Monthly Archives: September 2011

The 32nd Manila International Book Fair

This year, The Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) celebrated its 32nd Anniversary in the Philippines. It was said to be the longest running book fair in the country as the event was held for five (5) days every month of September. The book fair was located in SMX Convention Center near SM’s Mall of Asia and was held from September 14 to 18, 2011.

My sister and I attended the book fair on its last day event. We decided to go there in the morning so as to avoid the thickening of the crowds during afternoon. It was our first time to visit MIBF. I was actually aware of the yearly event of MIBF, but as much as I wanted to go, school works got in the way. So gratefully, after months of waiting, my dream of attending a book fair finally came true.

The people weren’t that many yet so it was not crowded.

And I noticed that National Bookstore took up the largest space compared to all other exhibitors.

I had a few books in mind to buy, but apparently, none of the exhibitors have it. Despite my hapless book buying adventure, my sister was able to buy The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and the graphic novel version of the Nancy Drew book series. It was only during that day when I found out about the film adaptation of The Three Musketeers as evidently, the book my sister bought was the movie tie-in edition. The movie was slated for release this year, although I’m unsure of the exact date. I have yet to watch the trailer.

I enjoy going to book fairs. Just seeing books displayed on bookshelves and browsing through them to smell the aroma of newly opened books adequately satisfied me for more than a day’s worth despite not buying a book to take home myself.  As a reader and a recent emerging book blogger, my book buying habits have changed because of the book bloggers I follow. However, I still do not perceive myself as a spontaneous book buyer. I want to make sure if a certain book is worth buying and reading. In fact, I usually read the plot description first if it interests me before deciding to buy a book. Nevertheless, I’m thankful that I discovered the book blogosphere. Without them, I may not have ventured out of my comfort-reads or the must-have works of my few favorite authors. Somehow, book blogging and following fellow book bloggers made me appreciate books more.

Aside from this book fair, there were also co-located events happening at the SMX Convention Center. Being an avid Animé fan, my sister planned to attend “The Best of Animé 2011” located at the upper floor. It was a fun experience because we had seen some people who joined the cosplay contest and they perfectly portrayed their chosen Animé characters through their costumes, make-ups, wigs, and other accessories and/or weapons. I was not able to recognize all the Animé characters the people were portraying except some characters from the show Naruto.

I took this picture while my sister and I were on our way up to the Animé event. Pay attention to the two girls on the lower part of the image. They’re cosplayers.

We didn’t stay long in the book fair as we finished touring the whole exhibit and planned to eat lunch at home. But all in all, The Manila International Book Fair is an event worth revisiting every year. I will definitely attend the 33rd Manila International Book Fair next year and hopefully, buy something I’ll end up enjoy reading.

Indeed, this book fair promotes the love for reading of Filipinos young and old. Nothing can truly defeat the power of the written word.

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The 39 Clues: Cahills VS Vespers, Book One: The Medusa Plot by Gordon Korman

The 39 Clues series – we all have surely stood beside Amy and Dan Cahill as they embarked on perilous adventures and missions to obtain the thirty nine ingredients (as per their grandmother’s, Grace Cahill, request to prevent the others from completing it for personal gain) that will produce a serum everybody was after – a serum that will make any human who drinks it the most powerful man/woman among the whole humanity. The siblings’ lives were at stake, competition and feuds between the Cahill branches – Tomas, Ekaterina, Lucian, and Janus – were intense. It was only through Dan and Amy, who were surprisingly members of the Madrigal branch, that all Cahill branches were reunited as a whole family, which was the sole purpose of the Madrigals.

All ended well, but this “happily ever after” did not last long as yet another group, the Vespers, emerged, seeking after the complete thirty nine ingredients – the list which was intentionally destroyed by the Cahill family to prevent the possible dangerous consequences it may bring. Because of this, a second series was announced to be made, focusing on the battle between the Cahills and Vespers. And just before the month of August ended, the first book of the second series was released, entitled The Medusa Plot.

Here’s the summary from the back cover of the book:

Thirteen-year-old Dan Cahill and his older sister, Amy, thought they belonged to the world’s most powerful family. They thought the hunt for 39 Clues leading to the source of that power was over. They even thought they’d won. But Amy and Dan were wrong.

One by one, distress calls start coming in from around the globe. Cahills are being kidnapped by a shadowy group known only as the Vespers. Now Amy and Dan have only days to fulfill a bizarre ransom request or their captured friends will start dying. Amy and Dan don’t know what the Vespers want or how to stop them. Only one thing is clear. The Vespers are playing to win, and if they get their hands on the Clues . . . the world will be their next hostage.

