We’ve loved books for years. Why haven’t we been reading as much?

by Agnes Manalo, Allana Luta, and KB Meniado

Happy New Reading Year! We still love books, first of all. But we’ve also been wanting to talk about this, and so what better time than now, mid-January? Here, we spill our most candid reading (or non-reading) experiences. May you find refuge.

Why haven’t we been reading?

Agnes: First of all, omg, I *have* been reading. Decades’ worth of stationery blogs, hundreds of thousands of words of fanfiction, everyone’s year-end and decade-end essays on social media, all the while wondering why I’m not reading and why I’m not writing either.

Except I *have* been writing. Not in any literary sense, but last year I got really into calligraphy (italic hand and then my variation on it), and I’m still practicing. And I’m still keeping a journal. It’s somewhere between a daily log and morning pages, with occasional bullet journaling/planning ahead. So yeah, I’ve been reading and writing.

Allana: It’s not that I haven’t been reading as much, it’s just that I haven’t been reading books. Not published novels or nonfiction anyway, which is what I’m assuming we mean here when saying “books read.” But if we count fanfiction and manga? The amount I consumed just in the past year would be considered unhealthy.

KB: Excuse me, I too have journals and sincerely written IG captions keeping me busy?? Kidding aside, I spent the past year reflecting, that’s why. And touching books, asking “does this spark joy.” Apparently, it worked! It was more of a letting go-and-circulating year rather than accumulating.

So how many books did we read in 2019?

Agnes: I read 35 books! Set my goal at 24, and I’m pretty happy I exceeded it. Some poetry, some picture books, a lot of nonfiction, and only one book read out of obligation.

Allana: Get ready for it… 12! Which was my goal really of one book per month. In 2018, I read FIVE (5) so hah! Twelve is an improvement. Before my reading regression, I averaged around 24 books a year, so I’m halfway back.

KB: 65! I used to read close to 100 or more a year. Yes, quality over quantity, la la la. But there’s also value in reading a lot, and constantly, because you learn about what you enjoy and what you don’t. Finishing 65 is still a feat.

And how many books do we think we’ll read this 2020?

Agnes: I set my Goodreads reading challenge at 24. Gotta set realistic expectations. 

Allana: 15? 18? All I want to do is get through my poor, disregarded TBR pile.

KB: As advised by Agnes, set the bar lower so… 80, less 10 of last year’s. Because once a dreamer, always a dreamer~

Do we have any explanations or excuses about not having reviewed books as often as before?

Agnes: Not my thing. I love recommending books to people, but I don’t enjoy the pressure of knowing I’m reading a book in order to provide feedback for it. It’s like there’s a constant mental tally of pros and cons as I’m reading. 

Allana: If I am forced or pressured to read something, I will automatically have negative feelings for it no matter how good it is, and begrudge every compliment I will write. So maybe I’m not the best at giving reviews.

KB: ^ Welcome to Bookbed, guys, lol. I don’t disagree, though. For a time there, we fell into that trap. That makes it hard to enjoy reading, much more reviewing. But me, I still have fun talking about books, especially the ones I chose to read. Always a pleasure to celebrate bookish feelings, and supporting the people who made those happen. If not here, I do it on Twitter @heykebe 🙂

What do we think about DNF-ing books?

Agnes: Difficult for me because I want to get my money’s worth. But I have been abandoning books now and letting them go. Tiwala nalang na there are books more suited to me out there (or on my shelf) and that if I ever want to read the books I abandoned, they will find a way to come back to me.

Allana: Ugh. Hate doing this. I used to feel like I owe it to the author who worked hard on their book, and to myself for starting it. But honestly, I only have limited energy, why waste it on something that doesn’t interest me in the slightest?

KB: Amen. Let’s not hurt ourselves.

What has changed in terms of our book buying habits?

Agnes: I bought at least five books last year, maybe more. Trying to avoid hanging out in bookstores, or at least, I’d settle with taking photos instead of receipts. I don’t know if my book buying habits changed on purpose or just out of necessity—new hobbies, smaller income, less shelf space.

Allana: I used to only buy physical books because I like feeling the weight of a book in my hands and seeing just how many pages I’ve been through and how many pages I have left. But we only have so much space in our house and some books are just not available in any local bookstore, so I have made peace with the fact that sometimes, e-books are the best (or only) choice. 

KB: Seconding Agnes and Allana’s emotions. I can leave a book sale without purchasing anything, but buying digital is another story.

Has that affected our book collecting habits?

Agnes: When I read more books in a year, I let go of more books too. 

Allana: Nowadays, I only keep books I actually like and donate the rest.

