Almost everyone has read this. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin – In the longlist. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein – Considered the author’s works. Dune by Frank Herbert – Considered the author’s works. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – This is March 2012’s book of the month. Do Androids Dream Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick – In the longlist. Foundation by Isaac Asimov – Considered the author’s works. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony …

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

Weekend Book Review – Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader is a collection of essays that provides bookish conversations to bibliophiles. It’s also a literary memoir because Fadiman injects bookish anecdotes about her reading life, which includes her family. Some favorite topics include arranging books in one’s own library, classifying the kinds of readers, buying second-hand books, and growing up and still living in a world of books. In Marrying Libraries, Fadiman discusses the various ways readers may arrange their books on their shelves. Shelf description is expanded in My Odd Shelf, My Ancestral Castles, and The P.M.’s Empire of Books, which is about the strict shelving habits of four times British Prime Minister Gladstone. Although such a political figure is mentioned in this book, it remains true to its subtitle: it’s still wholly confessions of a common reader. What are the merits of writing and critiquing books right on their pages? What books have surprisingly made an impact on you? On what page should you write an inscription when you’re giving a book to a friend? How can your …

TFG's Author of the Month for December: William Shakespeare

TFG’s Author of the Month for December: William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare Face to Face Book Discussion Details: Date: December 6, 2014 Place: The Usual Christmas Party Place, New Manila, Quezon City Time: 2 PM to  12 AM Discussion Leader: Aaron Attendees: Me, Alexa, Alona, Cary, Ella, Gay, Gwaxa, Honey, Ingrid, JL, Joy, Julian (newbie), Kristel, Kwesi, Louize, Mae, Maria, Marie, Meliza, Monique, Ranee, Rhena, Rollie, Ruby, Tina, Tricia, Veronica Food I Ate: This is also our book club’s Christmas Party so there was a lot of food. Unfortunately, my appetite was meh so I was only able to nibble small servings of Monique’s baked spaghetti and slivers of yema cake. Activities: Hashtag Shirts (participants explain the hashtags they printed on their shirts), Truth or Lie (participants guess truth and the lie between two anecdotes shared by selected participants), Massacre Theatre (participants read small parts from various Shakespearean plays), and Dramatic Monologue (participants read their preferred monologue of their assigned Shakespearean character). After the Book Discussion: Christmas dinner, The 3rd TFG Quiz Night (so far the damnedest among them all), and TFG Book Auction. Other Nominated Books: None. Next Month: Navigating Early by …

#FridayReads 2014

Four!

It’s my blog’s fourth birthday! To celebrate, I created a grid of my year in #FridayReads. Out of the 37 books that I read last year, I only missed three books for this … hobby. If you are curious, the books that I missed are The Bibliophile’s Devotional (a year-long read), Dwellers (borrowed), and Twisted 8 (borrowed). Let’s further celebrate this day with … a contest. As usual, there is a prize. The winner for this year’s bloggy birthday giveaway will receive a book of his or her choice that is worth at most Php 1,000.00 (for local books) or USD 20.00 (for Book Depository). So what’s the contest? In August, I will be moderating our science fiction book club discussion. I already have three titles in mind. I just finished typing them on my phone’s note app and took a screenshot of it as a proof. So, if you can guess any of the three books that I have selected, you stand a chance of winning. The participant who has the most number of correct guesses …

Book Report: December 2014

Book Report: December 2014

I am perfectly aware that I just did a 2014 annual report regarding my reading affairs but I’m still going to do the only regular thing on this blog so far: the monthly book report. Books Finished: The Bibliophile’s Devotional by Hallie Ephron – 3 out of 5 stars. I got this last year and decided to read one entry per day because it’s designed to be read that way (the truth is I binge-read them at the end of each month). A lot of the 365 quick reviews may inspire you to pick up the books. If not, they may at least whet one’s literary cravings. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace – 4 out of 5 stars. I started this last September 2013. On page 500-something, I paused for a bit but it extended for some unknown reason. I went back to it in  the last quarter of 2014. Now I’m done. I did it! I actually don’t know how to summarize this book. Hence, that little story. But I’ll give it a …

My Year in Reading: 2014

Looking Back and Looking Ahead: The 2014 Reading Year + 2015 Reading Goals and Resolutions

2014 is not my year in reading. 2014 was supposed to be my year in writing but alas, it didn’t prove to be that. I expected not to finish the more or less 50 books that I finish each year because of that novel I’ve turned inside my head since I’ve toyed with the idea of writing. I only got to finish drafts for six chapters, roughly a quarter of the projected output that I outlined in January last year. During the writing process, I suffered from mild self-diagnosed anxiety attacks. I guess I’m that mad sort of writer. To maintain my sanity, I decided to put all this writing on hold until I’m more emotionally stable and until I am more capable at sculpting my novel into the shape that I want it to become. I’m not attempting to romanticize my writing but that’s just the way it is. I can’t help to be a moody writer. I know my novel will remain swimming inside my head, but what of my dear beta readers? I feel that …