The second time around

Conventional wisdom tells you that you should never judge a book by its cover, but what I’ve found to be true for me is that you should never judge a book on your first read. As I’ve grown up to the ripe old age of twentysomething, I’ve discovered that a lot of the books that I despised as a child ended up as being some of my favorites.

Surprisingly, a lot of the books that I did not want to read were the ones hoisted on me in high school. It’s not like I wasn’t up for a challenge — I got to about a quarter of “The Odyssey” before the end of summer vacation cut my reading short — but it was because some teachers just have a knack for taking the fun out of reading.

When before I could take my time with a book, savor the language and the world building and pretty much imagine myself in the story, I had to read these assigned books with a joyless focus, worrying about which character, utterance, or random detail would pop up in tests. If there was ever a time when I was thisclose to hating reading and books, it was during high school.

Back then, if we were given a choice to pick a book to read and be quizzed on, I would always consult with upperclassmen before making a decision. That was how I ended up picking J.D. Salinger over Edith Wharton — an overwhelming number of the seniors that I knew told me that it was the better read.

Salinger and Wharton and everything in between

Lost Girls, Book Three “The Great and Terrible”

Finally, our story ends.

With war on the horizon, Alice, Dorothy, and Wendy bring their tales to a close. Their tales get more lurid, just like the sexual configurations they get involved in at the hotel they are staying in, but all of that becomes window dressing to the arguments for sexual fantasies, erotica, and pornography that Moore lays out in the final book of “Lost Girls”.

It’s amazing that despite the very graphic illustrations, one really doesn’t end up touching themselves while reading “Lost Girls”. Like Neil Gaiman has remarked, this is not a “one-handed” read. It is an intelligent and beautifully-illustrated book that succeeds at an incredible balancing act — that of championing sexual imagination and its expression in the arts, while at the same time warning and condemning the excesses one commits if they let it take over their lives.

I’ve already talked about Moore’s prose and Gebbie’s artwork in the previous posts, and suffice it to say that they maintain that same sterling quality throughout the work. This is a work of love, and is definitely worth the hefty price tag.

This is a fantastic read. If you can still find copies, I suggest you guys should buy it.

PS. There are no pictures for this one because there is precious little in book three in the manner of clothing or people not engaged in some sort of sexual act. C’est la vie.

Lost Girls, Book Two “Neverlands”

I’m not one to shock easy, as most of my friends can tell you. I don’t act all offended in front of pornography (unless it involves feces or animals). I’m pretty sure that I’ve seen some stuff online that would warrant more than just a raised eyebrow. I’ve encountered people online that are pretty out there when it comes to their proclivities. And yet, “Lost Girls” can make me end up looking like that cat over there with some of the stuff within its pages.

I’m not shocked because deep inside I am actually a conservative. What shocked me was that “Lost Girls” manages to give these acts that you would normally only see on your friendly neighborhood porn sites a gloss of artistry and grace.

Just to keep everyone on the same page, aside from lesbianism, shoe fetishism, drug use (opium), patronage of pornography (how meta!), incest, and pedophilia, Alice, Dorothy, and Wendy have admitted to taking part in some BDSM (bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism), piss play (quite explanatory, I think), pseudo-bestiality, and the insertion of various objects — from chess pieces to braids — into vaginas.


DUDE. If I walked into a room and that was going on, I’d have that exact same face too.

Of course, the Neverlands vary a good deal

Lost Girls, Book One “Older Girls”

From the very first page, Alan Moore and Melinda Gebbie make it very clear that “Lost Girls” is most definitely for adults. And they never let up throughout the ten chapters of this first book, continuously exposing the reader to many different kinds of “deviant” behavior.

Here’s a quick list of what “deviant” behavior readers will encounter just in this first book: Lesbianism, shoe fetishism, drug use (opium), patronage of pornography (how meta!), incest, and pedophilia.

Will all of these squick readers? I’d understand why it would. But does it give those readers the right to ask that this book be pulled off the shelves, as some have wanted to do in the States? Hell no. I would suggest that they leave everybody else alone and do what Miss Miranda Priestly commands in that GIF above.

Older Girls, or How the Little Children Turned Out

Lost (Girls), now found

LOOK!

Yes, I know it’s already been out in the States since 2009, but this is the year that “Lost Girls” actually becomes available in Philippine bookstores. Actually, used to be available would be a better description as the three big bookstores the country has all seem to have sold out or have what copies they have already reserved.

If it weren’t for my stubbornness and persistence — as well as some helpful pointing in the right direction by RL friend Meann — I would not have been able to get my hands on this heavy and controversial work.

Actually getting the book involved about an hour and a half walking around three (interconnected) malls and some snickering from the sales staff when I asked them if they had a copy of it.

We are but older children, dear, who fret to find our bedtime near.

Out of house and home

I live in an apartment that’s about a few feet bigger than the office of the lifestyle section of the paper that I work for.

Anybody who’s seen the office of our lifestyle section will probably think: “Well, that’s not a bad amount of space for a young urban professional out to conquer the world!” If I were the only one living in the apartment I’d be inclined to agree with you.

The problem is I share that space with other people. While it’s no big deal when the rest of the clan is out working (My workday starts in the afternoon), it gets a little tricky when we have to sleep. If I’m the first to arrive home, I get to sleep in the bed and my brothers can squeeze in if they can. If I’m the one that arrives late, I sleep on the floor because I have not been trained to be a contortionist.

Normal people would try their best to not complicate their situation and keep their shared living space as roomy as they can make it. I chose to cope by filling up every available space in our apartment with piles and piles of books.

Picture heavy post inside

The book thief

No, this isn’t a post about the critically-acclaimed Markus Zusak book. More like an attempt to piggyback on that book’s popularity as I start this book blog. What this post is about is a book thief living in far less turbulent times and learning far less valuable lessons.

I started reading books at a very young age, mostly because my parents left me with relatives during the summer months and I had to make a choice between listening to “Matud Nila” or reading my cousin’s extensive collection of Sweet Valley High books.

Looking back,

I’m a twentysomething who loves reading books, whether they’re good or bad. I started out stealing books; now I review them.