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I have forgotten that I made this blog four years ago. It’s funny that what brought me here in 2010 is bringing me back. Life turns another full circle. This is an awful reminder of my college professor’s pet theories on philosophical eternal recurrences. You guessed that right! I’m on another “in-between-jobs” phase and this is turning out to the longest time I’ve been out of work. Let’s try if this blog will finally set sail.

tall-masted-ship-lynne-parker.

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January to May Book Reviews – Part 3 of 3

 

I migrated my January to May 2010 book reviews I placed somewhere else in the interweb here.

 

JANUARY TO MARCH

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell

Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (2006), Edition: Stated First Edition, Hardcover

“We are all just vessels through which identities pass: we are lent features, gestures, habits, then we hand them on. Nothing is our own. We begin in the world as anagrams of our antecedents.”

It’s amazing how a P10 Booksale find turns out to be a good read. The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox juxtaposes the present thoughts and memories of Esme, who was locked up in an institution for 61 years, Kittie, Esme’s sister conquered by Alzheimer’s, and Iris, Kittie’s granddaughter. A confluence of events brings the three together. An explosion of unmentioned family secrets revealed through unstable snatches of memories unravel a tangled and tragic history that culminated in a more tragic end. A reunion can never be sadder than this. 4.5 out of 5 stars

 

Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox

Still Life by Frank B.

Black Dog (2003), Edition: illustrated edition, Hardcover, 160 pages

“In the distance I will look blurred. In the middle I will be faded. In close up I will be lost. I will be vanished even before I even am born. I will be lost.”

Writes Frank B. in his image collection of people who have relegated themselves to sleeping in British Isles’ gutters and pavements. The motif of the book presents an air of aloneness, unnoticeable mediocrity of faces often seen but never remembered.

Street concrete or tile pavements lent itself as a bed to the tired and homeless. Old comforters, thinned mattresses, and cardboard boxes turn the cold hard corners into a place of refuge and relative safety as the light of day is eaten by the cold darkness of the night. 3 out of 5 stars

 

Still Life by Frank B

The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

Hardcover: 272 pages

Publisher: Candlewick (August 22, 2006)

ISBN-13: 978-0763630645

My first Arthur Conan Doyle. I found this nice illustarted copy at Booksale SM Bacolod last year. Set in the in the early 20th century, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson were summoned to solve the mystery of the devilish hound haunting the Baskerville masters and heirs. It reminds me very much of Agatha Christie – mystery, mayhem, and sleuthing . I will be reading more of Sherlock this year. 4 out of 5 stars

 

Hounds of Baskervilles 2

Going for the Bronze: Still Bitter, More Baggage by Sloane Tanen

Hardcover: 80 pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA (September 15, 2005)

ISBN-10: 158234454X

A very funny picture book transposing the ennui, excitement, and thoughts of daily life into a tableau of adorable chicks. A real laugh-out-load pictorial commentary on craziness and popular culture. 4 out of 5 stars

 

Chicks 2

It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It by Robert Fulghum

Hardcover: 218 pages

Publisher: Villard; 1st Edition edition (August 27, 1989)

ISBN-13: 978-0394580562

When I discovered Robert Fulghum is one of the inspirations behind Bob Ong’s ABNKKBSNPLAko?! I started hunting-down his books at Booksale. This “It Was on Fire” is a sort of sequel to Fulghums first essay collection “All I Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” He writes funny and oftentimes poignant insights on the simple things the goes unnoticed and unappreciated. A very nice bed side read. 4 out of 5 stars

 

Essays RF

Twilight Saga (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn) by Stehanie Meyer
This is my re-reading of Meyer’s Vampire Saga. I must admit though that this is not the of best of books, sloppy writing, excessive use of unnecessary adjectives (Edward is beautiful, Edward is handsome, Edward is a God… ad nauseam). However, it is still a nice romantic fantasy. I’m a sucker for fantasy, myths, and creatures of legend, you know! 4 out of 5 stars for the whole series.

 

Twilight Saga

Freakonomics A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: Harper Perennial (August 25, 2009)

ISBN-13: 978-0060731335

A look at some of the weirdest economic correlations and unpredicted results of incentives. I learned a lot from this book: from cheating, crime and drug dealing to children’s name and parenting a real discovery of the hidden side of things. Try reading it, it is not a hardcore economics book its for everyone.4 out of 5 stars

 

Freakonomics

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January to May Book Reviews – Part 2 of 3

 

I migrated my January to May 2010 book reviews I placed somewhere else in the interweb here.