After reading The Medusa Plot, I thought that the second series would be as good as the first series. Before, I actually did not pay much attention to this series despite seeing the books displayed on the shelves of several bookstores. The title, The 39 Clues, was not that catchy for me and I was still picky with the books I read. It was only when a saleslady from one of the local bookstores convinced my sister to buy the series that I forced myself to read and ended up liking it more than I expected. It was a fun read and at the same time, educational because the books are filled with information on famous tourist spots from around the world that readers will be immersed into the book as if they’re on the actual place itself. I guess this book promotes tourism in a sense that the market age group catered by this book will want to visit the actual place, yearning to learn more.

One thing I liked about this book is that it never bored me. I couldn’t put the book down easily as I was eager to find out what will happen next. The pacing of the story was satisfying because I felt the flow was not rushed or done leisurely. Readers will also get to invest on the main characters and slowly love their differences in personalities – Dan’s sense of humor and remarkable photographic memory, and Amy’s intelligence. However, you will get to see a more mature side of them in this second series. Dan became more distant from reality due to the cruelty of the Vespers (you will find the reason out once you’ve read the book), and Amy became more athletic, learning martial arts and jujitsu for self-defense. It was also in this second series where most of the Cahill kids joined forces and worked as a team to rescue the hostages the Vespers kidnapped. Moreover, new characters appeared whom I felt will play significant roles in the coming books, especially Evan (Amy’s geeky boyfriend) and Atticus (Dan’s intelligent friend whom he met in an online game). We will also get to find out the true nature of the Vespers.

I truly recommend this book for anyone who’s interested in action-packed and information-filled story that will leave you wanting for more.


The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

The wait is over. The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore has finally been released and I got to buy a copy just in time for the long weekend last week. As all of you might already know, this novel is the sequel to the renowned I Am Number Four. The film adaptation of the first book was also released last February 2011 starring Alex Pettyfer as Number Four AKA John Smith.

The first time I picked up and read I Am Number Four, I was instantly intrigued by the author’s name. I even wondered if anyone had an actual surname of Lore and if any couple would name their son Pittacus. With this said, I thought the name in itself was unique, yet added an “alien” personality to it. Never had it occurred to me that the name, Pittacus Lore, was, in fact, a character from the novel until I read the contents of the novel. Therefore, in order to satisfy my curiosity on who’s behind this Pittacus Lore, I searched the internet and found out that it was the pseudonym for James Frey and Jobie Hughes. I was not familiar with Jobie Hughes, but I have heard of James Frey. He is an American author who claimed to receive intense controversies regarding the fabrication of his literary work.

Anyway, going back to the book, to avoid any disclosure of spoilers, I’m only going to give you a general gist of the story. Nine Loric children are chosen by the Elders of the planet Lorien for them to take over their roles once the Elders have finished their tasks and duties. Lorien is in grave danger from the Mogadorians (Mogs), so these nine children, the Gardes, together with their Cêpans (their guardians) escaped and flew to Earth temporarily to hide from the Mogadorians. The Mogs are desperately after the children, but they only have to kill them in chronological order. Otherwise, the Garde’s charm will take effect and deflect the Mogs’s powers; thus, killing themselves instead of achieving their purpose. Numbers One to Three have already been killed; Number Four is next. With him and Number Six’s decision to search for others, will the combined forces of the rest of the Gardes defeat the Mogadorians? Let’s hope to find that out throughout the series.

I can say that this sequel is as great as the first book. While I Am Number Four mainly focuses on John Smith AKA Number Four, The Power of Six combines the point of views of John Smith and Marina (AKA Number Seven). The alternating point of views of both John and Marina leaves me wanting to turn the page more quickly – hungry for what’s to come for both of them. Readers will not be confused because two different fonts are used for each POV and this technique will let the readers come to love the characters more.

In addition to this, the second book allows the readers to gain more information about the Mogadorians and recognizes the importance of the Chest as it is part of their inheritance which contains valuable and powerful objects/weapons that letting it fall into the hands of the Mogs will possibly cost them their lives. I love how the book depicts the notion that despite the differences people acquire or possess, we are still interconnected with one another. Aside from this, I also admire the independency of the characters. I would never imagine myself having to encounter the things the Gardes have gone through and to how they are able to handle things courageously and use their Legacies for the good of the people and themselves, while not wanting to use them in vain. On the other hand, I sympathize them as they are not able to experience the life of a normal teenager or kid. It somehow makes me never to take the simplest things for granted.

Full of suspense, thrill, and action, The Power of Six never ceases to amaze me. The ending of the novel leaves me wanting for more. I undeniably cannot wait for the release of the next book. James Frey may have done scandalous things in the past, but he proves to be a good writer in this book series.

I would like to end my blog post with inspiring quotes that I took from the novel:

“The only limits of tomorrow are the doubts we have today.” (p. 107)

“My experiences have taught me that things rarely improve with a simple change of scenery.” (p. 147)

“The key to change is letting go of fear.” (p. 148)

“…love that will always be a stronger bond than any obligation.” (p. 216)

“Never lose faith in yourself, and never lose hope; remember, even when this world throws its worst and then turns its back, there is still always hope.” (p. 221)