Books

Book 3 of 2017: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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You know the saying don’t judge a book by its cover? Well, I don’t really apply it to actual books. I have moments when I certainly judge them based on their covers alone. Take for example my copy of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. While mindlessly browsing the shelves of my favorite bookstore, its black and white cover of a little girl floating a few inches off the ground appealed to me almost instantaneously. Everything about it screamed fantasy, mystery, and horror all at once – three things that I’m very keen on. Even the title is interesting – Who is Miss Peregrine? What makes the children “peculiar?” Needless to say, I bought the book right then and there. But that was two years ago; now, it’s part of the TBR Everest I must conquer. Oh well…

What I want to point out is that my expectations were mostly built up by its promising cover. I got even more excited when I found out that the story is complemented by haunting vintage pictures. I remembered all those times I read the True Philippine Ghost Stories series back in grade school and I loved how those “real” pictures of ghosts heightened the experience of reading each story to the point that I couldn’t turn off the lights at night for an entire week. As someone who is already tired of reading about dystopian societies and inter-species love affairs that are currently the trend in YA, I was really looking forward to something different – and the dark vibe of Miss Peregrine seemed liked the one I was looking for. However, what I got instead is a book that’s more style than substance.

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Books

Book 2 of 2017: Money by Martin Amis

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“What did I get myself into?”

It has been a month since I have finished reading Money (A Suicide Note) by Martin Amis and this is still the first reaction that comes to mind whenever I think of that book. I am still reeling from the after-effects of immersing in such a wild rollercoaster ride of a novel, much like having those terrible hangovers that Money‘s “protagonist,” John Self, regularly suffers from. Honestly, this hasn’t been an easy read at all for me. It comes as a terrible shock, especially coming from such an uncomplicated book like Unholy Night. There were many times I had to put it down and get away from it to breathe some fresh air. That is why it took me such a long time to finish it and why I consider it an achievement that I was able to pull this off. Yet in spite of its difficulty and all the distasteful things occurring within its pages, I have come to appreciate its brilliance: the author’s mastery of language, the brutal yet honest depiction of life in the fast lane and the dark humor that makes everything a little bit more bearable. I have no doubts why Money is considered a modern classic.

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Books

Book 1 of 2017: Unholy Night by Seth Grahame Smith

This 2017, I’m launching a personal project which I named “The Prodigal Reader.” The aim of this project is to halve my TBR pile, if not to completely eradicate it, by the end of the year. I know this will be a very challenging endeavor due to real life commitments and my own terrible mood swings and inherent laziness but I will do my best to keep this up because I want to make sure that there is a purpose to this bibliomania. Besides, I promised to myself that I can’t buy new books while this project is ongoing (exception: Manila International Book Fair week) and you all know how terrible that feels. I will post all the titles of the books which are currently in my TBR pile in a separate post as reference. 

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Now that I got that introduction out of the way, let’s get to the whole point of this post and write about the first book I finished for 2017 and the first book crossed off my TBR pile: Unholy Night by Seth Grahame-Smith. Just a short background, I bought this over a year ago during one of my random strolls through my neighborhood bookstore. It was a random purchase for having stayed too long inside that bookstore which I shall label from now on as “anxiety-induced acquisition.”

Anyway, it is not as if Unholy Night or Seth Grahame-Smith is totally alien to me, though. I know that Seth Grahame-Smith has made a name for himself as a master story-bender with his propensity to take well-loved stories and personalities and put a whole new spin to them – as seen in his widely successful Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire HunterUnholy Night is his third novel and, true to form, this is another interesting retelling of a popular story. The object of his twisted revision? The Christmas Story.

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