Recording: Lysley Tenorio’s Talk and Q&A at the “Monstress” Book Signing, 9 February 2013

Filipino-American author Lysley Tenorio visited Manila earlier this month for a talk, and to sign copies of his short story anthology, “Monstress”. The event was made possible by National Book Store.

monstress book signing4

In case you missed it, here’s an audio recording of the talk and Q&A, which was moderated by Ms. Xandra Ramos-Padilla, Purchasing Director for Books for National Book Store.

…for all the victories that some of these characters might have, I think there is also an inevitable sense of defeat and vice-versa. No immigrant experience is truly wonderful or truly miserable… leaving home is difficult, and it’s always a complicated process. It’s never black and white. It’s not always that idea of leaving a country for a seemingly better country.

Lysley Tenorio Talk and Q&A – 9 February 2013 (Run Time: 28 mins 55 secs)

If you don’t like audio streaming, Direct Download from here: click!

I liked the stories in “Monstress”, by the way. I loved the quirky, sometimes strange, sometimes whimsical, sometimes larger-than-life characters and stories, and how the author managed to convey something very real about alienation, leaving home, and trying to find your identity, through them. I hope to post a proper review after I finish writing my article about this event for GMA News Online. *crosses fingers, tries to ward off procrastination and writer’s block*

Related: My friend Ron from and Manila Bulletin also posted a transcript of his interview with Mr. Tenorio here ⇨ click!

Sorry: tuzki_001 I really don’t know what Chrome and WordPress are doing to my photos. They all look fine in my computer, but pixelized here.

Book Fair Finds: Lost in Translations

During the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon, two of the prevalent sentiments expressed by a number of participants was the lack of young adult books written by Filipinos for Filipinos, and also the lack of translations of popular titles to Filipino.

Apparently, local publisher Precious Hearts Romances addressed the second sentiment to a certain extent long before the ReaderCon, and has published “Takipsilim,” the Filipino edition of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight.”

When we went to the Manila International Book Fair this weekend, we also found Filipino editions of L.J. Smith’s “The Vampire Diaries” in two parts, and we learned that PHR is set to release translations of “The Hunger Games” and the “Fifty Shades” trilogy.

I haven’t managed to start reading “Takipsilim” yet because I have a lot on my plate right now, but I scanned it. The translation is a mix of Filipino and English. Obviously there are words that just wouldn’t translate well to Filipino, so the translator had to decide which words or phrases to retain. I’ve always found reading English dialogue in stories set in the Philippines a little unsettling, and the opposite seems to be true for me as well, so the smattering of English sentences and words alleviates that problem a little.

Based on the small portion that I’ve read, though, the Filipino parts can sometimes be difficult to grasp because of the use of uncommon words. If these translations were meant to target a wider range of Filipino readers, it would’ve been more prudent to translate the text based on context rather than a more literal or word-for-word approach. I actually find it easier to read stories that were originally written in Filipino rather than what I’ve read of “Takipsilim” so far. Then again, I may be underestimating other readers out there. Hrmmm…maybe it will be fun to have several people with different reading skills and experience read “Takipsilim” just to find out… Note to self: DO THIS!

Oh gawds, I am scared of how “Fifty Shades” will turn out. Inner goddess, gird your loins! 😛

ReaderCon 2012 Filipino Friday #4: Books and Friends

Books and Friends. We will have book discussions hosted by several book clubs during the ReaderCon, so to prepare us for that, let’s talk about books and friendships and book clubs. Are you a part of a book club? If yes, what made you join one? What’s your favorite activity that you have with them? If you’re not a part of one, will you consider joining one? Why or why not? Or if you’re not (yet) a part of a book club, do you have friends who share the same passion for books as you do? Do you have a “bookish” best friend? If yes, tell us about them! How did you become friends? What’s your favorite memory with them?

Before I answer this week’s question, come join me in singing the Garfield and Friends song! Raise your hand if you watched this series when you were a kid! *raises hand*

My reading group is actually one of the clubs that will be participating in the ReaderCon. We’re called The Mysterious Reading Society, and I’ll let the mystery carry on further until they put up the post at the ReaderCon website. 😛 EDIT: The post is up! Learn more about us. 🙂

But yeah, most of the very good and close friends that I have now, I met through my love of books. In particular, I met many of them through the Harry Potter and Twilight fan groups. (Shelve the hate, please. 😛 )

I share the same favorite authors and genres with a handful of these friends, and these eventually became the people that I am now in TMRS with. I am thankful for these 5 people (Leia, Echo, Lianne, Claire, and Ron,) who I spend a lot of time with, both online and IRL, because their company keeps me sane amid the day-to-day craziness of life.