KB: Because of my desire to go “less,” I’m okay not having a full physical bookshelf. I’ve let go of around 500 books in the last four years, maybe. Donations, gifts, giveaways, etc. It’s okay, I’m fine, guys, we’re fine. Our books have found new homes where they will be loved the same, if not more.

Are our favorite books from five or 10 years ago still our favorites?

Agnes: Recently I reread two middle grade books from 15+ years ago. Glad to report they held up to the test of time. One of them even moved me to tears. I’m hoping to reread more books this year, maybe starting with the easy stuff like Penguin Little Black Classics and my Roald Dahl collection. 

Allana: Hmm. Yes? Or at least the insight I gained from them has remained. Not sure if I can relate to them now that I’m older and (hopefully) wiser but they still have a spot on my shelf despite my constant purge of old books. Or maybe I’m just a sentimental fool.

KB: Many didn’t resonate with me anymore, so I moved on, they moved on, we all moved on. Friends say I’ll probably regret one day someday, but I don’t think so, because for one, e-books exist.

What is your new reading goal?

Agnes: I really want to focus on rereading. Expecting to see a lot of childhood favorites and secondhand bookstore finds I haven’t managed to let go of. After that, maybe I’ll tackle my e-book hoard of bestsellers and recommendations from friends.

Allana: More graphic novels!

KB: I tend to consume mostly fiction, so I want to challenge myself this year to read more nonfiction. So, alternating. Nonfic then fic then nonfic, and so on. Wish me—us luck. We wish the same for you, whatever your reading goals are. ☁️

3 Readers Celebrate Their Moms Every Day, One Book At A Time

Today is extra special: we’re celebrating all kinds of mothers around the world—who they are, what they do for us, how much they mean to us. Here, three readers share some of their most touching and intimate stories about their moms. We hope you enjoy them, and please feel free to share your own lovely memories with us as well. Happy Mother’s Day!


My memories of my mother are set mostly in the kitchen. I grew up watching her cook, and mimicking her in the process. She cooked so much—enough for one barangay, my father said, which sort of ensured that we were always well-fed at home.

Of all the dishes I watched my mom make, two were etched deeply in my mind: tinola and bread pudding.

My mom’s tinola was as simple as it gets: chicken broth cubes, sayote, pechay, malunggay or chili leaves, and chicken sautéed in ginger and garlic. Because she had me cooking this in her place many times, I memorized her recipe and adapted it as my own.

Tinola is warm, invigorating and light. The gingery scent tickles your nose and nudges at your taste buds. The soft chicken and the oily broth trickles down your throat and eases the coldness inside your belly. As expected of comfort food.

Meanwhile, the one dish that baffled me the most was her bread pudding. She was obsessed with cooking large batches of them, especially during fiestas and holidays. Those things took long to prepare, and as a kid, I didn’t find it as appealing as, say, leche flan or ube halaya.

One thing about my mom’s bread pudding was that she loved giving it away to neighbors and relatives. Note that while I found them unappealing, they did taste great. Eventually, it was the dish that our family identified most with her.

Later in life, I thought of learning new genres to write so as to break the monotony of my career and sharpen my skills. It was ultimately my love for eating, which I developed after having so much of my mom’s cooking, which led me to write about food.

My first impulse was to draw from my memories while taking inspiration from Anthony Bourdain’s works. Most of his books told of his time in the kitchens he worked in. Taking Bourdain’s cue, I sought to remember the dishes I learned from my mom. (Related: “8 Readers Whose Travels Were Inspired by Books“)

Mom’s tinola recipe was the first true life lesson I learned from her, and was a big part of my adult life. Tinola was my go-to dish when I moved to Baguio City, and one I worked on when I decided to introduce to my family the first girl I dated. Come to think of it, I have seriously my heart and soul into my tinola in three instances, all involving someone I was in love with, but that’s a different story.

Cooking bread pudding, on the other hand, was a chore. I remember the gentle violence of tearing slices of bread apart, watching sugar caramelize, the struggle in mixing milk, eggs, and sugar, and the anticipation as they pop out of the steamer. I guess the best part was having some of the pudding and watching the smiles on the faces of those we give them to. I bet I had that smile at one point.  

Reading through Bourdain’s books made me realize there were so much to look back to regarding my mom, dining, and how I would shape my work. See, writing about food means trying to put into paper the scents, the flavors, and the feelings revolving around the food you cook and eat. Translating smell and taste into words is tough, but it enriches the imagination.

To date, I’ve successfully written about tinola only once, and it was an attempt to write a short love story. I hoped to put on paper how cooking helps convey one’s feelings to another. Somewhere along the way, things went south and it turned into a thriller.

This year would mark a decade after my mom passed away. The last I saw her alive was at lunch time, as she was in the kitchen, cooking as always. I missed hearing her voice, seeing her doing chores, having to listen to her tirades, and coming home to her home-cooked meals.

