Pardon the estrogen.

Book #11 for 2009: The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares

I read the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants two years ago, just before the movie was shown, and I liked both. I lost my copy (someone borrowed it, I forgot who, and it never got returned… this is why I do not like lending my books!) and replaced it when I joined BookMooch, and I only recently got a copy of the 2nd book at the Scholastic warehouse sale, it was the pretty Australian edition for only P50!

I saw the 2nd movie with Myx (my best friend — hehe the movies are totally girl-bonding flicks!) and I loved the Santorini bits, and the hunky boys (male model in birthday suit and Brian – who would have thought the gamer dude had a bodacious bod underneath the ratty sweatshirt!) I finally got around to reading the book last night – it was a quick read and I enjoyed it.

What I love most about the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is that it’s realistic – the characters are real girls in real-life situations and real problems. I also like that it’s not skanky – that’s where all the other YA series for girls seem to be going these days, and I really don’t like it.

Unlike the first book adaptation though, which was exactly like the book, the 2nd book is quite different from the movie, which was a blend of a bit of books 2 and 3 and a lot of book 4 from what I’ve read in the reviews.

It’s a light and charming read, and while I’m in no hurry, I’m definitely reading the next books in the series.

My copy: trade paperback (Australian), rummaged for P50 at the Scholastic warehouse

My rating: 4/5 stars

Finally — Book 10

I just realized beating last year’s record of 230+ books will be a challenge this year because I am writing about them too, and that considerably slows me down (Gosh, I never thought I’d be able to sustain writing past a couple of books)… But I will attempt to anyway, just so I’ll have some sort of record of the books I’ve finished reading, and at least it’s a good writing exercise.

Book #10 is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink; I’m also putting it down as a European book for the FFP diversity challenge.

I must admit that I do not read Oprah’s book club selections, because they usually don’t interest me and are often the dramatic types of books, which aren’t really my cup of tea.
I actually only got this copy because it was P40 and it came up as a suggested book for FFP discussion (but no one’s gotten around to moderating it).

Anyway, as my first Oprah book, I think I can safely say I was right to stay away.

From start to finish I found the book boring and tedious and I actually finished the book for the sake of finishing it. The relationship between Hanna and Michael was disturbing (36 year old woman and a 15 year old kid?!?), but not in a way that compelled me to read on.

The main problem for me is that it’s so flat — you know Michael is the persona but it reads as if it were an exposition, rather than a narration, with very little feeling, and it’s hard to see the main characters as real people, because they were never fully developed. The plot is weak too, and it stagnates into limpid pools of rambling most of the time.

At least the hype never quite reached the Philippines — I read some reviews that it was really hyped in the US (heh, blame Oprah) and a lot of people were disappointed.

A few points briefly stirred me, but not enough to elevate my opinion of the book (I wish the author developed these more; maybe that would’ve helped):

1) The book is from the German point of view of the Holocaust, which isn’t very common.
2) It touches briefly on illiteracy, and its psychological effects on the person
3) Hanna on the stand being interrogated, and then she turns to the judge and asks, “What would you have done?” — which for me was the only moral aspect of the book that made any sort of impact on me.

Sigh. This book will probably end up in my mooching inventory, unless perhaps Andi wants it, although that might not be such a good idea, as it might depress him…

Maybe the movie’s better.

My copy: Vintage trade paperback, P40 from Book Sale

My rating: 2/5 stars

Photo from

MirrorMask by Neil Gaiman/ Dave McKean

(The review pertains to the film, but I’m posting it because I have the film book :) )

I have to say that I loved MirrorMask! And since I’m not a Gaiman fan, and I’m very selective on fantasy (I’m really not big into the hardcore stuff), this is saying a lot.

The movie has Dave McKean written all over it; it’s like a picture book brought to life. It’s dark, with a bit of The Nightmare Before Christmas feel to it, only with a Dave McKean look, and it’s funny and creepy and weird all at the same time.

The story is simple enough; any more complicated than that and it’ll overpower the animation and effects. It’s about Helena, a 15 year old girl in a family of circus entertainers, who often wishes she could run off and join real life. After a fight with her parents about her future plans, her mother falls quite ill and Helena is convinced that it is all her fault. On the eve of her mother’s major surgery, she dreams that she is in a strange world with two opposing queens, bizarre creatures, and masked inhabitants. All is not well in this new world – the white queen has fallen ill and can only be restored by the MirrorMask, and it’s up to Helena to find it. But as her adventures continue, she begins to wonder whether she’s in a dream, or something far more sinister.

It’s a very visual movie; there is a lot to take in, as it’s a world unfamiliar to the viewer; but it’s enhanced by the emotion of the story, and the mirror motif is further enhanced by the mirroring of events in the real world (Helena’s real life as she’s replaced by the mirror-self) and the fantasy world.

It’s similar to Coraline, which is similar to one Are You Afraid of the Dark books I read ages ago (only it was better than Coraline).

I don’t know if it was shown here in the Philippines though; it’s dated 2005. I just discovered I had the DVD when Trina told me it was really good. It’s the sort of thing I’d shell out several hundred bucks for to watch over and over again, once for the overall impact, and several times more to catch the nuances… Dave McKean is sooo amazing; I even caught a scene where two hands touching each other looked like Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam, I don’t know if that was intentional, but it’s still pure genius.

You just have to watch this.

My copy: A squarish hardbound book with dustjacket, the Children’s edition of the film book. Mooched from Canada last year.

My rating: 5/5 stars

photo courtesy of Amazon (