I’ve gotten really cool stuff in the mail the past few days! First up is a 7″ and a postcard from one of my favorite friends from far away, Zet! It’s really sweet of her to do this, because it was totally unexpected.
I’m glad she included a return address because I still owe her a package from when she was in LA for school. She sent me a couple of postcards, some pinback buttons and this! I’m really the worst at mailing stuff out at first, but when I get the hang of it, I promise you, I’m the funnest.
And then today, I woke up to this! I can’t believe it—a package from Visual Editions, one of my favorite publishers. They might be a bit newer than most people in the book business—they only have four books out—but their work is amazing. It’s really a visual understanding and representation of stories and words, especially in relation to the actual, physical space where these stories “happen”.
Anyway, the contents of the package I got were wrapped in discarded spreads of what looks to be their edition of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman. Because of the gorgeous neon pantone and the creamy-smooth paper, and also because I am a packrat, I’m keeping this, heh.
Inside: an advanced copy of their fourth book, Kapow! by Adam Thirlwell. I can’t believe it! I’m so excited to read it; I’ll probably put down Chad Harbach’s “The Art of Fielding” momentarily just so I can get into this right away. For more on the story, visit this VE blog post. For more photos of this truly gorgeous book, visit this other blog post.
You can pre-order the book here. I cannot recommend the quality of their products enough. If you recall, I raved about Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes a while back.
I got a postcard from them, too. Two lovely ladies who sought to make “great looking stories.” How about that? :)
Since my last post here, I’ve finished reading three books on my Kindle, namely J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” (a review of which can be found here), Sara Zarr’s “Story of a Girl,” and Julian Barnes’ “The Sense of an Ending,” all of which I love to pieces. Funnily enough, my busy self has found time to read—funnily enough, on a Kindle—but I suppose it’s Internet activity that has suffered a decline. Good thing or bad thing, you decide!
So far, I’ve been successful with four January goals, the four being Get two big projects, Work six hours a day, five days a week, Save 50% of my paycheck, and Write down all expenses. Begin budgeting. Obviously have not been exercising. I thought I had a good motivation, but I guess that’s not enough. I’ll try again, though. January is still young and there is still a lot of fat to be lost.
2012 has been exciting, to say the least. I’ll be exhibiting some more works for a group show next week (I’ll post the details as soon as I can) and also next week, I’m taking a trip to the mountains! This is exciting because I’ve always wanted to go exploring up north and also because I’ve just read “The Hobbit,” which still makes my heart ache in numerous places but has also somehow planted this weird seed of adventure in me. Seeing a little part of the world from a mountaintop would be a great start; I can’t wait!
Speaking of traveling—while it looks to be a year that’s full of traveling for me—I came upon this gorgeous list from the New York Times, 45 Places to Go to in 2012, and obviously I can’t possibly go to all of these places, but it’s a great reminder of what kind of adventure could lie behind your door. My mountain is not on this list; in fact, only two places are. But, I feel like it’s a start.
I’ve always loved traveling, but I think my sense of exploration and discovery has somehow been dulled. I like seeing different cities, but when I’m on the plane, from way high up, I always wonder what it’d be like to get lost in something other than buildings and metal structures and monuments and seas of people. I’ve been watching a lot of Survivor‘s past seasons lately, and behind all the scheming and starving, it’s such a beautiful peek into places around the world that I don’t know how I would find myself lost in.
Maybe that’s a romanticism of the wilderness, because I know there are all sorts of threats unimaginable if I chose to coop myself up in cities. But there’s also satiated wonder and an unmatched awe in the God that created these places.
I’ve always said that I wanted to see the world, and lately I’ve been thinking about which parts I want to see. Which parts I would gladly be uncomfortable for. I’ve been thinking about taking risks a lot, and I’ve realized that sometimes the greatest payouts come from the greatest risks. I don’t mean to sound like a cliché and announce my newfound lifestyle of being a daredevil explorer with a constant need for an adrenaline fix. What I want to say is that when I say I want to see the world, I mean that I want to really see all of it. Not just the manicured lawns, or the smooth roads, or some local iteration of Starbucks and McDonald’s. I still want to cities, yes. I want to see art and culture and different sorts of places, but I want to see the earth that was before everything started becoming what it is now.
