I’ve been looking forward to Shakespeare in the Park this year since my flatmates informed me that there’s such a thing. Since I rarely get the chance to see a Shakespeare production, I thought it was a good idea to do it when I could. I like how the outdoor setting gives off a Just One Day kind of vibe. The Singapore Repertory Theatre’s production for this year is Othello. Take note that I’m not well-versed in Shakespeare’s work so this is by no means a review. I just wanted to talk about my experience to let all of you know how I spent my Saturday evening. We weren’t allowed to take pictures during the play itself so I only have a couple of pictures before and after.
Waiting for the play to start
Here’s the program
We brought food and drinks and sat on mats on the grass. Everyone else did something similar – it was funny how a lot of people brought wine or champagne and they even had their own wine glasses. The casual setting was a good thing because you can move around to get comfortable, which is an advantage when you’re sitting on the ground for several hours. When the play started, I was surprised at the modern attire and stage setting but I liked it once I got used to it. Men were wearing suits instead of robes while the women wore pants. They used guns instead of swords and showed a helicopter instead of a ship.
Look at that crowd!
Thank you, sir, for blocking our view.
I was surprised by how many people turned up for the event. I’ve heard that last year’s production of Twelfth Night wasn’t as crowded so it looks like the event has gained popularity. I would have loved to see Twelfth Night or any of Shakespeare’s comedies – I think I’m more suited to them rather than his tragedies. I remember watching A Midsummer’s Night Dream back in Manila a few years ago and I really enjoyed that. Overall, it was quite an interesting experience and one that I wouldn’t mind repeating.
Have you ever seen a Shakespeare play performed on stage? What did you think of it? I know that Shakespeare in the Park is an international thing so feel free to let me know if you’ve experienced this as well.
Kinokuniya was having a sale last weekend and since my flatmates are members, I went with them to see if I could take advantage of the 20% discount. I know I keep harping on how expensive books are here and I usually rather buy copies in Manila for UK or US editions that are also available there. So when bookstores have sales here, I usually aim for books that I can’t get back home or through Book Depository like Aussie titles. Most of the ones I wanted were out of stock but it made me happy that Paper Chains by Nicola Moriarty was there.
I’ve been wanting to read Nicola Moriarty’s books for a while now and I’m glad I will finally be able to try her writing. I got an extra copy to swap with my friend Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous, I know she’s a fan of Aussie fiction as well.
I was walking around the bookstore, trying to decide what else to get and I was just thinking that it would be great if I could find books similar to Laura Florand’s since I enjoy reading her books so much. Lo and behold, The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris by Jenny Colgan pops up! I knew it was a sign that I should grab a copy. It’s rare for me to buy a book just based on the cover and synopsis because I usually rely on reviews from fellow book bloggers. Let’s see if this lives up to my expectations.
That’s a French-themed postcard made out of washi tape right beside the book. What about the rest of you, have you bought or borrowed any books lately?
Shoot That Book combines my passion for books and my tendency to become trigger happy with a camera. My lack of photography skills is compensated by my enthusiasm. Basically, I like taking pictures of books.
There’s this bookstore near the office that allows customers not just to buy books but to borrow them as well. Their books are marked with two prices: the first amount is what you pay for when you get the book and the second is what you’ll get back when you return it. I’m not sure what the formula is for the prices but I think you get about half of what you pay for. So it’s like paying for half the price to read a book that you’re interested in. You can choose to buy brand-new books as well because they have stocks of those. Given how expensive books are in Singapore, this seems like a great idea. But why not borrow books from the library instead? Foreigners only need to pay an annual membership fee while membership for Singaporeans is free. I wonder how strong their business is since the Singapore public library has pretty good selections and there are several branches scattered all over the country. I haven’t borrowed or bought any books from them because I usually get my own copies in Manila or just borrow from the library.
I thought the rest of you would find this concept interesting. It’s first time I’ve encountered it. What do you think about renting books instead of buying them? Have you heard of other establishments that lets readers borrow books for a certain price?
