Friday, August 12, 2011

ReaderCon/Filipino Friday: An Introduction

As a countdown to our 1st ReaderCon, I'm joining the other Pinoy bloggers in doing this Filipino Friday meme. Every Friday, we're asked to share our answers on different questions, and this week, it's all about introducing the kind of readers we are.

I read everything. Back when I was a Literature major and fancied myself a writer, a college professor told me that I had to be more discerning with my choices. The rationale behind it was that if I read good books, I was likely to write better. I really didn't listen. I cannot imagine not reading things that interest me. So yeah, now I guess I'm a reader and not a writer, and I'm cool with that!

Fantasy: I read Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsinger when I was about nine or ten. My older cousins, who were into Pern and Terry Brooks' Shannara, thought it was a good idea for me to add some fantasy into my reading choices and I was hooked. I finished most of the Pern series in grade school, was hooked on Dragonlance, checked out every fantasy-related YA book from the school library (mostly Lloyd Alexander, C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, John Bellairs, Susan Cooper, Fay Sampson). In high school, I moved on to JRR Tolkien, Ursula Le Guin, William Goldman, Peter S. Beagle, David Eddings, Mercedes Lackey, Robert Jordan, Frank Herbert, Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card (okay, obviously I began reading sci-fi as well). I went through doorstoppers like crazy. Still do. In college, I read George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Terry Pratchett, Stephen R. Donaldson. Post-college: China Mieville, Ellen Kushner, Robin Hobb, Neal Stephenson, Jeff Vandermeer, Jack Vance, H.P. Lovecraft, Iain Banks, David Mitchell, Sergei Lukyanenko. Hay naku, tama na, di ako matatapos. What was the question again? Sorry, I really tend to ramble when it comes to fantasy stuff. Sell me anything and I'd buy it.

And the rest, quickly now.
Asian Literature: I love books by Haruki Murakami, Banana Yoshimoto, Yukio Mishima, Dai Sijie, Ma Jian, Anchee Min. I also enjoy Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, and Orhan Pamuk. I wish I can read more from Southeast Asian authors (I'm only halfway through my first Indonesian book).

YA: I used to read as many of the American Newbery winners and honor books as I could: The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Johnny Tremain, Strawberry Girl, The Westing Game, and Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. My favorite authors were EL Konigsberg, Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and Katherine Paterson. I still read YA fantasy like Shannon Hale and Patricia McKillip but thanks to my teenage sister, I read more of the contemporary titles now.

Romance: I devour Regency bodice-rippers and chick lit. Recently discovered Julia Quinn and I'm loving her books to bits. This was all thanks to reading Sweet Dreams on the sly in fourth grade and then graduating to Sidney Sheldon by the time I was a freshman in high school.

Poetry: Should that count here? Too late, I'm answering anyway. Luisa Igloria, Eric Gamalinda, Edith Tiempo, Billy Collins, Wislawa Szymborska, William Carpenter, Philip Levine, Ted Kooser, Pablo Neruda, and Rumi.

My favorite authors, in no particular order: Peter S. Beagle, Haruki Murakami, Harper Lee, Ellen Kushner, Kelly Link, George R.R. Martin, Terry Pratchett, Umberto Eco, Banana Yoshimoto, Erle Stanley Gardner, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Georgette Heyer, Elizabeth Hand, Patricia McKillip, Patrick Ness, Lloyd Alexander. I think our Filipino genre writers rock. Yvette Tan and Crystal Koo are among my (many) favorites.

Here are some books I'd read over and over again:
LM Montgomery's Anne of Green Gable series and The Blue Castle
Eva Ibbotson's The Morning Gift
Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Terry Pratchett's Night Watch, The Truth, and Soul Music
Sharon Shinn's Summers at Castle Auburn
Avi's The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
Wendy Mass' Every Soul a Star
... and should shoujo manga count?