I mourn the fact that she left without having read my crime books. I won’t call my works top-notch, but I poured everything I have in my stories. She appreciated my work as a journalist; I hoped she would appreciate my other genres as well. (Related: “#HeistClub: Manila in the Eyes of an Outsider“)

To be honest, I don’t think I can cook tinola the same way she did, nor can I duplicate the taste of her bread pudding. The least I can do to continue honoring her memory is remember her and her meals, and someday, write in length about her cooking.—Mark Manalang

Mark’s mother and niece | Photo posted with permission

When I was young, I would always get excited whenever Mama goes to the supermarket and do grocery shopping. I would always be her shopping buddy because I was the Ate and I figured I should learn to buy things for my siblings.

One day while waiting for Mama to pay the groceries, I found a nook near the counter. It was a bookcase! I couldn’t help but start browsing the novels. They were new to me. I only read textbooks and school materials because I was still in elementary.

I was very focused with the books that I didn’t hear Mama calling my name.

“What are you reading?”

“Ma, can you buy this for me, please?”

She frowned. “This a love story, Pau, and it is not even new.”

“Not too old, Ma. Look!” I pointed to the back of the book.

“Do you really want to read this book?”

“Yes, Ma.” I answered. “I’ll read it on Saturday after I finish my homework.”

“Okay.” She gave me 100 pesos even though the book was only 60 pesos. “Add the change for your baon.”

“Thank you, Ma!” I smiled triumphantly and went to the counter.

I was then an incoming grade five student and even though, I was not familiar with romance and fantasy, I got hooked to the story. I started to save money from my baon to purchase a book whenever Mama and I went to the grocery store.

Since that day, whenever my birthday rolled around, Mama would always give me books as gift. She would always take time to go to the bookstore. Because of that, I grew up reading V.C. Andrews and Sabrina the Teenage Witch books. These novels made me crave for more stories and shaped my childhood’s imaginary world.

And Whispers in the Woods, the book I asked my mother to buy is still with me. I reread the book every year because it would always remind me that Mom bought my first book. —Paula Alagao

Paula with her mother | Photo posted with permission

My mother taught me many wonderful things: how to walk like a lady, what losing one’s virginity felt like, why a child should never talk to strangers.

Above all, she taught me to read, and to love every second of it.

Contrary to what most people assumed, my mother wasn’t a teacher. However, her passion for books ran deeply in her veins. Her collection could have rivaled mine, though her choices were a stark contrast to my favorites. She mostly had romances on her shelves—the bodice-ripping, princess-abducting kind. I liked the covers, took in the corsets, bosoms, muscles, and long-haired men, and let the images run free in my mind. Even as a child, I already knew who Johanna Lindsey was.

I saw more names in her collection: Dean Koontz, Anne Rice, John Grisham. Strangely, I hardly ever read them.

That wasn’t a problem, though. My mother, the smart woman that she was, put a colorful display of hardbound books. The titles ranged from
Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen to Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. This collection sparked my love for the classics, and I never looked back.

She also let me leaf through those free Nido booklets, weekly Newsweek subscriptions, Junior Inquirer, Reader’s Digest (however dated they were), and National Geographic. Never was there a dull moment during summer. I had one of the most fun and enjoyable childhood experiences, thanks to reading, thanks to my mother.

This goes without saying that she allowed my own literary tastes to develop, to find a body of their own. She cheered me on when I finished reading Alice in Wonderland, let me mush over Sweet Valley High characters, and called me to dinner when I buried myself in Mary Higgins Clark’s detective stories. In more ways than one, Mama instilled in me the same passion for books that burned in her chest. There was no judgment, no censorship, no conversations about high and low brow lit. As long as I read, she was happy.

She may have died more than a decade ago, but her influence is very much visible in my life. I still kept a few of her books, at the same time I have chosen to give away or sell her bestsellers. The rare ones, like Sophie’s Choice and The World According to Garp are on my iron-wrought shelf, waiting for my eager hands to turn the pages, and for my hungry eyes to devour their words.

The world taught me to celebrate Mother’s Day in May. My mother taught me, among other things, to celebrate life every day, one book at a time.—Maria Criselda Santos

☁️

5 Readers Share Their Favorite Women Authors and Literary Characters

Happy International Women’s Day! In celebration, five readers talk about the women they read, and why that’s important. Enjoy the reminder!


“I grew up reading two female authors: Francine Pascal and Anne Rice. One reflected my childhood, the other my visions of adulthood. Between Pascal’s famous Wakefield Twins, I identified with and wanted to become Elizabeth—smart, good-natured, down-to-earth, and sensible. We even shared the same dream of becoming journalists one day, and joined campus newspapers because of it. I soon outgrew that and moved on to Anne Rice after getting intrigued by Interview with the Vampire. But, it was her Lives of the Mayfair Witches series that I found most interesting, short as it was. I was fascinated by the neurosurgeon Rowan Mayfair, who discovers that she has psychic abilities.