 

APRIL

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl 4/4 stars
everyone should read this, a really enlightening book

Interview With The Vampire by Anne Rice 3/4 stars better, more sophisticated, and far more captivating than the current teenage vampire genre

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 3.5/4 stars
a real page turner can’t wait to have catching fire

Classics Illustrated Deluxe: The Wind in the Willows (Graphic Novel)
by Kenneth Grahame, adapted by Michel Plessix 3/4 stars
a refreshing take on the children’s classic populated by mr frog, badger, mole, rat, and otter

Twilight (Volume 1) The Graphic Novel
by Stephenie Meyer (Author), Young Kim (Artist) 2/4 stars
Nicely illustrated, but could have been better (read: irritating speech bubbles)

Kawaii Not: Cute Gone Bad
By Meghan Murphy 4/4 stars
found this book at the children’s section of Booksale. Overwhelmed by its cuteness, I skimmed through it and lo and behold… Cute Gone Totally Bad definitely not for children. Kawaii is the Japanese term for cute, as in, “look at the fuzzy kitten, he’s so kawaii”, and not is an English term meaning “not”. Kawaii Not is a four panel webcomic created by Megan Murphy, typically featuring cute versions of everyday objects doing and saying some crazy stuff. This is a lovable ultra funny twisted strip of the uber-cute objects doing and saying the not so cutesy stuffs. Absolute full mark of 4 stars. This made me laugh so hard.

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January to May Book Reviews – Part 1 of 3

I migrated my January to May 2010 book reviews I placed somewhere else in the interweb here.

 

MAY

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Battle Royale: The Novel by Koushun Takami

VIZ Media LLC (2009), Edition: Original, Paperback, 624 pages

Teens are pushed against the wall to go kill-off one another for survival. Dystopian with episodes of psychological meltdowns, bloody neck-slashing, brutal machine-gunning and more. An interesting take on issues of trust, violence, relationships. For Hunger Games fans out there if you want to raise the notch of the blood and gore scale read this one. Really enjoyed it.

4/5 stars

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Underpass : A Summit Media Graphic Anthology by Alanguilan et al

Summit Pub., c2009

A collection of four comic shorts about a mysterious cellphone SIM, a ghost of an adulterous wife, a Filipino mythical hero, and an aswang abortionist. I enjoyed the art and drawings and more importantly I loved how the stories were fantastically eerie and bizarre. This is a quick tease read making you want more.

3/5 stars

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The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Chicken House (2008), Hardcover, 480 pages

Another of my YA reads, I never really read YA books when I was young so I’m catching up on them as an adult (laughs). A story of a rag-tag team of talented and genius orphans formed by Mr Benedict to spy on the School of the villainous Mr Curtain (book one in the series). A perfect mix of action, mystery, and sleuthing. A comfort read on a rainy day while you snuggle between cold pillows.

3.5/5 stars

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Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

New York : Scholastic Press, 2009.

The sequel to the high-octane and fast-paced Hunger Games which continues the story of Katniss Everdeen as she defies the Capitol of the post apocalyptic world of Panem. She again finds herself in the clutch of the annual gladiator-esque Hunger Games which pits tribute children of subdued rebel districts. Another undeniable page-turner from Ms Collins. I love how the author masterfully craft her narrative and stories, never a boring moment in this book.

4/5 stars

Fables: The Deluxe Edition Book One by Bill Willingham

Vertigo (2009), Edition: Deluxe, Hardcover, 264 pages

I really am starting to love comic books especially this one. ‘Fables’ juxposes our beloved children’s stories into the mature and adult world of non-magical New York City. The mystical characters like Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf, and Blue Beard are refugees escaping the land of Fables after it has been conquered by the “the Adversary.” Book One Deluxe Edition features the first two story arcs of the series: the first one dealing with the murder of Rose Red Snow’s sister and the second is about the rebellion led by Goldilocks at the upstate ‘Farm’ for non-humanoid Fables.

4/5 stars

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham

Vertigo (2006), Hardcover, 144 pages

1001 Nights of Snow Fall is the story of Snow White turning into the reluctant Scheherazade for the Arabian Night Fable Emperor to whom she was sent as an envoy. She craftily yarn the back stories of Fable characters from after the invasion of the Adversary. The book is a series of wonderful shorts sufficiently enjoyable into themselves. I will definitely snag all of the hardcover releases of this comic book.

5/5 stars

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The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Anchor (2003), Paperback, 235 pages

I picked-up this book since it reminds me of my favorite investigators: Miss Jane Marple the sleuthing spinster of Dame Agatha Christie and Dorothy Gilman’s granny CIA undercover Mrs Emily Pollifax. Well this came to be a pleasant surprise. Mma Ramotswe, a traditionally-built (read big mama) Tswana woman opens the first ever ladies’ detective agency of Botswana handling mishmash cases of infidelity, insurance fraud, missing child and whatnot. It is quite a refreshing read as you are transported to the adventures of Africa, the culture of its people, and the vision of its lands. I will surely read more of Mms Ramotswe. 4/5 stars

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Welcome

I’ve been itching to start a “real” (read: continually and perpetually updated and taken care of) blog for the longest time since my interweb escapade is littered with forgotten and failed start-ups. I feel this one will be different since it will focus mostly on my love of books.

I feel that this will be a fruitful diversion while I’m trying to move on to a new career. I will not go through the bloody details that forced me to the gutter of “in-between-jobs,” suffice it to say that after three years of hard pencil pushing and careful number crunching the office übermensch still thinks that I didn’t make the cut. No use crying over spilled milk, time to have some fun.

So friends,  join me in digging through my disorganized thoughts and reads as I push my adventure at Twenty-something. Welcome to my Books, Thoughts, and Clippings.

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