pinoy reads pinoy books reads ‘a bottle of storm clouds’

I was supposed to meet with Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books on October 18th, but Lando had other plans.

We finally met up on October 24th at Lucky Bean Coffee Bar, in front of De La Salle University. I stressed out over this meet-up because 1) meeting new people makes me anxious and 2) unfamiliar places make me anxious (I got lost on Taft Avenue because of course) and 3) talking about my work makes me anxious.

It was fun, though. I had fun talking about the origins of the stories (one question that delighted me was “Are these two guys lovers or are they just really good friends? But why not??”) and my writing process/progress/aspirations, and I hope the book club members had fun as well.


I also signed books using N’s lovely gift from a couple months ago.


Thank you to Jayson and the rest of Pinoy Reads Pinoy Books. Check out the links below if you want to join them.


We are Filipinos who patronize Pinoy books, our very own. When we say “Pinoy books” we mean all published works written by Philippine and foreign nationals about the Philippines or the Filipino experience, written in (1) our national language, Filipino (Tagalog), (2) other Philippine languages, (3) English, and (4) any other foreign languages but translated to Filipino or English.

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especially heinous, and other stuff to read

“Outcry”: Only after the sixth small black girl goes missing does the police commissioner finally make a statement, interrupting the season finale of a popular soap opera. The enraged letters start coming soon after. “Are you going to tell me if Susan’s baby belongs to David or not, Mister Police Commissioner??????” says one. Another person sends anthrax.

“Design”: “If this child is part of The Plan, then The Plan was that I would be raped. If this child is not part of The Plan, then my rape was a violation of The Plan, in which case The Plan is not a Plan at all, but a Polite fucking Suggestion.”

Those are passages from Carmen Maria Machado’s “Especially Heinous: 272 Views of Law & Order SVU“, first published in The American Reader, included in the massive 2014 Campbellian Anthology, which you can download for free by following the link (thanks Phil for the tip). It’s a great boulder of a collection that I have been chipping at for the past days, and oh my God what a beautiful, funny, clever, brutal, haunting piece of art this story is. I have described this as episode recaps of Law and Order SVU — if the show were written and produced by David Lynch.

The year’s just begun but this is definitely going to be included in my year’s best reads.

My thanks to M. David Blake for compiling these amazing stories and making the collection available!

M. David Blake’s magnum opus, the 2014 Campbellian Anthology, is now available for download! This book attempts to collect in one volume representative works by most of the writers eligible for this year’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. We don’t have them all—there were a few we couldn’t get—but all the same, this book contains more than 860,000 words of fiction by 111 authors, and best of all, it’s not merely free, it’s DRM-FREE.


  • The Nebula Award nominations are out and some of the nominated work can be accessed online here.
  • Maximum Volume is launching tomorrow. Read an excerpt of my story, “The Missing“, on the anthology’s website.

come watch us read some stuff

Kritika Kultura Reading Series presents Carljoe Javier and Eliza Victoria

Kritika Kultura, the refereed e-journal of language and literary/cultural studies of the Department of English, Ateneo de Manila University, presents the second installment of the Kritika Kultura Reading Series. This event, which features writers Carljoe Javier and Eliza Victoria, will be on December 9, 2013, 4:30-6:00 p.m., at the 5th floor, Rizal Library, Ateneo de Manila University.

The Kritika Kultura Reading Series aims to give a space for emergent writers to read from their newly published projects or works in progress. Each installment features two writers engaging with convergent themes or aesthetic dispositions. The first installment, held last November 18, 2013, featured poets Joseph de Luna Saguid and Allan Pastrana.

Carl Javier has written fiction, non-fiction, films, and most recently komiks. His books include The Kobayashi Maru of Love (Youth and Beauty Brigade, 2010), Geek Tragedies (U of the Philippines P, 2011), and a novel—an excerpt of which is available in Kritika Kultura—that he is currently revising. He teaches courses in Creative Writing and English at the Department of English and Comparative Literature, University of the Philippines Diliman.