I consider the two female authors as the driving force that got me hooked on reading early. Through their books, I first learned how women can be anything they wanted to be. How their writings made ideas and imagination come to life vividly in the minds of their readers. They became perfect examples of why women deserve to have a voice. It may be true that we women have sentimentality, intuition, and attention to detail ingrained in our psyche, but intelligence, excellence, and great ideas know no gender.”—Joy Celine Asto

My fave female lit character is Margaret Hale from North & South, while my fave female author is… Anne Rice? Haha!

I’m not sure how else I can talk about why women should be read because it’s 2019 and we should know why already, right??”—Allana Luta

“I grew up reading the Harry Potter series, and the seven books made me a bookworm. Hermione Granger is one of my favorite female characters because I see so much of myself in her. Bow to J.K. Rowling for not giving up with her story and her dream that someday it would turn out to be a book.

It is important to read books that promote feminism because we are more than that damsel-in-distress to be saved, they are a lot of female lead characters that are strong, smart and independent. Our opinion matters and we can bring change.”—Pau Alagao

“When it comes to favorite literary characters, here are my top five literary superheroes—all female. Also taking this opportunity to give a shoutout to female Filipino authors like Arli Pagaduan, Cindy Wong, Isa Garcia, Jay Pillerva, Mary Ann Ordinario-Floresta, Mayumi Cruz and the women of #romanceclass! Love the work they do, writing about the different faces and experiences of the Filipino, and supporting one another. Read women that represent and do the work, and help each other shine!”—KB Meniado

“Anne Shirley! My favorite female authors are Lois Lowry, Tracy Chevalier and Tamora Pierce.

Why should women be read, you ask? Why the hell not?? Pwede ring women’s stories are part of the human experience and we should be seeing them as universal too, ‘di yung kalokohan na puro men/male as default/neutral tapos women writers separate pero sa totoo lang yung actual answer ko is why the hell not.”—Agnes Manalo

☁️

5 Gifts for the Reader with Too Many Books (plus a giveaway!)

by Agnes Manalo, Allana Luta and Mikki Shiu

Dark chocolate: not too sweet and not too melty, so you’re less likely to smear it all over your book or device

A gift card for a coffee shop: for a bit of quiet time to make a dent in that book you’re having trouble getting into, or to finish that last chapter, or for you to live out your coffee shop AU dreams~

Coffee beans: for the more introverted reader, or for when you need a bit of ritual before diving into your book

A tote bag: for keeping your books near and dear, for book swaps, and for the inevitable book shopping Eye drops for tired eyes: in case of reading binges, non-leisure marathons, or if you just want to reread a favorite with fresh eyes (chos)

Our Bookbed pillows: compact and soft, perfect for supporting a heavy hardcover, for propping up a floppy graphic novel, or for squeezing and burying your face in when your book gets to be too much for your feelings

dav

By the way, we have an ongoing giveaway for one of these pillows on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter! Open to PH only, until Christmas Day.

Hope this list helps 😉 Happy holidays! ☁️

 

#Augvocacy2018: Creating Your Safe Space as A Reader (plus a giveaway!)

by KB Meniado

If you’re a bookworm that keeps on falling into the FOMO trap whenever you open your social medias, worry not. A hundred thousand others from all over the world feel the way you do, all thanks to a simple scroll-down on a #bookstagram post or a #bookishwish tweet. Book communities online today are so exciting, it’s difficult to not want to be a part of it.

It’s not always a bad thing. In fact, there are so. many. reasons why you as a reader should be social media active (see experiences of my fellow Augvocates here). Being visible helps increase awareness of the habit and promote book pickup, helps build connections and helps in the self-growth of the readers themselves. (Related: “#Augvocacy2018: Ask the Augvocates (Day 3) + book giveaway!”)

But it’s also important to create and maintain this so-called personal safe space. Because when there’s too much noise and pressure, it’s sometimes easy to just succumb to envy and forget what is essential. You read all these books because the online world says so, you request more ARCs than you can handle just to stay relevant. And before you know it, reading becomes a chore—the opposite of what it should be in your life. And then writing and sharing about books become a bore as well.

So here’s your reminder: build that safe space where you can return to the basics and just enjoy your relationship with reading without all this fuss. Because so what if you don’t update your Goodreads or maintain a book blog? Or that you don’t participate in blog tours, attend events or watch the movie adaptations? And book heavens forbid, that you have zero shelf organization?!

