Salutations! I am Reese, and I have too many feelings.
It's mostly about boys in here. I'm sorry.
I went to the Manila International Book Fair this year on its first day, and I decided to invite my good friend Ace, someone who I know will enjoy going as much as I would. I try to not miss MIBF every year, even though I don't particularly have specific things to buy, the atmosphere of it is electric. The feeling that everybody else has baskets of books they want to purchase (and how they're so willing to spend hard earned money on BOOKS) just makes me smile.
This year, I had a general list of things I want to purchase, but I only got two to three from that list. The rest of the books I wanted were either not yet available / still hasn't arrived / just doesn't exist in the Fully Booked arsenal.
Anyway, here are the titles I walked away with:FULLY BOOKED
- Atlas Obscura - it's a wonderful book about the weird, hidden, mysterious places in the whole world. It is divided into continents and every country gets at least one mention. It's a delight to peruse, also they got a lot of famous people to do the reviews (Neil Gaiman, Lena Dunham, Guillermo Del Toro, Philippe Petit! etc) and just the fact that these people have the same book on their bookshelf is an amazing fact in itself. It's especially handy for all my future travels as I am sure to see one or two wacky places in every country I go. Last night, I read about the Oregon Vortex and literally got sucked in a researching frenzy after encountering it in the book. I proceeded to watch Youtube videos of people experiencing the place and delved into the Wikipedia article to find out more. The book is amazing, also expensive, but hey!
- Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine - it's just coz I want to get as much Adrian Tomine books as I can and I've never seen a copy of Shortcomings locally.
- Deep Dark Fears by Fran Krause - it's a simple comic book that illustrates the author's irrational fears, which I can very much relate with. The drawings are charming and I like the premise of the book, so I bought it on impulse. The book makes me giggle a lot, which should be a good thing, I suppose.
- This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki - I've always wanted to get this book because of the illustration (and also a lot of people recommended it to me) so I finally got it. I believe the tandem are cousins, and that's somehow comforting to know.
- The Elements of Style - Strunk, White, Kalman - My first encounter with this book was in high school. My friend had a beautiful, red hardbound edition with the Kalman illustrations and it always puzzled me how a book about grammar and language could be so beautiful. I saw the same edition a couple of times in NBS but never picked it up. But recently, I've been watching a lot of Maira Kalman interviews and when I saw this on the MIBF shelf, I immediately picked it up. It seems serendipitous for it to reappear at a time I've been reacquainting myself with the artist. And what better book to buy for myself than a simple rule book of the English language? If I were my own boyfriend, this would be a perfect gift for me to make me love myself forever - if that sentence made sense...
- Around the World in 50 Years by Albert Podell - I saw this in NBS Greenbelt and wanted to get it because who doesn't want to read about a man's adventure across the globe? I like a good travel story, and this seems like such a grand way to live life. To see the world and write about it.
- Mouthful of Forevers by Clementine von Radics - I haven't seen this book anywhere here so I got it, even though the cover was too flimsy for its 600+ price tag. I read Clementine von Radics on Tumblr and I think she's great, and supporting artists and writers I discover online has always been a worthwile investment for me. For the same reason, I spend way too much in art bazaars, buying all the zines and stickers of my favorite illustrators.
- Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur - I always see this in Fully Booked but I finally gave in. I don't think I'll ever have the heart to purchase a real Lang Leav book (although they look so pretty) because I'm not a fan of her style (she always sounds needy and fragile) but this seems like a good buy. I browsed through the poetry and I liked it. I also liked the crude illustrations that accompany some pages. I consider buying these two poetry books as my "research material" (hoping I can get away with it) since In Case You Come back, I'm happy to report, gets a part two for next year! I need to ~brush up ~ you know...
