NOTE: There are some possible spoilers in this post, specifically on the list of interesting book titles. Proceed with caution. *evil laugh*
Since buying the second-hand book Saigon by Anthony Grey in January 2007 (one of the few books that I never finished reading due to a couple of reasons), I started discovering a lot of interesting reads, from sports to fantasy, romance to historical… plus a few classics, non-fiction, and some manga books.
I always frequent bookstores, especially second-hand bookshops, in search of some good and exciting reads. In the past twelve years, I’ve probably bought about 500-600 books excluding manga. Most of the books in my collection are children’s novels and young adult fiction, plus some books from bestselling authors. But what I’m really into these days are science fiction, fantasy, and some coming-of-age stories.
Well then, I’ll be featuring some of the interesting reads from my entire book collection. Take note that I’ll only be featuring the books that I’ve already read, and may include some non-fiction books as well. Click on the link for additional information.
- Park’s Quest (Katherine Paterson)–The second book that I bought, and the first book that I finished reading. I was initially attracted by the book’s cover, and eventually, the plot. In the novel, Parkington Waddell Broughton V, who prefers to be called Park, wants to know more about his father, a U. S. Marines pilot who died in the Vietnam War. But other than knowing more about his father and his ancestors, he also discovered a shocking discovery–he actually had a half-sister, a Vietnamese girl named Thahn. I find it quite interesting that I finished reading it within two weeks.
- Can You Sue Your Parents For Malpractice (Paula Danziger)–Lauren Allen had an issue with her parents (particularly her dad), her ex-boyfriend Bobby, and her little sister Linda. And then she began having issues with the other kids for going out with Zack. Of course, she can always fight back, even if that means suing her parents for malpractice and standing up against these kids for being called a cradle robber. Yeah, the book seems kind of hilarious in some ways, but I loved it so much that I actually think of suing my dad for malpractice… okay, well, that part is a joke. But more than just suing your parents for malpractice, there are some things you can learn from the novel, some of which are family-related.
- Tea (Stacey D’erasmo)–The story revolves around Isabelle Gold trying out various identities since her mother Cassie took her own life, and her relationship with different girls (namely Ann, Rebecca, Lottie, and Thea). But the hot drink that is used as the title of the story? It is actually the hot drink that Isabelle prepares and Cassie drinks, knowing that she’ll drink it and relieve her of sadness. It is more of a slice-of-life novel which is quite a good read, I must say.
- To Be A Ninja*/Ninja: The Beginning (Benedict Jacka)–The Havelock siblings were escaping from their drug baron father’s clutches, but only two of them, Ignis and Allandra, managed to get away and ended up in a forest area called Rokkaku. They may have escaped from their father, but they ended up training to become ninjas. Allandra had plans to rescue their other sibling, Michael, which proved to be unsuccessful in the end. I actually picked up this book because of its cool book cover, which resembled those of a graphic novel or manga. Of course, I was also fascinated with ninjas and the book’s plot, hence my decision to buy and read it.
- lisa33 (Dan Allen)–The novel is more of an erotic chatroom style literature with e-mail exchanges on the side. The titular character, Lisa, had problems with her husband, while Tag, a lawyer, is trapped in a loveless romance. Despite the romantically-motivated online relationship between the two, she eventually decided to put an end to this and go offline by canceling her internet subscription and selling her PC, as well as meeting real people outside the confines of a chatroom.
- Tangerine (Edward Bloor)–Since Paul Fisher’s family moved to Tangerine County, Florida, a lot of (strange) things happened. There were some revelations all throughout the story, one of which is how and why did he have to wear those thick glasses. He got kicked off from a soccer team in Lake Windsor High due to impaired vision, yet he actually managed to play for a soccer team in Tangerine High. In addition, his brother Erik is getting more attention of the two brothers, despite the fact that he is more of a troublemaker (and a cruel psychopath) than him. I actually find that revelation (about his vision) quite mysterious and very intriguing, and since then, I always dreaded the fact that someone might do the same thing to my eyes… well, that could be worse.
