I know, I know, it’s been two months since I last updated. In my defence, work has been…work, and I have spent whatever free time I have sleeping or curled up in a fetal position watching James Reid and Nadine Lustre videos.
BUT I’M HERE NOW. Let’s take a look back at the week in book news!
Back in 2011, Emma Donaghue’s Room was a book that I raved about. Since then, it’s been adapted into a critically-acclaimed movie, which was just nominated for Best Motion Picture – Drama, at the Golden Globes.
Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to watch this movie, as it’s not been screened here yet in the Philippines. BUT, Beth Kelly saw it a few weeks ago, and emailed me if I would be interested in posting her review of the movie on the blog. Of course, I agreed – and you can read all about it after the cut!
To be clear, 50 Shades is a very, very different animal from any of Anne Rice’s Beauty books.
I’ve talked about how I used to be a big Anne Rice fan before, and that fan worship certainly extended beyond her vampires and witchcraft books. It was a little difficult for me to work through The Feast of All Saints, but I did have a great time reading Violin, Belinda, and her BDSM books – Exit to Eden, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment, and Beauty’s Release.
These non-supernatural books all have the sensuality that made Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles famous, and more often than not are much more explicit than any of Lestat and his cohorts. After all, Belinda is a riff on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, while Exit to Eden, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment, and Beauty’s Release all became a hit with the BDSM community at the time – something you can’t say about 50 Shades.
But that was literal decades ago, and Anne Rice has had a roller-coaster of a career since then. If Prince Lestat, is anything to go by, it looks like she may be getting her vampires back in line. But can the same be said for her erotica? The last book in her Sleeping Beauty series came out in 1985, Belinda came out in 1986, and bookstore shelves have so much more erotica now than they did back then. Does Rice still have what it takes to compete in a much more crowded field?
I am well aware that this video is about hedgehogs.
It’s been literal months, I know. But to be fair, I have been busy. With my job, with taking part in writing workshops – I finished nothing, by the way – etc., etc., etc. But I’ve now finally managed to carve out some time from my “busy” schedule to pencil in this review.
I got my copy of Bill Konigsberg’s The Porcupine of Truth from the fine, fine people over at Scholastic, who had emailed me about reviewing James Phelan’s Thirteen (which I will talk about once I finish reading it) and included this book as a bonus, I guess? But it just goes to show that they do know me well, because on the surface, The Porcupine of Truth is right up my alley.
LGBT characters? A healthy distrust of the pastor next door? A road trip? It was ticking all of my boxes and I ended up reading it first before Thirteen. But did this end up being a good decision on my part? Or did I just make another mistake in my long, long life of mistakes? Check under the cut to find out!
So the last time I was at the National Book Store Warehouse Sale, it was a little crazy. To quote my blog post at the time:
“I spent about 10 minutes just looking in disbelief at the whole mass of people that was there at the Warehouse Sale so early in the morning. Who are these people and what did they do the night before? Did they camp out in front of Crossings or something?”
This time, I was once again invited to a preview, and since i’m not that stupid (also it was my rest day from work), I accepted the invitation and went there posthaste. And boy was it a good decision!
While there’s admittedly a lot of excitement fighting it out with a crowd for a book you really want – and actually winning that fight, too! – there’s also a lot to be said about walking into a sale with no one to fight with and having the luxury to just take your time.
Maybe because of that relaxed atmosphere, I was able to buy more books than i did two years ago. To wit:
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m generally not the inspirational/self-help book kind of guy. It’s not a knock on them at all – it’s more because I’ve got a black, tiny heart that doesn’t let any light shine through or escape.
There’s no question that a lot of people find them useful. One just needs to look at any bestseller list to see that there’s a healthy audience for these kinds of books; an aspiring inspirational author needs only to find that niche that he can cater to and serve.
Mighty Rasing is one such author, and he’s set his eyes on a key demographic – young people who’ve grown up on a steady diet of comic books and the movies that have been adapted from them. In his new book, May Powers Ka To Be #SuperEpic, Rasing utilises superheroes and their larger than life personalities to give some life advice to young people looking to make something out of their lives.
But will this approach be something that young people latch on to? Or will this thing just end up being an #epicfail?
Ever since I changed jobs — and tried to venture into actual fiction/novel writing — I haven’t had as much time to keep my ear close to the ground to keep track of what’s going on in the publishing world. I mean sure, big thing’s like Harper Lee’s new novel I get to hear about because that’s hard to ignore, but the smaller stuff mostly pass me by now.
Which is why it’s a good thing that the good people from Scholastic have been nice enough to still keep me in the loop. They sent me an email some time ago about Vendetta, the debut YA novel of 24-year-old Irishwoman Catherine Doyle. And you know what? It seems like they really knew what I was into just basing from the book’s synopsis:
“When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion in her neighbourhood, Sophie Gracewell’s life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families.”
C’mon. A hot Italian bad boy? If you gave me that along with a lifetime supply of French fries I’d willingly give you my firstborn. My second-born, even. And while I tempered my expectations – it’s still a YA novel, even if it did come from the same publisher that brought us Numbers – I thought I would be getting into some hot Italian bad boy action. So did I?
So, anyone following me on Twitter knows that I watched Fifty Shades of Grey when it opened here in the Philippines last Wednesday. And boy did it open. The theater was almost full and this was on a Wednesday afternoon. Office hours haven’t even ended yet. WHERE DID ALL OF THESE PEOPLE COME FROM?
Oh yes, that’s right, we got the Fifty Shades movie about three days earlier than the US of A. And one other thing – we did get an uncut version of the film, but certain scenes from the movie were blurred or had blocks put in place. Trust me when I saw it made for a really interesting movie-watching experience.
You can find my review of Fifty Shades Of Grey the book, here. As for what I thought of the movie, rather than lay it out for you all prose-y and stuff, I thought just screencapping my tweets and compiling them here would give you a much more accurate picture of what I had to go through.
Do any of you guys still remember the Gwyneth Paltrow movie “Sliding Doors”? Gwyneth Paltrow’s character misses a train, and then the movie goes into two different timelines and in both timelines Gwyneth loses a baby? It’s totally okay if you don’t, because i didn’t really watch it and only remember it because it had that one song from Aqua that really took people by surprise.
“If only I could turn back ttiiiimmmmeeee!!!!”
Yeah, that song. As I was reading Carla de Guzman’s Cities, I couldn’t help but have this song going on and on in my head. Will I be able to say the same about Cities? Or would i rather wish that I could turn back time so I wouldn’t have had to read it? Check under the cut to find out!
It might not be obvious at first blush – I do look like a crochety old man – but I do love me some love stories. Whether they end happily or tragically, whether they’re published independently or by more mainstream publishers, whether it’s steamy, flirty, or chaste, I’m willing to give it a go.
The books I read for my 2014 Goodreads challenge should be more than enough proof. Alongside heavy hitters like Stephanie Perkins and Jenny Han are works by Sarina Bowen and my #romanceclass classmates Chrissie Peria, Chris Mariano, Kesh Tanglao, and Miles Tan.
The first locally-written and independently published love story that I’m reading this year is Ines Bautista-Yao’s Only A Kiss. Will I love it or loathe it?