Embassytown by China Mieville

Fanboys and girls of the superlative contemporary fantasy writer China Miéville’s got anticipation amplified as he has finally released an exciting new novel that again tests the genre-bending waters. Pegged as an experimental foray into science fiction, Miéville launches us into universal orbit with Embassytown, a place in the far future that becomes a precipice for beauty, mystery and terror.

Narrated by sprightly ‘Immerser’ Avice Benner Cho, a human gifted with the capability of travelling through the sub-realities of the universe without severe physiological and psychological peril, she provides a bizarre and engaging head trip for the uninitiated, with insights in her seemingly normal but extraordinary life, and of the surroundings and inhabitants of Embassytown and beyond.

Continue reading “Aliens on The Planet – China Mieville’s New Science Fiction Novel Embassytown Reviewed!

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Image courtesy of morebooks.de

How do you despair?

A conspicuous undercurrent of grief courses through Graham Swift’s latest book, Wish You Were Here. It is an exploration of sentiments and recollections of a married couple, already haunted by their shared history when another tragedy strikes. Set in 21st century England coasting the beautiful Isle of Wight, life is none the more rural for Jack Luxton, a descendant of dairy farmers, who at the height of bovine-borne disease had exchanged his family’s debt-ridden farm for a living as proprietor of holiday caravans. With hardly any family left except his wife Ellie, he has not been in contact with younger brother Tom, a soldier, for nearly thirteen years since the latter left the Luxtons’ crumbling patriarchal gaze. When Jack receives news belatedly of Tom’s death as casualty of an Iraq bombing, he turns inward, imposing a wall between him and Ellie, and a journey of regret, resilience and reconciliation ensues.

Continue reading “Book Review: Graham Swift’s Latest Novel “Wish You Were Here”

Adele, courtesy of The Guardian

ADELE UNLEASHES ANOTHER IRRESISTIBLE REPERTOIRE OF HEARTACHE THAT’S BOUND TO BE A POPULAR AND CRITICAL SUCCESS

With expectations running high after her debut album 19 [2008] launched into charismatic reception in the United Kingdom, United States and just about every stratospheric height, Grammy-winning artist Adele Adkins certainly has a lot to prove as her latest offering, 21, hits the shelves in increments worldwide, into the ears of eager fans and discerning listeners.

The verdict? A sophomore slump it ain’t.

Adele has truly evolved into her music, and not just “a BRIT School alum with awesome talent and a big voice’, as was presumed when she burst in the scene. While 19 may have spawned the chart singles “Hometown Glory”, the Bob Dylan original “Make You Feel My Love” and the acclaimed “Chasing Pavements”, the album in general was pleasant, if not permeating. A few standout tracks, good hooks, and stirring choruses that prompted many a listen into the young British singer-songwriter’s abilities, was favorably gauged (although mixed) with the guarantee that Adele’s talent was incredibly promising. In a bevy of breakout Brit contemporaries, some of them had sassy follow-ups (i.e., Lily Allen’s “It’s Not Me, It’s You”), and satisfactory sequences (i.e., Corinne Bailey Rae’s “The Sea”), though others weren’t as stunning (i.e., Duffy’s “Endlessly”, a hollow contrast to her delightful “Rockferry”)… could it be that Adele has the best one yet?

Continue reading “Music Review: Adele’s “21” Sets The Bar High for The Best of 2011″

Image from Flickr

Dear Girls (and the Girls-at-heart *wink*),

First of all, let me set the record straight: On behalf of my mom, I am still a no-boyfriend-since-birth, 21-year-old virgin.

It might seem that life isn’t fair. I mean, I guess I’m pretty enough, I got an ample bosom (!), and my personality, although not ostentatiously sparkling, can be bubbly. I am likeable, I am smart. I have great parents — being the only daughter, they have raised me well enough to give me the sense of discipline, and I am sure they have my best interests at heart. I have a wonderful circle of friends, who gives me joy and encouragement because I can get a little clumsy and hysteric sometimes. The people that I have come across with have taught me little by little how I should value myself while looking out for others. I am proud of what I have accomplished so far, and I am still retracing from all the missteps I’ve took. Overall, life has been good to me.

Except for boys. And love.

I can never get myself any closer to the opposite gender. Although I do have (a handful of) male friends I know I can count on, it just doesn’t get any more platonic than that. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m shy and that I haven’t exactly been exposed to boys in my early years that account for my present aloofness to men. Even with all the movies I’ve watched and the magazines I’ve read, I still don’t know how to flirt. I communicate with them on a purely ‘professional’ level (schoolwork and stuff), sometimes personal and friendly — but not to the point of “The Moment of Truth” interrogations. (That would seriously freak me out.) Since I had my first crush in Grade One, everything else that followed are simply intangible infatuations. I have never crossed the river of serenades and dates, and chocolates and teddy bears. Why can’t my status in Friendster be “In a relationship” or the intriguingly neurotic “It’s complicated” — always the plain and boring “Single”? Maybe I give that snooty, bookish aura that turns boys off. Or maybe I am too chubby, and we know how boys fall for the model-like waifs. (But I was voted “#1 Best Mother Potential” on Facebook’s Compare People application!) Am I too silly to handle romance?

