November 2014: Required Reading

October Required Reading Report:

1. The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales by Oliver Sacks - (4/5 Stars) Not at all stiff and formal because Dr. Sacks is a great story teller, who gives free reign in the exercise of his poetic license, without compromising the integrity of the scientific facts presented, in my opinion.

2. A Calendar of Tales by Neil Gaiman - (4/5 Stars) - The idea behind A Calendar of Tales is amazing. A collection of tales borne out of collaboration between author and readers.  I think Gaiman can create a story out of anything. Dust bunnies, a gum under your shoe, a sneeze. Anything. 

3. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankenweiler by E.L. Konigsburg - (4/5 Stars) Precocious children are a hoot. Sassy, wealthy old ladies, even more so. And this book has both.

4. The Distance of the Moon by Italo Calvino (on audio, read by Liev Shreiber) - (4/5 Stars) Unlike If On A Winter Night's A Traveller, this particular Calvino short story is more enchanting than exasperating. But then again, I enjoyed the short stories in the former, as individual pieces, as opposed to the entire novel. Anyway, what Calvino does here is take an actual scientific theory and spin a fantastical tale out of it. And oh, Liev Shreiber aka Sabertooth, makes the humor and magic in the story come alive with his wonderful narration. Listen to it here: The Distance of the Moon (RadioLab Shorts)

5. The Beauties by Anton Chekov (on audio, read by Philip Pullman) - (4/5 Stars) This is my first Anton Chekov. It is one of those short stories where nothing happens, where plot is non-existent. But the evocation of the feeling of melancholy is so powerful. Philip Pullman's reading is excellent and even more excellent is his explanation on why this particular Chekov short is his favorite. Listen to it here: The Beauties (Guardian Short Stories Podcast)

November 2014 Required Reading:

The Filipino Fridays meme pointed out to me, the number of local books I've read this year. Zero. And with 2014 almost at its end, I thought I'd make a last minute face-saving by making November my local books month.

1. Dwellers by Eliza Victoria - This is shaping up to be a great read. Eliza Victoria knows how to create an atmosphere of suspense and mystery and creepiness. 

2. Geeks vs. Jocks by Jessica Zafra - Social commentary, film reviews and other pop culture pieces from a familiar and loved author whose Twisted series I follow and enjoy. 

3. The Stories So Far by Jessica Zafra - It's been like 20 years, since Mananaggal Terrorizes Manila, her first short story collection, so I am quite excited about this.  

That's about it folks. Have a lovely November!


  1. This is a surprise, I didn't know that Liev Shreiber does audio too.
    Hmmm, I may break my Calvino hiatus because of this.
    Thanks, Tin!

    1. Hee hee. Madaming na trauma sa If On A Winter's Night...Hahaha! The characters in The Distance of the Moon has names that are impossible to pronounce. Like Qfwfq and Mrs. Vhd Vhd, and Liev Schreiber had a blast saying them out loud. He is great. :D And oh, this short story is part of a collection called Cosmicomics (by Calvino)

  2. Taking note of that Neil Gaiman collection. And oh, oh, oh, you have The Stories So Far! Where did you buy your copy? I can't seem to find one at bookstores here in my place. I am so envious!

    1. Calendar of Tales is a great one-sitting read. Plus it has really cool illustrations at the end of every story. Naghanap din ako sa bookstores nung una, Lynai. But I don't think they sell them there. I got it online sa The Library of Babel. Maganda yung binding (hardbound) at yung papel sa loob, glossy. :D

    2. I have been contemplating getting it online na rin eh. Maybe I'll get it as a Christmas gift for myself haha! Thanks for the nudge. ;)

  3. Local books month for ReaderCon month. Good decision! I haven't read any Jessica Zafra book. Any suggestion to add in my "to read" list? Just one. Hehe!

    1. Hmmm. Maybe the Twisted Travels, essays about J.Zafra's trips, kasi mahilig ka naman gumala diba? LOL. O kaya yung huling Twisted which is Twisted 9. Meron din siyang Twisted Flicks, movie reviews niya naman. But di ko pa ito nababsa. :) Ay, just ONE lang paley. Nag-litanya na ako. Pumili ka nalang. :D


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