Eliza Victoria graduated with a degree in Journalism from the University of the Philippines Diliman in 2007. Her books include the short story collection A Bottle of Storm Clouds (Visprint, 2012) and the science fiction novel Project 17 (Visprint, 2013). Her fiction and poetry have appeared in several online and print publications in the Philippines and elsewhere, and have won prizes in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and the Philippines Free Press Literary Awards. For more information, please visit her online home,

Original release posted here.


I will be reading pages from my new novel. Carljoe I think will be doing the same. Exciting!

In the meantime, listen to Carljoe’s Lumpen Culturati Podcast, Episode 1, where he and guest Mikey Atienza talk about Isabel Yap’s “Sink.”

fairy tale fail

Slowly but surely working my way through my All-Filipino to-be-read list.

Fairy Tale FailFairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Have you heard about the Hummingbird? Emily Nussbaum wrote about this new television archetype in the New Yorker. The Hummingbird is described as possessing “a primal optimism that amounts to a superpower; she’s generous and idealistic despite plentiful evidence that the world is cruel”. They are “idealistic feminine dreamers whose personalities are irritants. They are not merely spunky, but downright obsessive.” They are an “alienating-yet-sympathetic” bunch. (Seriously, read the article.)

While listening to Ellie in Fairy Tale Fail (the book is narrated in a conversational manner; think you and Ellie during a coffee break/tsismisan marathon) I kept wondering who she reminded me of. Because she is very familiar. I’m sure you’ve met your share of Ellies. The so-called hopeless romantics who don’t see logic or reason. They are Annoying (with a capital A), and yet you are drawn to their belief that the universe will eventually find its balance. I am reminded of Nussbaum’s Hummingbird theory when Ellie mentions the monomyth several times, as if it were the only guide a person can have. Who clings to the monomyth? Who does that? Ellie is insane, but I enjoyed her story.

A good, light read. Bring it with you during a weekend.

View all my reviews

Continue reading fairy tale fail

the all-filipino writers reading list

It’s been a while since I last made a list of books to read and stuck to it. I do have a list somewhere, but I keep straying from it, abandoning books and picking up random titles and buying more ebooks on the Amazon Kindle store when I already have a ton of paperbacks nearby. Amazon, man. Amazon is bad.

The last book I finished is Stephen King’s 11/22/63.

11/22/6311/22/63 by Stephen King

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a fine novel about time travel and its joys and troubles. I was hesitant to pick up this book when it first came out, because 1) it was crazy hefty, and 2) it deals with changing real-life events, like the “Kill Hitler” trope, and I’ve read those before and those kinds of stories never end well, do they?

But then we’re given Jake Epping, a high school teacher who wants to stop the Kennedy assassination, but it’s not the only reason he agrees to go back in time. He also wants to help a janitor at his school who has suffered an unimaginable tragedy as a child. The assassination is a national tragedy, for sure, but I am more interested in the tragedies that never appear in the news, the “little” ones, the ones that stay hidden behind curtains and doors. I have never met Kennedy, but I feel like I have met that janitor, once in my life.

So I am hooked, and I read this book on my phone even inside a moving vehicle. And I never read inside moving vehicles unless there’s an urgent reason. I read it so quickly I did not even notice its length.

It is an excellent, moving novel. Do read this one.

View all my reviews

* * *

I already have Under the Dome, so of course I dove into that, but I looked at my stack of books and realized that I have a lot of local titles I haven’t even started yet. Yeech.

So here’s my new All-Filipino Writers Reading List (in no particular order):

Waking the Dead by Yvette Tan

Twisted 9 by Jessica Zafra

Mythspace by Paolo Chikiamco and Koi Carreon

fled their faces turned by Christian Tablazon

Now, Then, and Elsewhen by Nikki Alfar

Fairy Tale Fail by Mina V. Esguerra

Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra

Naermyth by Karen Francisco

Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 8 by various authors

The Best of PSF (2005-2010) by various authors

Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 1 by various authors

Philippine Speculative Fiction Vol. 3 by various authors

How to Traverse Terra Incognita by Dean Francis Alfar

Si Amapola sa 65 na Kabanata by Ricky Lee

JUST ADDED: #romanceclass bundle from Mina V. Esguerra

Get all 5 for only PhP 200!