Guess what, as long as you still read, you’re still a reader. A bookworm, a bibliophile, a [insert your preferred bookish noun]. Don’t get all hung up on being left out or left behind—we all work at our own pace, be that in reading challenges or in life. Read and learn and read and learn first, so you’ll have more than enough good stories to share to the world. And when that time comes, that’s the beginning of you helping build a world of readers, too. ☁️

This post is for #Augvocacy2018, a personal reading advocacy project by Shealea Iral of That Bookshelf Bitch. For more information, visit her launch post here. Remember to check out the posting schedule of all Augvocates below!

#Augvocacy2018 Augvocacy Schedule - Bookbed


By the way, join this giveaway!

#Augvocacy2018 Augvocacy Giveaway Prize - Bookbed

Win a copy of The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly! Open until September 1, 2018. One FILIPINO winner and one INTERNATIONAL winner (provided that Book Depository ships to their country) will be chosen.

Click here to enter! 

 

 

8 Ways Bookstagram is Revolutionizing the Habit of Reading

by Bookstagramers Philippines

Bookstagram, from the root word “books” and “Instagram,” isn’t just a place to share aesthetically pleasing bookish photos, but also a home to bibliophiles from all over the world, which include us Filipino readers. Here are eight ways we think bookstagram has contributed to how we read and buy books today:

1. Bookstagram makes books extra appealing

Since bookstagram heavily relies on images, readers are often challenged to make their photos more eye-catching. The more attractive the visual is, the more attention is drawn to the book/s being featured on the post. And this is mostly why people work so hard on producing quality content—to help up the love for books! In connection to that,

2. Bookstagram brings out the creative in you

The lighting, the backdrop, the accessories—readers definitely get to show their artsy side in taking book shots! This sometimes leads to people that share the same ~aesthetic and therefore helping forge friendships in the world of bookstagram. Not only that…

3. Bookstagram helps put books on the radar

Bookstagramers Philippines BGPH Books - BookbedRemember those days when we just relied on our instinct, snaking through aisles and aisles of books and trying to pick a title that screams interesting to us? Well, bookstagram has helped hurry the process. Not that we’ve stopped the scouring (let’s admit we still definitely love doing that), but scrolling through authors’ and fellow readers’ posts has led us to new releases and advance reading copies (ARCs) we may have never chanced upon in the so-called traditional way. There remain a whole lot of books out in the wild—different cover, different edition, and so on—that deserve a shelf in your home! And with that,

4. Bookstagram helps get you out of your comfort zone

While readers have their own preferences, bookstagram has become a great place to find recommendations for those hoping to branch out from their usual reads. Just tap on a hashtag and it can happen instantly, thanks to the beautiful ways books are captured and presented. Next thing anybody knows, you’ve stacked up a pile of books of various genre, built upon the super enticing raving and gushing of a fellow bibliophile. The bonus is:

5. Bookstagram = awesome book slump buster

Leigh Bardugo Books ~ Bookstagramers Philippines BGPH - Bookbed
One major problem readers around the world face is the *dundundun* super annoying slump. But thanks to bookstagram, seeing others’ excitement and snippet reviews over a book they’ve just finished can certainly spurn an affected reader to crawl out of the dark depths of their slump and finally read a book—whether it be a new release, a DNF’d (did not finish) book, an oldie but goodie one. Reading challenges and readathons in the bookstagram community are also remedies to these dreaded slumps, as they encourage bookworms to actually go and read as much as they can. Speaking of community…

6. Bookstagram builds bridges among readers from all over the world

This is no secret: bookstagram has become a wonderful community, and it continues to grow daily. Readers who considered themselves as ‘loners’ or had no fellow bookworm friends in their immediate circles find ‘their people’ on bookstagram. Every day, readers cross physical borders and bypass immigration. They get welcomed into this community in which nobody gives anybody weird looks about fictional obsessions or book-sniffing tendencies. Pretty photos are not required, just a fiery love for reading plus an openness to learn and share with fellow bibliophiles. And it’s just not among readers alone, because:

7. Bookstagram allows instant Author-Reader interaction

No longer are fangirls and fanboys limited to meet-and-greets in bookstores or major book conventions abroad for a chance to interact with their favorite authors because now, readers are able to message their authors (also idols) and vice versa so easily. And it’s just not readers professing their love and awe to them but authors are also able to understand what it is their readers enjoy or not enjoy. Essentially, this just goes to show that…

8. Bookstagram can feel like home

Bookstagram brings inspiration, provides refuge, encourages belongingness. It’s a place for everybody, including the self-acclaimed nonreaders… who are not surprisingly being converted to being bookworms, one bookstagram post at a time. ☁

Bookstagramers Philippines BGPH Books Funko - Bookbed

Post and photos by and from Allen (@allen_thepageturner), Arianna (@arianna.danganan), Cerize (@cerizeseries), Elle (@utterpandamonium), JM (@bookfreakrevelations) and Yumi (@thebookishpariah). Follow Bookstagramers Philippines on Instagram.

