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Angas. Tambay. Mga reklamo sa buhay na masalimuot dito sa lungsod. Wala pa kaming agenda ngayon. Wala pa nga kaming maayos na katawagan para sa grupo. Pero balang araw, magiging konkreto rin ang mga ambisyon. Dati: Ito ay isang group blog tungkol sa paggawa ng group blog. Ngayon, chopsuey na.

kabilang kami sa mga nawawala...

The Diva

maangas ka rin!
bahay blogger


sino ka uli?
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dating angas...
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domingo, agosto 23, 2009
Goodnight, Astrid.

Isang simpleng pamamaalam sa isang maangas na ka-tropa.

Cannot Find Server at evil wolf 7:38 p. m.  | 0 comment(s)

miércoles, febrero 20, 2008
it's been more than a year

i don't know if you guys are still looking at this blog. i haven't checked it out for more than 6 months myself. my gaz, ang huling entry pa pala ay kay kantogirl at mahigit isang taon na ang nakalipas. anyway, nabalitaan kong umuwi ang diva dito. di naman tayo nagkita-kita. hmph. except for kantogirl, wala na akong balita sa iba. psst,mamang nasa bulubunduking lugar ng laguna, buhay pa ba yung monty python dvd collection ko? nami-miss ko na. hehe. sa lahat, text-text!

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lunes, enero 01, 2007
And Now You Can Go

26. And Now You Can Go. Vendela Vida, 2004. First edition, hardcover. Php80, Booksale.

I think I bought this book because I flipped to the publishing details page and it said "First Edition; fiction: nurses, fiction: Philippines," although not necessarily in that order.

Premise is neat enough: girl is held at gunpoint in a New York City park, in broad daylight. The guy in Armani glasses doesn't really harm her, but the entire book takes off from that one single encounter. There are no chapters, only bits and pieces which seem to me like writing exercises. Like, write about all the boys who like you. Or, write about the time your father disappeared for several months without saying anything and returned without saying anything. My favorite is this, write about the sad sad men, fathers and husbands all, who live in your street.

The opening scene about the mugger in the park called to mind the opening chapter of Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City. I love the punch of the Brazilian marching band. But this book sort of goes pffft for me after the mugging. Also calls to mind a bit I read about McInerney saying that his book was actually about the death of the man's mother. This one is really about the girl and her family being abandoned by the father. If there's the lazy way of summing up what this is all about, I'll say it's about the need for closure.

That's as far as it goes. Actually, I still have 2 books to post to complete the 2006 lineup. They're my best book and my 2nd best book of 2006. I'll do them next time. But for the record, I read 28 books in 2006, give or take a book or two or a few that I completely forgot about.

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miércoles, diciembre 27, 2006
Some of the year's reads

Comic Books and Other Graphic Literature

1. Zsazsa Zaturnnah, by Carlo Vergara
2. The Bastard: Photostory, by John Jakes
3. Real Stuff, by Dennis Eichhorn and various artists
4. Sandman X: The Wake, by Neil Gaiman
5. Identity Crisis, by Brad Meltzer and artists Rags Morales and Michael Blair
6. Marvel Knights: Spider-man, vol 1, by Mark Millar and artists Terry Dodson and Frank Cho
7. The Killing Joke, by Alan Moore, and artists Brian Bolland and Mark Higgins
8. Batman: Haunted Knight, Jeph Loeb and Time Sale
9. Batman: Dark Victory, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale
10. The Forensic Files of Batman, Doug Mench


1. The Shadow Box, by Michael Cristofer
2. Everything in the Garden, by Edward Albee
3. Bacchae, by Euripides, translated with extensive notes by Paul Woodruff


1. Pukinggang, by Emmanuel Villajuan Dumlao
2. Pana-panahon: Isang Tanong, Isang Sagot, at Iba Pang Tula, by Aida F Santos
3. The Trilogy of Saint Lazarus, by Cirilo Bautista
4. Angels and Fugitives, poems by Emmanuel Torres
5. Dark Hours, by Conchitina Cruz
6. Poems New and Collected, by Wislawa Szymborska
7. Pessoa & Co., by Fernando Pessoa, edited and translated by Richard Zenith
8. Harvest Poems, by Carl Sandburg
9. White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985, by Allen Ginsberg
10. The Unswept Room, by Sharon Olds
11. The Talking Tree: poems in prose, by Artur Lundkvist
12. Worlds Afire, by Paul B Janeczko
13. Vanishing Lung Syndrome, by Miroslav Holub
14. Fox: Poems 1998-2000, by Adrienne Rich
15. Rilke: Poems, by Rainer Maria Rilke


