Since the long weekend is over and everybody will be returning to the drudgery of work or school, I thought it would lighten the load for everyone if I announced the winners for the twogiveaways I held last month.
The first one had a signed copy of Alexander Yates’ great novel, “Moondogs”, while the other one had 10 “The Son of Neptune” gift packs generously provided by National Book Store. Winners are under the cut!
Alexander Yates was one of the many wonderful people I met at the craziness that was the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF). The onetime Manila resident was brought back to Manila by National Book Store to promote his debut novel, “Moondogs”, as well as to participate in a forum alongside fellow first time novelist Samantha Sotto.
I know I said the same thing about Lauren Kate and Samantha Sotto, but I can’t help it if the authors I get to interview are really nice people! I’m sure it would make a far juicier story if I said Alexander Yates was mean during the interview, but the meanest thing he probably did was insult Sookie, and Sookie isn’t exactly making it hard for people not to insult her.
Anyway, since my article on him already came out today, I thought it would be great to put up the full transcript of the interview with him. A lot of stuff got cut out of the article because of space constraints, so here’s a chance to read about everything we talked about!
Some of you guys may not know it, but there’s actually been a handful of novels written by foreign authors that are set here in the good old Philippine Islands, specifically here in the slightly dusty Pearl of the Orient, Manila.
Obviously, as someone who’s spent all his life here, these books always fascinate me. How do these foreigners see my city? Do they see it the same way as I do, or are their impressions of the city so wildly different from my own? Can they help me see an aspect of the city I was never aware of before?
For instance, Alex Garland’s “The Tesseract” was such a curious thing to read because while there were snatches of the Manila I know, for the most part it read like an old “edition” of Manila gleamed mostly from pop culture representations. I didn’t hate the book, but I felt like I would have enjoyed it more if the setting felt a little more genuine.
Now along comes Alexander Yates’ “Moondogs”, another “Manila” novel written by a foreigner. Of course I started reading it with a little trepidation. Was this going to be as frustrating a read as “The Tesseract” was?
Things didn’t let up even during the last two days of the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF). Over the weekend, it seemed like I was still scurrying to and fro either attending talks or interviewing authors. If not that, I was scurrying off the the other end of the metropolis for an entirely different work obligation.
As such, I didn’t really get to check out as much of the other booths at the MIBF. I mostly just hovered at the National Book Store booth as they had some of the most noteworthy events — interviews with Alexander Yates, Samantha Sotto, and Rachel Ward! — and as a result got most of the books I bought there.
We’re past the halfway point of the biggest event of the year for Filipino bibliophiles, and I’m quite proud to say that I haven’t spent myself into the poorhouse just yet. And let me tell you, it’s not because there wasn’t anything worth buying. There was a lot of books I wanted to get my grubby little hands on, but my job — thankfully — got in the way.
For instance, most of my first day at the 32nd Manila International Book Fair was spent in the meeting rooms located on the third floor, listening to the talks during the first Filipino Reader’s Conference. I also got to hover uncertainly around the guys from Flips Flipping Pages and tried not to get too much in Blooey‘s way while I tried to work from the SMX Convention Center.
My second day pretty much looked the same as the first, except the talks I were going to this time around were organized by the University of the Philippines and mostly centered around language, literature, and teaching English in the Philippines.
I didn’t even get to go to the MIBF yesterday, as I had to interview author Alexander Yates early in the afternoon, and then some last minute work requirements forced me to ditch any plans of going to the Mall of Asia and blowing some cash.
The fact that I also had to go back to the office during those first two days also helped out a lot in keeping me above the poverty line as I had no occasion to loiter around and find a book that may just strike my fancy. That doesn’t mean, however, that I didn’t amass myself some loot.
You can’t call yourself a Filipino bibliophile if you haven’t at least a passing knowledge of the Manila International Book Fair. Going on for 32 years now, it has become the highlight of every Filipino book lover’s calendar, and it looks like this year’s edition isn’t going to be any different.
Aside from a number of foreign and local authors dropping by and talking to Filipino readers — National Bookstore has already announced a forum featuring authors Alexander Yates, Andy Mulligan, and Samantha Sotto — there are also a lot of other events held simultaneously for those that may want a little time away from the books on sale at the SMX Convention Center.