STUFF I ALSO PICKED UP BUT THOUGHT TWICE ABOUT:
- If On A Winter's Night A Traveler by Italo Calvino - my prized purchase! I didn't know they had this available here. I recently bought Calvino's The Complete Cosmicomics and I'm thoroughly enjoying his style. I love eccentric old men who write the same way. His storytelling is engaging and kooky and I know that this book is particularly crazy in format (David Mitchell sings praises about it). I downloaded an ebook of it before but never really read it because the ugly digital cover puts me off. But I think this book was meant to be read on paper anyway, and I'm glad coz I finally got my highlighter and baptized the book with subtle blue streaks. I think highlighting books (with a mild, "erasable" highlighter) will be a new habit of mine. (It depends which books, though haha). I encounter a lot of amazing lines every time I pick up a book and most of the time I just write them down on my notebook, but there's somethign satisfying about highlighting text (but again, it depends on the kind of book... if the paper is too precious or if it's a fucking Harry Potter or ASOUE, I wouldn't dare...). It makes you remember better, I suppose. Or makes you feel more scholarly?
- Religion for Aetheists by Alain de Boton - it seems like a perfectly good read, although honestly Alain de Boton intimidates me quite a bit. I do dream of collecting most of his books, but I'm not sure if I am capable of understanding them...?
- The Architecture of Happiness by Alain de Boton - in the same vein, I also picked this book up (the cover looks magnificent) but again, I'm not sure if I'll ever have the capacity to comprehend what he's really saying. I also really want to get The Art of Travel, but if I can't stand it over the weekend, I'll be back this Sunday for our book signing of In Case You Come Back, and I might just purchase the whole lot. Bahala na. I just want to be pretentious.
- Stories of Your Life and Other Stories by Ted Chiang - I picked this up because ampersandals mentioned it to me, and I think I remember her saying how hard it is to get an actual copy of the book (or I might be remembering it wrong) but I decided against it because again, I didn't know if his style would be something I'd "get". If Amanda comments and persuades me to go get it, then I probably will this Sunday. We'll see!
- Harry Potter Artifact Vault - I'm just out to collect all the companion books of the HP films. I got the Harry Potter Page To Screen book 2 years ago and it's a DELIGHT to read. It's terribly heavy and it's definitely a book you need to read while lying flat on your stomach because otherwise, the sheer weight of it can crush a ribcage or two. I just want to buy the priciest stuff in MIBF so I can take advantage of the discounts.
- Harry Potter : The Complete Set (trunk) - I don't really NEED this, coz I have all the books, but starting young I read the first three books on paperback and immediately realized that I have to get the succeeding copies right at the release date, hence having all hardbound versions of the book from 4 to 7 (except for 6, because I read that in Europe and decided to just wait for the paperback so I don't have to lug around a heavy book in the tour bus like an impractical book worm). The allure of just having a complete, pristine set in a paper trunk is too irresistable, but it costs about Php 8k, and my game plan is to just collect the rest of the hardbound books from book sales until I complete them. I am also stupidly missing the dust jacket for Order of the Phoenix. I really do not know why I didn't start taking more care of my HP books when I was growing up, and it makes me want to kick myself.
- Kikomachine Komix - I really enjoy these comic books, Manix Abrera is hilarious and they come at a very cheap price. I was going to buy a handful but I found out they only accepted cash payments when I asked (and when I asked, I didn't realize it was Lles from college who was manning the table so we hugged and exchanged pleasantries). Anyway, I didn't have enough cash on me so I just decided to come back for them on Sunday. It's fitting too, since I'm meeting Manix soon for a joint project / launch thing and I cannot wait to get him to sign all my (new) comics.
Anyway, that's about it for my MIBF recap. I might walk away with more titles by the end of this week, so STAY TUNED! Also I've been writing a lot on my LJ, also on my actual journal which I keep in a Midori Passport notebook. Writing is something of a solace for me nowadays, and I like the fact that nobody is really reading this journal save for probably 2 people. That makes me write more, somehow.
Currently reading: Italo Calvino. I'll let you know how it goes :)
Careless as they come
Instead of a bank account,
She keeps her money in envelopes
And envelopes in boxes
And boxes in a trunk
Left unlocked underneath her bed
And I wonder
If she would ever grow up
When poetry gets too complicated, I have a hard time discerning good poetry from substandard ones. I am not well-read (I mostly just read non-fiction these days), and I only know so much. But I've been writing a lot, and I want to share it with anyone. Just anyone.