1. Barabbas, by Par Lagerkvist
2. Einstein’s Dreams, by Alan Lightman
3. The Light of Day, by Graham Swift
4. In Our Strange Gardens, by Michel Quint
5. Live from Golgotha, by Gore Vidal
6. The Runes of the Earth: The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, by Stephen R. Donaldson
7. The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
8. An Unfortunate Woman: A Journey, by Richard Brautigan
9. Revenge of the Lawn, by Richard Brautigan
10. Ficciones, by Jorge Luis Borges
11. Where I’m Calling From: The Selected Stories, by Raymond Carver
12. The Basic Kafka
13. After the Quake, by Haruki Murakami
14. A Model World and Other Stories, by Michael Chabon

Philosophy, Science, and Other Supposed Non-fiction

1. A Brief History of Everything, by Ken Wilber
2. The Tao of Power: Lao Tzu’s Classic Guide to Leadership, Influence, and Excellence, translated by RC Wing
3. Chuang Tzu in a Nutshell, edited by Robert van de Weyer
4. The Use of Pleasure: Vol 2 of the History of Sexuality, by Michel Foucault
5. Natural Theology: Selections, by William Paley
6. Ideas in Psychoanalysis: Castration, by Ivan Ward
7. Words from the Myths, by Isaac Asimov
8. The Knowing is in the Writing: Notes on the Practice of Fiction, by Jose Dalisay Jr.
9. The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life, by Julia Cameron
10. The Rant Zone, by Dennis Miller

Cannot Find Server at Dennis Aguinaldo 6:11 a. m.  | 0 comment(s)

lunes, diciembre 18, 2006
maus and melissa p

Hey Mr. Bopis. Was only able to read your post now. I can lend you the Maus, Vol 1 because I now have the complete Maus, yey! At hardbound siya, nyahahaha! Many thanks to a very lovely and nice and generous fairy. :) The sad thing is I haven't been able to read it yet. I read another chapter pero malayo pa ang lalakbayin ko to finish it. Medyo busy kasi.

Also,I found a DVD ng Melissa P. I'll try to watch that and lend it to you. Pero make sure na babalik kasi precious precious gift din siya sa akin.

Yung Maus at Melissa P book nasa Dungeon lang. So let me know kung kita tayo para can retrieve that for you.

Cannot Find Server at kantogirl 1:20 a. m.  | 0 comment(s)

lunes, noviembre 20, 2006
Beg off

Won't do the fifty-book thing next year. I'm not sure but it may be getting in the way of the writing. I'm done with my fifty this year and I'll try to post when I get a reliable connection. KG! May I borrow Maus and the Panarello? Wala, intrigued. Anyway, will have stuff for you to read soon. Chucks! Caloy Piocos now in UPLB. Hahaha, I think we're infesting the place.

Cannot Find Server at Dennis Aguinaldo 5:29 a. m.  | 0 comment(s)

miércoles, noviembre 15, 2006
Books June to November

17. Naked, David Sedaris. Signed by the author during his Manila visit last July. Actually, he didn't sign sign it--he drew me a Jollibee burger "stick." It also sports quite a good dental impression of a rat on its spine. Good read, made me survive during that long stormy weekend. But I find his other works funnier.

18. The Granta Book of Family. Reportage, nonfiction and some stories about how dysfunctional everybody's families are. It seems that people are more hung up on lost fathers than they are on other members of their families.

19. Lew Hunter's Screenwriting 434. Lew Hunter sounds a lot like Chuck Palahniuk. Where Chuck (close kami, yakkers) tells you that you're not a unique snowflake, Hunter tells you, "You are not beautiful. You are ugly, misshapen and not dissimilar to a swamp frog." Meron din siyang moments ng "The first rule of 434 is..." Turns out this is more manual than introspection about craft, which is what I really need right now, goddammit.