12 Readers Share Their Favorite Books from Childhood

by KB Meniado

We all remember our first loves. Here are 12 more readers and the books they adored as a kid! (Related: “8 Books from My Childhood You’ve Also Probably Read and Loved)

Skinny Bones by Barbara Park - BookbedSkinnybones by Barbara Park—witty, underdog story, hilarious; The Three Investigators by Robert Arthur—something like the Hardy Boys, but smarter; and Many Moons by James Thurber—whimsical children’s fantasy. Funny too.”

Reev Robledo

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie - BookbedHaroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie and Superfudge by Judy Blume!”

Glorypearl Dy

Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine - Bookbed“The Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine and the Sweet Valley series by Francine Pascal when I was in grade school. Soon after, I started reading Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice and actually liked her books.”
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll - BookbedALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND! It was unpredictable and full of wisdom. I still read it from time to time.”
Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry - BookbedAnastasia Krupnik! Weird girl who likes making lists 💕”
Katie Kazoo Switcheroo Anyone But Me by Nancy Krulik - BookbedKatie Kazoo Switcheroo! Because of that book, I became more imaginative as a child 
Kitty Lidasan
Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal - BookbedAko, I loved the Sweet Valley series and The Baby-sitters Club series! And some Dr. Seuss, like Cat in the Hat!”
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens - BookbedOliver Twist by Charles Dickens! Grade 3 book report. Haha!”
Danj Valderueda
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - Bookbed“The Sweet Valley series! But for me, they were all short reads. [L. Frank] Baum’s The Wizard of Oz (or was it [Anna] Sewell’s Black Beauty?) was my very first “serious” book that I read back in fourth grade.”
Jesh Juson
Mythology by Edith Hamilton - Bookbed“Edith Hamilton’s Mythology. I was lucky enough that I had a classmate who had a copy of the book. The moment I started reading the first stories, I couldn’t seem to stop. After I finished it, I read it again, to the point that I memorized every page.”

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling - Bookbed“The Geronimo Stilton series—Funny and adventurous, may illustrations inside and very quirky yung fonts na ginagamit nila per book, dahildoonna-in love ako sa typography.

The Nancy Drew series—Who doesn’t love a female character na tomboy-ish and loves solving mysteries? Haha!

The Harry Potter series—Because friendship and adventure! Dahil sa HP, naging serious reader ako. I remember tina-try ko talaga makapasok sa top 10 [to get the books] as a reward for my hard work. The last two books were precious since both books binili ko were the hardbound editions, like may reservation pa sa NBS (National Book Store) noon! (Because of HP, I became a serious reader. I remember trying to be in the top 10 [to get the books] as a reward for my hard work. The last two books were precious since both books I bought were hardbound editions, and it was by reservation at NBS!)”

Kristel Mae Cavero

(Related: “FaceBookIt: Makeup Inspired by ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ by J.K. Rowling“)

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl - BookbedFantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl! Who doesn’t love a cunning character and fun alliterations? [Also], anything by Roald Dahl, actually  But I think FMF was the first book of his that I read and I read non-stop from there. I exploited my library card borrowing all of his books in grade school 🤭”

Mary Imbong

Which ones are in your list? Share more books in the comments below! ☁️

8 Books from My Childhood You’ve Also Probably Read and Loved

by KB Meniado

This may be a little late for National Children’s Book Day, but since we’re still celebrating Bookbed’s eight year (join our giveaway here), here are eight books I loved as a kid. I can still remember the first time I picked up each one of these (and all those times I dog-eared them), and I am so thankful for having had the privilege to start the reading habit at an early age. Reading has helped shape me as a person—and I’d like to believe I turned out okay—so if you have the access or can provide opportunities to get the young ones into the habit, do it! (Related: “5 Ways on How Reading Makes A Difference”)

1. My Bible Friends, Love, from the Fifth-Grade Celebrity by Patricia Reilly Giff

Illustrated Bible storybooks made going to Sunday school enjoyable (I was a kid, I wanted to be in the playground -_-), while Love…, a story about friendship, was the book that planted the idea of “maybe I can also write a story like this” in my head.

Childhood Reads - Bible Stories, Love from the Fifth-Grade Celebrity - Bookbed

2. A Treasury of Fairy Tales

Remember those days when publishing companies sent salespeople on ~door-to-door missions? Thanks to them, I got this beautiful classic, which I’m guessing is also in your shelf.