Finally you'll have to forgive me if not all of these books were released in 2011; they just happen to be a list of fabulous books that I've managed to read this year:
David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas
Peter S. Beagle's Sleight of Hand
Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls
Ted Chiang's Stories of Your Life and Others
Sara Zarr's Sweethearts
David Markson's Reader's Block
Guy Gavriel Kay's The Lions of Al-Rassan
Benjamin Tammuz' Minotaur

Whew! Probably my longest post ever (and I'm hoping I don't get too long-winded next time). But if we happen to have common favorites and you'd like to chat, let me know. I hope I'll see you at ReaderCon. :)


The ReaderCon is presented together with Vibal Publishing House, Inc, and sponsors Primetrade Asia, Flipside Digital Content, and Scholastic.

23 comments:

Chachic said...

Love that your post is chock-full of fantasy authors. :P So many familiar names! You know I was planning to include The Blue Castle in my last Book Depository order but it's now out of stock. :( I hope they still get copies of that book, I've heard nothing but good things about it. And yes to A Monster Calls as a favorite read this year, it's an amazing book that I would recommend to any reader regardless of genre preferences.

dementedchris said...

I wish we had more of LM Montgomery here! My copy of The Blue Castle was a gift from a friend who ordered it from Amazon. I remember reading Jane of Lantern Hill and Pat of Silver Bush but I would love to get copies of those too. :(

Haaay, A Monster Calls. I quickly placed it inside the box it came in and buried it deep in my pile of old favorites. Amazing as it was, I don't think I have the courage to read that one again!

Celina said...

Wait...they had those books in our school library? Though I do kind of remember you were into Dragonlance back then.

And also, you will always be a great writer to me!:)

dementedchris said...

Yup -- I read my first Jude Deveraux book there! IN THE GRADE SCHOOL LIB. Haha! But I think we only had two. I would stay at the lib while waiting for my mom so I had my favorite sections (almost) memorized. :P

And... thanks. :)

fanarchist said...

I love how widely read you are. I've also enjoyed books by Sergei Lukyanenko and Neal Stephenson (except for his ENDING haha) and the list of SFF authors (your entire post, actually) have a lot of names I want to check out.

I also wish I can get back to romance reading soon. My poison of choice were Judith McNaught, Nora Roberts and Johanna Lindsey but I also vaguely remember reading so Deveraux. :)

Mina V. Esguerra said...

I tried Murakami and Yoshimoto years ago but didn't "feel" them. (It was easier with the Indian/NRI authors for some reason!) One of these days I'll cycle back into Japanese lit again...

dementedchris said...

@Fanarchist
Do you know that Lukyanenko's Night Watch series was adapted into a movie? A bit different, and I much preferred the books. :) I recently discovered Julia Quinn. Her characters are quite enjoyable to read, and most of them convincingly start out as friends (which is why I like her).

@Mina
I love Indian lit -- they feel so rich! Re: Jap lit, do you want to try Yusuke Kishi's The Crimson Labyrinth? It's SF-ish horror, almost like Battle Royale. Very different from Murakami and Yoshimoto!

fanarchist said...

I've seen the Nightwatch movie and wasn't into it either. Thanks for the Julia Quinn rec, it's hard for me to know about romance novelists with good characters. I've also heard good things about Jennifer Crusie.

dementedchris said...

I've only read two Crusie books (Bet Me and Welcome to Temptation) and they were very satisfying! :)

Tin said...

Whoa! You pulled out all the stops on this post Chris! Haha! You really are such a wide reader. Sometimes it's difficult for me to pry myself off my comfort genres but I try and a lot of them really do surprise me.

I've read Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie. It was a good read but I had some difficulty with it. Same goes with Haruki Murakami's Blind Willow Sleeping Woman. There's a chance though that I might have been too young to appreciate them back then. Perhaps now that I'm quite mature (cough, cough :P). Maybe a re-read is in order.

And hooray for Neil Gaiman! :P

dementedchris said...

Tin: One time, big time yan. Haha. It's hard for me to stop when I start talking about books. I like Murakami's collection The Elephant Vanishes better than Blind Woman :) Do you have other authors you want to try?

Tin said...

I've always wanted to try Peter Beagle. Especially his The Last Unicorn book. Banana Yashimoto and David Mitchell too. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet and Kitchen,I've picked up and put back down a couple of times on my bookstore visits. Haha! I'm kind of curious about Ayn Rand books as well but they also scare the wits out of me. :)

dementedchris said...

