Chachic's Book Nook


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2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge

One of my reading goals this year is to read more graphic novels! I was just browsing when I happened to stumble upon a challenge that will help me accomplish this goal: the 2016 Graphic Novel / Manga Challenge. Instructions can be found here. And since it’s mentioned in the site that it’s never too late to join, I’m signing up now!

2016 graphic novel challenge

I haven’t joined a book challenge in ages but I feel like this is something that I wouldn’t have much trouble with. Since I’m a newbie, I’m going to choose the Modern Age level which means I have to read and review 12 graphic novels this year. One per month shouldn’t be too much, right? I even have one for January since I managed to read and post a (mini) review of Soppy. I’m glad my last book haul also has some titles that I can read for this challenge. To serve as a reminder to myself when I look back on this post, here are graphic novels / comics that I already have copies of:

American Born Chinese This One Summer Anya's Ghost

Maktan 1521 Halina Filipina Mythspace

The Wicked + The Divine - The Faust Act The Wicked + The Divine - Fandemonium Rat Queens Vol 2 Ms. Marvel Giant Days

I have a few more titles in my wishlist but we’ll see if I’ll be able to get copies of them. I have a feeling this challenge will make me want to browse the graphic novel section of Kinokuniya more often (or Fully Booked whenever I’m in Manila). If you have any recommendations for graphic novels, please feel free to leave a comment. :)


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Bookish Meet Up at Tweedle Book Cafe

Tweedle Book Cafe - counter

I briefly mentioned in my earlier post about shopping for books in Manila that I was able to attend a meet up with bookish friends at Tweedle Book Cafe. Last Sunday, December 20th, I met up with authors Mina V. Esguerra (with her husband and daughter), Tina Matanguihan, my friend Kim and newfound friend Jothee. Author Agay Llanera also stopped by just to drop off some presents, which was very thoughtful of her! :)

Tweedle Book Cafe - shelf

First of all, I thought Tweedle Book Cafe was the perfect choice for book lovers like us so thank you, Mina, for suggesting it. As expected, most of the discussions were about books that we’ve read and wanted to recommend. We also talked about the book scene in the Philippines right now, like how there are more and more books being published and also how Filipino ReaderCon was a bigger event than it was when it first started. It was a very casual and laidback get together so I wasn’t able to note down all the topics that we discussed. What I’ll remember was that it was fun to be able to meet up with bookish friends in person and to talk about books. Makes me wish that I also have real life meet ups with bookish people in Singapore.

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Ceiling with a list of authors

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Bookshelf near the cafe’s entrance

We were too busy talking that we forgot to take a group pic with everyone in it! I think we have one in someone else’s phone camera. Here’s a fangirl pic of me sandwiched between Agay and Mina:

Tweedle Book Cafe - Agay Llanera and Mina V. Esguerra

With Agay Llanera and Mina V. Esguerra

And I got presents! Thanks to Kim, Mina and Agay. :)

Tweedle Book Cafe - book haul
Signed copies of:
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
What You Wanted by Mina V. Esguerra (my review)
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (my review)
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

I also took pictures of the food that I had at the cafe:

Tweedle Book Cafe - omelette

Omelette with longganisa (Filipino sausage)

Tweedle Book Cafe - pancakes

Pancakes

Tweedle Book Cafe - hot chocolate

Locally made hot chocolate infused with jasmine

Because it was a bookish meet up at a bookish location, of course I had to wear my bookish skirt:
Tweedle Book Cafe - OOTD

I need more bookish outfits! I’ve visited a few more book cafes in Manila since this meet up happened, so watch this space for more updates.


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Filipino Fridays: Five Ways I’ve Shown Support for Filipino Authors/Books

It’s past midnight so it’s Fridaaay in this part of the world! I’m staying up late to write this blog post because I have no idea what time I’ll finish work later/tomorrow… Deadlines, I have them. I was in the office until 9:30pm tonight so I might not be able to put up a Filipino Fridays post if I don’t do it now.