3. Encyclopedia, Multiplication Table Book

Also acquired through the door-to-door missions. My parents must have had thought there needed to be balance (I was going to school, after all) and got these too. The encyclopedias had short paragraphs and bursts of trivia—very child-friendly. Dial a Times Table had poems and colorful spinning wheels I enjoyed.

Childhood Reads - Encyclopedias - Bookbed

4. Adarna Books

Speaking of door-to-door missions, they went to schools too. The salespeople would give out a book list to bring home to the parents, and then the next day, they would return to sell us the books, given the parents’ approval. Tiger on the Wall is about an imaginary friend; There’s A Snake in the House is about figuring out a mystery; Ang Barumbadong Bus is about learning about consequences; and The Crocodile and the Colorful Headbands is based on a Philippine folklore and teaches humility and empathy. (Related: “10 Filipino Children’s Books Celebrating Moms”)

Childhood Reads - Adarna House Books - Bookbed

5. Foreign story books like Dear Barbie and The Berenstain Bears

Childhood Reads - Barbie and Berenstein Bears - Bookbed

6. The ~classics, such as Roald Dahl books and Alice in Wonderland

Childhood Reads - Classics - Bookbed

7. Comics

Aside from these Disney comics, I also had Florante at Laura, Noli Me Tangere, El Filibusterismo and Pilipino Funny Komiks (featuring Super Blag! and Eklok, my childhood idols~).

Childhood Reads - Disney Comics - Bookbed

8. Nido collectibles

If you grew up in the ’90s, you probably collected these as well. Nido is a milk brand in the Philippines, and during that time, they had story books, coloring books and trivia books as freebies in every box. (Related: “Storiesnap Time: Tales From Around the World”)

Childhood Reads - Nido Books - Bookbed

Which one of these you had as a child? What were your favorites? Will you read them to your children as well? Share your story in the comments below! ☁️

8 Nail Art Designs Based on YA Book Covers

by KB Meniado

I wanted to do something to personally celebrate Bookbed’s eighth year, and my initial idea was to dress up like book covers or characters for eight days. (I watch too many Buzzfeed videos, I know.) I couldn’t afford to do so, lifestyle-wise, so I opted for something that was more practical but also more challenging. Therefore: nail art designs based on book covers. I never do anything to my nails except to occasionally cut or bite them and I’m not a nail technician by any means, but I assure you I tried my best.

This project ran for 16 days, which meant I was changing my manicure every other day. (I do not recommend this, it is not healthy for your nails.) Because I’m not a pro, it took me—please don’t laugh at me—at least two hours on the average to finish just one hand. There were times it got frustrating, in which I had to redo everything or change books because nothing was going right. But I persevered. So I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed doing them!

First things first!

Here is the list of ~tools~ I bought and used for this project:

  1. Five bottles of nail polish in different colors. Not mentioning any brands (because unlike with YouTubers, nobody sponsored this), but they were White Satin, Super Black, Mango Shake (yellow), Candy Pink and Midori Appletini (light green).
  2. Additional three bottles of nail polish—French White, Berry Red, Royal Blue.
  3. Peel-off base coat (which turned out to be useless for me), fast-dry top coat, three bottles of nail polish remover.
  4. Toothpicks (for the “drawings”), cotton buds, cotton balls.
  5. Books. I wanted to do just YA ones, and my choices, which I made every day, no plans whatsoever, were a mix of my favorites, those that I read around the time I was starting Bookbed and whatever I first saw on my YA shelf.

Day 1 – Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne (UK)

My feelings about this book: Loved it when I first read it in 2015. Evie, the main character, has OCD, and I liked the depiction of her experiences of having a mental health disorder. Honest and hilarious writing. Read my Goodreads review here.

My nail art ~journey: I had to redo this thrice. The Super Black and Mango Shake kept blending together, and I had no vinyls, only toothpicks to deal with the lettering and symbols. (This was also the time I gave up on a peel-off base altogether because nail polish remover was quicker to use.) Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t expect perfection, I mean who did I think I was. But I liked the final version enough that I proceeded to post it on my Instagram.

Day 2 – Take Three Girls by Cath Crowley, Simmone Howell and Fiona Wood (AU)

My feelings about this book: Three awesome Aussie (Aussome?) YA writers in one book! (Thanks to my cousin, Trish, who bought this and brought this home for me.) Intense, heart-squeezing, insightful.

My nail art ~journey: At first, I couldn’t figure out how to smudge the nail polish colors together in a way that they would look pretty. I applied Midori Appletini first and then dropped Mango Shake and Candy Pink droplets around but it was just a mess. Eventually, I figured out that I had to apply each color alternately to achieve my desired effect.

