Book News:The 37th Manila International Book Fair

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Maybe, among the book fairs,  The Manila International Book Fair is the only one I really can’t wait for . This special event  is considered as a godsend  to us book lovers because, aside from the fact that it has many booths  of books you can  drop into, you can have the opportunity to meet and greet  some famous  Filipino authors who will be launching their new books. As a matter of fact,  one of them I would love to meet is Edgar Calabia Samar,  famous for his  award-winning novel Walong Diwata ng Pagkahulog. He will be launching his  book three  for Si Janus Sílang at ang Tiyanak ng Tábon and Si Janus Sílang at ang Labanáng Manananggal-Mambabarang. Also, I hope to stumble upon one of my favorite Filipino children book writers, Genaro Gojo Cruz.

By the same token, you may  have the chance to make new friends as well as meet  your invisible friends you  hold a conversation with in  the social media like Goodreads. Let’s see. 🙂

The Manila International Book Fair is usually held in September yearly.  It is considered as  the country’s biggest and longest-running book fair. It exhibits various large collection of literature from fiction and nonfiction best-sellers, to academic books, to graphic novels, and so on.

For more information  , visit its  website here , or  its FB fanpage  here

So,  book lovers, you still have time to scrimp and save to buy all the books you might grab there.   See you there. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Makinang Makina by Genaro Gojo Cruz : A Book Review

When I see an antique sewing machine, the only idea  that reminds me of is late great-grandmother,  Lilang Tisay .She used to be our neighbor when  we still lived  in a countryside. Every afternoon, I  would  always visit her in their palatial leaning-to watching her sew some cloth.(I didn’t know what  she was doing then. She may have  made some rags.) But I was mesmerized  by her adeptness at  operating that noisy machine. I even wondered whether she could be impaled with the needle or not  if she didn’t focus on it.As a matter of fact, that machine became more historical  when she made me a doll out of the cloth leavings  because my mother could not bring herself to buy me one. That was the first doll I had ever played,  unaware of my sexual orientation. I tend to smile to myself whenever I remember this. I wonder  how I lost that doll and whether her  family still keeps that machine.

Recently,  Genaro Gojo Cruz, the author of this book, won PBBY-Salanga Prize for this Filipino children story, Makinang Makina ( Brilliant Machine). The story is about a boy  who enjoys watching his mother sew with the sewing machine she has inherited from her mother’s  mother. He tends to be transfixed  by its antiquity . He also enjoys helping his mother by catching up with the thread spool  rolling off the floor  and sucking its edge to pass it through the eye of the needle. He  is even riveted on riding the machine’s floor like a horse. He is  sooo cute. 🙂

The most touching part of the story is when he asks his mother if he can be like her because he thinks of that  sewing is supposed to be for women’s job. His mother explains that a man who sews clothes is a sastre in Filipino. He can be! Sewing  does not bear on your sexuality.

The funny thing  is that  I had negative stereotype about the boy.While  reading it, I mistook him for  belonging to the confederation, an archaic expression used in the Philippines referring to homosexuals. In other words, I thought he was bakla ( gay) because he seems to be malamya ( clumsy)  in Genaro’s descriptions. In the Philippines, when  a boy is observed to be in that behavior , he is judged or predicted to be a queer  at his later age. So, usually, his father’s kumpare  advises  his father that he should be straightened up to prevent that homosexual tendency. Poo-bah! A form of ignorance some parents are still shrouded in.  But I was all wrong. I may have just been subjective. Hahaha  In the context of child psychology, he is at the stage of  exploring the world he finds magical. I bear witness to that 🙂

It’s now my 11th Genaro Gojo Cruz ‘s  children story  books. As usual, I am like a  rabid wolf , hot on Gojo Cruz’s heels. Hahaha I have been after :

  1. Ang Dyip ni Mang Tomas
  2. Ang Malaking Kahon ng Sorpresa
  3. Pitong Angel
  4. Hello, Tatay!
  5. Ang Aking Pamilya
  6. Ang Bahaghari
  7. Maghapon Namin ni Nanay
  8. Malaking-Malaking Bahay
  9. Si Nanay Mining at ang Tatlong Kuting
  10. Ang Lumang Aparador ni Lola
  11. Ang Asul na Kariton
  12. Ang Kamisetang Dilaw
  13. May Pamilya na ring Mag-aaruga sa Akin
  14. Ang Sulatan
  15. Mga Laruang Papel
  16. May Sampung Pulang Langgam

So far,  I ‘m  glad to have  read his :

  1. Connect the Dots o Kung Paano Ko Kinulayan ang Aking Buhay ( YA)
  2. Ang Batang May Maraming Maraming Bahay
  3. Mahabang-Mahabang-Mahaba
  4. Ang Aking Photo Album
  5. Noong Nakaraang Taon
  6. Bunsoy
  7. Saling Pusa
  8. Anluwagi
  9. Tolits

I am not sure if the book is now available in book stores. I just happened to see this on the author’s FB post. I  was excited  then to search in the internet if it has free PDF. Fortunately, it does, but nothing beats  buying the book as one of your Genaro Gojo Cruz collections, and I will. 🙂

Rating: 3/ 5 stars ( I liked it.)

