Christmas 2016

The 25th of December is almost over in this part of the world but I just wanted to put up a quick post to greet all of you a very Merry Christmas! 🙂 Maligayang Pasko! I just traveled from Singapore to Manila yesterday and it’s so good to be home just in time for Christmas. I’ve mostly been spending time with my family but I plan to meet up with some friends in the coming days. I hope all of you are having a festive and joyous holiday season, filled with good food and great books. 🙂 Here are some Christmas-related pics:

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In keeping with a tradition I started last year, I’ve bought books written by Filipino authors to give as Christmas gifts to friends:

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Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

Top Ten Tuesday2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted over at The Broke and the Bookish. I made a similar list last year so I thought it would be fun to do it again. I was already back home in Manila when I did this Top Ten Tuesday topic last year but now I have to work until the end of the week before I can fly home. Counting down the days until I’m off to the Philippines for the holidays! Getting back to the topic on hand, I’ve already received two books from my book club’s Secret Santa but we all know that it will always be nice to get more books as gifts. These are the books that I wouldn’t mind receiving for Christmas:

Ancillary Justice The Keeper of the Mist The Start-Touched Queen rose-and-thorn heroine-complex

the-q Cloudwish tell-the-truth-shame-the-devil where-we-left-off-2 oracles-moon

These are basically the books that are at the top of my wishlist. What about you, what books would you like to receive this Christmas? 🙂

Book Haul: Secret Santa Edition

Every year, my online book club (YAckers) has a Secret Santa gift exchange. And because we all love books, we tend to focus on those as gifts. I’ve previously posted my haul from past Secret Santas (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015) so I thought it would be nice to keep up with the tradition. These are the books I received:

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And I also took a picture of books I received from past Secret Santa exchanges that I still haven’t found time to read:

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Sigh, so many books, so little time! I find it interesting that most of the books I received from my fellow YAckers are fantasy titles. I guess we know what’s our favorite genre. I also have a box of Ferrero chocolates from the office Secret Santa (which I think isn’t that interesting haha) but that’s it for this year. Are you guys participating in any form of Secret Santa this year?

Christmas 2015

Christmas tree - Manila 2014

A section of our Christmas tree in Manila

It’s December 25 in our side of the world. As usual, I want to greet everyone a very Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate it! 😀 Maligayang Pasko! Hope you’re all having a good holiday season and spending it in whatever form works for you.

It’s been a crazy busy past couple of days since I landed in Manila on the 19th. I’ve been meeting up with friends and family. It’s been great so far, I love catching up with people especially the ones who also flew in from other parts of the world to celebrate Christmas home. I’m looking forward to doing more of that while I’m home for what’s left of the year. 🙂 Also looking forward to sneaking in some reading time, which I haven’t been able to do because of all the get togethers. I’m still in the middle of the books that I was reading when I left Singapore.

Christmas Shopping – Manila Edition

In my previous post about Christmas shopping, I mentioned that I was planning to get Filipino titles to give as gifts to friends. I wanted to support the local writing community and at the same time, encourage my real life friends to read. So I ordered books from Filipino authors even before I flew home to Manila. To make the gifts even more special, I asked the authors if they could personalize the books and they very kindly agreed to do so.

When I got home, a package was waiting for me. It contained five copies of Loveless. Childless. Clueless. by Miren B. Flores:

Loveless. Childless. Clueless gifts

On the same day that I landed, I met up with my friend Chris Mariano, author of Cover (Story) Girl. We had dinner at Cibo in ShangriLa but I was super hungry so I wasn’t able to take any pictures of the food. Here’s a fangirl pic instead:

Chris Mariano fangirl shot

Cover Story Girl gifts

I also dropped by the bookstore in that mall and grabbed three copies of the first installment of the Trese graphic novel series:

Trese gifts

The next day, I met up with authors Mina V. Esguerra, Tina Matanguihan, my friend Kim and newfound friend Jothee at Tweedle Book Cafe (more about that meet up in a separate post). I was able to get the pile of books that I ordered from Mina plus a freebie of What You Wanted:

