Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Call to All Filipino Aspiring Writers!

Are you from the Philippines?  Have a stash of really killer amateur written stuff that would probably be the next bestseller?  Dream of making it big in the book industry someday?  Then this call is for you!  The Antithesis Collective is extending its Call for Manuscripts until JULY 2011!  So better go get all your best work and send them in now!

The Antithesis Collective is a newly formed publishing group composed of five individuals with varying literary tastes. Differences aside, all five members agree on the premise to publish quality books by unknown writers, and to give those writers as much creative freedom as insanely and grammatically possible.

The Collective banks on blind faith with the writers’ inherent talents – a concept not entirely unheard of, but one that finds itself loosely practiced. It is the collective’s aim to reduce the bottlenecks and to widen the venue with which a piece of work can be read by the world; a feat in itself, but one that the collective aims to pursue.  

Currently, the Antithesis Collective is accepting submissions for its first Call for Manuscripts.

Guidelines are as follows:

  • All submissions must be author’s original material, have not been previously published, and are not currently under review by any other publisher.
  • Submitted works should NOT be essays, poems, school term papers, snippets of thesis etc.
  • Submitted works should have a total of 1,500 words or less
  • Submitted works could be in English and/or Tagalog
  • Authors can submit a maximum of five (5) works or materials.
  • All submissions must be sent via email to: theantithesiscollective@gmail.com or submissions@theantithesiscollective.com
  • When submitting your manuscript/s, please do not forget to include your name and contact number.

Isn't this awesome?  You finally have a way to get those works of yours out there!  To know more about the Call for Manuscripts, visit www.theantithesiscollective.com.

A Little Book Told Me...

"Don't compromise yourself - you're all you have." 

-Rudy Baylor

from The Rainmaker by John Grisham

Monday, May 30, 2011

Book Review: Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster

Photo taken from Goodreads

Book Info
Title:  Travels in the Scriptorium
Author:  Paul Auster
Publisher:  Henry Holt and Co.
Language: English
Format:  Hardcover
Pages:  145 pages
ISBN - 10:  0805081453
ISBN - 13:  978-0805081459
Source:  Purchased, Book Sale


From Goodreads
"An old man awakens, disoriented, in an unfamiliar chamber. With no memory of who he is or how he has arrived there, he pores over the relics on the desk, examining the circumstances of his confinement and searching his own hazy mind for clues. Both chilling and poignant, Travels in the Scriptorium is vintage Auster: mysterious texts, fluid identities, a hidden past, and, somewhere, an obscure tormentor. And yet, as we discover during one day in the life of the man--identified only as Mr. Blank--his world is not so different from our own."

Travels in the Scriptorium by Paul Auster left me hanging, speechless, and confused.  It's a story about an old man who wakes up and finds himself in a strange room, not remembering how he even got there in the  first place.  He almost could not remember anything about himself, his past, and why he was in the room.  As he tries to work out the how, what, and why, a camera is revealed to be watching his every move.  I thought it would be something action-packed, a suspense thriller.  So how the novel turned out was pretty surprising - and that is not entirely a good thing.

Needing answers, I searched some more about this novel and found that this was a book whose characters were from Auster's other books, as well as some future works.  That was when understanding dawned on me:  This story is partly autobiographical, I wish I could say more about this concept but it would ruin the suspense.  Now, if this was not my first Auster read, I probably would have gotten it straight away.  Therefore, advice to readers:  Read this if you have already read other books by Paul Auster; if you have some on your TBR, bump them up and make sure to read them first before this book.

So confusion and subsequent enlightenment aside, the story was strangely engaging as Mr. Blank, the protagonist, struggled with his memory, read a report of a man on a mission, and pieced together said report's missing ending.  A story within a story, the characters were equally intriguing and charismatic, although they seem more caricatures than real people - which is exactly what drew me to them, because they did not seem real, and never tried to be.

