Dahl’s Chickens!

I’ve been a fan of Roald Dahl ever since I discovered he was the brains behind Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (I saw the Gene Wilder movie dozens of times before I found the book in the library in fifth grade) and my favorite Willy Wonka candies that I bought at the school canteen — Gobstoppers, Pixy Sticks (the jumbo ones!), Runts (I loved the bananas!), Nerds, Dweebs (chewy Nerds), Tart & Tinys, Fun Dips, and SweeTarts — which led me to believe that Willy Wonka was a real person and that he had a chocolate factory somewhere. In fact, I was devastated (Santa Claus part II) when I eventually found out Nestle was making the candies!
UPDATE: My Roald Dahl Collection

After Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, I was fascinated with The Witches and Matilda, both of which I’ve read dozens of times.

I know a lot of people who were terrified as kids when they watched Angelica Huston’s portrayal of the Grand High Witch in the movie, but I didn’t get to see the movie until it was aired on Disney Channel several years ago, so I never had that problem. Like Roald Dahl himself, I was disappointed that they changed the ending in the movie.

I also liked Matilda, because our school’s parents association sponsored the film premiere when I was in sixth grade and I begged and begged my mom to get me a copy of the book after we saw the movie.

Matilda is one of my favorite characters because I could totally relate to her when I was younger– I was the kid who was always at the library until closing time, and I was always happy to be holed up alone in a room with a book. Hahaha, when I was younger I would set up a pencil on a dresser and try to levitate it like Matilda did, attempting to use my eyes to move the pencil and mouthing “Move!” fiercely. Today, I use Matilda as my BookMooch avatar.

To this day, the Grand High Witch and Miss Trunchbull are still in my list of the best book villains.

Other favorites include the BFG (which I only read recently, and I wanted to burst into applause after), George’s Marvelous Medicine, The Vicar of Nibbleswicke (hilarious!), The Twits (also hilarious!), Revolting Recipes and Even More Revolting Recipes.

Having grown up on Roald Dahl books, Quentin Blake also became one of my all-time favorite illustrators. I love how you can look at his work and know without doubt that it’s his. Very simple, yet enormous comic appeal!
In college, I started reading Roald Dahl’s short story collections, and I found a whole new – but equally engrossing – way to enjoy his works. The stories are dark and humorous, highly imaginative and original, and always with a surprise twist in the end. It was surprising to find out he could write outside of children’s books, and he is excellent at both writing for kids and for adults.

This isn’t actually a review of Roald Dahl’s books (although it’s starting to veer in that direction), but a review of D is for Dahl (Book 60 for 2009), an A-Z book about one of Britain’s most celebrated children’s authors.

The book is not very thick, but still filled with a lot of interesting factoids I never knew about one of my favorite authors.

I read this book to “cleanse the palate” after reading Silverlock during the read-a-thon, and I was laughing from start to end.

Am sharing my favorite entries:

The lamb debacle

Come to think of it, they don’t have names!


The cutest story ever!

Who would’ve thought?

My copy: trade paperback, mooched from Triccie

My rating: 5/5 stars


Ever since I realized this was going to be my 100th post, I’ve had the hardest time composing an entry, since I don’t have a review yet because I’m still halfway through the book I’m reading (Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal).

Anyway, after a day or two of just staring at the computer screen, I realized I might as well plunge in and just write… so here goes:

Sumthinblue’s 100 random book quirks
(or, a peek inside the crazy mind of a biblioholic)

100. I learned to read at three years old.

99. I have no scars from childhood rough and tumble because I preferred reading to playing.

98. I used to think endpapers / flyleaves were blank so you could draw on them.

97. When I was about five, I got lost at SM North EDSA (then the biggest mall) because I wandered off inside a book store.

96. The first book I bought with my own money was Sweet Valley Kids #6, Lila’s Secret

95. I got my first pair of glasses in 2nd year high school, when I couldn’t read the subtitles off Il Postino, which we watched for Lit Class. I started out at +0.75/1.00 grade.

94. I am currently wearing +2.50 contacts.

93. I like books on trivia and useless information.

92. I am a big Harry Potter fan and I have a collection of international editions of the series, numbering nearly 80 books now.

91. My cousin and I once threw a birthday party in honor of Harry Potter.

90. I cannot read a book that has not yet been covered in plastic.

89. When I borrow books I usually return them already covered in plastic, except when I know the owner prefers books naked.