The world is so big. I suppose I’ve got to get moving.
In a lovely turn of events, I have been surrounded by new book projects, all of which are personal. It’s no secret that I love books. In fact, some may argue that I hoard them (which is probably true), so I’m so, so glad that I’ve been doing these book-related things, given that I haven’t really had much time to read this year.
First of all, there’s Recovery, which is a project with Cat. It’s an idea that’s been brewing in her cute little noggin’ and I loved it so much, I asked if I could join in. The main thing is that we really want to create a good atmosphere for Philippine literature by reviewing as many as we can, as well as “recovering” them.
I know we’re not alone in thinking that Philippine graphic design—at least, in terms of books—needs a little sprucing up. We have a lot of plans for this little thing, and we’re so glad for the encouraging words and expressed interest in Recovery.
I’m also slowly updating Book Report, which was my book blog. I think I honestly read more (and “better”) when I kept a log and attempted reviews. I’m not the most intellectual person, and I get swayed easily if a sentence sounds right, but I do love books, and I miss talking about them.
The latest entry is about my October reads, illustrated volumes by Craig Thompson and Sanjay Patel. I like both because they are culturally unfamiliar territories to me, so it was a nice kind of change from what I usually read. You can read it here, if you are interested.
Last, but not the least—Read Hard. Read Hard is a book club that Zet started. I offered to help out with moderating it, when she chose “Everything Is Illuminated” as the first book. (Hehe.) And the followers just skyrocketed until we didn’t really know what to do with ourselves. Truthfully, that was probably our only successful round. A possible revival is still in the works, but I’m hoping to get it started again. It really was a nice community of readers.
That’s it! I know that sounds like a lot, but I breathe books anyway (not like this lady does, though), so it doesn’t feel like too much work.
I hope you check these out, though, especially if you love books, and if you love talking about them.
It’s kind of funny how I’ve never really been to these book fairs in recent years. I remember getting “The Screwtape Letters” in one of the ones held at Megatrade Hall when I was in grade school, but I’ve never went to one with the sole intention to just buy books. Sarie found this to be ridiculous (since I’m pretty much a book h0) so we went to the one this year!
I couldn’t believe my eyes. There were tons of books everywhere. Normally, I would be diligent to take better photos, but I don’t fare so well in crowded places. Plus, there were so many books to see. There’s a Php 20 entrance fee (Php 15, if you’re a student) but it’s ell worth it, if you’re in for some serious shopping.
There were all kinds of books, most at 20% off and up. I very nearly fainted, to be honest. Here are a few of the ones I got, but I didn’t end up getting “LAMB” since I’ve got a copy already. This one was really pretty and looked like the Bible, though. I always wanted to get it, but I figured I needed space for other books in my life.
In the super bargain bin, we found a funny book about a stuffed panda bear. Here is Tink giving Minty some toilet paper as they pondered their options for staying together.
(We were too cheap to buy it.)
Rad Roald Dahl editions! I quite like the “James and the Giant Peach” one. I used to watch that over and over, much to my sister’s dismay. She hated it, and I could never really figure out why.
In the middle of book shopping, I got a headache (because I’m totally a nerd like that) so Sarie and I went out for coffee. We sat at a free table at a Dunkin’ Donuts café, which I guess is supposed to make it classier, but there was this lady who claimed it was her table even though she didn’t save it or anything. We left for Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, because I hate dealing with rude people.
We commenced book browsing, and behold! My book loot!
I’m pretty happy! The most expensive ones were “The Art Director’s Handbook of Professional Magazine Design” and “Creative Space,” which is a collection of creatives’ workspaces and homes. “Teen Film” was pretty expensive, too, but I love these things. While working on my thesis, I was pretty sad at the lack of these kinds of books (media studies) in our library. At least, the ones I needed.
And then the rest are just… kind of books I’ve always wanted to get.
I spent quite a bit of money on this book fair, but it’s O.K. since it only happens once a year. I kind of wish I bought some of the ones I saw (like these local books that I decided not to buy, because I bought all of these already), but I’m glad that MIBF seems to be a pretty consistent event. I’m hoping my book purchases hamper any book-related impulses in the near future.
It’s going on until tomorrow, so if you’re inclined, drop by the SMX Convention Center. Here’s the link for more details.