The writing style was very unique as Auster approached the narration as if watching from a surveillance camera.  The reader, as if a voyeur, witnesses Mr. Blank's constant battle  with his forgetfulness, the mystery of his room, as well as the bigger mystery of the people who calls and visits him during the day.  The only knowledge that the reader is privy to without having to resort to monitoring him through the hidden camera and bugs is the old man's thoughts, which the narrator slips surreptitiously into the story.

I really regret not having read any of Auster's novels before, as he seemed to write very interesting and unique stories, and as it would help me get in on the joke way before I even finished reading this.  In a way, it was funny to read something like Travels in the Scriptorium and find some very familiar names that you were introduced to and are now haunting you in this book.

If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  

A Surprise Makes My Monday Triple Awesome!

Work was very busy today, we organized a Pregnant Moms Contest, sort of like a beauty pageant for pregnant women, and it was so tiring to organize the program and the contestants themselves.  I really felt so tired when I got home, but when I got in, I saw, on the table nearest the door, THREE packages from Book Depository!  And do you know who they're from?  They're from my awesome bloggy friend Ashley from BookAHolics Anonymous.  And why, you ask, did she send me books?  Well, because she's kind and sweet like that.  AND because it's her Random Act of Kindness (RAK) for the month of April and she has chosen ME!  Random Acts of Kindness is hosted by Isalys and Vanessa over there at Book Soulmates.

I know, it's May now, almost June even, so why did I say April?  Well, let's just say that shipping took too long.  But what matters is they're here now, and like a little kid with a new toy, I'd like to see my new babies:

Notice how they're already wrapped in clear plastic cover.  And yes, that's a newspaper you see underneath.  I cover the table with newspaper while I'm covering my books with plastic :D

Forget You by Jennifer Echols
Wherever Nina Lies by Lynn Weingarten
Hate List by Jennifer Brown

They're so awesome!

To Ashley, there's nothing more ARGH and I can say than a really big:

10 Good Things on a Monday: Ten Careers for Book Lovers (other than Librarian or Book Store Clerk)

10 Good Things on a Monday is a weekly feature  I am doing dedicated to every person's compulsive list-writing.  Every Monday we are going to make a list of 10 things that will cheer us up and help tide us over the whole week.

Here's how it works:
  1. Think of a particular group of good things you want to make a list on, does not necessarily have to be about books, e.g. your current book wish list, or your favorite book foods (you know, foods you love to eat while reading, if you're like me), or your favorite girly names, whatever you can think of, as long as it makes you feel good.
  2. If you have no ideas for a list, you can always visit my blog post to check out my theme for that week and you can take a cue from my list.
  3. Post your list on your blog, grab that cute ARGH button above and put it on your post too, so we'd know you're doing this meme.
  4. Leave the link for your post on my own 10 Good Things post for the week, if you see others doing it, comment too and let's share our good things with everybody.
  5. Everybody goes through the whole week happy!

My 10 Good Things for this weekTen Careers for Book Lovers (other than Librarian or Book Store Clerk)

Welcome to another edition of 10 Good Things!  A friend of mine once commented on my love for books when she saw my bookshelf.  I know it's not yet as huge as yours, but that friend of mine is not a big book fan so my collection is as much a library to her already.  She told me I should have been a librarian or worked at a bookstore.  Which, although really awesome careers, were not something I would go for (I love high-pressure jobs, like being a nurse :D).  So that got me thinking, what other options are there if you love books and want to work in the book industry?  A little research yielded these results:

1.  Book Buyer - If you love books and enjoy discovering new titles, then this might be a great job for you.  You will purchase books according to the prescribed purchasing regulations and procedures of a book store.  You will also review and analyze sales reports for ordering, planning, and merchandising purposes, etc.  In other words, you get to have a say on which book would be sold in your book store!