All’s Fair in Blog and War by Chrissie Peria

Cover (Story) Girl by Chris Mariano

Save the Cake by Stella Torres

The Real Score by Kesh Tanglao

Vintage Love by Agay Lllanera

Basically I just listed the local titles I have on my phone (ebooks) and at home (paperbacks). I have dipped into most of these, particularly the PSF titles, but I take a long time finishing short story anthologies because you can easily start and stop reading (both a pro and a con for anthos). I’ll add more titles if I missed anything (like, if a paperback slid off my stack and got stuck in a corner and I forgot about it and it’s all moldy now get a grip), or if I acquire new ones.

This should keep me occupied until the end of the year. Wish me luck.

weekend reviews

Movies, food, new hair. Boom.

Pacific Rim 

pacific rim

Pacific Rim is this year’s movie event. And I love this film. Love love love it. This is a high-budget, special effects-laden action film in the vein of the beloved Japanese tokusatsu of my childhood (Ultraman, etc) with no unnecessary make-out scenes but with a female in the lead (would have wanted to see more females – anyway) fighting the bad guys instead of getting stuck in a meek, sappy role like Daimos‘s Erika, with no unnecessary make-out scenes (I need to mention this twice because this fact makes me so happy) and which puts emphasis on the female gaze for once!

Yes! Take all of my money!

Guillermo del Toro is great in character design (just see Pan’s Labyrinth and Hellboy: Rise of the Golden Army), so this film is bursting with detail at the seams. Look at this thing:


You can’t go wrong with Del Toro, y’all. The alien monsters, the robots, the massive scale. Ramin Djawadi (Game of Thrones) created the score and it is menacing and perfect. You can feel the bass notes in your chest. And the cast is first-rate: Idris Elba, Rinko Kikuchi, Charlie Day, that guy from Sons of Anarcy.


Further reading: A great analysis of Mako (Rinko Kikuchi’s character), ie why she’s not meek. Read only after you’ve seen the film, because spoilers.

Other movies seen recently: I saw Dead Ringers (1988) where Jeremy Irons plays twin gynecologists who are so close they share residence, patients, and women. Irons is so good in this film that I still can’t stop thinking about his performance.

dead ringers 3

I’ve heard about Hable con Ella/Talk to Her (2002) the year it won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. This film broke my heart. Only a story masterfully told can make you sympathize with a character who makes a questionable decision, and Hable con Ella is one of those stories.


We made some meatball spaghetti! This is based on an Ina Garten recipe.



It was delicious. We were surprised by how good it tasted.

Also, new hair! Permanent Blow-dry part deaux, and Hair Color, still at B&W Beauty Salon inside Kingswood Condominium in Makati. Drop by for a visit to know their rates. They have a rainy day promo right now. :)


This is the first time I had my hair colored, so I just chose the safest brown there is. But as several friends have said, subtle only works at the start; I will go crazy and choose the more risqué colors later, like platinum blonde, or cotton-candy pink. Or fluorescent orange.


Now reading: Claire Messud’s The Woman Upstairs, and loving it so far. Great cover.

And how are you?

happiness in a box

Due to my impatience (and because I was going home that weekend), I decided to just order Human Nature products online instead of going to Shopwise Makati (which may not carry the big sizes anyway).

I ordered: Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner (Lush Vanilla), Wild Berry Lip Balm, and Rosy Cheeks Pressed Blush. Everything cost me around PhP 580, including taxes and shipping.

It arrived the next day, all bubble-wrapped inside a cute box.

I’ve used the hair care products and I am very impressed. I love the scent, and the products left my hair smooth and silky. Not to mention that these products are cheaper than the brands I usually buy and use. Definitely worth your money. I wished the blush came with a brush, though.

If you’re in the US, click here to shop.

In other non-hair-related news: I’m now reading Broken Harbour by Tana French. It’s really good. I wish I could just go home and read and read and read. I’ve also ordered Catherynne Valente’s The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making. Excited.

I vaguely remember saying that I won’t buy any more books, but the memory is faulty and the flesh is weak.