Mina V. Esguerra books as gifts

Here’s the whole pile of the various titles that I bought:

Filipino books as Christmas gifts

I was really excited to start giving these books as gifts that I didn’t even bother with wrapping them up, since I wanted my friends to see the signature and messages inside as soon as they could. Fellow book blogger Kim was the first recipient:

Kim with Loveless Childless Clueless

Followed by three girlfriends who were thrilled to receive personalized copies of books. I think this is the first time they’ve gotten books specifically signed for them. They were so happy that they took pictures of the books (here, here and here) as well as the messages (here, here and here).

Chuchay, Mich and Ena with gifts

They wanted to start reading the books right away. I made a point of giving them different titles so they can swap and borrow each other’s copies once they’re done. Based on my friends’ reactions, I think I can safely say that my mission has been accomplished. 🙂 Fingers crossed that my other friends will be just as happy with what they’re getting.

Pratical Guide to Christmas Gift Giving

My friends in real life always say that even if they wanted to give me books as presents, they never know what to get for me. Aside from not knowing what title I would enjoy reading, they also have no clue whether I already have a copy of a particular book. I do keep my Goodreads shelves updated but I don’t think my friends would think of checking that site since they don’t have accounts there. I’ve mentioned several times that I would be happy to receive bookstore or Amazon gift cards but some friends refuse to give gift cards, saying that it’s equivalent to just handing money over (I don’t see why that’s a bad thing when it’s money that would be allocated for buying books). I think for them that takes out the fun in gift giving?

Of course, the best way to get a good gift idea is to just ask me directly. Which is what one of my Singapore-based friends did. One of the days we were out together, I brought her to the bookstore and gave her five books that I wanted. We’re both into graphic novels so those were the ones I gave her. I then asked her to choose a title that she would be interested in borrowing. And viola! She has then bought and given me a gift that we’re both happy with:

Christmas 2015 - Nellie's gift

Yes, I know what’s inside but the bookstore offered to gift wrap it for free so it’s nicely covered until I read it. I’m going to suggest this practical gift buying procedure to any friend who wants to buy books for me. 🙂 What do you guys think, do you agree that it’s a good idea? Do you have any other tips regarding this topic?

Christmas Shopping – Singapore Edition

As I mentioned in one of my posts last week, I love the Christmas season. It doesn’t really start feeling like Christmas is near until I start my Christmas shopping. I think it’s a lot of fun to browse around malls, go into stores with Christmas carols playing on their speakers, and try to decide what would make great gifts. This year, I’ve decided that I’ll mostly be giving books as gifts. I was at the bookstore the other day and was able to get Christmas-themed board books for my newborn godson:

Christmas 2015 - Kinokuniya books for Adrian

The bookstore offered free gift wrapping services and I think their Christmas gift wrappers are adorable. These two titles are inside:

Dream Snow Little Santa

I hope my godson enjoys these books! Or I guess I should say, I hope his parents enjoy reading these aloud to him. Another bookish shopping experience that I enjoyed was putting together a Secret Santa package for my book club. This has become a tradition that I’ve participated in for the past three years (the Secret Santa haul I got from previous years: 2012, 2013, 2014). Of course I can’t share the contents so here’s a preview instead:

Christmas 2015 - YAckers Secret Santa

That gift bag is from Kikki.K, the same store where I’ve been getting my planner for the past few years. Fingers crossed that my YAckers Santee will like the stuff I put inside! Now I just need to drop by the post office during the hours that they’re open.

For my friends back home, I’m planning to buy Filipino titles. I was thinking Filipino romance titles (lots of new releases this year) for my girlfriends, Filipino graphic novels for guy friends, and Filipino kiddie books for my godsons. And for those, I wouldn’t be able to start buying them until I’m in Manila. So watch this space for another bookish Christmas shopping update!