2.  Voice Actor for Audio Books - Friends and acquaintances have been remarking for the longest time that you have the best telephone and speaking voice ever:  Well-modulated, expressive, and with perfect enunciation.  Then why not become a voice actor?  Interested?  Then send your demo 'reading' tape to audio book studios and get started!

3.  Acquisitions Editor - You would be dealing with literary agents and authors and you BUY BOOKS FOR PUBLISHERS.  You will be the one dealing with choosing which manuscripts would be published and would sell well and will be enjoyed by more readers.  You have the power!

4.  Translator - Are you bilingual?  Multilingual?  Then this job may be for you!  Imagine if The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon were not translated in English by Lucia Graves, then we have two less awesome books in the English-speaking world to read, right?  There are a million other The Shadow of the Winds and The Angel's Games waiting to be translated into English or another language out there, and you might just be the man for the job.
5.  Rare Book Archivist - Are you very particular about how to shelve your book?  Do you cover your books with plastic and hate it when someone dog-ears a book page?  Then you would probably become a great archivist, preserving old and rare books to make them last for several years.

6.  Book Jacket Designer - Are you the artsy, techie kind?  Love creating and re-creating book covers?  Then why not try to become a book jacket designer?  As the 'art director,' your task will be to conceptualize original book covers for individual books, how cool is that, right?

7.  Book Publicist - If you have vast media connections, then promoting specific books may be perfect for you.  You will be responsible for the marketing of a certain book, contacting major newspapers, scheduling book signings, even contacting TV or radio show producers to promote a book.  Which is quite awesome, if you ask me.
8.  Book Cover Model - Now this one could not really be classified as a 'career' but if you think you've got the looks, you can try to audition as a book cover model.  Imagine, your face, or a part of your body right smack on a book cover!

9.  Copyeditor - You would be responsible for making sure the book has correct grammar, no typos, spelling, and punctuation.  You will also watch out for consistency, like whether the character from page 16 who hiccups when nervous does hiccup on page 125 when that character became nervous. 

10.  Bookbinder - This is a skilled profession and you will be required to operate machinery.  You will be the one responsible for putting book covers and pages together. 

Have you chosen which career fits you yet?

Happy New Week!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Going on a Vacation

ARGH and I will be going on a road trip and won't be able to blog for a few days.  We'll be back before you know it, we promise!

Meanwhile, why don't you check out a recap of this week's blog posts?

Book Review:
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
One Day by David Nicholls
Wild Child by Mike Wells 

Third Sentence ThursdayLiving Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
A Little Book Told Me:  Quote from Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
10 Good Things on a Monday  Ten Favorite Quotes from the Book, Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan

Other Posts:
Quiz:  Which Romeo and Juliet Character are You?

Armchair BEA 2011 Special:
Day 4:  Nurturing Relationships - from ARGH's Point of View  
Day 3:  The Network  
Day 2:  The Best of 2011 
Day 1:  This is How I Blog 

Books Received:
     Slice of Cherry by Dia Reeves
     Sing Me To Sleep by Angela Morrison
From the Author:
     Between by Cyndi Tefft

Currently Reading:  Between by Cyndi Tefft

Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Follow Friday 5/27/2011

Friday is upon us again, and here in another edition of Follow Friday by Parajunkee's Views is a pretty interesting question that we all need to answer.  But before that question, let me show you the featured blog for this week:

book bliss!

 And for the question: 

Q. How many books do you read in a week? And in what format do you read them, or listen to them?

A:  I read 2 - 3 books, one digital copy and two print books.  I can't read much since I'm really busy at work.  When I get home, all I want to do is eat and sleep!

I'm so glad the week is finally over, and I can finally do both :D


Book Review: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Photo taken from Barnes & Noble
Book Info
Title:  Living Dead Girl
Author:  Elizabeth Scott
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Language: English
Format:  Paperback
Pages:  176 pages
ISBN - 10:  1416960600
ISBN - 13:  978-1416960607
Source:  Purchased, National Book Store


From Goodreads
"Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.
Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time, I didn’t know how lucky I was.
When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.
This is Alice’s story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget."