Looking back, I realize that my oldest friends are also fellow bookworms. I spent my Sweet Valley and Sweet Dreams and Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes phases with close friends from elementary and high school, and my Harry Potter phase with friends from University. And I began my epic fantasy, The 39 Clues, and science fiction phases with friends from work.

Of course, books aren’t the only things that I share in common with these people, but it’s satisfying to know that I’ve actually shared more adventures in different worlds with them than I initially thought.

*Choose a drink –butterbeer, blue milk, elven wine…blood?– and raise your glass! (Mine has soju because I think the only way I’d be able to drink an entire glass of that is in a fictional setting, haha!)*

Here’s to good friends to share more good books and good memories with!

See you all at the ReaderCon!

United We Read — The 2nd Filipino ReaderCon will be held on August 18th from 8:00am-6:00pm at the Filipinas Heritage Library, Ayala Triangle, Makati City. For more information, visit the official website at

Pre-registration for the Con is now open and you might want to participate in The Great Book Swap!

Previously, on Filipino Friday 2012:

FF 1: Introductions
FF 2: School of Reading
FF 3: Reading Habits and Book Formats

ReaderCon 2012 Filipino Friday #3: Reading Habits and Book Formats

Reading Habits and Book Formats. Where and how do you read? Can you read anywhere and everywhere, or do you need a certain place/mood/state of mind to get reading? Do you read more in the morning or at night or any minute that you can? Where and how do you usually read? Are you exclusively for print, or do you go for ebooks more than print? Have you ever tried audiobooks?

I have to find ways to get decent reading time these days, so I try to read whenever there’s a lull in my daily activities. I usually read during the commute to and from work, at night before I sleep, while waiting in line in banks or government agencies, lunch break at work, while waiting for people to arrive for meetings, during plane rides, and…ummmm…sometimes in the bathroom.

I used to exclusively read print books, but ever since I installed Kindle for PC, I’ve been reading more e-books.

I realized just recently that I am not a monogamous book reader. I take a different book for commutes, a different one to read in the house at night, a different one loaded in my Kindle for PC, and yet another for the…ummm…bathroom.

I don’t really know how I keep up, but I do still manage to remember where I am in the stories and what happened last I read them. I haven’t thought too deeply about why I do this, but I suspect this is an effect of having too many books in my To Read pile.

What about you? How, when, and where do you read?

See you all at the ReaderCon!

United We Read — The 2nd Filipino ReaderCon will be held on August 18th from 8:00am-6:00pm at the Filipinas Heritage Library, Ayala Triangle, Makati City. For more information, visit the official website at

Don’t forget to cast your vote for the 1st Filipino Readers Choice Awards. Click here for more details. Also, pre-registration for the Con is now open and you might want to participate in The Great Book Swap!

Previously, on Filipino Friday 2012:

FF 1: Introductions
FF 2: School of Reading

ReaderCon 2012 Filipino Friday #2: School of Reading

School of Reading. We all started reading somewhere, and more often than not, we were influenced by someone. Who got you into reading? Your parents? A friend? A librarian? One teacher who always lends out his/her books? How helpful was your school in helping your reading habit / fueling your book addiction?

I have my late mother to thank for my love of reading. If I didn’t grow up seeing her reading books, I’m not sure if I would’ve gotten into it at an early age.

Our school library was also a haven for me. I went to a private school during my elementary and high school years, so I was lucky enough to be able to borrow lots of fun and interesting books.

Here’s more about my reading history from my FF post last year:

I used to accompany my Mom to bookstores, where I wandered off to the more age-appropriate sections while she browsed for her Sidney Sheldons and Danielle Steels and Jackie Collinses and Robert Ludlums.

My elementary and high school library cards were well-used. On average, I went through 3 Borrower’s Cards per year (I needed to allot time to studying too! ).

