BOOKLOVE: A Necessary Update

Okay, I think I have neglected my blog a little bit (maybe a whole darn lot) and it’s gnawing up on me now. I really would want to churn out regular posts about my reading life but life just gets in the way. Of course, I will say that this post will change everything and that I will update my blog regularly from now on but I just can’t keep that promise. Blogging is currently at an all-time low but, good news, my reading isn’t.

Anyway, enough chitchat. This post is supposed to be an update for some of the notable books that I’ve purchased for the months of July, August, and some days of September. As any person who is in the know with regards to bookish events in the country, the annual Manila International Book Fair has just occurred recently and I took advantage of the massive Anvil sale (not to mention the other local publishing houses) to update my Filipiniana shelf. Here are some of the books that I bought from Anvil, UST Press, and UP Press:


  1. Cave and Shadows by Nick Joaquin – A classic mystery from my favorite Filipino author. If the mystery that is at the center of the story is as compellingly written as Joaquin’s journalism in Reportage on Crime, then this would be a good read indeed,
  2. America Is In The Heart by Carlos Bulosan – I’ve  been looking for this book for a long time now and I am happy that I found it at the MIBF because I paid less than a 100 pesos for this. Since I am a fan of immigrant literature, Bulosan’s autobiography about the hardships that he faced in the United States is a story that I hope will resonate with me.
  3. If a Filipino Writer Reads Don Quijote by Alfred Yuson, Vicente G. Goryon, and F. Sionil Jose – This is one of the most beautiful books that I have seen published by a local publishing house with it’s NYRB-like cover and carefully-printed pages and it is also a most interesting collection of essays about Cervantes and his masterpiece  Don Quixote. 
  4. Ultraviolins by Khavn – I’m only familiar with Khavn’s work as a filmmaker and not as a writer but my familiarity with his movies is enough to compel me to buy this bilingual collection of postmodern works.

Then there were my NYRBs which I purchased during the recent (and ridiculous) National Bookstore sale. Usually, NYRBs are expensive and I only purchase those that I really want. However, when NBS cuts their price from an average of 600 pesos to almost 70%, I just couldn’t resist. Hence, these:


  1. Clandestine in Chile by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – I already read this masterwork in non-fiction by my favorite author of all-time but I just felt that this is too good an opportunity to pass up. Plus my other copy is already dilapidated.
  2. A Schoolboy’s Diary by Robert Walser – One of the more recent releases by NYRB Classics, there has been a recent and a substantial amount of hype surrounding this book on the websites that I’ve been visiting lately. You can never go wrong with a translated work of short stories.
  3. The Road by Vasily Grossman – A collection of writings (both fiction and non-fiction) from a supposedly underrated Russian author. I’ve been eyeing The Road for quite some time now and I took the sale as a sign to purchase it.
  4. Paris Stories by Mavis Gallant – I’ve read some of Gallant’s works over the internet before and I found them to be hauntingly beautiful however her works are hard to find and quite expensive. The sale took care of both problems.
  5. The Complete Fiction by Francis Wyndham – Another of those books that are regarded by critics and writers alike to be under-read. I’ve read enough about Wyndham to pique my interest in his works which are all included in this mid-length book.

Finally, here are my purchases from here and there that defies classification:


  1. Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders – After reading Pastoralia, George Saunders is now one of my most admired short story writer. I can’t wait to read another work of his which I hope is soon.
  2. Fatelessness by Imre Kertesz – I was browsing around Goodreads, looking at the books of certain authors (including Kertesz) when I came upon a GR review of this book by a friend of mine. Needless to say, that review reeled me in and, before I knew it, I was inside a bookstore, in front of the cashier, and with Fatelessness in my hands.
  3. A Heart So White by Javier Marias – Another friend recommended this to me and I am already familiar with Marias works that there is a potential to his storytelling that may make me a fan.
  4. The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever – I know that Cheever is mostly known for his short stories but this novel, which won the National Book Award, is not to be sneezed at. Here’s hoping that Cheever is as good in writing novels as he is in writing short stories.
  5. Day of the Oprichnik by Vladimir Sorokin – The Queue blew my mind with Sorokin’s inventiveness and skill which made me his fan just by reading one work of his, which rarely happens with books I’m reading.

I’m broke but the good kind.

6 Responses to “BOOKLOVE: A Necessary Update”
  1. These are all very good. Of the few there I read, I highly recommend Cave and Shadows. I didn’t like that Marias title very much but that’s just me. Been meaning to read Clandestine in Chile for some time. Maybe you can let me borrow your old copy. 🙂

  2. Monique says:

    Woot! Spanking nyrbs! 🙂

  3. YAY! I also recently got Marias. He’s too popular now and it would break my heart if I let myself miss this book (also recommended by a GR friend; the name’s Steve).

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