To Lola, with love

I’ve been away for a spell as the whole family flew to Bacolod to pay our last respects to my paternal grandmother, Lola Binyang, who passed away last week.

I was too young to remember the death of my paternal grandfather or my maternal grandmother, so losing both remaining grandparents in under two years is painful. Growing up with grandparents make you feel they’ll last forever (because to you they’ve always been old), and no matter how old you get, they still make you feel like a kid again, so losing a grandparent is a bit like a death toll on your own mortality.

Lola always spent part of the year with us when I was younger and she was still mobile. I remember endless summer afternoons playing cards on the bed with her — she was quite the cardshark — paris-paris (“pairs” in Ilonggo), blackjack, and even solitaire, as she’d leave a pack of cards behind to tide me over until she returned to our house the following year.

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The Good Daughters

I’d never heard of Joyce Maynard before an uncorrected proof of her book, The Good Daughters, came into my hands, but a little Googling gave me a juicy an interesting discovery: when she was in college, she was in a relationship with a fifty-plus J.D. Salinger!

Here’s a snippet from Wikipedia:

She entered Yale University in 1971 and sent a collection of her writings to the editors of The New York Times Magazine. They asked her to write an article for them, which was published as “An Eighteen Year Old Looks Back On Life” in the magazine’s April 23, 1972 issue. The article prompted a letter from J. D. Salinger, then 53 years old, who complimented her writing and warned her of the dangers of publicity.

They exchanged 25 letters, and Maynard dropped out of Yale the summer after her freshman year to live with Salinger in Cornish, New Hampshire.[1] Maynard spent ten months living in Salinger’s Cornish home, during which time she completed work on her first book, Looking Back, a memoir that was published in 1973. Her relationship with Salinger ended abruptly just prior to the book’s publication; according to Salinger’s daughter Margaret, he ended things because Maynard wanted children but Salinger felt he was too old.[2] According to Maynard’s memoir, he cut off the relationship suddenly while on a family vacation with her and with his two children; she was stunned and begged him to take her back. According to Maynard, she had dropped out of Yale to be with him, forgoing a scholarship. She never finished college.

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As you well know, I’ve introduced a steady supply of graphic novels in my reading diet for the past few months and I’ve been enjoying the regular break from straight text. But because I still haven’t acquired the taste for graphic novels involving multiple volumes (except for Fables, which I’m planning on collecting via the annual deluxe editions), spandex-clad characters or ka-pow effects, I’ve been seeking out one-volume graphic novels to add to my growing collection.

I came across Re-gifters on BookMooch, looked it up and saw that it’s gotten good reviews, and had to have it shipped to my mom in California (because the moocher only sends to the US) and then waited for her to come home before I could get my hands on it. It turned out to be worth all the trouble!

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Rose is Rose

I read “It Takes Two to Tickle,” my first Rose is Rose comic over ten years ago, and it was one of my favorite books. I must have read it twenty times over!

Rose is Rose is a comic serial by Pat Brady, about the Gumbo family composed of Rose (the mom), Jimbo (the dad), and baby Pasquale, running since 1984. Rose and Jimbo are the sweetest couple, and Pasquale is the cutest baby ever with his garbled babbling, and the comics generally deal with everyday situations in the Gumbo household.

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Blankets and Chunky Rice

Last year, the graphic novel was one of the new genres I started getting hooked on, and Craig Thompson has fast become one of my favorite graphic novel writer-illustrators.

I’ve been salivating over Blankets at the bookstore for years now, but it’s waaay out of my budget, and so it remains on my wishlist. A couple of years back, though, I was able to mooch Thompson’s Goodbye, Chunky Rice, and so I started with that.

Late last year, I finally got the chance to read Blankets, when Flipper friend Mike (aka GNP, or Geek and Proud) lent me his copy, along with his prized volumes of Maus. Of course, before I read Blankets, I felt a reread of Goodbye, Chunky Rice was in order, so I could review the two books side by side before I finally return Mike’s book this weekend (I returned Maus earlier), with gratitude for entrusting one of his favorite books to me for several months now. Continue reading “Blankets and Chunky Rice”