Day 3 – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (US)

My feelings about this book: Here’s an excerpt from my Goodreads review posted in 2013:

I just loved this, page by page, and unlike several people, I did not cringe reading about Simon Snow. This was like Fanception, and my fangirling heart wants to read it again and again and again.

I have yet to reread it, oops.

My nail art ~journey: This wasn’t the book that I originally chose to do that day, but after four freaking hours of disappointment after disappointment, I picked this one up and only after an hour, I had these nails. Nail polish colors I used were similar to Day 2.

Day 4 – Looking for Alaska by John Green (US)

My feelings about this book: Still John Green’s best work, in my honest and humble opinion.

My nail art ~journey: This book was the one that made me waste an entire Sunday afternoon (see Day 3) but I didn’t want to give up on it. My idea was to draw white flowers in honor of Alaska, but with the base coat I used, a blend of White Satin and Mango Shake, they couldn’t stand out. I made eyelashes on the bottom half of my nails instead (which looked a lot like pubic hair, I’m sorry) and then decorated the top half with Candy Pink doused with White Satin-colored, cobweb looking “hair strands.”

Day 5 – Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

My feelings about these books: Love them. By the way, I met Matthew Quick in 2015.

My nail art ~journey: The easiest I’d done—all the nail polish (Berry Red, French White, Super Black) behaved and followed all the lines! Finished this in less than an hour. (I was getting goood, haha.) I realized after I took these photos that Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli could have been the inspiration for these nails as well!

Day 6 – Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Bloomsbury) and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Scholastic) by J.K. Rowling (UK)

My feelings about these books: ALL. THE. MAGICAL. FEELINGS.

My nail art ~journey: This was actually a request by my high school classmate and friend Tetle via Instagram. (Thank you, Tle!) I was distracted by thoughts of my then very ill cat (to whom I dedicated this to), but I managed. Used French White, Royal Blue, Super Black on newly trimmed nails. Just in case it’s not clear, those are stars on my pinkie, the rest self-evident.

Day 7 – Kamikaze Girls by Novala Takemoto (JP)

My feelings about these books: People have mixed opinions about movie tie-in versions but I’ve got no qualms with them; in fact, I love this edition. Which was gifted to me by friend Laurene back in 2010, I think? (Thank you!) Also, I saw the movie first before I read the book. I enjoyed both, no issues. (Related: “Bookbed turns 8: 8 Ways to Encourage More People to Read”)

My nail art ~journey: I chose this because that day, July 7, was Bookbed’s birthday, and this was the only book I had around that had literal clouds on the cover. Applied only one coat on each nail (both Candy Pink and Royal Blue washed with French White), and no acetone nor nail polish remover was even involved. Finished in 30 freaking minutes *drops mic, rather, nail polish wand*

Day 8, last day – Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen (US), Le Petit Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (FR/KR)

My feelings about these books: Unparalleled. I wish I wrote these. (That copy of The Little Prince has the original French text and the English and Korean translations. Bought it in Bosu-dong Book Street in Busan in 2016.)

My nail art ~journey: I take back what I said about Day 5 because THIS was the easiest of them all. I even had to paint on a cracked egg, a chick! and a sunny-side up (haha). Speaking of the chick, doesn’t it look like The Little Prince himself? *wink* The eggs can be the asteroids!

***

What do you think – should I do more nail art? What books do you suggest I do next? ☁️

8 Things to Put in Your Reading Journal

by Agnes Manalo

Reading is always An Experience, and sometimes you want to record (and maybe share) it. Some people blog, some people Booktube, some people Bookstagram, some people keep a book journal. Like me. So if you’re into that books-on-paper thing (and want to do something about all those wrapping papers, scrapbook papers, and a dragon’s hoard of notebooks of yours), then this might be for you. Here are some things to put in your reading diary:

1. Your year-end wrap up, or your TBR

2. Book-related ephemera

Book Journal 4 ~ Agnes Manalo - Bookbed

This sketch was the cover of my book from a #BookbedBlindDates. The art is by Cake Evangelista.

3. A spare bookmark for your next read

Book Journal 5 ~ Agnes Manalo - Bookbed

4. Quotes, blurbs, words that are new to you

5. Checkboxes a la bullet journal, because reading always leads you to more research and even more reading

Book Journal 10 ~ Agnes Manalo - Bookbed

6. An index, because sometimes you read (and make notes about) more than one book at a time, am I right or am I right

7. A chapter/volume progress tracker (we all know how those X’es, or ✓s, can be super satisfying)

Book Journal 13 ~ Agnes Manalo - Bookbed

8. The most special of all: Lessons learned, and sometimes they’re life lessons, sometimes they’re more technical lessons

Book Journal 14 ~ Agnes Manalo - Bookbed

And that’s it! Do you keep a reading journal too? Share about what’s in your pages in the comments below. Happy tracking! ☁️