Pseudo-Bookworm On Overdrive

I believe in books. I believe in the importance of them and what they can do for the alleviation of stupidity in the human race. The thing is, I hate to read. It’s tedious, and sometimes it feels like such a chore.

But every now and then, I try to resist all my lazy urges and sit down for a book or two. And then, after finishing said book (which usually takes weeks) and feeling a little superior than the average man for having done it, what with my then slightly unparalleled level of intellect and depth from all the acquired knowledge and culture from the things I’ve just read, I like to feel important and give the book a quick review. And for the two or three people who read my blog when they’ve run out of use for the interwebs, they know that when I say “review”, I really mean just your average, low-I.Q. opinions.

However, I also think it’s worth mentioning that majority of the random people who happen to hit this blog in passing got linked to my review on Lois Lowry’s The Giver.

I iz teh Man, ya?

Anyway, here are a few books I read over the past few months, in order of acquisition. Just don’t expect the reviews to be as well-written (not that I’m saying it actually is) as my take on The Giver. That was for the school paper back in college so I had to give it some effort, unlike the ones here. That, and the fact that I’m really, really sleepy…

Tw7sted | Jessica Zafra

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I got this when I first became interested with the literary workings of Jessica Zafra. Translation: after I found her blog. It was then that she became my idol in terms of being a writer. I loved how intellectual her angst sounds on paper, well, web page. And so I bought her latest book at the time, which was the 7th in the Twisted series.

Twisted is a compilation of Filipino columnist Jessica Zafra’s most notable essays. And upon my first real immersion into the Zafra world (she’s actually quite popular in my generation, for those not in the know), I found myself arguably fascinated over how she’s able to turn such mediocre, or as my Photography class instructor Jay Alonzo would say, mundane occurences of her life into very interesting reads (no offense). I became officially a fan after this book. I also constantly found myself with this burning desire to emulate her writing style. Like, if I’m writing a post, and I couldn’t write down what I really wanted to say without appearing as though a grade-schooler wrote it, I’d think to myself, “Hmm. How would Zafra phrase this?” Unfortunately, my inferior writing skills only lead me to the crap you’re reading right now.

Now, the bad news with this book is that sometimes I find myself unable to relate to whatever the hell she’s talking about, and I can’t help but feel either lost or disinterested. This leads me to believe that her book caters to a very specific target audience (or whatever you call reader demographic), which translates to not-easily-relatable-for-certain-kinds-of-stupid, which basically means me. I pretty much lost interest on the last few sections of the book, and only finished it for the sake of finishing it. It didn’t make me want to buy the other previous Twisteds, which felt weird for me since I’m a little obsessive compulsive that way. From a different perspective, the fact that it didn’t make me want to buy the previous Twisteds meant this Twisted wasn’t as gripping as you might have wanted.

Feh. I’m still a fan, so of course I swore I’d just buy the next one.

MacArthur | Bob Ong

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I actually bought this because I thought the cover art was nice. Also, because it was only a hundred bucks.

From the author of prominent Filipino books such as Ang Paboritong Libro Ni Hudas (“Judas’ Favorite Book”), ABNKKBSNPLAko?! (“Hey, I Can Read Already?!”), and Stainless Longganisa (a kind of sausage made from ground pork) comes MacArthur, a story about a group of young men forced by fate to live in Philippine slums, and left with no choice but to take the unfortunate and often unthinkably harsh circmstances of their lives.

I have to give it up to Bob Ong for being able to write such dialogue. Not to be conceited, but I cannot even begin to imagine how people who live in the slums actually talk. So kudos to Ong.

Admittedly, I have to confess my Filipino isn’t very good, which is wrong since I am Filipino. The point is, I couldn’t really tell if this book was well-written or not. The author’s words didn’t feel like poetry, but it suited the “slums” theme of the book down to a tee. And naturally, it would have felt weird to read this book in English, given the setting and all. Eh, I’ll just say it worked.

I also think it quite noteworthy to point out that while I was reading the book, I completely felt like the main characters were just mere children. It wasn’t until a side comment about one of them already having a family would bring me out of my delusion. But seriously, that’s how it felt. Their actions, their speech, they just didn’t seem like the type of stuff you’d find teenagers already capable of breeding women doing. It was quite disappointing to finish, having heard such wonderful praises for his previous books. Guess I read the wrong Bob Ong book.

The 500 People You Meet in Hell | Jessica Zafra

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A birthday gift from my friend Giselle. Thank you, by the way! ^_^ I think I mentioned in passing that I wanted this book, because, as you should know by now, I’m biased and Zafra is my favorite author, and that’s why she gave it to me.

I finished this in two hours. It wasn’t really a book, more like a list, and the reason behind each numbered point. While the idea of this book was good, I almost hated it when I was done. Mainly because for a stupid list, it was more expensive than the Twisted books. Also, it wasn’t as funny as I originally thought it would be. Plus, I didn’t get most of it. Whether she was projecting horrendous past experiences only she and a close few would understand, I wouldn’t know.

