Book review: Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi’s “A Shore Thing”

One of the things Snooki is famous for.

When MTV’s “Jersey Shore” debuted on television screens in 2009, one of its biggest breakout stars was the diminutive Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi.

Since her television debut, Snooki has taken her career all the way to a well-received guest appearance on Wrestlemania XXVII, her own spin-off reality show, and now a New York Times bestselling book with “A Shore Thing”.

With “A Shore Thing” now on local bookshelves, I take a look at what it is exactly that makes Snooki such a hot commodity.

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Book review: Jessica Hagedorn’s “Toxicology”

Way back in 2007, I got to have my copy of “Dogeaters” signed by Jessica Hagedorn herself. She was in the country at the time to watch the first staging of the play that was adapted from her critically-acclaimed first novel, and I was lucky enough that my editor sent me to cover it.

From what I can remember of that short meeting, Jessica Hagedorn seemed like that cool aunt whose visits you always looked forward to. Her hair was spiky with blonde highlights at the time, and the think eyeliner she had on only reinforced that impression.

I had a less favorable regard for “Dogeaters” though, mostly stemming from the fact that I read it as a college sophomore and I found her short, quick-fire sentences to be exhausting to read. I was — still am — a big Nick Joaquin fan at the time, and I loved me some commas and semicolons.

Ten years after “Dogeaters”, Jessica Hagedorn is back with another novel. “Toxicology”, which tells the story of Mimi Smith and Eleanor Delacroix, two women who find their lives increasingly intertwined as they succumb to addiction and obscurity.

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My day with the Rizal manuscripts

Me being dorky beside the original manuscript of the "Noli".

I think it was back in my fourth year in college that I made my first trip to the National Library of the Philippines. Me and my classmates were writing a paper on the little known Filipino writer Nita Umali Berthelsen, whose works you can only now find in the National Library. Aside from being impressed by their extensive collection of Filipiniana serials, I remember fearing for my life riding their temperamental elevator, which had the unnerving habit of shutting down between floors.

The second time I was there was several years later, when my editor asked me to write about the National Library. This time around I had a tour of the whole place, from their section for blind people all the way up to their copy of the very first issue of the Manila Bulletin, the country’s oldest newspaper. The only section were I wasn’t given access to was the Rare Books and Special Collections section, which is where they keep the original manuscripts of Rizal’s works as well as the Philippine Revolutionary Papers. Of course, I obsessed about getting inside that section ever since.

This year, I sort of got my wish.

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Book review: Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants”

To be frank, I only really got to know about Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants” when Robert Pattinson’s name got attached to the project. Considering that the poor guy’s every move is reported on and gushed upon by countless Twihards the world over, it’s hard not to find out what he’s getting involved in.

And once I got a hold of “Water for Elephants”, it does seem like a good decision for him to get involved with the book’s movie adaptation. The blurbs declare that the book spent more than a hundred weeks on the New York Times Bestsellers list, and there is even a Stephen King recommendation inside. The built-in audience may not be as rabid as the “Twilight fans”, but one can be sure that they’re there.

With so much buzz surrounding the book — and me being the most gullible person in the known universe — I started reading the book with pretty steep expectations. And as always happens when I expect something from anything and anyone, I end up slightly disappointed.

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