88. I abhor mass market paperbacks and I love hardbacks!

87. I visit the bargain bookstore at least twice a week.

86. I don’t buy books at full price if I can help it.

85. I have loyalty cards to National Book Store and Powerbooks. My next target is a Fully Booked loyalty/discount card but it’s so expensive (P15,000 purchase in 1 year, or P700 outright – I am thinking of the number of books I can buy with that money)!

84. Romance novels are my guilty pleasure.

83. I have only recently learned to read several books at the same time, I used to strictly stick to one book from start to finish before I pick up another one.

82. I currently have nearly 300 books in my to-be-read pile.

81. I prefer female authors to male authors, although I read a fair amount of both.

80. I am not a Twilight fan and no amount of persuasion can make me change my stand on the series.

79. My favorite series are Harry Potter, Cirque du Freak, The Bartimaeus Trilogy, and The Thursday Next series

78. I read all sorts of books, except self help/inspirational, drama, and political novels. I also don’t like cutesy talking animals, so I am very picky about books with animal characters. Give me a grisly murder anytime.

77. I remove price stickers using WD-40, but only for glossy finishes (otherwise the oil seeps through). Sometimes sticky-taping the price sticker works too.

76. I don’t dog-ear. If I don’t have a bookmark, I’ll use a receipt, a gum wrapper, tissue, or anything I can insert inside a book. Dog ears break the fibers of the paper and one day, the dog-ear will fall off.

75. I always lose bookmarks so I dare not buy any expensive ones. Once I leave a bookmark inside the book, I tend to forget about it until the next reading.

74. I like reading in cars and other modes of transportation, I’ve gotten so used to it that the movement doesn’t bother me.

73. I also like to read while eating – one hand for the food, one hand to hold the book up.

72. At any given time there are three to four books on my bed – under the pillow, tangled in the sheets, etc. I like my bedtime reading, especially in the dark with my Lumos book light.

71. There was one mystery series I liked more than Nancy Drew – The Three Investigators! I loved Jupe, Pete, and Bob’s team up, and the sleuthing gadgets they created.

70. Aside from my work as a PR writer, I moonlight as a newspaper contributor and a children’s book illustrator.

69. I get disturbed by deckle-edge books, although I don’t really have much choice if the book comes in rough cut. More edges for dust to sit on…

68. I frequent bookstores to find new titles to mooch. Even at Book Sale, when the book is over P100 and I don’t have to have the book, I end up adding it to my BookMooch wishlist.

68. My books usually have a bookplate sticker and my name handwritten on the flyleaf.

67. I have a fluffy pink duster on my bookshelf.

66. I have a separate bookshelf for to-be-read books, which overflows into several stacks on my workdesk, taking it over completely.

65. I “upgrade” mass market paperbacks into trade paperbacks, and trade paperbacks into hardcovers, and as you may know by now, my book club friends call it “doing a Blooey”

64. Vlad Tepes from the book The Historian scares the hell out of me.

63. Once, at Book Sale – Cash and Carry, one of the clerks came up to me and asked if I was the illustrator of Alamat ng Atis, causing me to blush beet red.

62. Once I forged all the signatures from the letters inside the Harry Potter books, and then invented a few more… (crazy!)

61. I get sad when I walk out of a book store without buying anything.

60. In our sixth grade production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I starred as Snout the tinker, who presents the Wall in the play Pyramus and Thisbe.

59. I find Neil Gaiman to be an acquired taste, which I’m acquiring very slowly.

58. I was thoroughly depressed by Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood.

57. I once snuck out a book from my grade school library- Nothing’s Fair in the Fifth Grade by Barthe De Clements.

56. I stopped reading picture books after the first grade because I thought they were babyish and I wanted to read “grown up” books. Now I’m making up for it, tee hee hee.

55. In high school I was addicted to movie tie-ins and read every single movie tie-in I could find in the library. Today, I steer clear of movie covers.

54. In college I took a production design class and I had to create a machette (a miniature stage) for Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice.

53. I snuck reading Harlequin romances in high school.

52. On the launch of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, I won a hardbound boxed set of Harry Potter books because I made a diorama of Harry battling the Hungarian Horntail in the first task.

51. I am trying to complete my Tintin comics. I think I’m about 2/3 there.

50. The person I’ve mooched the most books from is wired_lain, who supplies me with all the books I could possibly want (and more!) from Japan.