20. Pierre Bourdieu on Television and Journalism. Slim volume, finished sometime in June or July. Bourdieu somehow sees television as a threat to all other cultural productions--his words, and here I hesitate to call them "art forms." Mostly there is this fear that people have this strong need to be entertained, and even politics have to be this.

21. Girl Goddess #9, Francesca Lia Block. Talked about previously here.

22. Dreaming in Cuban, Cristina Garcia. Read ages ago, perhaps around the beginning of the school year when I was still convinced I could finish the novel for grad class. Seemed deceptively plotless, but in reality it must have been intricately woven by the writer. Three generations of Cuban/Cuban-American women, lots of magical realist things happening. Reminded me a lot of Julia Alvarez.

23. The Vintage Book of International Lesbian Fiction, Eds. Naomi Holoch and Joan Nestle. Read upon the suggestion of some people, when I was also deceptively convinced that I would finish my fiction class. Very heavy reading. The only thing which amused me was a story by Trinidad-born Dionne Brand called "Madame Ailard's Breasts."

24. 100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed, Melissa Panarello. I received this book as a gift in the middle of paper checking season. So after the onslaught of stories about maturity/loves lost and gained after a semester in the university, I would retreat into this book before bed. It's a slim volume--around 160 pages all in all--and I finished most of it in 2 sittings. When I had 20 pages left, I resolved to finish it on the train on my way to school to submit grades. I finished 18. I had to take damn book with me all the way to the mountains and read it between pit stops. There weren't many. What's interesting with this one is that it's been tagged as a "fictionalized memoir." Just how much of this was fictionalized, I wonder.

25. Maus I: My Father Bleeds History/A Survivor's Tale, Art Spiegelman. This is the 2nd Spiegelman book I read after his two towers book. Started browsing it on the train home, didn't put it down until after midnight and I had to sleep because I had a grad class the following morning. Relatively pricey book I got this from the book stall along AS Walk. I don't really mind as it's one of the best reads I've had in a while and now I'm kicking myself because I didn't notice this is just half of the story. I've gone to several bookstores and they all don't have copies of the thing. Nyar.

It's already November and I realize I'm way behind with the book count. Unless I drop everything I'm doing right now, there's no way I can make the 50 book deadline. Come to think of it, I'd want to do that. But right now I don't have much time for leisurely reading. I've got a stack specifically for studying and for school stuff. But there's also a pile I want to read for myself. Can't wait to finish The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which I began reading before Maus, but it's just too hectic right now. Oh well.

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domingo, mayo 14, 2006
Little Birds

Little Birds. Erotica by Anais Nin. Reissued, 1990. Borrowed. 159pp.

A rather slim volume made up of 13 works of short erotic fiction by Anais Nin. In her preface, Nin acknowledges the fact that "very few writers have of their own accord sat down to write erotic tales or confessions." Even in countries like France, where everyone is assumed to be devote a huge part of their daily existence to singing the body electric, the only writers who write stories which are erotic in nature usually did it for a single purpose: the need of money.

Thus, erotica was written mostly on empty stomachs. "The more hunger, the greater the desires..wild and haunting." The stories in Nin's collection are peopled by characters who have ravenous cravings. Her characters are usually artists, painters, artists' models living in exotic locations like Paris or dunes and jungles who find themselves in various states of hunger and desire. There's the young debutante who finds herself in reduced circumstances and had to work as an artist's model. Eventually, she learns that the job doesn't just require her to pose, but also to maintain relations with the painters if she wanted to earn a living.

In the title story, there is the painter whose really dank apartment didn't inspire him. He finds another one right across an all girls school and transform the hovel into a bright studio and was able to convince his wife, a circus trapeze artist, to move there. The painter fills the house's balcony with exotiic wild birds to attract the attention of the girls in the playground so as to invite them up to his apartment.

I suppose the story in this collection would be considered tame in other circles. It's not as raunchy as the other one-handed reads, but Little Birds (Book # 16) serves as an approachable introduction to the other works by Anais Nin.

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jueves, mayo 11, 2006
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon. New York: Harper & Row, 1989. 297pp. Php75, Booksale bin.