 

 

 

 

Boy: Tales of Childhood (Roald Dahl Autobiography #1) by Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake (Illustrator): A Book Review

dahlI am very fond of reading books about children’s bitter experiences. Perhaps I believe in American psychologist, Erik Fromm’s belief that “ to understand children, we, adults, try to think like a child again.”Unfortunately, not all adults are aware of this fact. That’s why the main purpose of literature is to educate people about life, basically about children life.

I have read some books about children. I can hardly ever forget Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt ( 5 stars ), The Butcher’s Boy by Patrick McCabe ( 3 stars ), Torey Hayden’s books such as The Innocent Child and its sequel The Tiger’s Child ( I was so generous to fault to give both 5 stars at that time when I was not yet critical on Good Reads. ) I also cried over the classical books such as Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist and David Copperfield. Even Beloved by Toni Morrison, one of my favorite fictional writers , punched my chest although the character is a young teen-ager gives eerie feelings. For local books, one is the Connecting the Dots by Gojo Cruz ( 5 stars ) which author swept me off my feet. ( laughs ) Such books are awash in the same theme: human cruelty in children, perhaps, out of ignorance.

This book of Road Dahl is one of the books above. This may be intended to make readers laugh. Of course, I did. However, the real highlight of this , even Dahl admitted it at the end of the story, is his miserable experiences as a student in the hands of his school head masters, teachers, and matrons. ( or you’d rather I put it bluntly , under the rotten educational system in Britain at that time ) Dahl narrated how he was such a poor innocent child . He was an archetype of educational upbringing. He had been beaten many times. So had his classmates. He had been humiliated and treated unfairly. So had his classmates. Admittedly, I abandoned myself to his said stories. If I had been his classmate at that time, I would have been so defiant that I could have been booted out. ( laughs ) So , the title of this book fits all the stories- Boys: Tales of Childhood.

I always want to be an active advocate for children’s rights, particularly for their education. Like Dahl, I was also a victim of wrong education from teachers who may have been ignorant of child psychology. As a teacher now , I believe in teaching students based on their individualism.

The good thing about this is that Road Dahl was still able to make us laugh despite those harboring ill-feelings. He was like a friend I have just made, sharing his ala Thomas-Sawyer stories. The atmosphere he built was so amiable that I felt sympathy for him. In addition, reading it was so easy unlike the other autobiographies or novels about children which require higher level of thinking. He narrated his stories age by age and every sentence is well-written. Since it is a children book, I hope young readers take precious lessons from it. And I do not think that it should be banned from the hands of young readers just like of what happened to his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which received negative criticism. Duty on their distorted realities! ^^

Road Dahl said in his preface that an autobiography for him is full of all sorts of boring details. If I take him for his words, what he meant to say I believe is like what the famous American writer, William Arthur Ward, said:

“The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change. The challenge of life is to overcome. The essence of life is to care. The opportunity of like is to serve. The secret of life is to dare. The spice of life is to befriend. The beauty of life is to give.”

Yippee! ^^

Rating: 4/ 5 stars

Ang mga Lambing ni Lolo Ding by Michael Coroza: A Book Review

IMG_20150402_105649Since Genaro Gojo Cruz endeared me to  his children books , especially to his   best-selling YA  Connecting the Dots, I am now fond of reading  other Filipino children books. So it just so happened that  both my nephew and sister alike borrowed an armful of children books from  an NGO which project is to boost children’s   literacy, I took the good  chance to read this among them.

In English translation, it could be Grandpa Ding’s Tender Loving Care . It is a story about a grandson   telling  about the sweet memories of his  grandpa Ding who taught  him good manners and moral lessons-  a story to which  those adults  who grew up with their grandpas when they were still young can relate. What I  liked about the book  more is  its  illustrations drawn by Maurice Risulmi;  I find them so cute and realistic.IMG_20150402_105736

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I also have got a grandpa with whom I spent   time my young childhood. However, after reading it, two questions occurred to me what sweet moments I  remember about him and what moral lessons he ever taught me…A wave of guilt feelings came over me, and  I  was at loss for words unknowing what I should have to answer once someone asks  me the same questions.

Just what I remember is that   both my grandpa and  the late grandma sometimes took along with me whenever  they had to go  to a far place. Just what reminiscent of him is that he would always dress me down whenever I did something wrong, but I had never  felt that I was different among his grandchildren, nor  did he  play favoritism. Also, I never felt that he was such a draconian grandpa to  me; rather , he is not far different from grandparents who  pamper their grandchildren.  Since my family and I moved here in Manila at early age, I just  know that in character, he is a calm and joyful widower.

This book  is recommended  to  10 years old above, but I am now 28. Childish I appear to be, but reading it reminds me of my childhood experiences- a good reading list everyone should do as  an American psychologist put it:

“ Sometimes you have to  think like a child again…”

Rating : 3/ 5  stars