Although it did come with a disclaimer that said it wasn’t intended for the irony-challenged. Still… I guess that’s the category where I fall into since I just didn’t see the point.

Lies My Yaya Should Have Told Me | RJ Ledesma

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The word “yaya” is Filipino for “nanny”.

I believe this is RJ Ledesma’s first book. This is apparently a compilation of his newspaper column articles and a few essays.

I actually had a lot of high expectations for this book. First, because the author is a co-star of the now defunct “The Men’s Room” on Studio 23, which was an uber-funny show in its prime. Second, the cover, which showcases Ledesma and his goofy smirk, makes for the impression that it’s a funny, funny read. And third, it was a really thin book and yet it cost more than my Zafra books.

So anyway, after reading the whole thing, I thought it drastically fell short of being hilarious. I’ve read better stuff here! It would’ve been so much funnier, should it have been written by one of the editors of The Man-Blog. Sadly, it seemed that the Ledesma I knew from The Men’s Room days are gone. Either that, or he can’t fully translate that perverted sense of humor of his on paper.

Also, the articles didn’t really have much lies and “yaya” stuff on them as I thought, which could’ve been funny. Which is kind of stupid, I know, but hey, I’m a simple-minded guy. What can I do?

Twisted 8: The Night of the Living Twisted | Jessica Zafra

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And there it was. News on Zafra’s blog that Twisted 8 had finally come out. Now, what you should understand about me is that whenever I feel excited, my voice goes way up like a girl’s. So after much squealing, and to my friends’ horrific dismay, I went and got myself a copy the soonest I was able to. This book actually kept running out of stocks in bookstores, so it took a while, to my friends’ horrific dismay again.

Anyway, my first impression was that Zafra’s books don’t have very good cover art. Sorry, it’s just that I buy nicely packaged things, so cover art for books is very important. The 8th book had the sleekest cover yet, but it could still have been better.

As far as the articles are concerned, it was nice to read Zafra’s same old angst-y wit and sarcasm again. And her writing skills had not deteriorated in the slightest since the last book. I’m actually all praises for this book, except for the selection of articles. Some were mere lists, like she would sometimes do for her blog, and, I don’t know, it just didn’t feel like they should be there on the book. Like they weren’t book-material, or something. It was almost as if they went for quantity over quality this time around. But my favorite would have to be the short stories. These are, after all, what brought Zafra acclaim and all those awards and sh*t.

Gossip Girl | Cecily von Ziegesar

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XOXO! I bought this book out of sheer curiosity. One of my favorite shows right now is Gossip Girl. I know, it’s girly and all that but it reminds me so much of one of my favorite movies of all time, Cruel Intentions. It’s like a PG version of the movie, and it brought back all the fascination I have towards the lives of Manhattan’s upper east siders.

Aside from the cover photo, which I thought was rather awesome, this book kind of sucks. Mainly because it wasn’t as well-written as I would have liked or thought it to be. Ziegesar’s words didn’t have poetry in between the lines compared to other authors I admire. The story is still nice though, a little different than in the TV show, but still worth the time, I’d say.

Part of the reason why I love Gossip Girl so much is Veronica Mars’ Kristen Bell playing the voice of the omniscient Gossip Girl. I love how sultry and seductive her voice sounds as she says her little side comments throughout the course of the show. Her inflection and tone makes it feel like what she was saying was the juiciest stuff on the planet, and it just plain suited the part. But the difference of the dialogue in the show and in the book kind of threw off her voice in my head. It just didn’t quite mesh together, didn’t click, didn’t work. It didn’t feel as vindictive and scandalous as Kristen makes it out to be on the show. In the book, Gossip Girl sounded like the socialite wannabe she really is, unlike in the TV show where she commanded some respect. In short, I thought the show’s script was better than the book’s original.

I did like the characters in the book better, though. I liked how clear the depiction of each one is, and I could see in my head the many differences of the characters’ personalities and attitude simply by the way they looked as described by Ziegesar. In the TV series, the characters tend to become clones of each other sometimes, almost as if the people just formed themselves into these molds of how their kind of people generally are. But Ziegesar gave them so much more layers in the book that the set of characters became this huge dynamic that really complemented each other well. It was just the story-telling that made the whole thing suck. The story and the characters were great, the way she told their story just wasn’t executed properly. I think it would have been slightly better if they at least segmented the paragraphs more clearly, like, if they had used a different font for all of Gossip Girl’s quips, etc.

Not sure yet if I would buy the next books. I think I like the show enough.

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Finally, I’m done. Hopefully next time I get around to reading, I’d actually end up liking the book afterward.

You know you love me…

Lol! ^_^

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~ by iamnotfrodo on February 4, 2008.

One Response to “Pseudo-Bookworm On Overdrive”

  1. […] https://iamnotfrodo.wordpress.com/2008/02/04/pseudo-bookworm-on-overdrive/ (originally posted on February 4, […]

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