A week ago, I stopped by the mall at the last minute to get some supplies I needed for a beach trip. I planned to take one of the books in my stack at home. But I couldn't stop myself to take a look at the local Booksale to see if there's anything interesting. I ended up buying several things: a paperback edition of Generation X with a neon pink cover, a teach yourself French the BBC way book, Shiloh and other stories, and Michael Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. I got all of them for less than 200, so it didn't really cost me much.

2006 is turning out to be a Chabon year for me. I've read both of his short story collections already--Werewolves In Their Youth and A Model World and other stories. In 1988, when the novel was published, Michael Chabon--last name pronounced as he says, "Shea as in Shea Stadium, Bon as in Jovi"--was 24, already had his MFA, people called him "the young man with the golden pen," and he was being compared to both Salinger and Fitzgerald--especially Fitzgerald. Now I heart The Great Gatsby, so I really had to read this book.

As far as I'm concerned, the comparison to Fitzgerald and Gatsby stems from several things: both novels had narrators who were young men just out of college, trying to figure things out. They move in the glittering world of the young and the rich. There are references to mobsters: Art Bechstein's father Joe the Egg is a primary mover of a family in Pittsburgh; in Gatsby, Nick Carraway meets that guy with the human molar cufflinks who was willing to get him some "connegtions." But the thing is, Art Bechstein doesn't exactly relish his wise guy pedigree. His father even wants him to stay as far away from the family as possible.

But on the summer after graduation, Art finds himself inside the library, makes eye contact with a young man, also named Arthur reading a Spanish potboiler, and before he knew it, he was partying with Pittsburgh's finest young things. What makes this book somehow different from all those summer of youth novels is that Art gets involved not just with Arthur, but with a reformed punk girl named Phlox but formerly known as Mau Mau, and has this really weird connection with Arthur's best friend Cleveland Arning, who really knew how to have a good time. How Art and Cleveland met is something to look forward to.

There's also the Cloud Factory, the Lost Neighborhood of Pittsburgh, a motorcycle versus police vehicles chase, a helicopter, betrayals, gayness! Mischief! Mayhem! Name it, and the novel probably has it. I have to agree that it's really not bad for a debuting author, and at age twenty-four, too. I didn't really read much while I was out of town. But when I did get back to Manila and flipped through it, hoping to just have a peek, I ended up reading it and finished it in a little over a day.

What I didn't like about it was that Art Bechstein was perhaps a little too emo for me. He cries all the frigging time. He cries after he has sex, while he was having sex, when he broke up with his lover/s, or told them that he loved them both. All the frigging time. I know he was supposed to be a sensitive guy and all, and that he lost his mom early, but geeze, it was just too much.

Then there's the matter that if your lead character is somehow sexually ambiguous, and you have a hefty number of gay characters, the general readership might assume that the author must be.When the novel first came out in 1988, and after Chabon's other two novels came out, that was the prevailing belief. That he must be gay. I mean, yeah, summer of self-discovery and all. That's when the general readership found out he was married. To a woman. And with four kids. What shock, right? Then when The Mysteries of Pittsburgh was reissued, Chabon wrote in the introduction that he never really protested the assumption that he was gay because it opened a loyal readership for him. And then that he did have some same-sex relations. Oh, surprise, surprise.

So here's the last paragraph of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh:
"When I remember that dizzy summer, that dull, stupid, lovely, dire summer, it seems that in those days I ate my lunches, smelled another's skin, noticed a shade of yellow, even simply sat, with greater lust and hopefulness--and that I lusted with greater faith, hoped with greater abandon. The people I loved were celebrities, surrounded by rumor and fanfare; the places I sat with them, movie lots and monuments. No doubt all of this is not true remembrance but the ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything."
It somehow reminds me of Fitzgerald's "boats against the current" ending for Gatsby, don't you think? Whether Chabon is channeling Fitzgerald, or he's gay or not, I don't really care what he is. I enjoyed the book a lot.

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miércoles, mayo 03, 2006

Happy birthday, Tita Tamadita! :)

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martes, mayo 02, 2006
Inventing the Abbotts

Inventing the Abbotts and other stories. Sue Miller. London: Indigo Press, 1997. 180 pages, php248, Books for Less.