Mina V. Esguerra, author of some of my favorite Filipino fiction novels, is here in Singapore for the weekend. She’s on vacation with her family and I was glad that she made time to meet up with me. We decided to meet in front of the National Library because their hotel was near there:
It was my first time to visit the National Library and I had to go inside to return (unread) books. Of course, I couldn’t resist borrowing some of the titles that I’ve been wanting to read:
Blame It On Paris by Laura Florand
Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
The Secret of Peaches by Jodi Lynn Anderson
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (our next YAckers read)
Let’s see if I can read all of these before they’re due. I really should visit the National Library more often! They have better stocks that the library near our flat. We had dinner at the nearby mall (sorry, no pictures of our Japanese dinner and cupcakes for dessert) and here’s Little Boss, Mina and me:
I’m so glad I got to see you while you’re here, Mina! Had fun chatting with you and M. Hope you enjoy your vacation in Singapore.
If you haven’t read any of Mina’s books, feel free to check out my reviews:
Fairy Tale Fail
Interim Goddess of Love, Queen of the Clueless
My Imaginary Ex, Love Your Frenemies
No Strings Attached, That Kind of Guy
You can even get Smashwords discount coupons through this link.
I realized that I really haven’t talked about what it’s like for a reader and book blogger like me to move from Manila to Singapore. I thought it would be a good idea to spend some time on that topic. One of the biggest advantages to moving to Singapore is I now have access to a good public library. I’ve never had that before and I keep taking advantage of the fact by borrowing books that I’m interested in even though I don’t have the time to read them. I keep returning unread books. I used to go to the library every weekend and I would put up a book haul post of what I borrowed but I’ve stopped doing that because I don’t always end up reading the books that I mention. Also, the Singapore Public Library is active on both Twitter and Instagram so it’s a lot of fun to connect with them over there.
The downside is that books in Singapore are a lot more expensive than books in Manila. I don’t know why that’s the case because the editions are the same – some are US editions while some are UK editions. It’s not like in Australia where they publish local editions for the books. I think the prices are on par with Aussie book prices though: about SGD 25-50 (PHP 825-1,650, USD 20-40) for trade paperbacks and hardcovers while about SGD 15-30 (PHP 495-990, USD 12-24) for mass market paperbacks. I miss being able to afford books. When I was in Manila, I would regularly visit Fully Booked to buy books whenever there was something that I wanted. Or I’d drop by the store while they’re having a sale because 20% off books is a good deal. Here in Singapore, I do wait for bookstores to go on sale but even with discounted prices, books are still cheaper in online sites like the Book Depository. This is why I splurge and buy books like crazy whenever I go home. Also, I keep grabbing books off my own bookshelf back home. I try to squeeze in as many unread books that I can in my luggage.
Aside from book prices, I also miss hanging out and chatting about books in person with fellow Filipino Book Bloggers. Book bloggers and readers are active about discussing books back home in Manila. I haven’t had a chance to meet Singaporean book bloggers or readers yet. I do chat with Liyana of LiyanaLand on Twitter from time to time and I hope we can eventually meet in person. Although now that I think about it, work keeps me busy and there’s usually something that I have to take care of during week nights and weekends so I’m not sure if I could participate as actively in the real life bookish scene as I did before. The rarity of my posts here on the blog is proof enough that I don’t get to read and blog as often as I’d like.
These are the major changes that come to mind when I think about my move. What about you, have you had to make adjustments as a reader and a blogger when you move from one place to another?
Last Friday, I went with a friend to The Art of the Brick exhibit at the ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay Sands. I heard about this Lego exhibit from a co-worker – I found it interesting because the artist, Nathan Sawaya, was a lawyer before and then he decided to quit to become a full-time Lego artist. Isn’t it great that he was able to do that? I’m sure most of us will be able to relate because it would be amazing if we can find a job based on what we’re passionate about (I’m talking about books, of course). Anyway, I thought it would be a good idea to share his artwork. Some of the pictures are a bit blurry because I was just using my phone camera and flash photography wasn’t allowed inside. We were just thankful that they allowed us to take pictures so we could document the experience.
Hands (reminds me of certain hand-less favorite characters)
An Artist’s View
ArtScience Museum (the building in Singapore where the exhibit was shown)
There were a lot more pieces there but these were the ones that I really liked. I don’t want to post too many pictures and ruin the experience to those planning to see the show.
I also wanted to give you guys a heads up that I’m flying to the US tomorrow evening for my cousin’s wedding. I’ll be back in mid-March and I won’t be bringing my laptop with me (just my smart phone) so I have no idea how often I’ll get to post while I’m gone. I’ll try to schedule posts before I leave but I’m not making any promises since I’m not even done packing yet.