In elementary, my reading list included Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, The Three Investigators, Beverly Cleary books, and Choose Your Own Adventure books. Oh, and Paddington Bear; let’s not forget him because he’s ridiculously adorable.

In high school, I went through the Sweet Valley and Sweet Dreams phase like most teenage girls, but I also started to pick up occasional YA fantasy fare, like E. Nesbit, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Diane Duane, and Madeleine L’Engle. It was also in high school that I was introduced to the Dragonlance saga, which would ignite my interest in epic fantasies.

In college, I started reading my Mom’s books, and that piqued my interest in general fiction. I also continued to hunt down Dragonlance and Michael Crichton titles. And I read Isaac Asimov short stories in the library in between classes.

Hrmmm…on hindsight, after re-reading the above, I can now see why my current reading list consists mostly of YA and fantasy. 😛

What about you? How did you get into reading? 🙂 Feel free to comment below.

See you all at the ReaderCon!

United We Read — The 2nd Filipino ReaderCon will be held on August 18th from 8:00am-6:00pm at the Filipinas Heritage Library, Ayala Triangle, Makati City. For more information, visit the official website at

Don’t forget to cast your vote for the 1st Filipino Readers Choice Awards. Click here for more details.

Previously, on Filipino Friday 2012:

FF 1: Introductions

ReaderCon 2012 Filipino Friday #1: Introductions

The ReaderCon Filipino Friday Meme is back!

Introductions. As with every start of a weekly meme, we need to know a bit about you! Talk about your top 3-5 (or more!) favorite books of all time, the genres you read and would never read, the books that surprised you this year. You can also talk about how you became a reader and why you love it so much! And finally, if you were in the ReaderCon last year, talk about your experience too! If you weren’t there, but you’re planning to go this year, then what do you expect for the upcoming ReaderCon?

Hello! My name is Meann and I love to read.

I participated in last year’s Filipino Friday, so for starters, here’s my FF Intro Post from last year: click! The How I Became Reader post is here: click!

Nothing much has changed since then (or I could just be the epitome of a lazy blogger, heh) so I’ll write about the things we didn’t get to write about in the previous FFs.

the genres you read and would never read, the books that surprised you this year

I don’t know about “never” reading any particular genre, but there are those that I do not actively seek out if I don’t have to, like non-fiction. 😀

The book that surprised me this year was…wait, I think I should say the series that surprised me this year so far is Yukio Mishima’s “The Sea of Fertility” cycle.

The first book, “Spring Snow,” was one of my book club’s Book of the Month selections or I really wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise. To be honest, I was intimidated by the book because it was written before I was born (and so was the rest of the series), it’s considered a modern literary classic, and it was originally written in Japanese, which means I’m partially at the mercy of the translator and how good he is. (For the record, Michael Gallagher, you are awesome.) And also there’s that little tidbit in the author’s biography that he committed seppuku (ritual suicide) after he turned in the manuscript of the final book.

The series surprised me because this isn’t my usual fare, and yet I found myself finishing it despite being required to read only the first book. Until now, I can’t quite pinpoint what it was that made me want to finish the series, sometimes even at the expense of other books that I told myself I absolutely had to finish then. Most of the Cycle is bleak, even depressing, and there are big chunks of text on religion, philosophy, and history that do not affect the plot but are mostly there only to reinforce certain themes or ideologies. My pet character didn’t even make it past the first book! So yes, indeed, this was a big surprise to me.

The even bigger surprise is I’d probably read another Mishima book if I can get a copy of one.

if you were in the ReaderCon last year, talk about your experience

Last year’s ReaderCon was rather short but sweet! I had fun meeting the book bloggers who I only know from visiting their blogs, and some local authors who I admire. The panel discussions were very informative, and it was nice to see enthusiastic participants there. It was also gratifying to know that so many people care about Filipino readers and are willing to support events and projects that will promote reading in the country.

On a personal level, after meeting and connecting with the people from the Con last year, I was gradually introduced to many Filipino authors and works. I’ve started to read more local books since then, and have come to appreciate them.

I hope more people will come to this year’s ReaderCon, so spread the word!

United We Read — The 2nd Filipino ReaderCon will be held on August 18th from 8:00am-6:00pm at the Filipinas Heritage Library, Ayala Triangle, Makati City. For more information, visit the official website at

Kwentillion YARC Book Spotlight: “The Diviners” by Libba Bray

The 1st Kwentillion Young Adult Readers Carnival is happening this Saturday, July 21st!

