For those who love to love and eat
For those who long to love and eat
I fell in love with the book Banana Heart Summer by Merlinda Bobis as soon as I read the title of the first chapter of the book (quoted above). Those words, strung together, told me I was going to like the novel — I’ve always subscribed to the idea of a correlation between loving and enjoying food.
Banana Heart Summer is a Filipino novel published locally by Anvil Publishing (internationally by Delta), which tells of a summer in Bicol (right at the foot of the Mayon volcano) in 1960. Twelve-year old Nenita,inspired by the myth of the banana heart (Close to midnight, whent the heart bows from its stem, wait for its first dew. It will drop like a gem. Catch it with your tongue. When you eat the heart of the matter, you’ll never grow hungry again), leaves home to become a helper in the house next door so she can earn her mother’s love and put food on her hungry family’s table.
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Last Saturday was the Flips Flipping Pages November book discussion featuring Graham Greene’s The End of the Affair.
Earlier in the day, a bunch of us met up at the University of Santo Tomas to view the Lumina Pandit exhibit (more about that in a separate post!), which took us through the history of books in the Philippines. We then proceeded to the Gayuma restaurant in UP Village for the discussion to be moderated by Fredda.
I must confess that I wasn’t able to finish the book before the day of the discussion (gasp!). I’d borrowed my boss’ copy of the book (it was hard to find in the local bookstores) but I thought it would be an easy read so I kept putting it off until it was too late. That morning I tried my best to finish the novel, but I didn’t want to be late for the exhibit tour so I read in the cab, but by the time we had lunch after the tour, I still had one third of the novel to go. And then for some strange reason, on our way to the discussion, Gege’s car overheated and we had to take it to a roadside garage, and so I ended up finishing the novel right there!
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I haven’t read any local chick lit in years now, so when Summit Books offered some review copies of their latest releases, I quickly jumped on the chance.
I’m no stranger to Summit Books; I’ve read them since they first came out when I was back in college, although I haven’t been able to keep track of the later releases. They’re quick, well-written reads, with contemporary characters in realistic situations. My favorites include Drama Queen by Abi Aquino (the first one I ever read!) and Have Baby, Will Date by Andrea Pasion.
I got a whole new bunch sent to me by Ro Manalo of Summit Books (thanks!), and they provided much relief in this stressful summer filled with work-related travel: My Imaginary Ex by Mina V. Esguerra; 12 Steps to Quitting AJ by Faye Ilogon; and the two later installments of Vince’s Life by Vince O. Teves: Getting Over Andrea and The Wedding.
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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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A couple of years ago, some friends of mine were raving about the University of the Philippines Press publication Last Order Sa Penguin by Chris Martinez (book #113 for 2009, #19 for the Diversity Challenge – Filipino), containing the script of a play with the same title.
I don’t read a lot of plays because I prefer prose, but I was in the mood for a short, light read so I picked up this book.
Last Order Sa Penguin (roughly translated for the benefit of my international readers: Last Order at the Penguin Cafe) is a two-act play about five friends nearing their thirties: the cheerfully gay Tuxqs, the problematic Harlene, the sex addict Tess, the social climbing Dyna, and the druggie Mario, who all meet up at the Penguin Cafe in Malate.
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