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Filipino Fridays is a weekly meme that has become a tradition leading up to the Filipino Reader Conference. Unfortunately, I won’t be in Manila during the actual date of the ReaderCon so I’m only able to participate through Filipino Fridays. Links to my past two posts: Five Ways Reading Has Changed My Life and My Five Wishes as a Filipino Reader

This week’s topic is how Filipino readers can support Filipino authors and books. Now I know I can do better at encouraging and helping Filipino authors, but here are some ways that I’ve tried to show my support:

Buy Filipino books. I think the best way to support books written by Filipino authors is to buy copies of them and read them. Since I’m all the way over here in Singapore, it’s easier for me to read Filipino books when they have ebook editions. But I do make a point of buying print editions of Filipino books whenever I fly home.

Spread the word about them. Whenever I’m in the middle of a Filipino book, I try my best to talk about it – both through my blog and with friends in real life. I bookstagram it, share quotes and excerpts on Goodreads updates, and recommend it to friends who might be interested.

Feature them on the blog. Now the best blog-related thing that I can do is to post a review of the book. But that doesn’t always happen because sometimes real life gets in the way of things, and I don’t always have time to sit down and write reviews even if I want to. Which is why I’m willing to do other blog posts for Filipino books, such as round ups of books I’ve read, cover reveals, release date announcements, guest posts from authors, etc.

Give them as gifts. I love that Amazon has a “give as gift” option, which I’ve taken advantage of to send Filipino ebooks to friends who read. I’ve also made the decision of buying Filipino books and giving them as Christmas gifts this December (which is why I haven’t started on my Christmas shopping). Because I’ll be killing two birds with one stone – encouraging friends to read while supporting Filipino authors.

Share ideas and give feedback to Filipino authors. Now of course this depends on your rapport with the author and whether he/she will be willing to receive feedback from you. I’m always willing to share my thoughts and ideas, if any Filipino author wants to hear from me. :) Like I said in a previous post, I’m not sure if it would help but if you’re a Filipino author and you think I’m part of your target market, I would be willing to be a beta reader or give feedback (as time permits).

Okay, I’m about to fall asleep in front of my laptop so I’m ending this post here. Any ideas on how else we can support Filipino authors?


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Filipino Fridays: My Five Wishes as a Filipino Reader

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Filipino Fridays is a weekly meme that has become a tradition leading up to the Filipino Reader Conference. Unfortunately, I won’t be in Manila during the actual date of the ReaderCon so I’m only able to participate through Filipino Fridays. Last week’s posts was about five ways that reading changed my life. This week’s topic:

What are the five Things You Wish as a Filipino Reader?

This could be anything! What stories do you want to see from our local authors? Which author do you want to visit the country? Would you want to see your favorite comic book become a live action movie? It’s time for you to share your ultimate wishlist from your perspective as a Filipino Reader. Go wild, go crazy!

I found out that this topic was apparently partially inspired by my Top Ten Tuesday book genie post a few weeks ago, so of course that made me even more eager to come up with a list for this topic.

I would love to have more books written by Filipino authors in the genres that I read. That would include contemporary, romance, epic fantasy, urban fantasy, sci fi, graphic novels. Both in young adult and adult categories. I think there has been an increase of Filipino romance books because of #romanceclass, and it would be great to have more books in other genres too.

It would be amazing if I can find more Filipino books that give me book hangovers. If my first wish is about quantity, my second wish is about quality. I would love to have Filipino books that would make me go WOW. The kind that wouldn’t let me leave the world or story for a few days. The kind that would make me bibliovangelize. I’m not sure how to help make this happen? But if you’re a Filipino author and you think I’m part of your target market, I would be willing to be a beta reader or give feedback on your book if you think it would help.

I wish more Filipino and non-Filipino readers will pick up and promote books written by Filipino authors. I admit that I could be better at this too. But whenever I do read a Filipino book, I try to spread the word about it as much as I can. I try to write a review or at the very least, post about it on Instagram. I’ve noticed that my posts about Filipino titles get less attention that posts about foreign books and that makes me sad.

It would be awesome to have more indie bookstores or book cafes in the Philippines. Apparently, book cafes are now a thing in Manila? If I was still based there, I would be cafe hopping in these places like nobody’s business. I mean, who wouldn’t want to hang out in a cafe that’s meant for readers? They seem like great places to have book club discussions and meet ups too.