As part of the run-up to the event, I was asked to write a book spotlight for an upcoming YA title, and here’s my pick:


Author: Libba Bray
Publication Date: 18 September 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

What’s is it about?

It’s the Roaring Twenties, and seventeen-year-old Evie O’Neill just moved from a small town in Ohio to swanky, bustling New York City. In the midst of all the glamour and speakeasies and sparkly headbands, Evie has to live with her strange Uncle Will, who curates the Museum of the Creepy Crawlies…Uhmm, sorry, he curates the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult. (Whew.)

Evie eventually settles in to her new life with her new friends—a multi-racial bunch with intriguing histories. There’s poet Memphis, who has to deal with racial prejudice and family issues; chorus girl Theta, who has a dark past; and the mysterious Jericho.

When a string of occult-based murders comes to light and spooks the entire city (and who could blame them when there are stolen body parts and scary cults involved), Evie and her uncle are called in to help with the investigation. Evie and her friends soon discover that they each have strange powers that they can harness to help catch the killer and to defeat an ancient evil that is on the rise.

“The Diviners” is the first book in a four-part series of the same name. It’s already been optioned to be made into a film by producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the brains behind hit television series “The O.C.,” “Chuck,” and “Gossip Girl.”

Why I’m excited about it

Libba Bray is well known among readers as an author who can take the quirkiest story ideas—a young man dying of mad cow disease goes traveling with a talking lawn gnome who has a god-complex, teen beauty queens get stranded on an island and have to fend for themselves—and run away with it. A book like “The Diviners” definitely sounds like something which will showcase Bray’s writing talents. She’s no stranger to teens with powers, mysterious new friends or cults, so if there’s anyone who can churn out a hilarious, witty, snarky, occasionally satirical and over-the-top novel out of the basic premise of a girl trying to solve a strange serial murder case, it’s Libba Bray.

Bray is also particularly skilled at bringing settings to life. Her debut novel, “A Great and Terrible Beauty,” wouldn’t be as good if she didn’t succeed in making readers feel like they’re in Victorian England or its parallel fantasy world; “Going Bovine” wouldn’t be as fun if one didn’t feel like they were going on a cross-country road trip; and where would “Beauty Queens” be without that Evil Corporation-Owned Tropical Island of Crazy? It would be a treat to read her take on 1920s New York and its vibrant culture.

This also marks Bray’s first foray into crime, serial killers, and the overtly paranormal, so it will be interesting to see how she will handle those aspects of the book.

The Diviners will be available in National Book Store outlets come September 2012. In the meantime, join us at the Kwentillion Young Adult Readers Carnival on July 21st! 😉

The Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards + Kwentillion YA Readers’ Carnival

Nominations are now open for the 1st Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards. Initiated by Filipino Book Bloggers (of which I’m a member), the RCA aims to “develop awareness and appreciation of Philippine literature; recognize the reader’s role in creating the meaning and experience of a literary work; and give the readers a voice in the Philippine book industry.” The awards will be handed out during the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon on August 18th.

Click here to make a nomination. You can send them in until July 22nd.

And on July 21st, the awesome folks behind the equally awesome local YA magazine, Kwentillion, will hold the 1st Kwentillion Young Adult Readers Carnival.

Whether you’re an actual young adult or someone who just feels like it but who appreciates the genre, this is going to be a super fun event! For more information, click here.

See you there!

Transcript and Recording of the Lauren Oliver Book Signing in Manila, 24 March 2012

Author Lauren Oliver was here in our part of the world last weekend to promote Pandemonium, the 2nd book in her Delirium trilogy! She had a Q&A and book signing at Powerbooks Live in Greenbelt 5.

My friend Leia also won a contest to be part of a private lunch with Lauren, and she asked me to be her guest. I was quite starstruck during the lunch, so I only managed to really remember this part of the conversation when we were talking about Nicholas Sparks’ visit here, and Lauren said:

Nicholas Sparks! Is he even real? I always pictured him looking like Fabio. What does he look like? Of course I could always Google him, but…

So anyway. I recorded the Q&A during the book signing event itself, which was hosted by Ms. Xandra Ramos Padilla, Purchasing Director for Books of National Book Store and Powerbooks.

