Artists and Authors Mike Curato and Isabel Roxas Visit the Philippines!

When we were kids, we considered ourselves grown-up when we started reading books without pictures. Strangely, it’s now that I’m entering my late twenties that I’m beginning to appreciate illustrated books and graphic novels. I rediscovered my passion for comics when I found my high school X-Men collection, and I’m branching out to reading local materials, manga, and children’s books.

My latest discoveries in children’s books are the works of Mike Curato and Isabel Roxas, two Filipino illustrators who are now based in the US. National Book Store invited the two to meet friends and fans, and I was lucky enough to meet them when they were here.

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10 Questions with Maria LM Fres Felix, Author of Crime Anthology “Crimetime”

There’s plenty to love in Maria LM Fres-Felix’s new crime anthology Crimetime, a compelling series of mysteries that will keep you guessing, set in Quezon City and starring Inspector SJ Tuason. The blurbs are an indication of its potential: there are words from Charlson Ong, Butch Dalisay, Sarge Lacuesta, and National Artist F. Sionil Jose. I sit down with the author to discuss her favorite crime story, the secret behind a good mystery, and what scares her.

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“Crimetime” is a Crime Anthology That Will Keep You Guessing

Eagle-eyed readers will notice the impressive list of names that adorn Crimetime, Maria LM Fres-Felix’s new crime anthology. On the cover is a blurb by award-winning crime author Charlson Ong. At the back is another blurb by award-winning fictionist Butch Dalisay. Inside are more praises by writers Sarge Lacuesta, Joel Pablo Salud, and Joselito D. Delos Reyes. There’s a glowing preface by National Artist F. Sionil Jose.

It’s a star-studded introduction to Felix’s anthology, but if its purpose is to entice reluctant buyers, it doesn’t need it. Crimetime is a compelling series of mysteries that will keep you guessing, set in Quezon City and starring Inspector SJ Tuason. As someone with a diminishing attention span, I was able to finish this book in a few days.

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UnionBank and UST Restore and Digitize Rare Books (Including 1st Ed Noli Me Tangere)

One of the best decisions of my life is buying an iPad Mini. I bought it a few years ago when I realized that my room was piling up with magazines, copies of which I only read once but still wanted to keep. I was transitioning to minimalism, so I wanted a system where I can still have my subscriptions while saving space. There are many reasons why digital is a great alternative to reading, and one of them is to save old and rare books. Books are a country’s written history and I believe in preserving them.

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Patrick Formanes’ Saw Her Standing There is the Longest Love Letter to His Wife


How beautiful it must be to have a book written about you… for you. That’s the case with Saw Her Standing There (2016), a novel Patrick Formanes wrote for his wife Eileen. It tells the story of Ryan and Lane, two Filipino-American high school students in New York who meet and fall in love. It is also based on the love story between Patrick and Eileen, who have been together since high school.

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Stephen King’s The Dark Half Explores the Author’s Alter Ego


People say that there are two sides to every person. It is sort of true: we can’t be good or bad all the time. And there’s also the belief that who we are when we’re alone is different from who we are when we’re in public.

It’s this duality that Stephen King explores in The Dark Half (1989), the author’s 23rd novel. It tells the story of novelist Thad Beaumont, who writes a series of wildly-popular books under the pseudonym George Stark. When it is discovered that Beaumont and Stark are the same person, Beaumont “kills off” Stark. However, Stark develops his own body and personality, and attempts to replace Beaumont.

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Arnold Arre’s Trip to Tagaytay is a Sci-Fi Comic with Human Emotions


Trip to Tagaytay sounds like the title of a coming-of-age road trip comic, not one set in a dystopian view of Manila in the future. But that’s what it is. It’s set in the distant future, one where people have migrated to stars, Aga Muhlach is president, and the Eraserheads are performing on the moon.

At the center of Arnold Arre’s comic is a young man, still living in Manila, as he muses on his love, who has migrated to the Orbital Space Station. The comic is short, spanning only 44 pages, and depicts the man walking to the Tagaytay Ocean Tunnel that connects to Cebu.

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Sarah Lahbati is the cover of Esquire November 2016


On a lark, I decided to subscribe to Esquire Philippines. I used to be a faithful reader, beginning its first issue, when I trekked the entire avenue of Espana after catching a glimpse of its maiden issue on a drive back to my office, which was then located across the University of Santo Tomas. It was days ahead of its planned release in bookstores, so I made the effort to walk and search for the magazine stand I found it in.

I fell in love with the first few issues, but I was also reading Rogue. I preferred Rogue‘s voice, content, and layout, as opposed to Esquire‘s cluttered design. To be fair, I found most magazines cluttered after being introduced to Rogue’s clean layout. I also didn’t like how Esquire published a lot of stories from its US counterpart, some of which didn’t affect me as a Filipino. So I stopped reading the magazine.

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