Call me sick/insane/crazy, but I loved this book.  I've read some of the other reviews and they were unanimous in saying that this book was very disturbing and should not be marketed as a young adult book.  I agree.  This book should have been up there along the likes of Room by Emma Donoghue, or Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.  It's that good, and it's that adult.  This is no teen's book.  If younger readers get hold of this, they better be prepared.

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott is short, brisk, and detached, but very thought-provoking, poignant - and in a way - frightening.  Frightening because this is a story that has happened, is happening, will happen, and something that we never, ever want to happen to us.

"Alice" has been living with Ray for five years.  She was kidnapped when she was only ten years old.  Now that she is fifteen, she is half-hoping that she will finally be released or killed - she did not care which - as she knows that Ray will have no use for her anymore.  But Ray has one more task for her, a far more cruel demand than the daily abuse she suffers - to find another young girl to take to Ray and train according to his tastes.

Told through Alice's point of view, the voice was very much that of a living dead girl.  It sounded detached, numb, and flat, but the thought between the lines hung in the air as she related her story in terse, stilted tones.  After all, who needed an emotional tone when vivid descriptions of the abuse was written for everyone to read and imagine?  It was like witnessing first-hand the daily suffering of this traumatized-beyond-hope victim, even the most objective and apathetic reader would be moved.

Alice herself sounded frightening as her morbidly hopeless demeanor showed itself throughout the pages of this book. She was no more like a normal girl, let alone a normal person.  She was so heavily manipulated by Ray that she would not even think of escaping during her solitary trips for her wax jobs, could not even lie to him, and the worst she has ever done to rebel was to steal small amounts of food.  A marionette with invisible strings, with the body of a real girl.

This is a very strong book that will overpower any reader with fear and a strange compulsion to see what happens next until the book ends.  Scary, scary, scary.  No need to even keep the lights on.  This story will linger on in your mind for days, even weeks, in a none too pleasant way.

So you ask me:  If this book was so frightening, why do I love it?  It's for the pure and simple reason that the writing was so effective that it was able to achieve the exact amount of emotion and fear in order to relay its message across.  No need for extra descriptions, no need for added footnotes, everything was flung into the pages in the simplest, briefest way possible, and we all know simplicity is easier to understand and absorb.

The only downside?  When I just got this from the store, as was my custom, I unwrapped it and took a peek at the back page - not to read the ending, mind you - but to read those additional information about other books written by the author, a sneak peek at a new book, etcetera.  But what greeted me when I opened the back page was not a book teaser/author information, but the ending itself.  And it was so glaringly out there you could not ignore it.  The printer could have added a few flyleaves to guard from possible spoiler episodes.  It did not ruin the ending for me, although it would have been better if I did not get to read the ending first.

Read Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott at your own risk.  Prepare to be scared, traumatized, and blown away.

If you have any questions on this particular rating, please refer to my ratings system here.


All opinions expressed in this book review are my own and not influenced by any party in any way.

Please contact me for questions, comments, and suggestions.  

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Armchair BEA Day 4: Nurturing Relationships - from ARGH's Point of View

Today's Armchair BEA topic may be the hardest for me to discuss.  Why?  Because I am not really aware how to work on relationships, I just do my thing and see how things go.  Fortunately for me, they mostly go pretty well.  So to ask me how I establish and maintain relationships with other people is pretty useless.

However, ARGH right here can tell you a thing or two about today's topic, as he must be the most sociable monster there ever is in the world of Monsterdom.  So taking the helm tonight to discuss something very relevant to book bloggers, let me hand over the reins to our resident monster, ARGH!