I veered away from my usual Sunday library visit because my friend invited me to go with her to the book sale organized by Times. Since books are pricey here in Singapore, I wanted to take advantage of the availability of bargain books.
I was delighted to discover that there were several shelves of books in that place and all of them were being sold at a discounted price. So of course, we spent a few hours browsing through everything. I was pleasantly surprised to see novels written by Filipino authors available in the sale:
I was thrilled when I saw this edition of The Queen of Attolia because I don’t have a copy of it yet and one can never have enough copies of one’s favorite books:
Remember when I said that I haven’t bought books for myself ever since I moved here in Singapore? I’ve only purchased books given as gifts to friends. For my own reading, I just borrow from the library. Well, I made up for that with this stash:
Thunder on the Right by Mary Stewart
Wildfire at Midnight by Mary Stewart
The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
Kiss It by Erin Downing
Hangman’s Holiday by Dorothy Sayers
Lord Peter Views the Body by Dorothy Sayers
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
The Chocolate Run and The Cupid Effect omnibus by Dorothy Koomson
I got all of these for only SGD 32. Not bad, right? I like seeing them all lined up on the shelf in my room. Yay for more books! What about you, what books have you bought or borrowed this week?
I apologize that the blog has been neglected the past few days, real life has been getting in the way of things. I know that my most recent post was also about a library stash but I just can’t help myself from borrowing books even if I have to return them unread. Sunday library visits are becoming a weekly habit, there’s something about going to the library that I find therapeutic. The same thing happens when I visit a bookstore but since I don’t end up buying anything because books are expensive here, I’d rather go to the library. Here’s my stash for this week, contemporary novels which should be pretty easy to get into:
My One and Only by Kristan Higgins
Chocolate Wishes by Trisha Ashley
The One that I Want by Jennifer Echols
How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr
I’m already reading The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater on my Kindle but I couldn’t resist when I saw it in the library yesterday:
I found a beautiful quote from The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen to explain why I like having books around me even if I don’t get to read all of them:
“Books can be possessive, can’t they? You’re walking around in a bookstore and a certain one will jump out at you, like it had moved there on its own, just to get your attention. Sometimes what’s inside will change your life, but sometimes you don’t even have to read it. Sometimes it’s a comfort just to have a book around. Many of these books haven’t even had their spines cracked. ‘Why do you buy books you don’t even read?’ our daughter asks us. That’s like asking someone who lives alone why they bought a cat. For company, of course.”
What about you, have you gotten any books lately to keep you company?
Last Friday was a holiday both here in Singapore and in Manila so I took advantage of that and flew back home for the first time since I moved here. I did a Manila to Singapore stash post when I first got here so I thought it would be a good idea to make it a series of posts – I’d show everyone what I manage to squeeze into my limited luggage space every time I go home. It felt like I was shopping for new books when I grabbed these off my shelves:
Nightshifted by Cassie Alexander
Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines
Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John
Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones
Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
Pretty excited to read all of these! Four of those books were given as gifts and I think that’s always a good thing. I also got my copies of these two books because a co-worker was asking for recommendations similar to Dune (haven’t read the series but I asked bloggers on Twitter and these seem like a good choice):
I thought I’d share a picture of my messy bookshelf:
Didn’t get to rearrange everything before leaving. Also, here are some Puffin postcards that I framed and displayed in my bookshelf:
What about the rest of you, have you gotten any good books lately?
It’s so much easier to send postcards here in Singapore than back home in Manila. In the Philippines, I had to swing by the post office to buy stamps and drop off postcards. Over here, I can buy postage labels from conveniently located SingPost machines like this one:
I just wish I could choose different label designs because using the same one gets boring. I haven’t had a chance to buy philatelic stamps from the post office yet. To send off the postcard, I can just drop them in mailboxes all over Singapore:
Pretty easy, right? I’ve also mentioned that there are so many quirky stalls and stores that sell cute postcards. Here are some that I’ve picked up since I got here:
illustrated postcard set and stamp stickers
Alphabet animal postcards from an indie bookstore
Huge postcards from the Singapore Art Museum
Another illustrated postcard set, mostly featuring girls and cats
What’s the procedure like for sending postcards in your country? I know the system is pretty similar in the US and Singapore – from what I’ve experienced so far, those two countries are the most convenient places to send postcards from. Also, feel free to share pictures if you’ve come across any nice postcards lately.