2013 Retrospective: Books

This is so late. 😦 Work has been very hectic lately, what with my new responsibilities and management changes in the company. But I finally have a couple of hours to spare to get more pending blog posts out of the way.

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Actually, I already posted a list of my favorite books of 2013 via my GMA News Online year-ender: ‘Daig mo pa ang telenovela’ award and more for the best books in 2013.

I read a few more books that didn’t make that list, though. Some were not released in 2013 either. But for what it’s worth, here are a few more honorable mentions:

  1. “The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)” by Maggie Stiefvater – I love Maggie Stiefvater because her writing is so evocative and she creates very interesting characters. “The Raven Boys”, the first book in this new series, was good, but “The Dream Thieves” is even better. This one has more magic, more action, more character development (particularly for Ronan), and some forward momentum in the romance department. If “The Scorpio Races” deserves an award for the Most Romantic Non-I-Love-You Confession, this one deserves the Most Romantic Non-Kiss Award.
  2. “Unseen Moon” by Eliza Victoria – Horror and suspense are not my favorite genres, but Victoria really impressed me with this collection of short stories, and this made me a fan of her writing. Favorite stories: “The Viewless Dark”, “The Ghosts of Sinagtala” (not recommended for scaredy-cats), and “December”.
  3. “Pacific Rims” by Rafe Bartholomew – This was published a few years ago, but it’s relevant again this year because of Bartholomew’s mini-series in the National Geographic Channel called “Pinoy Hoops”. But hey, really, the book will always be relevant, I think, because we will probably always be a basketball-crazy nation. Bartholomew’s writing is also very engaging, and his anecdotes are fun to read, whether you are a basketball fan or not. He’s one of the authors I would really love to meet sometime.
  4. “Monstress” by Lysley Tenorio – I surprised myself by reading a lot of Filipiniana this year, and several of them focus on the immigrant experience. What stands-out about “Monstress” is the hints of secret histories and a very subtle touch of fantasy that frame what may otherwise just have been run-of-the-mill stories about being a Filipino living in another country.
  5. Kresley Cole’s “Immortals After Dark” series – This probably deserves a separate blog post. 🙂

Here’s a list of the other titles I read last year, as listed in Goodreads: click! My 2013 Goodreads Reading Challenge target was 52 titles, which I thankfully passed and even exceeded, thanks to my impromptu Crazy Kresley Cole Holiday Readathon (more on that later). My 2014 target is still 52 titles because I don’t trust myself to not get into another reading slump.

I also met a lot of authors this year (Thank you, National Book Store!), some of whom, I interviewed and wrote about.

Author Mina V. Esguerra also invited me to participate in the audio commentary of her “Interim Goddess of Love” trilogy, which is really good, you guys, so read them! 😉

It looks like 2014 will be another busy Bookworm Year, beginning with the author visits of Gayle Forman and Mitch Albom.

This year, I hope to be able to do more concrete things to further my reading advocacy. Back in 2012, when I wrote about a public high school book club’s challenges, I was thankful that that story paved the way for an NGO to donate books to the school. I really hope I will be able to do something more.

Happy new year, bookish friends! \(^o^)/

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.

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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 RonReads.com 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.