Ronreads interview: Jennifer Hillier

Most everybody here in the Philippines knows that September is quite the busy month for bibliophiles. Because it’s the month when the Manila International Book Fair happens, September is the month where most of the local publishers bring out the big guns. It’s also the month where National Book Store brings a lot of foreign authors over.

One of the two authors that National Book Store brought to the country last month was Canada-based Filipino author Jennifer Hillier. The author of “Creep” and “Freak” was here for almost a month, squeezing in a vacation in between media interviews and a signing at the Manila International Book Fair with fellow Filipino author Alex Gilvarry.

Thanks to National Book Store, I got to spend a bit of time with Jennifer and ask her about making male readers uncomfortable, her writing playlists, and why you can’t have too much sex in a thriller.

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Book review: J. K. Rowling’s “The Casual Vacancy”

When the “Harry Potter” series came to an end five years ago with “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, it would be an understatement to say that the world was interested to find out the next phase in J. K. Rowling’s writing career.

The publication of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard” in 2008 generated blockbuster sales, with initial sales estimates for the slim volume at $7.6 million. Her announcement in February of this year that her first post-Harry Potter novel would be for adults, and the subsequent announcement in April that the novel would be named “The Casual Vacancy”, was enough to garner headlines.

Within hours of its release last Sept. 27, “The Casual Vacancy” skyrocketed to the top spot on Amazon’s Book Chart in the United States, while the Irish Independent revealed that   first week sales of “The Casual Vacancy” was the second highest “since records began”, bowing only to Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol”.

But while the commercial success of “The Casual Vacancy” isn’t that surprising — it’s Rowling’s first book since “Harry Potter” — its critical reception is something that is less secure. Will “The Casual Vacancy” cast the same spell on readers as “Harry Potter” did? Or will Rowling end up like A. A. Milne, whose work after “Winnie the Pooh” was roundly panned by critics?

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Book to movie review: “The Perks of Being A Wallflower”

Just like I said in the previous post, one reason that I finally started reading “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” was the fact that the movie starring Logan Lerman, Ezra Miller, and Emma Watson started playing here in the Philippines early last week.

As it turned out, I didn’t quite fall in love with “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” as a book. And while the movie version has been getting good reviews, the book just proved to me that it doesn’t immediately translate to me liking it.

Will this movie adaptation, written and directed by Chbosky himself, end up leaving me with mixed feelings, in the same way the book did? Or will I end up eating crow and find myself thoroughly charmed by this movie, in much the same way a lot of crtics seem to be?

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