I wish there were more online or blog events for Filipino readers, kind of like Filipino Fridays. :) If I was in Manila, I would be wishing for more face-to-face events. But because I’m in Singapore, I can only participate in online stuff.

A very selfish wish that I would add just as a bonus item is for friends or family to give me bookstore or Amazon gift cards if they have no idea what to get for me for Christmas or my birthday. :P I don’t want to seem ungrateful but I think this is something that every reader will be able to relate to? We probably spend so much on books that it wouldn’t hurt to get gift cards.

What about the rest of you, what are your readerly wishes?


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Singapore Writers Festival: “Instalove” – Romance and the YA Novel

Today’s fun activity was a panel event that was a part of Singapore Writers Festival. The event title was “Instalove” – Romance and the YA Novel with Joyce Chua, Joyce Chng and Rachel Hartman as panelists. My friend Liyana of LiyanaLand mentioned that she will be attending the event so we made plans to meet up and hang out.

SG writers fest 2015 - instalove

Bean bags galore. Made the event seem cozy.

I actually found out about the event when I saw Rachel Hartman mention on Twitter that she’s in Singapore for the Singapore Writers Festival. Seraphina was one of my favorite reads back in 2012, and it’s rare for authors I read or follow to make it to this part of the world. So it’s always a cause for excitement when one does. I’ve been following Singaporean author Joyce Chng on Twitter for a while now and I’ve been meaning to read her fantasy novel, Rider, but just haven’t found the time to do so. Joyce Chua is a new-to-me author and I will be checking out her debut novel, Lambs for Dinner.

The event started with the authors saying a little something about the romances in their books and then reading excerpts:
SG writers fest 2015 - instalove
SG writers fest 2015 - instalove 2

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take detailed notes on the discussion so I will just share what I remember off the top of my head. The topic of whether romance is necessary in a YA novel was broached, and the authors answered that of course, it isn’t. There are many wonderful stories out there that do not have romance. And also they mentioned that there are many different kinds of non-romantic love that can also be highlighted in YA (e.g. platonic love, family love). Rachel mentioned that in the early drafts of Seraphina, there wasn’t any romance. But her editor persuaded her to add it in, so she did but she wanted it to be the kind of romance that speaks to her so she made it a very nerdy romance. Joyce Chua mentioned that one of her favorite authors is Sarah Dessen, who mainly writes contemporary YA novels. These books usually have romance in them but the main theme is character growth, and the romance is more like a secondary aspect.
SG writers fest 2015 - instalove 4

I thought it was pretty cool that the venue was packed. The bean bags gave the whole thing a cozy and laidback vibe but I could tell that the audience (or most of it) was listening to the discussion, which was proven when several people wanted to ask questions.

After the Q&A, there was a book signing for the three panelists:
SG writers fest 2015 - instalove 5

Fangirl pic of the day:
SG writers fest 2015 - instalove - Rachel Hartman fangirl

It was lovely to meet Rachel! She was super nice and friendly. We had a bit of a chat because during the panel, I remembered she mentioned that she’s not a big fan of romance in books. Which I told her I found a bit surprising because so many YA fantasy classics have romance (Robin McKinley, Diana Wynne Jones, Tamora Pierce and of course, I mentioned my all time favorite Megan Whalen Turner). She said that for her to like romance, there has to be something different to it, not the usual fare. I found that interesting because that’s something I can definitely relate to. I mean, we don’t want romance to be boring, right?

My US hardcover of Seraphina is back home in Manila so I bought two copies (one for a friend), which Rachel very kindly signed. Now I have a copy to reread before I start Shadow Scale, which is patiently waiting on my Kindle.
Seraphina - signed copy

Sunday well spent! If I’m still in Singapore next year, I should check out the SG Writers Fest panels early to see which are the ones I should join.