What attracted me to this book was that I knew there was a film version, and I'm almost always interested to see how the transition was made from book to film. Even more attractive was the notion that the stories which comprise the book were all interlocking tales about the brothers Doug and John and the Abbott sisters. That's why I got it, given the hefty price for such a slim volume. At the time, I think I just finished reading How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, which was properly billed as a novel. But each chapter could be taken as a stand alone story. So when I saw Inventing the Abbotts (Book # 14), I had this impression that it was like Alvarez's novel. I was mistaken.

The title story drew me in quite deep. Small town, wealthy Abbott family with three pretty sisters and never ending society parties; two brothers and their mother who was widowed young, and their rather reduced circumstances. The older brother John was deeply obssessed with the girls of the Abbott family and had a relationship with each of them, one after the other. It was a rather interesting dynamic, John and the sisters. With each breakup, the pain becomes greater, and it becomes even more obvious that he will never be anything other than "the boy from the other side of the tracks." But John needed them to fill in something that his own background could never give him. The younger brother functions mostly as the narrator. Although in the film as he played by Joaquin Phoenix, the role was beefed up--perhaps precisely because it was Joaquin Phoenix.

The next ten stories were variations of a theme--everyone seemed miserable, on the edge of heartbreak, separation, or about to be abused. The parents in Sue Miller's stories always try to protect their kids from pain, but then realize that they could try but could never insulate their kids from the harshness of the world. Things would never be the same. But however bleak the world is in these stories, they still couldn't hold a candle to the title story.

"Inventing the Abbotts," all 32 pages of it, had this intensity that would have been diffused had it been a novel. I'm tempted to say that the story more than makes up for the rest of the book, as everything else that followed never matched it. Somehow her short fiction never quite captures what I want to see in that form. So part of me wants to believe that maybe Sue Miller works better with longer stories and that I actually paid the cover price for that one story.

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martes, abril 25, 2006
Bookslut ngayong Abril: Mga Babasahing Pangkama

Ang Bedtime Stories: Mga Dula Sa Relasyong Sexual (Book # 13, UP Press, Php170) ng masigasig na si Rene Villanueva ang isa sa dalawang librong nabasa ko ngayong buwan. Ang koleksiyon na ito ay isang attempt ng author na palawakin ang saklaw ng salitang "pangkama" na sinasabi niyang "nasadlak sa lusak" ng maruruming gawaing makamundo o kaya naman ay "imoral."

Ngunit para sa napakaraming batang lalaki na nagkamuwang noong dekada 60, ang "bedtime stories" o BTS ay isang mahalagang introduksyon sa mundong nasa labas ng eskuwela. Ang palihim na pagbabasa ng smut unang nabigyan ng kahulugan ang mga gawaing karnal. Ngunit para kay Villanueva, ang kama bilang espasyo ay di lamang parausan ng makamundong pagnanasa.

Nakasentro man ang mga dula sa ugnayang karnal, muli't muli ay higit pa rin sa pisikal na aspeto ng pagniniig ang tinutukoy ng mga ito. Nariyan ang peministang agenda ng teleplay na "Stella," kung saan ang pagiging "malaya" ng isang babae ay kadalasang ipinagpapalagay na karumihan o kawalan ng moralidad sa katawan. Hindi maintindihan (o sadyang ayaw intindihin?) ng lipunan kung bakit mas gugustuhin ng isang babae na magkaroon ng ugnayang pisikal sa labas ng seremonya ng matrimonya. Para kay Stella, wala sa pagkakaroon ng sariling pamilya o kaya'y mga anak ang katuparan ng kanyang pagkakababae. "Naisip ko, bakit pa ako mag-aasawa? Gusto ko namang iukol ang lahat ng panahon ko sa sarili." Personal ang desisyon na ito. Gayun pa man, naroon pa rin ang pagdududa sa isip niya: "Minsan, naitatanong ko sa sarili ko kung pagiging makasarili ba ang gano'n. Pagiging makasarili ba ang pag-uukol ng panahon sa pansariling kaligayahan? Ewan."

