The UK Diaries Part 2: Shakespeare


Of course, Shakespeare was on the itinerary. We’ve been Shakespeare lovers for most of our lives, way before our milk teeth grew out. Our school had an annual play production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream put on by the sixth graders (I played Snout / The Wall and was Props director when it was our turn, if you must know), and to this day, we can still recite long passages of the play from memory.

We hit two Shakespearean destinations for this trip: Shakespeare’s Globe on the South Bank in London, and Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire.

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Smaller and Smaller Circles (Interview + Giveaway)


It was in 2013 when I first encountered the crime-solving Jesuit Fr. Gus Saenz in the anthology “Manila Noir,” where he appears in the story “Comforter of the Afflicted.” Not that he needed further introduction. I was in college when I first heard of the novella “Smaller and Smaller Circles,” although I was not able to get ahold of a copy until the Manila Noir book signing, when I and a bunch of other bloggers quickly foraged through the bookstore shelves for copies when we found out F.H. Batacan was at the event.

I read “Smaller and Smaller Circles” shortly after that, and I thought it was a great character study. I also liked the way it explored the nature of humanity and what pushes people over the edge. And when the expanded novel came out, I was quite curious to see what changes were made to the original manuscript. I read it in preparation for yesterday’s book signing and I wasn’t disappointed – there’s a lot more meat to this expanded edition – and I was glad to revisit the novel once more.

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Behind the scenes: All About the Philippines

pp 4 to11.indd
Dummy layout for All About the Philippines

I knew I’d be out of town for the launch of “All About the Philippines” (2 pm, Aug 15 at National Book Store Glorietta), so I took the opportunity of talking to the author and illustrator — Gidget Jimenez and Kora Dandan Albano to learn more about the

It’s always interesting to find out the story behind a book, and this was no exception — many thanks to Kora Dandan Albano for her email correspondence, and Gidget for a lovely first meeting!

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Leigh Bardugo in Manila (+giveaway!)

IMG_5180(event photo via National Book Store)

I had only started reading the Grisha trilogy a few days before I was scheduled to interview YA author Leigh Bardugo. I always try to read at least one book before an author interview (more when I get hooked) and this was one of those times when I just couldn’t stop reading — I didn’t even notice the sun had risen until I turned the very last page!

Leigh Bardugo’s New York Times Bestselling Grisha trilogy, composed of the books “Shadow and Bone,” “Siege and Storm” and “Ruin and Rising” feature an orphan girl named Alina, who discovers she is the long-awaited Sun Summoner. This elevates her status as lowly mapmaker into a revered Grisha (magical elite) on whom the fate of the nation of Ravka rests. Alina struggles with her newfound power, fitting in with the Grisha and being separated from her best friend, Mal; as well as the different forces vying for control of the kingdom.

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E. Lockhart in Manila (+giveaway!)

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