June 17, 2017

First pattern

Joined the individual bingo for the book club this year and I finally completed a pattern. Yay for me!

This means I can focus on whatever I want to read for the rest of the year! No plans for a blackout this time, unlike last year. Happy that I finally finished this one pattern. :)

May 3, 2017

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

by Gregory Maguire

L. Frank Baum's classic children's tale, The Wizard of Oz, is my favorite book of all time. I've read it as a child for practically a thousand times, never getting tired of the adventures of Dorothy and Toto, the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion on their way to the Emerald City. In fact, I credit this novel for starting me on reading. I've kept our family's hardbound copy of the novel for many years now, and it will always be special to me.

So, it is with a mixed amount of excitement and skepticism - actually, it's more of the latter, really - that I picked up this supposed prequel created by Gregory Maguire. It's also the basis for the Tony-award winning musical of the same name, whose worldwide success is indubitable (I have not seen it yet, despite it's having been staged here in Manila).

April 14, 2017

The Orphan Master's Son

by Adam Johnson

I met Adam Johnson last year on my first Philippine Readers and Writers Festival, an event I attended with my good friend Benny. Prior to that day, I only knew Adam Johnson as the author of The Orphan Master's Son, a Pulitzer winner, which I haven't read yet (at the time). After meeting him, I discovered that he has a good sense of humor, he is over six feet tall, he actually flew to North Korea for the purpose of gathering material for his Pulitzer-winning novel, and he is a friendly, good-natured guy, you will feel at ease talking to him.

But that isn't why I loved The Orphan Master's Son. Really.

Pak Jun Do's father runs Long Tomorrows, an orphanage outside Pyongyang. Although he is not an orphan, he might as well be, as far as everyone else is concerned. Living among his father's wards and exercising authority over them elevate him from the ranks until he is "recruited" by Pyongyang as a professional kidnapper, abducting Japanese citizens and bringing them back to North Korea for whatever purpose they may serve. Later, Pak Jun Do embarks on other roles until finally, he assumes the personality of Commander Ga, once the most loyal subject of Kim Jong Il and the husband of the actress Sun Moon, the woman he loves.

April 7, 2017

Don't You Cry

by Mary Kubica

This mystery/thriller penned by Mary Kubica was our book club's book for the month of February. It's been a while since I read it (I know, I know, I've been remiss in my blogging duties) but it feels like only yesterday when we discussed it.

I don't know how I could describe the story without giving away too much, so I'll just say that the story begins with the disappearance of Esther Vaughan, Quinn Collins' roommate. Although Quinn tries to convince herself, at first, that Esther couldn't have just gone missing, she eventually accepts the fact of her disappearance and attempts to find her.

March 1, 2017


by Colm Toibin

In a nutshell, Brooklyn is the story of a young Irish woman, Eilis Lacey, who finds herself torn between two lovers. (If you began to sing after reading that, I won't blame you.) She grew up in a small town in Ireland. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers her a job in the United States, Eilis takes it, leaving behind her mother and older sister, Rose.

In Brooklyn, Eilis stays in a boarding house for ladies and works in a department store. Well into her first year of living abroad, she falls in love with Tony, an Italian immigrant. Everything is going well when bad news from Ireland summon Eilis back home, and there begins the conflict. 

February 14, 2017

Running With Scissors

by Augusten Burroughs

Bought this from Book Sale on a whim years ago, picked it up recently because I needed to read a title from the GR Humorous List for a book bingo I joined. Both instances, I wasn't aware that it's a memoir. When I started reading, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but I'm surprised now that I did. Boy, Augusten sure went through a LOT. That he injected humor into this memoir isn't easy, and I admire the guy for his resilience and strength.

Augusten Burroughs - but that wasn't his name then; he had it legally changed when he was able to - knew at a young age that he was gay. He was fond of fixing his hair a certain way, was interested in fashion early on, he wanted to be either a doctor (because of the white coat) or the owner of a chain of beauty shops, and so on. He was also the product of a dysfunctional family: his father never cared for him, his mother - a struggling poet - battled with anxiety and depression, and his older brother, who had Asperger's, also didn't give a f*ck. By the time his parents had separated and his mother had sole custody of him, he was certain of his sexual orientation and of another thing: he didn't like school and wanted to quit.