Friday, August 26, 2011

ReaderCon Filipino Friday Week 3: Being a reader in the Philippines

This week's Filipino Friday post is about the pros and cons of being a reader in the Philippines.

When it comes to book buying I'm a bargain hunter, and I like that I can get cheap books here. This of course depends on reading taste, and the books I read are the ones that tend to show up in Book Sale eventually. I've gone into really nice bookstores in other countries and chose not to buy a thing, because upon conversion I knew I'd get a better deal back home. (The exception is my copy of ...Kavalier and Clay from the Strand, more of a souvenir.)

I like that Filipino readers talk to each other about books. My 2011 reading list has titles I discovered because of the local book bloggers I follow.

I don't like that some ebooks are more expensive or not available to me at all because I'm in the Philippines. I know there's distribution drama behind it, but come on.

I wish that we had a really nice and accessible library, but I have to admit -- I had access to a fairly good one in college, and all I did there was use the Internet kiosks. I work in a place with a really good one now, and I'm there only to buy stuff from the coffee shop. I'm a reader but I'm the type who would rather own than borrow, and if a book is too expensive then I wait for a sale or tell myself I can live without it. I visited the New York Public Library and spent some happy hours in the ones in Singapore and Hong Kong, but I don't think I'll be spending much time browsing there on a regular basis if I lived in those places.

But maybe if the books were sent to my house? Like a Netflix for books? Years ago my husband and I started a service kind of like this -- we sold a book cheap, sent it to the buyer, and after a certain amount of time they could send it back and get another one. (Or not send it back at all and it's like they just bought a book.) We stopped doing it because it was time-consuming, and courier services didn't offer cheap pickup and delivery then as they do now.

Is there something like that here now? Because I'd definitely try it.

Anyway, the Filipino Reader Conference is happening on September 14. Babysitter's been booked, so I think I can go. See you all there!

Friday, August 19, 2011

ReaderCon Filipino Friday Week 2: Your Reader's Story

When I was a kid, my mom used to read me stories from Children Everywhere, volume 3 of the Childcraft series. This was probably the first book I read, when I actually could read for myself.

We might have given away our Childcraft set when we moved out of the house, but I saw a Children Everywhere in a Book Sale in 2005, and I bought it.

Stories I love from that volume:

Sorry for the photo quality. These were taken in 2005, and I can't find the raw files anymore.

My next leap was when I discovered YA. I was at a friend's house and saw her copy of Sweet Valley Twins #2, Teacher's Pet. And from then on I followed that franchise, Twins to High to a few books in University. My reading life began here, and this particular branch led to Sweet Dreams and contemporary romance stories.

I talked about it in my Inquirer interview. (PS - Why did I do that? I should have come up with a fancier origin story for my reader self.) What I did not mention, but also really happened, was that I borrowed the Nancy Drew story Mysterious Mannequin at the same time.

I was eleven. Nancy Drew is not at all scary, and yet I put this book front-cover-side-down every time I took a break from it. This led to more Nancy Drew hardcover mysteries, a handful of Hardy Boys (Boyses?), to "harder" stuff like Christopher Pike and RL Stine.

And then, a slump. I blamed it on the tons of required reading in college. I took a Great Books class to feel good about reading again, but speed-reading through Faulkner's Light in August (because of a presentation I had to make) and four other books in one semester was not very fun.

I got over it after taking a chance on The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

It was beautiful, and stayed with me long after I finished it. This started the branch that led me to more Indian lit (Jhumpa Lahiri et al), which has since become part of my yearly reading lists. And I discovered that I apparently like Booker winners and finalists.

Posted this in support of the 1st Filipino Reader Conference. Off to read the other posts...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Readercon Filipino Friday Week 1: Introduce Yourself

Participating in Filipino Friday to show my support for the Filipino Reader Conference!

Hello, everyone. I'm Mina, and I'm a trying-to-get-my-groove-back kind of reader. In high school, I would get two new books on Sunday, finish those by Tuesday, and spend the rest of the week re-reading my favorites until the weekend came around again. Today it's rare if I get to finish a book in one sitting, and I still hope to get around to reading 50 a year. *shakes fist at age, work, and other distractions*

My comfort zone in reading -- contemporary, romance, procedurals, maybe a legal drama or a mystery here and there. If it seems all over the place, it's because I can't stand reading one similar book after another. (I feel I have to "cleanse my palate.") Favorite books (also a mixed bag): Neil Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Interpreter of Maladies, Inherit the Wind, Time Traveler's Wife, Tina Fey's Bossypants, Sweet Dreams #176 Wrong-Way Romance, Life of Pi, Atonement.

For years, my comfort read was Michael Crichton. Not sure why, but picking up one of his books would help me through a reading slump. Pirate Latitudes is still on my shelf, unread. I need to find a new comfort read-author.

So far, some favorites this year that I haven't mentioned yet -- The Hunger Games, and Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time by Dava Sobel.