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Showing posts from 2015

Of finer sensibilities

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I often claim that I was raised by/with books which I think is the most accurate description I could ever come up with. From as early as three years old, I’ve always felt that there is an enchantment that engulfs the words written across the pages of any book. I would also listen to my parents take turns reading to me growing up, and neither of them knew then that these simple bonding moments with their eldest daughter will inspire her to become a storyteller someday. For two decades since I devoted everything that I am as a person by finding it in books, as well as building who I will become through the authors I admire and characters who became childhood heroes. I was a prolific reader on a quest, challenging myself to acquire phenomenal, innovative and eye-opening literature until one day two years ago I realized that I was able to amass a collection I’m very much proud of. I decided that the time has come to share these books with you.

THE NOVELS I'VE READ AND REVIEWED THIS 201…

"This case has become a conspiracy of lies"

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I started my Book Diet novels 2015 by reading four Sherlockian anthologies during January, which is also the said Great Detective's birthday month, so I thought it only appropriate to finish this year with a Sherlock Holmes novel once more, and this time it's something written by writer Larry Millet. It's the first time I encountered his Holmes series. In fact, I purchased this book by luck while sifting through boxes of a second-hand bookstore months and months ago. I'm always on the look-out for any Holmesian story I can get my hands on so I immediately bought this and knew I had to read it soon enough. And it wasn't a disappointment. Millet's series, from what I can tell, are focused on Sherlock Holmes' travels and subsequent cases in America, and The Rune Stone Mystery is no exception. 
Once again chronicled in the first person by his constant and faithful friend Dr. John Watson, this story takes readers into Minnesota where a farmer uncovered what could…

"The world opened up for me once I embraced who I am"

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I stumbled upon Felicia Day almost four years ago when she first appeared in the CW's Supernatural during its seventh season. She played the role of the queer computer expert and all-around geek Charlie Bradbury, and has since continued to reprise that role in the subsequent seasons of the show. I absolutely enjoyed her portrayal because I found that I can relate to her as Charlie, so I researched about the actress online and found out that she has written and produced her own webseries called The Guild, a rather funny slice of life story concerning a bunch of gamers and their eccentricities and struggles both on and off their roleplaying games. I was instantly hooked by the first two seasons and utterly mesmerized of the confidence and talent that Felicia has displayed as herself and as the co-founder of her company Geek and Sundry that has a channel in YouTube featuring the most nerdgasmic content about gaming and other related stuff. 
As an independent woman who has made a profi…

"To the tolling of the bells"

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No other writer evokes horror in its rawest, most human form like Edgar Allan Poe. Sometimes his stories are a blunt force trauma while others are drilled into the mind using precision instruments of terror. His themes and depictions of people's greatest fears are very diverse and uniquely constructed, more visceral in some aspects but also cerebral in execution for a select few. This anthology The Tell-Tale Heart and Other Writingsis comprised of his finest works in short story and poetry forms tackling what is readily terrifying, certain terrors that elude the psyche, and the unfortunate ways human beings transform into the very monsters they fear.  
With seventeen gruesome tales and sixteen morbid poems, this anthology is a must-have for any aficionado of the genre. The prose that Poe crafts in each of his pieces is spellbinding; we get descriptive ramblings of mad men and women, psychologically layered instances and premonitions, and frightening yet subtle symbolisms plus debat…

We are never ready for the weight of it all

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We lose more than we gain and these losses always resonate. They have very sharp edges and far-reaching sounds. They are both unique to every person, and universal to all. The impact of never having them again is just something we could never quantify. The world we live in is populated with the ghosts of those we loved--those who were claimed by the dark, and continue to haunt us long after they perished. A loss can hurt a person too deep that there is no way to swim back to the surface, even more so when the option of sinking is so tempting. A loss can ignite us with a purpose too. When love is forfeit and must be restored again, others would seek out answers to questions that could never offer closure. The search for that ultimate puzzle piece, the despair in trying to move forward, the grating incomprehension of sorrow and guilt--the weight of it all is far too great, too intangible, too heavy to ever carry ahead, let alone fully understand. But we have to try anyway.