What about the rest of you, have you started your Christmas shopping? Planning to give any books as gifts?

2015 Christmas Reads

Laduree Christmas tree

A macaron Christmas tree care of Laduree Singapore

December is here! That means it’s time to think about Christmas reads again (previous posts here and here). I love this time of the year and I think part of the fun of the holiday season is reading Christmas reads.

Here are the Christmas-themed books I’m planning to reread:
At First Sight by Elizabeth Chandler
A Rose in Winter by Laura Florand
My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins
At First Sight No Place Like Home My True Love Gave to Me

I didn’t read all of the stories in the My True Love Gave to Me, just the ones written by authors I like. So maybe I can go back and reread those or read the ones that I didn’t finish last year.

And these are the new-to-me Christmas reads that I have on my TBR pile:
A Midnight Clear by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner
Top Ten Clues You’re Clueless by Liz Czukas
MidnightClear Top Ten Clues You're Clueless

Both of which were recommended by my friend Brandy. What about you, what are the Christmas titles that you’re planning to read this month? What are the holiday reads that you’ve loved over the years? I would be delighted to get some new recommendations. 🙂

Also, because there’s less than a month left in 2015, feel free to let me know what are the best books that you’ve read this year. I might be tempted to read them before the year ends. I keep track of mine via a Goodreads shelf, and I will post my best of 2015 list on January 1 (yearly habit).

Book Haul: December 2014 in Manila

I haven’t done a book haul post in ages! Probably because I usually just post on Instagram if I receive books because it’s easier to keep that account updated. Also, I’ve been trying to read more ebooks instead of physical books because I keep moving in Singapore whenever the lease ends and it’s such a pain to pack and unpack paperbacks and hardcovers. I did acquire some books since I landed in Manila for the holidays so I felt that an update was in order.

I have two godsons at the moment, a toddler and an eight-year-old. I try to live up to my title as Book Godmother and I give both of them books for their birthdays and for Christmas. For this year, I grabbed some kiddie books written by Filipino authors for them to enjoy:

Christmas 2014 - gifts for godsons

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay
EDSA by Russell Molina
Isang Harding Papel by Augie Rivera

While shopping for books for my godsons, I also bought some Filipino titles for myself:

Christmas 2014 - books for myself

Mythspace, Volume 1 edited by Paolo Chikiamco
Alternative Alamat: Stories Inspired by Philippine Mythology edited by Paolo Chikiamco
High Tide at Midnight (Trese, # 6) by Budjette Tan and Kajo Baldisimo
Shine by Candy Gourlay

Last but certainly not the least, I received a surprise gift from fellow Filipino book blogger Tin of Rabbitin! It was such a thoughtful gift because I’ve wanted a copy of The Merchant of Marvels and the Peddler of Dreams for ages. Also, I usually only receive books at Christmastime from my Secret Santa because friends in real life are pretty clueless on what titles to get for me. They’re worried that they might buy a book that I already have a copy of. So thank you, Tin! 🙂

Christmas 2014 - gift from Tin of Rabbitin

What about the rest of you, did you give or receive any books as Christmas gifts?

Christmas 2014

Office window - Christmas

Silhouette cut outs that I put up in my work area at the start of the month

The 25th of December is almost over in this part of the world but I just wanted to put up a quick post to greet all of you a very Merry Christmas! 🙂 Maligayang Pasko! I would have to agree with the Philippine tourism tagline that it’s more fun in the Philippines. I can’t imagine spending the holiday season anywhere else because it wouldn’t be Christmas without family and friends. I’ve already met up with several friends, some of them also flew in from other parts of the world to be home for Christmas. We also visited some of my relatives today. I’m enjoying catching up with everyone that I haven’t had a chance to read and blog during my vacation. Let’s see if I’ll be able to squeeze some of that in the coming days.

Christmas tree - Manila 2014

A section of our Christmas tree in Manila

Hope you’re all having fun this holiday season!