Winners for the Chabon contest will be announced in about four days. For this leg of giveaways, I have three books up for grabs. Honestly, a part of why I am doing this is because I have no more room in my room for new books. Another part is because of International Literacy Month—which is a “cause month” that I can get behind. And yet another part just likes being nice, I guess.
I got all three of these books in 2008 on a trip to the States, and they’re all what my friend would call airplane books. Which is to say, they were entertaining to read to pass the time, but I haven’t really formed any close bonds with any of them.
First up is Water For Elephants, which was apparently a NaNoWriMo novel. It’s been developed as a film with Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon as the leads. It’s about an old man who reminisces about his days in the circus as a young man. It was a pretty quick read—I read it in a resort in Florida.
This book, I actually read on an airplane, and shuffling in airports before my flight from Florida to New York City. Possible Side Effects is an entertaining and amusing collection of personal stories by Augusten Burroughs.
Fangland, I got from CostCo. It’s a vampire novel. To be honest, I only reached until chapter thirteen, but it was a sufficiently creepy novel. It takes part in a shady part of Europe where vampires are said to roam.
Anyway, same general rules, but as there are three books in one entry, I had to tweak them a bit. People outside the Philippines are welcome to enter, but please be open to paying for shipping.
GIVEAWAY RULES & MECHANICS:
Winners will be picked randomly.
- Comment on this blog post. Indicate which book you are trying to win. This counts as one entry. (Make sure your email address is valid.)
- You can comment only once per book. (Make a new one for each entry.)
- Tweet one of the following:
- “I want to win a copy of “Fangland” from Nothing Spaces! http://bit.ly/ns-three #BooksAreSoCoolLike”
- “I want to win a copy of “Possible Side Effects” from Nothing Spaces! http://bit.ly/ns-three #BooksAreSoCoolLike”
- “I want to win a copy of “Water For Elephants” from Nothing Spaces! http://bit.ly/ns-three #BooksAreSoCoolLike”
This will qualify as your additional entries in the lottery. You can tweet per book once daily.
REMINDER: If your Twitter is locked, I won’t be able to see your Tweet.
- You can comment until 11:59 PM on September 25, 2011 (+8:00 GMT).
- Winners must reply to the email alert within 24 hours of receiving it. Otherwise, I will pick another winner.
Feel free to share this contest (link: http://bit.ly/ns-three) or to join the first leg.
Thank you! I have a bunch of other books to give away, so stay tuned.
This photograph is of the last (and probably only) time I’ve ever been to New York City’s famed Twin Towers. It was 1999 and the only thing I remember was how strong the wind was and how big the world seemed to be from all the way up there. The next time I would return to that place would be in 2002, and the world had changed.
My favorite book is Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” It’s about a nine-year-old boy, Oskar Schell, who is dealing with the loss of his father from 9/11. Essentially. It’s so much more than that. It’s about tragedy, loneliness, loss, and how beauty is still possible amidst and despite these things.
I don’t pretend to have had a special relationship with the World Trade Center, as a place or as a memory, because I don’t. I didn’t lose anybody or any place special that day, but what I did lose was hope. I lost the feeling of security, and I felt several different shades of grief, anger. I felt helpless. At least, for a little while.
It’s been ten years after 9/11. It’s been ten years and in so many ways, it still doesn’t make sense to me. Ten years ago, a heartless action damaged the world in a way that seemed irreparable. How do you pick up the pieces after this kind of wreckage?
But the human heart is resilient. Each time we remember, it’s not a giving into sadness and grief and loss. It’s a reminder of how far we’ve come. We remember because each day that we spend away from that day is one of overcoming. Everyday, we choose to live on is proof that we did not let this tragedy win. In “Looking for Alaska,” John Green wrote, Those awful things are survivable, because we are as indestructible as we believe ourselves to be.
We remember because ten years ago, on September 11, millions of people banded together and found that we are so much bigger than what we thought we could be. In the course of one day, we saw the opposite ends of the spectrum of humanity. And while the human heart is capable of doing horrible things, we know that it is capable of wonderful, amazing things as well. We know that it is capable of compassion, selflessness, forgiveness, healing.
From “A Brief for the Defense” by Jack Gilbert:
“We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit that there will be music despite everything.”
We choose to remember because how could we forget?