If you missed the event, you can opt to listen to the recording by using the media player below, or you can read the transcript after the jump.

Recording of the Lauren Oliver Q&A: Click the green icon to play!

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Other Stories: The Curious Case of Origami Batman

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Tom Angleberger’s The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. In fact, in keeping with the Japanese tradition of folding a thousand paper cranes, I’ve challenged myself to fold a thousand Yodas. I hope to finish folding them all by the time George Lucas unleashes Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones 3D on the entire galaxy.

In the course of folding the last batch of Yodas that I recently gave away, and just after hearing about Fully Booked’s The Dark Knight Reborn Bloggers’ Challenge to celebrate David Finch’s visit, I thought it would be fun to try folding an Origami Batman. I tweaked the Angleberger Yoda pattern I’ve been using, and eventually came up with something that sort of resembles the Dark Knight.

Okay, maybe you have to squint just a bit to see the resemblance, but I digress. 😛

Once I had that Batman finger puppet, of course, it had to have a story, right? And so further inspired by the structure and premise of Origami Yoda, I give you:

⋈ ⋈ ⋈ ⋈ ⋈ ⋈ ⋈

As told by Jim Gordon (Headmaster, *redacted* Academy, Philippines)

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Real and Not Real: “The Hunger Games” University Tour

Are you a student of UP Diliman, DLSU-Manila, Ateneo, or Assumption College, who also happens to be a fan of The Hunger Games? Register now for Real and Not Real: “The Hunger Games” University Tour!

The symposia are open to students of the respective schools, and registration is free.

Registration Details:
– For AdMU/Loyola Schools students: Register here.
– For UP Diliman students: Register here.
– For DLSU-Manila students: You may inquire at the Writers’ Guild tambayan.
– For Assumption students: You may inquire at the office of the Department of Communications.

There’s more in store for Filipino Hunger Games fans! Keep checking back here or visit or the Hunger Games Philippines website for more THG news. 🙂

Flipside Digital Content launches Flipreads e-book store

I’m posting this in support of Honey (of Coffeespoons), who’s one of the nicest people I’ve met in the local book blogging / literary network. 😉 Also, Flipreads seems like a very viable alternative for people like me who are worried about online transactions and going crazy on Amazon and exceeding my credit limit. 😛

I hope that the alternative payment systems on Flipreads (like GCash) will be available soon, along with more titles in more formats! 🙂

eBooks now made accessible to Filipinos through

Filipinos can now have easier access to eBooks through the online eBookstore, Likewise, authors and publishers can now distribute their eBooks more widely and securely through the same website, which was launched on November 11 2011 from 4-7PM at the Celebrity Sports Club Grand Ballroom. is owned and developed by Flipside Publishing Services, a sister company of Flipside Digital Content. Flipside Digital Content, previously just a conversion house catering to four of the top six international publishers, is responsible for publishing and co-publishing more than 70 Filipino and Asian eBooks on Amazon, Apple iBookstore, and Barnes and Noble just in its first six months of operation. Most of these international eBookstores, however, are not available to the local populace.

Filipinos can only buy from Amazon, albeit with an added cost of $2 per book. Now, Flipside is making eBooks more accessible especially for Filipinos through Readers can download eBooks onto their Apple or Android devices. They can even download it onto their PCs or Macs. Whereas before, Filipinos could only buy eBooks legitimately if they had credit cards, but with Flipreads, they may use other payment gateways such as CashSense and, in the near future, Globe GCash, and Smart Money.

Flipreads also serves as a secure distribution platform for Filipino publishers, authors, and other content providers. Therefore, publishers can now sell their eBooks securely through Authors can also opt to independently publish their titles through the site. Other institutions and entities can also distribute their digital materials safely through Flipreads. eBooks distributed through Flipreads can be made secure through the use of Adobe Content Server’s
DRM. DRM stands for Digital Rights Management and is the means by which eBooks are protected from casual piracy. Alternatively, authors and publishers may choose to distribute their eBooks for free through the Flipreads site.

Flipreads also hopes to provide a venue to publishers and authors to bring previously out-of-print titles back into circulation. Since everything is online, these titles will also be available to an international market.

For more information, email or call +632-5709255 or +63917-6206244.