Book review: Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

As much of a “trendsetter” I am when it comes to such questionable masterpieces such as “Modelland” and “A Shore Thing“, I am always, always woefully late  when it comes to what is actually popular on most readers’ shelves.

For instance, I only started reading Paolo Coelho around his 29th (or is it 28th?) novel, “The Winner Stands Alone”, and my reaction wasn’t exactly the most positive one. I haven’t read a single work by Haruki Murakami, and I haven’t started on “The Hunger Games” yet, although I’ve been itching to do so. As for “Harry Potter”, I only started reading it when “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” came out. I’ve never really gotten into Nicholas Sparks or Mitch Albom, and the thought of even thumbing through Rick Warren’s “A Purpose Driven Life” makes me want to punch somebody’s nalgas.

Having outlined my un-hipness, it therefore shouldn’t surprise you guys that I only started reading Stieg Larsson’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” earlier this week. I was planning to read it anyway — the US adaptation of the movie airs on the first of February — but I was invited to a press preview and I had to push it up my to-read list because I didn’t want to go in there without having read the book.

Unfortunately, I was unable to finish the book, and I had to go into the movie without knowing what I was going to be in for. I’ll talk about how the movie measures up to the book in another post, but I will say this — the movie certainly didn’t spoil the experience of reading the book.

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Book review: Cassandra Clare’s “Clockwork Prince”

Cassandra Clare has certainly made a name for herself ever since gaining popularity – and a certain level of infamy – as a writer of Harry Potter fanfiction.

Not only did she start a bestselling series with her “The Mortal Instruments” books, Sony Studios has just recently cast Jamie Campbell Bower of “Sweeney Todd” and Lily Collins of “The Blind Side” as Jace Wayland and Clary Fray, respectively, in the upcoming movie adaptation of her work.

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Aside from the plagiarism debacle that hounded her during her days of writing fanfiction, her latest series hasn’t been met with as much fanfare as “The Mortal Instruments”. “Clockwork Angel”, the first in her new “The Infernal Devices” series, has received lukewarm reviews at best from fans and critics alike.

In “Clockwork Prince”, the second book in her “The Infernal Devices” series, Clare returns to the adventures of Tessa Gray, William “Will” Herondale, and James “Jem” Carstairs in Victorian era England. Will this new book signal a return to form? Or will it just be further proof of her slow decline?

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Kung Hei Fat Choi!

It’s the Chinese New Year this Monday, and if you guys are lucky, you can find a bag like this one at your nearby National Book Store.

It’s National Book Store’s Ang Pao Bag, available at selected National Book Store outlets. For P500, you get around a P1000 worth of assorted products inside! It’s only available on the Chinese New Year, so keep a sharp eye out for this at your local branch!

Pictures of the contents under the cut!

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Chapter by Chapter Review: Tyra Banks’ “Modelland” Chapter 13

To tell you quite frankly guys, the past few chapters have been less than satisfactory. I mean, even less satisfactory than the other chapters that have come before them.

For one thing, Tyra hasn’t given me a lot to work with in the past three chapters, where she merely rewrites the same scene, only changing the place where all of it is happening. And these past three chapters have been pretty short too! Couldn’t she have just jammed them together into one bigass chapter?

But then again, who am I to question the workings of Tyra’s mind? She knows what the readers want. After all, Modelland debuted on the number two spot on the New York Times Bestseller list. All of you aspiring writers should just give up and take up taxidermy.

Continue reading Chapter by Chapter Review: Tyra Banks’ “Modelland” Chapter 13

Book review: Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler’s “The Future of Us”

There is no doubt that Facebook has become one of the, if not the most, ubiquitous aspects of modern life.

Since it was created in 2004, Facebook has grown rapidly and ingratiated itself into all aspects of our online and offline lives. Want to know more about that cute guy you’ve been crushing on? Look for him on Facebook and see if you have mutual friends. Impressed by a certain company or product and want to know more about it? Like it on Facebook.

Facebook’s influence is such that its creator, Mark Zuckerberg, was named Time’s Person of the Year in 2010. He was made even more famous – or infamous – by the movie “The Social Network”, which won three Academy Awards. The highly contentious non-fiction book upon which the movie was based, Ben Mezrich’s “The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal”, debuted at number four on the New York Times Bestseller list.

Given all that, it really should come as no surprise that in Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler’s new book, “The Future of Us”, Facebook plays a pivotal role in the lives of its two main characters. Is this going to be the Facebook novel, or will it make readers and Facebook users wish for a dislike button even more?

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Chapter by Chapter Review: Tyra Banks’ “Modelland” Chapter 12

I will forever believe that Ty-Ty stole the idea of Modelland from RuPaul’s Drag Race.

Would you guys believe that it’s been a whole month since I did one of these things? Work just kind of piled up on me during the past month, and it’s been difficult to sneak in a few chapters of reading. And besides, sometimes I feel like I’m just screaming in the desert with this one — I don’t think anybody but my friends read this thing.

BUT THEN! From out of the great internet ether came this comment from Melaina:

“When are you posting the next one?”

Someone who I don’t know personally! Sweet potato babies, you are getting your chapter by chapter review and you are getting it now.

Continue reading Chapter by Chapter Review: Tyra Banks’ “Modelland” Chapter 12

Book review: Junot Diaz’ “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”

I think it was Jessica Zafra who once noted that the Philippines, while very firmly located in Asia, often has more similarities with Latin American countries than its own Asian neighbors. We were under Spanish rule for more than 300 years, after all, and that definitely leaves a mark.

Even Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz made the same observation during his recent visit to the country. From the obsession with whitening products, the incredible leeway given visiting white folks, and just the general chaos one can find here, Diaz says Manila might as well have been his own hometown of Santo Domingo. With a lot less Spanish speakers, but still.

Since I’ve never been to any Latin American country before, these observations only became really apparent to me when I started reading “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”. It didn’t just remind me of my own country, it even reminded me of my own hometown.

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Book Blockade defeated!


Or at least, that’s what MLQ III says in his latest Tumblr post.

In any case, I would suggest that all my friends who buy books online or get them from Book Mooch to print out a copy of that Department of Finance order and shove it up the nose of whichever ornery Customs agent is keeping your books in cold storage.

And if the resolution of that order isn’t helpful, the text of the order is posted over at the government’s Official Gazette. I’ve also taken the liberty of making a copy-pasta of it on this blog. Under the cut!

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Read ALL the books!


I don’t know about you guys, but I found 2011 to just be a very bleurgh year, to say the least. It seemed like there was just a general malaise that seemed to infect the world the past year — earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, flooding. I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one happy to see the back of last year.

And yeah, there’s that whole Mayan apocalypse thing that’s supposed to happen this year, but you know what? I’m going to be a freaking optimist about the whole thing. World’s going to end? Then I’m going to read ALL the books.

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