This is something I wrote this morning, while it was raining heavily and I ran out to confirm if I wasn't just hearing things. It's hardly polished, and I might edit things here and there. But I just feel compelled to post words in here right now - words that aren't all set to private.
I Apologize For My Selfish Love for Rain
I keep confusing
The buzzing of the air-conditioning
For the sound of rain
Each time I have to run out
Just to double check
If the ground has slightly changed
To a darker colour
I check if the drops on the leaves
Aren't magic morning dew
Aren't the aftermath of a sad occasion
Causing the flora to weep bitter tears
I check if the drummings on the roof
Aren't hammers gifted by the sky
Aren't pearls flung by a raging wife
Aren't frozen peas from a bag
Cut open by a knife
I check if the damp air
Is not so because I'm angry
For all it's worth
It's because / the water
has kindly met the Earth
And once I have rushed out,
Felt the drops fall on my palm
Watched the sky
With a hawk-eye
Until stirring settles to a calm
Is only the time when I allow my heart
P.S. From my previous entry, "hawk eye" makes its way back here again. For I like it.
I was asked to write something for an online magazine regarding any "Aftermath" story in my life. The premise was to start with the aftermath, then proceed to explain what actually happened. Here's what I came up with. 100% truefax.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
14 years old and at the brink of being truly validated as an adolescent, I was kneeling in front of my wooden trunk with a heavily stapled envelope in hand. Inside it was a print out of a Yahoo Messenger chat log. Between myself and my then high school crush.
- - -
My whole life, I grew up in an exclusive Catholic school for girls. Yup - uniforms, sock length rules, lesbian phases, and all that jazz. After the rush of getting our period, the "class interaction" was one other much-awaited milestone in our secondary education.
The "interaction" was a tension-filled whole day affair that involved mingling with a class of boys from another exclusive school. Having been surrounded by girls our whole lives (outside of the occasional manong guards and school aides), the prospect of the opposite sex sent us all in a delirious frenzy.
The fated day finally came, and a crowd in the common bathroom was a telltale sign that we wanted to look our best. As the boys walked into our auditorium one by one, we girls slowly judged each individual based on physical attractiveness.
We were all partnered up by class numbers, and things unfolded as scheduled. We mingled, ate baked macaroni from a styrofoam box, exchanged our class tokens, and we all walked away, both boy and girl with a prized piece of paper at hand. Class directories. The holy grail of cellphone numbers and YM addresses.
A month after interaction, our class still cannot stop talking about boys. A classmate has even carved a cellphone shaped niche out of our mythology book, just so she could text her crush during class hours. Things got friendly over Yahoo Messenger, as the boys initiated nightly group chats with us girls who were mostly game to participate. Suddenly, we were rushing home from school to get to our computers. All of us watching with hawk-eye precision for the moment when our individual objects of affection would go online.
I developed a notable friendship with this one boy from that class whom I never noticed before. He wasn't particularly good-looking, but our witty online banter could rival anyone else's. Late night chats and a barrage of text messages led to subtle hinting on our childish, mutual interest for each other.
One night, we were having a hilarious exchange over something I now forget. I said something he found “real charming”, which resulted to him flooding our chat box with the words "CUTE" in all caps, sent 46 times to get the point across.
Having ZERO experience with a boy returning even the vaguest hint of interest, I was ELATED. Reading those words over and over made my head spin & all the blood rush to my cheeks. "CUTE" never sounded so happy, right, and wonderful. I immediately ran to the couch, buried my face in the pillows, and kicked the air like I was having convulsions.
I printed out the conversation to immortalize the unexplainable feeling of kilig that came over me at fourteen. But in paranoia and fear of being discovered, I heavily stapled it inside an envelope & shoved it in my secret trunk - defeating the purpose.
L O L.
I want to write, and spill over these words so carelessly. But for now, I keep them in my pocket.
Safe until the season of shedding skin.
Cause once these words have lost its magic upon ceaseless revisits and repetition, I begin to need more.