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Filipino Fridays: Five Ways Reading Has Changed My Life

filipinofridays3

Filipino Fridays is a weekly meme that has become a tradition leading up to the Filipino Reader Conference. I won’t be in Manila during the event so I can only participate through this virtual meme. This week’s topic:

How do you think has reading changed your life? Please share with at most five significant ways that will show how reading has influenced your life. These could be in terms of personality, career, studies, and other parts of your life this influence has taken place. :D

Reading has given me a default activity. I’ve written a blog post before about how books are my constant, about how I may like certain things at any given point in time but that always fades while I will always be a reader. If I’m bored or can’t think of what to do, I can always just pick up a book. Actually in whatever mood I’m in, I can always just read a book.

Reading keeps me steady. There have been times in my life when I’ve been in difficult situations and I felt like reading and book blogging have helped keep me grounded. For example, I had a tough time adjusting to living abroad on my own, when I first moved to Singapore more than three years ago. And I really wouldn’t have known what I would have done if I didn’t have books to read and the book blogging community to relate to. Sometimes when I had a bad day at work or I’m unhappy for some reason, I just tweet and say “I need a good book, stat.” and I would get recommendations. And when I read a book that’s able to take me away from my current situation, it really helps keep me on my feet when I have to face reality.

Reading has led me to book blogging and has helped me make friends. Of course I’m talking about all the book friends I’ve made through reading communities and the book blogosphere. Our love of the written word connects us all. Even better is when we find people who love the same kind of books that we do. In another one of my previous posts, I mentioned that book blogging is more than just a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. So much thought, time and effort goes into maintaining a book blog, and the social media sites connected to it, that it’s much more fitting to describe it as a lifestyle.

I have learned to break my boundaries because of reading. This statement can be interpreted in many ways, such as how I’ve learned to explore genres that I wouldn’t have tried if not for recommendations from trusted authors and bloggers. Or how I’ve been able to explore and travel to other worlds, both real and fictional, through the books that I’ve read. I just like how reading enables us to be more open to experiences.

Reading helps me lose myself but also helps me find myself. I’m an escapist reader so I love losing myself in a good book. But even if the characters in the book that I’m reading are in situations that I would never find myself in, there are still instances where I could totally relate to what they’re thinking or feeling. Certain lines or paragraphs would make me go, “YES! Exactly this!” So in a way, I feel like I find parts of myself in the books that I read.

I can go on and on about this topic but the prompt says maximum of five so I’ll stop here. What about the rest of you, how has reading changed your life? You don’t have to be a Filipino reader to share your thoughts on this topic. :)

Filipino ReaderCon 2015


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Blogger/Reader Meet Up: Estara

I mentioned in my write-up of the Munich leg of our vacation that I was able to meet up with one of my bookish online friends, Estara. It’s always fun for me to meet an online friend in the flesh! I have been friends with Estara on Goodreads for years. Over the years, we’ve exchanged messages and emails about books and so much more. We share some favorite authors such as Elizabeth Wein, Sherwood Smith and Rachel Neumeier. I always pay attention to Estara’s recommendations because she takes into consideration my reading tastes whenever she recommends titles. She was the one who introduced me to Andrea K. Host and Eileen Wilks.

Kim and I met Estara on a sunny Thursday. We started off with lunch at a lovely Italian restaurant called Cupido. I had a delicious tortellini dish followed by tiramisu:
Cupido tortellini Cupido tiramisu

We then visited Bayerisches Nationalmuseum, the national museum of Bavaria. Estara was kind enough to be our host and tour guide for the whole day! There were so many things to see in the museum and we walked around for several hours, admiring the exhibits.
Bayerisches Nationalmuseum

Some of the interesting things we saw:
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All that walking and admiring tired us out so we had to sit down in a nice, shaded area and have some refreshments, which included this delicious plate of tartufo with fruits:
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On top of all that, Estara was thoughtful enough to give me some German goodies:
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It made me so happy that I had a chance to see Estara face-to-face! It was such a lovely day in terms of the weather, the food and the great conversation. I really had a lot of fun.

Estara, danke schön! :)

Previous meet ups with other bookish friends:
Jo of Wear the Old Coat
Liyana of LiyanaLand
Alexa of Alexa Loves Books
Steph and Tarie
Maggie of Young Adult Anonymous
Michelle of See Michelle Read

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