Continue reading “Don’t You Ever Lose Your Virginity!”

Miguel Syjuco, picture taken from The Malaysian Insider

With the Internet consortium fully grasping the extent of its powers, the 21st century has flagrantly welcomed people from all walks of life to her “create-click-post” bosom. There is never a better time to express and inform oneself: Simply insert a witticism as your Facebook status, and you’ll set the entire news feed forest ablaze. The latest news nowadays often first breaks out on Twitter, with its 140-character limit defining swift sass. Almost everyone has gone through the pains of laboring a blog, over various platforms; to the point even the minutiae of mundane lives are given the full pixel treatment.

It is in this thriving social media that the sea of literary prospects becomes worthy to be explored. Hopeful writers with little experience promote themselves on the Internet, building a portfolio in the process, until merit is uncovered and sets the writer out to ink print possibilities. But self-publishing has serious inconveniences: The lack of discipline and the descent to narcissistic complacency. There is a tendency to exhaust one format and resist honing potentials further, on or offline, hence remaining just another blip on the Google radar. This generation’s creative outlets are massive and far-reaching, yet the majority that is seen and heard is a surfeit of generic prose and poetry, snatches of indulgent talking-head opinion, and the woeful inebriation of apathy disguised as cool — using youth as an excuse to consent the atrophy of masterful literary skill.

Has anyone embarked on the juggernaut to revitalize Philippine literature in recent times? Miguel Syjuco is one man dauntless in breaking that mold. The 33-year-old Manila-born, Montreal-based novelist, fresh from the whirlwind international book tour circuit, is the current salute of the literati, having garnered major acclaim for his metafictional Filipino headtrip, Ilustrado.

Continue reading “Miguel Syjuco: A Prelude to Philippine Literature in The Making”

October 5 is World Teachers' DayTeacher as mother

Maria Theresa Subala was my English teacher and class adviser in Grade I. She was a kind woman with a warm smile and a gentle voice. When I wrote a short poem about our new laptop at home, Miss Subala told me, “Let’s send this to The Judenites!” I was surprised that she wanted to submit my silly rhyme about “my computer called Homer” to the school publication. The poem did not see print but Miss Subala encouraged me to write more, saying I had great potentials waiting to be revealed. Miss Subala was more than my English teacher. She was like a mother to me. I will forever be indebted to and will never forget Miss Subala, who made me realize my capabilities.

First published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, October 5, 2009 (Monday, Learning Section).
Original Link: Readers say thanks to teachers

Guess what I discovered in my inbox and browser this morning…

Whoopie! I am the very lucky winner of a Blog Hopping Avalon.ph Moleskine Giveaway courtesy of OodlesOfGoodles.com!!!!

(1) One pocket ruled Moleskine notebook
(2) 500php Gift Certificate from Avalon.ph

Pocket-ruled Moleskine, image source OodlesofGoodles.com
*jumps for joy and imagines what I’ll write about on one of these babies*

Being an “aspiring writer” and all that, the writing world considers these exquisitely crafted Moleskine notebooks as the perfect companion for all types of literary pursuits. (Been eyeing those over at Fully Booked, Powerbooks et al but being the cheapskate, my scribbles are all over scratch papers.) Legendary sidenote: Ernest Hemingway owned a bunch of these! So I wonder if I can finally transmit that snivelly short story / essay anthology in my head into award-winning magic through this, haha! 🙂

And the fact that P500 GCs are a mad holiday for a bookworm. I’ve been meaning to find cookbooks and food/travel writing stuff but don’t have much of a fund left, so this is simply cool. I’ll let you know what I’m going to do with ’em. 🙂

Mood: Seriously delirious. This is the best piece of news I’ve had in months! Thank you sooo much Ms Glenda (and your sister, who unwittingly selected me :D), and the people from Avalon.ph for creating this wonderful opportunity! 🙂

2nd series of the 2009 Avalon.Moleskine Giveaways! image source OodlesofGoodles.com

In case you were wondering, this concluded contest is only the first of four from the 2nd series of the 2009 Avalon.ph Moleskine Giveaways! I found out about this contest just this August, but unfortunately Series 1 was already over. Patience pays and with tremendous fortune, I won! (So nothing is impossible! 😉 )

If you’re game for this amazing giveaway and fantastic prizes, just check out the Avalon.ph blog or Twitter @Avalon for updates on when they’ll launch the second to fourth installments (temporarily suspended, but stay tuned). Good luck! 🙂

Here comes the sun, not a drop in the metro! Cheerio!
(Back to preparing for the Finals and that thing called life) ~


(Update) 10/07/09:
Promptly received the prize package, consisting of the Pocket-ruled Moleskine and my chosen book from the 500GC, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” by Patricia Schultz. Until now I cannot coax myself to take the Moleskine out of the shrink wrap, knowing how valuable it is and that I’m not worthy yet. ^^;;; Maybe next year, when I find work, meet the love of my life and discover new adventures. Right now I’m loving the armchair travel! Now this is something I can do without the worry of getting lost, getting broke, or staying out too long! 😉
(Thanks again to Avalon.ph & Glenda for making this all supremely possible!)