Mahirap pahindian ang konsepto ng isang lipunan na kinagawian na. Tulad na lang ng ugnayan ng mga mag-asawa. Sa "Karamay, Dinamay," mas lumutang ang agendang didaktiko ng manunulat. Ang pagiging palikero ng isang lalaki ay tulad ng pagkakaroon ng isang kating di maiwasang kamutin. Ngunit may kapalit ang ganitong paglalaro ng apoy: pagkakaroon ng di lamang iisang kaniig ay magreresulta di lamang sa magulong buhay pamilya, kundi maaari ring magdulot ng sakit na nakamamatay. Ang ganitong pagtalakay ng isyu ng AIDS ay may pagka-"heavy-handed," ngunit malamang rin sa hindi na ito talaga ang layunin ng dula: ang maging babala laban sa pagwawalang bahala sa mga maaaring maging kahihinatnan ng napaka-kaswal na relasyong sexual.

Sa "Ang Pambabading ay Gawaing Maselan," inilalahad di lamang ang mga personal na desisyon na nakapaloob sa pagpayag ng isang tinatayang TNL--tunay na lalaki--sa pagkakaroon ng koneksyong sexual sa kanyang kapwa lalaki. Para sa mga TNL ng dulang ito, ang nasa pagitan ng kanilang mga hita ay puhunang ipinagkaloob at nararapat lamang na gamitin sa kanilang ikauunlad. Kagipitan man o personal na luho ang dahilan, ang pang-ekonomiyang aspeto ng relasyong lalaki sa lalaki ay di basta maisasantabi.

Sa kabilang banda, hindi lamang sa usaping pang-ekonomiya nakatali ang mga desisyon ng mga tauhan sa "The Bomb." Nariyan ang hatak ng ambisyon, ang nakakahilakbot na pagsasaliw ng disimuladong realidad at laro ng kapangyarihan sa telebisyon at media. May sapantaha akong mas mainam panoorin kesa basahin sa pahina ang "The Bomb." Napakaraming nangyayari sa iisang espasyo at panahon ng entablado. Marahil ay isa itong pag-aakma ng mga "fast cuts" at "quick dissolves" ng isang audio-visual na medium patungo sa mas kinagawiang mahinahong entablado.

Anu't anupaman, lutang pa rin ang masalimuot na realidad na ang mga gawaing pangkama ay di lamang napapako sa kama kundi sakop pa rin nito ang mas malawig na mga usapin ng lipunan.

Cannot Find Server at kantogirl 6:36 a. m.  | 0 comment(s)

miércoles, abril 19, 2006
to la diva

happy birthday, man!

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jueves, marzo 30, 2006
The Big Love

12. The Big Love by Sarah Dunn. Hardcover, Php348, Books for Less.

I actually finished this book in 2 sittings, right after I posted about the other books for March, in fact. In this first novel, Sarah Dunn introduces us to Alison, whose boyfriend Tom went out to buy mustard for their dinner party and then just never came back. Later, Tom called her to say that he's in love with his former girlfriend Kate. Or was it Katie? But I was very amused by the fact that the lovers were named Tom and Kate.

Anyway, it was a very quick read, amusing. The premise is very chicklit, but this is something smarter. For lack of a better word, this is, uh, something that transcends chick lit. I wish I could say something more intelligent about this but I'm very busy right now. I haven't read any book in nearly two weeks, but seeing that this is my 12th this year, I'm very happy that I'm right on track.

If you want more, here's an interview with Sarah Dunn, where she talks about how being an evangelical Christian shaped her views on popular culture.

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domingo, marzo 19, 2006
xkg books for March

8. The Quality of Life, Meghan Daum. Booksale, php70. Better than I expected it to be.

9. Equal Affections, David Leavitt. Booksale, php90. Started reading this late last year pa. I don't know why. For a novel, it doesn't have that real grand scope. It's mostly about a family dealing with the death of its matriarch.

10. Getting Better, Tara FT Sering. Free with the Oct 2002 issue of Cosmo Phils. I just reread it.

11. My Girl: The Complete Scripts. Downloaded. I really can't help crying about this. What can I say.

I've imposed a temporary embargo on buying books, as I've way overspent on reading materials already this early in the year. I have a huge pile of books I haven't read yet, but it's so hard to keep your hands to yourself when you see a title you know you want to see on your own bookshelf.

Hey, Dennis! How did that defense thing go? Congratulations are in order, I suppose.

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