"Our situ…

'You could never get away from yourself'

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This had to be the seventh Murakami book I've read since I was seventeen. Back then, there are only two authors whose works I faithfully consumed. One was Murakami-sensei, the other was Chuck Palahnuik. Both have exceptional writing styles that stay with you and often haunt your days and nights if you allow them. I remember reading a Murakami anthology (The Elephant Vanishes) but since it was only a borrowed copy from the library, I never got to finish (I plan on re-reading that next year). This is the second anthology I was graced with and it was composed of six measly short fictions that are, in the truest Murakami sense, irresistibly consuming. The theme for this collection deals with the catastrophic 1995 Kobe earthquake and the lives of his characters who have to cope in its wake. 

Each of the stories had protagonists who are already so immersed in wanton longing and abandonment, and it was only after a disaster took that place that they became even more uncomfortably acquaint…

Three Important Words In Any Language

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I bought this book first, but the very first Charles Yu work I've read was my next purchase which was How to Live in a Science Fictional Universe. I could never begin to tell you just how madly in love I was with it from start to finish. You can read my review about it in case you're curious. Now, if I sit still for a moment and think about it again for a whole minute, I might get lost inside my own head and never recover. The only reason I bought this other book was because of one of the quoted reviews in the back page cited that if I'm a fan of the cult NBC show Community, then this one is definitely my cup of tea. And I can agree with that person...to some extent. The truth is, if it wasn't for that reference to my all-time favorite sitcom, I never would have even bothered looking for Yu's novel in the first place. Also, if I happened to read this first before How To Live, I'm afraid I might just put this author aside which would be a damn shame because How …

More opaque to ourselves and aware of our incoherence

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"For all men are eggs, in a manner of speaking. We exist, but we have not yet achieved the form that is our destiny. We are pure potential, an example of the not-yet arrived. For man is a fallen creature--we know that from Genesis. Humpty Dumpty is also one. He falls from his wall, and no one can put him back together again--neither king, nor his horses, nor his men. But that is what we must all strive to do. It is our duty as human beings: to put the eggs back together again. For each of us is Humpty Dumpty. And to help him is to help ourselves."
I became intimately familiar with Paul Auster for the first time when I read his novella Travels in the Scriptorium back when I was eighteen and I had wasted the first two years of college skipping classes I don't like and opting to stay inside my dorm room instead just to read books and watch shows. Auster's book was one of these distractions I easily warmed up to, particularly when I found his narrative style to be surreal…

Of women and fiction; of patriarchy and war

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This book is a real treasure since it collects two of Virginia Woolf's most notable essays namely A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas. They were both such insightful readings filled with memorable and philosophical passages that took me in an adventurous and stimulating journey about important issues that I damn well should care about. In fact, I was so incredibly enthralled by the essays that I ended up placing strips of sticky notes for the pages that have the most discussion-worthy quotes. I suppose this review will be littered by them as I write this because I want to take the time to explain how much Woolf's writing affected me, and the kind of lasting impressions it left. Please take note that I will be devoting more time in tackling A Room of One's Own and just briefly touch upon Three Guineas much later on. I enjoyed the first essay more than the second one.


A ROOM OF ONE'S OWN

"Literature is open for everybody. I refuse to allow you to turn me off th…

Fushigi Yuugi: Genbu Kaiden by Yuu Watase

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Back in sixth grade, the entire class almost religiously watched the anime Fushigi Yuugi every Friday night and then talk about it in groups come school day. The classroom would be filled with lively chatter about what happened in a recent episode, most especially when my best friend at that time would bring along merchandise such as posters, action figures and copies of the English translated manga itself she tirelessly looked for so she can share them with me. At first it started with the girls but pretty soon the boys joined in, mostly because the anime is scandalous in itself, featuring semi-nude and acceptably sensual scenarios that are not that aggresively sexual.

It's a love story about the star-crossed lovers Miaka and Tamahome that got the girls hooked while it's an action-adventure fantasy that the boys could enjoy. Three years ago, I re-watched the anime again and the nostalgic charm was still there. I was compelled to read the manga and also pick up the other spin…