Hello everybody!  Today I will not be making you laugh or go crazy over my cuteness.  Nina specifically asked me to take this task seriously and I will.  Because I owe it to you to tell you the truth about relationships with the book world.  After all, if anyone can teach you a thing or two about relationships and publicity, why not me, the one who aspires to be the first-ever monster politician someday?

I am not really good at writing long paragraphs that will surely bore you to death - much like Nina's book reviews which, although they make sense, sometimes make me go 'blech' with all the details she puts in.  So like the 10 Good Things on a Monday feature that we do here on the blog - the first feature to bear my photo mind you - I will list things you must forever and ever stick into your brains:

  1. To get books, you must NOT JUST RELY ON ARCs FROM PUBLISHERS OR AUTHORS.  Go buy copies of their books in the bookstore.  If you really love an author's book, you won't hesitate to shell out money for a copy of the product of their sweat and blood.  Like how you never hesitated to spend how much dollars just to see Rob Pattinson on screen trying to kiss Kristin Stewart's esophagus.  (I still think I can do a better - if not more graceful - portrayal of Edward than RPattz)
  2. In the monster world, before monsters eat their victim, they say, "I'm going to eat you!" To avoid messy skirmishes with an author over a negative review you've written (yes, those situations do exist!), try to give a heads-up to the author first before publishing your review.  Let them be able to read it first, explain to them why you are giving such a review.  Remember that however bad a book is, authors tried to kill themselves writing it so when it gets criticized, it still hurts.  Just imagine if I suddenly told everyone, "(Your Name) smells like rotten corn!" (trust me, it smells really bad) when in fact, although you do smell funky, it's because you're sick and your medication is what's giving you that odor, it'll hurt, right?  But of course, letting the author read your review first does not mean you're giving them the right to make you change what you wrote.  You're just preparing them for whatever your verdict is, and because you care about their feelings.
  3. Share a cupcake with a blogger.  Maybe not a real cupcake, but you get what I mean.
  4. For really awesome books, instead of five stars, give the author a huge PLANET.  Like Jupiter.  Or maybe Saturn, because it's prettier.
  5. When an author/publisher sent you books, thank them profusely, and make sure to tell them that when you become really famous someday, like president of a country, or a god, you'll name an island after them, and they have rights to that island.
You probably already know what I just told you.  But another advice - which I already know that you know, but I need to reinforce:

Be cute.  Be cuddly.  Be more, LIKE ME!

In other words, be confident about yourself, just like how I am.  Look at me.  I'm an undetermined shade of green, I'm fat, I do not have real hands, and my eyes are orange.  But all of you agree that I'm cute.  Why, when I AM A MONSTER?

It's because I, myself, think I AM CUTE.

And that's it, folks.  Nurturing relationships.  From a monster's point of view.

Third Sentence Thursday: Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

Third Sentence Thursday

Third Sentence Thursday is a weekly meme which waits with bated breath for third sentences from all over the world!

1) Take the book you are reading now and post the third sentence
2) Review this sentence anyway you want (funny and silly reviews encouraged)
3) Post a link to your sentence here (in the comments) or if you don't have a blog, just post it in the comments!

This week, my Third Sentence is from Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott.  You will soon read my review about this beautiful and haunting book.

"She is still watching the sky."  -page 69

Review:  Reading this line reminded me of The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, and actually, there was something about this book that reminded me a bit of The Sky.  This line also evoked hope, which the protagonist of this book seems to have lost, as she *WORDS HIDDEN TO PREVENT SPOILERS*  It would be best if you read this yourself.

I can't believe it's going to be Friday tomorrow already!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Armchair BEA Day 3: The Network

Hello Armchairers!  We are now on Day 3 of Armchair BEA, wow!  We're almost halfway toward wrapping up the week.  For today, we are supposed to publish an interview we did with another blogger but as I learned about Armchair BEA at the last minute, I was unable to snag an interview with some awesome bloggy friends of mine.  
So in place of an interview, I would like to do something different.  ARGH will be interviewing me about some of my blogger friends, which might prove very interesting.

