Archive | January 2010

10 Books


I got this from T, a doctor who blogs, and whose blog, “Notes of an Anesthesioboist,” I follow. (Read T’s book list here.)

I’ve been meaning to do a book list of my own for many months but haven’t gotten around to it. Now that it’s 2 a.m. and the entire household is asleep, it’s the best time to make a list of my own. So here it is:

One book I have read more than once. Joy Luck Club, when I was 17, right after I saw it at the UP Film Center. I was amazed at the success of this first book by Amy Tan. The jaded writer that I am, I’ve come to believe that a writer can have only one great book in her lifetime, and after reading The Hundred Secret Senses and The Kitchen God’s Wife, I thought Joy Luck was Tan’s best. I have bought more than three copies of the book because people who borrowed them (you know who you are) never returned them to me.

One book that changed my life. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Because it keep my romantic self hoping.

One book that made me cry. Anita Shreve’s The Weight of Water. I thought the story was very brutal, and I was winging through a very depressing phase in my life when I read it.

One book that made me laugh. Ateneo professor and poet Danton Remoto’s Gaydar. Danton, whom I’ve been a fan of since college, is funny, wicked, and irreverent. I just love Danton! I found him a very wonderful and quotable interviewee. You should hear his stories.

One book I am currently reading. I have a pile! I’m still plodding through Milan Kundera’s Ignorance (last year’s birthday gift), Shiela Ellison’s The Courage to be a Single Mother (bought for P25 at Powerbooks), Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, and Perry Biddiscombe’s The Last Nazis (don’t ask why).

One book I have been meaning to read. Blink by Malcom Gladwell.

One book I would want if I were stranded in an island. Because I’m expecting to be rescued, it would have to be something light, short, and funny, and that would be Nora Ephron’s Heartburn. The name would probably ring a bell if you’re like me who’s a sucker for movies like You’ve Got Mail, Sleepless in Seattle, and When Harry Met Sally. Much of Ephron’s personal life has inspired her writing. Read about the back stories in this article from Salon.

(If I had fears of never getting rescued, I’d say it’s a toss-up between the Chicago Manual of Style and, uhm, the Bible. Now shut up.)

One book that made me depressed. Michael Cunningham’s The Hours. It’s so tragic that someone could be so brilliant but could never be completely happy. I still haven’t finished the reading the book because it chokes me each time.

One book I wish had been written. The true story of Henry VIII.

One book I wish had never been written. Something hateful, especially something that aims to deny something evil that happened in history, like the Holocaust.

Photo: Thanks, Nkzs

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How to Move On After a Major Screw-up


It’s happened to all of us, in varying degrees. We send off an e-mail by mistake. We attribute the wrong quote to a source. We pull out all the wrong numbers for a report. We launch a project that ends up a flop. Shit happens. But after getting red in the face, what does one do?

1. Acknowledge what went wrong. You can’t address a problem if you are in denial. I had a major boo-boo a few years ago, which was primarily a technical problem involving a new software that we were trying out. It was difficult not having anybody to talk to; more difficult because many people thought it was my mistake. Since news had spread, I couldn’t very well send out an apology letter to explain that it was a software glitch. But yes, I realized that part of it was my mistake.

2. Think of what could have been done to avoid the incident. I could have done a test to ensure that the program worked. I could have put the launch on hold when I realized that there was something off with the system. However, I did not. What was worse was that the agent who offered me the software lied and said he had instructed me not to go on with the launch.

3. Learn the lesson. Since then, I’ve learned to always test. And I’ve kept the lesson to heart. (Of course, if that happens again, I’m really screwed.)

4. Forget. Because we’re only human and we make mistakes. On to the next!

The Word’s Out, the Book’s Done


After much hewing and puffing and kicking, the second book that I wrote (remember? the coffee table book on a Chicago motocross group?) is finally complete. Christmas 2009 brought with it good news–that the book was set for publication with a print-on-demand company and that it will appear on Amazon for orders–but like everything else in the book business, it’s been delayed. My client says he’s thinking of launching the book March. I can’t argue. After all, this isn’t really my book (my name’s only listed as the editor), so the time element isn’t in my control.

But I feel happy knowing it’s behind me now. Another baby delivered. On to the next! After a couple of months of stress, I’m not exactly wishing for another book project, although the other one that was put off last year would be a lovely surprise.

I don’t want to give too much details about the book yet (I’m probably not even in the position to), but if you want to know more about the stories that I encountered while doing research for the book somewhere in Mindanao, here are a couple of stories I wrote on motocross and Dipolog.

Any writing goals you met last year?