Actually, of David Mitchell's books, Zoet is the only one I don't have! I hope you can still find copies of The Last Unicorn in local bookstores, I know that they released a 40th anniversary edition in the recent years. It's a lovely book :)

fantaghiro23 said...

Yay for Cloud Atlas! And yay for poetry! Of COURSE it counts.:)

I see some of my favorite authors and books here, too. Oh, and I totally forgot to mention Arundhati Roy's God of Small Things in my post. Damn, that was good.

I had a different experience with Lukyanenko's Night Watch. Saw the movie first and it intrigued me. Then I read the book, but I felt the movie had more bite. So, never got around to finishing Day Watch. Maybe I'll pick it up again soon.

dementedchris said...

I think the focus of the novel and the film were different; I felt that even the main character was different! I can totally understand why it would feel polarizing.

LOL and I left my Cloud Atlas comments on your blog post. Mitchell's number9dream is also a treat to read.

Monique said...

I really SHOULD read Cloud Atlas, and soon. :)

Oh, and I read the first two titles in the Shannara series, influenced by my then-boyfriend (now husband) who's into fantasy, he lives and breathes it. ;)

I read your comment on Mina's Filipino Friday meme about Sweet Dreams books, do you also collect them? I just wondered. There are so few of us who are familiar or remember the series. :)

dementedchris said...

Yup, AttyMonique, I still have my Sweet Dreams collection! :P There was a time when I could recite Mariah's 'Ask Me Why the Seagulls Cry' from memory! When I was younger I used to shy away from the earlier titles (Little Sister, California Girl) because they looked 'old' to me. Later on I realized that there were some stories that I really appreciated more when I got older (like The Summer Jenny Fell in Love). I love the Sheri Cobb South titles, as well as books like Kiss Me, Creep, Ghost of a Chance and Crazy for You. :D I still grab copies at secondhand bookstores when I find them.

Monique said...

We should share books! :) When I go home this weekend to the province, I'll go over the collection and post pics.

My favorites were the titles by Sheri Cobb South, Linda Joy Singleton, and Janet Quin-Harkin. Some of the books that I recently acquired, I actually haven't read yet; I just bought them for posterity. Hehe. :)

By the way, hope it's okay if I'll link you up. ;)

dementedchris said...

Haha! I'm in the province but my Sweet Dreams collection is in Manila! Please go ahead and link me up; I'll do the same :)

Did Linda Joy Singleton write Almost Perfect? I'm trying to remember from memory haha. I also enjoy Janet Quin Harkin. Did you ever read her Heartbreak Cafe series?

The Reluctant Stylista said...

Natawa naman ako sa Jude Deveraux in your grade school library! Grabe, I was into that bodice-ripping historical romance din when I was in high school, I think dun lumawak yung vocab ko, but I realized later on I was reading it more for the history than the actual love story. I mostly read Julie Garwood (before nagsawa ako sa kanya cos most of her heroes and heroines were written the same way), Johanna Lindsey (she had the funniest characters) and Iris Johansen (she wrote very very detailed descriptions of the times, which I absolutely loved, and I always love her supporting characters who are more interesting than the main ones) :)) Oh oh and LM Montgomery! I reread the Anne series to DEATH. It never gets old. It will never get old for me.

dementedchris said...

I still remember the first Deveraux book I read: A Knight in Shining Armor! How appropriate. XP

I like Johanna Lindsey because I enjoy her characters but I've only read Julie Garwood's Claybourne brothers/roses series. I haven't read Iris Johansen yet!

And Anne is such a lovely lovely series. (I don't re-read Windy Poplars and Ingleside as much though. And I lost my copy of Rainbow Valley!

Linda Joy Singleton said...

I wrote Sweet Dreams Opposites Attract, Almost Perfext, Love to Spare, Deep in my Heart and Dreamboat.

dementedchris said...

@Linda Joy Singleton
Thanks for leaving a note, Linda! I remember enjoying Almost Perfect even if I wasn't a swimmer; I remember Serena's character clearly even if it's been years since I last read it.