Here goes:

ARGH:  Are you going to play favorites?

Me:  Sort of?  Not really, I'm just going to talk some of the blogger friends who are also participating in this year's Armchair BEA.  And I might also mention a few who may not be participating but whom I really like.

ARGH:  Okay, blogger friend number 1.  Does this friend have a mustache?

Me:  No!  But this blogger friend does have an awesome talent for singing, and must be the coolest nerd I've ever known (apart from myself :D).  I'm talking about none other than Lah from Lazy Girl Reads.

Lah reads a lot of James Patterson (his suspense thrillers), lives in New York, and is actually the first ever blogger who helped me spread my very first feature/meme, 10 Good Things on a Monday.  Because she is an opera singer, which I automatically classify as a music freak, she is my go-to girl for when I want to talk about background music for some books I read.  When I began receiving blog awards, she's the first blogger I think of to pass on an award.  And apparently, I'm the first one she thinks of too to send an award.

ARGH:  So apart from being each others' award sender, how else is Lah special to you?

Me:  If being the first blogger to support 10 Good Things on a Monday is not enough to make her special to me, then commenting on almost every post I made and being my 90th follower does.  And besides, she loves you in glasses.

ARGH:  So that was her!  I love her too!

Me:  Oh come on, if I didn't remind you that she was the one who liked your glasses and thought you were cute, you wouldn't even care.

ARGH:  But I do!  And all your readers think I'm cute.

Me:  *rolls my eyes*

ARGH:  So blogger friend number 2.  Does this blogger walk backwards?

Me:  She could probably do that but not every time.  My next blogger friend I am featuring is Small from Small Review.  Her blog is filled with so many awesome book things.  I met her through her feature, Busting the Newbie Blues where each newbie answers a set of questions to let other bloggers get to know them more.  In a way, I rode on her popularity :D

Small Review

ARGH:  So you used her.  How could you!

Me:  I didn't.  That feature was open to everyone, and it was how I got to know her and made me decide she's awesome.  And remember our  first Nina vs. ARGH article?  It was totally inspired by her Cover Crazy post and she knows it because she's amazing. 

ARGH:  Great blog features, inspiration for one of our posts, amazing blogger.  I got it.  So blogger number 3.  Is this blogger an alien?

Me:  Well, if she visits the Philippines, then she'll be considered an alien.  Becky from Becky's Barmy Book Blog is from the UK, and is such a Gleek, that's why I'm so happy to get to know her because I'm a Gleek to and it's fun to have someone to gush about Glee!

Becky Barmy Book Blog

Actually, last week, I was able to feature her on this new segment, Shelf SaturdayCheck out Becky's book shelf and get to know about her massive book collection as well as a little bit about herself.

ARGH:  Now for other blogger friends, that is, those whose names you did not see listed over at Armchair BEA and whom you just wanted to give a shout out.  I'm going to mention some of them and give me the first word that pops into your head the moment you hear their name.


Kelsa from The Amateur Voice of Could-Be Writer 

Me:  Gold

ARGH:  Ruperto from Bookable Reads 

Me:  Blog kuya (big brother)

ARGH:  Ao from Aobibliosphere 

Me:  Unisex

ARGH:  Ann from The Book Gatherer 

Me:  Intelligent

ARGH:  Jenni Elyse 

Me:  Pink

ARGH:  Khadija from Black Fingernailed Reviews 

Me:  Poignant

ARGH:  Playing.Librarian.  Why do you not know her name?

Me:  TBR list.  She does not give it away.

ARGH:  Cat from Cat the Librarian 

Me:  Shelf

ARGH:  That's it.  I hope you're satisfied.

Me:  I'm more than satisfied!  I'm so glad to have known all these wonderful bloggers and I am looking forward to meeting them personally someday.  And I'm also excited to share their blogs with you fellow Armchairers so you could also experience their awesomeness.