49. When on a trip, I usually take books I have trouble starting so that I’ll be forced to read them.

48. I rarely like movie adaptations of books.

47. I prefer to have read the book before seeing the movie.

46. I got over my chick lit phase because I kept getting disappointed by random chick lit titles. Today I stick to Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin and Meg Cabot.

45. I hate that there are so many skanky books for young girls.

44. I have loads of art how-to books but I’ve never had the time to practice them. Ditto computer/ graphic design books.

43. I want a cue cat scanner.

42. I am one book away from completing the 2nd Griffin and Sabine Trilogy: Alexandria remains elusive.

41. I have a signed copy of Jasper Fforde’s Something Rotten and Meg Cabot’s Queen of Babble in the Big City, and Lynne Reid Banks’ The Secret of the Indian.

40. I like wordless picture books!

39. I have the following boxed sets: The Next Set by Jasper Fforde; Harry Potter; Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (separate books for Part I, II, and III); The Spiderwick Chronicles; and The Lord of the Rings (mass market paperback).

38. I have a hardbound, anniversary edition of The Little Prince (in clothbound slipcase) that I got for P140 at the Book Sale warehouse.

37. I have been inside the Book Sale warehouse.

36. I love it when P5, P10, P15 and P20 books at Book Sale turn out to be great reads.

35. My mom used to cover all my school books with fancy wrapping paper and plastic cover.

34. My favorite Book Sale branch is in Makati Cinema Square.

33. For the past four years, I have been to the Manila International Book Fair every day of its 5-day run.

32. The most I’ve spent for books all in one go is P4500 (nearly $100).

31. My favorite Harry Potter character is Severus Snape.

30. My cousin Dianne and I had “In Snape We Trust” shirts made before book 7 was out.

29. My favorite TV character as a kid was Kapitan Basa on Batibot.

28. I like copying down quotes from books I like.

27. Judy Blume got me through adolescence.

26. I get paranoid when I enter a book store and there are books in my bag, I’m always afraid that my books will set off the scanner alarms, although it has never stopped me from going

25. The first classic I read was Heidi.

24. When I was in third grade, I joined an art workshop conducted by Jose Aruego and decided I wanted to “draw books.”

23. I like my white space, I get disturbed when books have narrow margins and tight leading.

22. The earliest memories I have of books is a ladybird book of She-ra (Was a big She-ra fan), a board book of The Wolf and Seven Kids, the type that uses puppet illustrations, and a ladybird book of Opposites

21. I feel bad if I spend more than P100 on a book from Book Sale

20. Thickness is not an issue for me, if it’s compelling enough, I can read it. But no matter how thin the book is, if it bores me, I’ll fall asleep while reading it.

19. I get freaked out by fantasy novels that have maps and unpronounceable names.

18. When I am book shopping or attending a book club event, I always bring a recyclable bag because I know I’ll get loaded down with books.

17. I like hunting down books for other people.

16. I get extreme satisfaction when I find a bargain copy or mooch a book that would have set me back for so much more money if I’d bought it full price.

15. My officemates often pore through my desk when I have books that come in the mail.

14. I have read until book 4 of the Charlie Bone series (and I have Books 5 and 6) but it’s so vague that until now I still don’t get the point of the series.

13. When covering my books, I like using plastic cover that’s at least gauge 3. I hate thin plastic cover.

12. I’m annoyed that there are no ready-made dust jackets and book repair supplies available in the Philippines.

11. When I was in kindergarten I played the role of Henny Penny in the school play. All I remember is running around, screaming “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”

10. I collect Caldecott Medal and Caldecott Honor books.

9. I only loan books to people that I trust will return them in their original condition.

8. I get thirsty when I shop for books, I don’t know why.

7. I currently have 1113 books on my Shelfari shelf.

6. The books that have wrung buckets of tears out of me are: The Time Traveler’s Wife; Walk Two Moons, The Book Thief, Tiger Eyes, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.

5. When we were young, my cousin Dianne and I made our own books and branded them “Twinklelite.”

4. In high school, I was on TV to talk about my favorite book- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

3. I discovered the book “Love You Forever” in an episode of Friends.

2. I like getting people to read the books I enjoyed so I can have someone to discuss them with.

1. I am averaging 18 books a month so far in my book challenge.