- Hangman Curse (Frank Peretti)–The Springfield family had been commissioned by the U. S. president to investigate a curse at a high school (Baker High) in which three students, who are star athletes, were placed in an incoherent coma. Believed to be a curse caused by a student who died in the 1930s, it turns out that someone else (more of a gothic cult) is responsible for the so-called Abel Frye curse, which involves reproducing a cross breed of dangerous spiders to be used for their intended victims. It is one of the few Christian fiction novels that I’ve read, and I find it quite interesting. I also watched its movie adaptation featuring Leighton Meester and Douglas Smith.
- Make Believe Ball Player (Alfred Slote)–Henry Smith, a clumsy, near-sighted kid, is apparently caught up in his make-believe fantasies, much to the annoyance of his mother and sister. But then, it was the same make-believe fantasies that saved him and his mom’s art collection, and eventually, lead him back to real-life baseball. I was fascinated by the story because I often do that when I was a kid. Well, now that I’m older, this book reminds me of my make-believe fantasies, something that persists (albeit in my head) to this day.
- Märchenmond/Magic Moon (Heike and Wolfgang Hohlbein)–A fantasy novel about a boy named Kim Larssen who is drawn into a land of dreams, saving the world from darkness, as well as saving his little sister Rebecca, who actually fell into a coma following an appendicectomy in the real world. Although it took me a long time to finish this book, it is actually awesome in some way.
- Märchenmonds Kinder/Children Of The Magic Moon (Heike and Wolfgang Hohlbein)–A sequel to Magic Moon, Kim returns to the magic world to find out the reason behind the disappearing children from Magic Moon. Just like the first book, it is an awesome read.
- Eat Your Poison Dear (James Howe)–Sebastian Barth is investigating the root cause of food poisoning at the school cafeteria, in which the victim himself (Milo Groot) is actually the one responsible for that incident. Who would have thought that a nerd like Milo would do something like that as a way of getting back at his tormentor(s)… I really loved the book so much that I finished it within a day or two, and perhaps one of the books that I actually read aloud (in a very soft voice, of course). Yeah, one of my college classmates asked if I really do that while I’m reading a book. *grins*
- Exchange (Paul Magrs)–Simon and his grandmother Winnie loved reading books. But their love for reading and collecting second-hand books eventually lead to his grandfather Ray’s annoyance. While visiting the Exchange, a library filled with some of the world’s greatest books, Winnie had found a book written by her childhood friend, Ada Jones. It was through this book that she and the library owner Terrance got into an argument over her keeping the book and giving away three of her books to replace the book she wanted to keep, and eventually leads to her reunion with Ada. Ray, meanwhile, was jealous of Terrance for he thought the latter might take his wife away, even burning Winnie’s and Simon’s collection of books to satisfy his anger. Eventually, Ada passed away and Winnie decided not to take any books from her best friend’s collection, knowing that the books themselves aren’t that valuable and that it’s best not to hoard things. That somehow made me rethink about buying a lot of books and not reading them in the end, now I only focus on buying manga and a few remarkable titles that are worth reading.
- Burn (Suzanne Phillips)–Cameron Grady, a high school freshman, experience a great deal of bullying from Rich Patterson and his followers. Eventually, the latter were punished for their actions, Cameron is treated nicely by the teachers, and everything is supposed to go back to normal. However, something unexpected happened–the victim killed a fellow victim, Charlie Piñon, inside the shower room. He was eventually sentenced to four years for manslaughter at the maximum security of a detention center for juvenile delinquents. I loved the book so much due to its theme, but the murder part really disturbed me right after reading it.
- Teen Angst? Naaah… (Ned Vizzini)–This book contains various short stories of the author’s experiences, from junior high to senior year. It includes getting his first video game console (a Nintendo), studying for the Specialized Science High School Admissions Test (SSHSAT) in order to get into Stuyvesant, getting a video (a movie) aired on cable TV, jumping on the turnstiles of a Manhattan subway and getting caught, going to the prom, and committing a blunder during a college admission interview. There are side notes throughout the book, mostly comments from the author.
- It’s Kind Of A Funny Story (Ned Vizzini)–Inspired by the author’s confinement inside a psychiatric hospital, the novel deals with Craig Gilmer confronting the source of his anxiety. Having been overwhelmed by extreme academic pressure, he has trouble eating and sleeping, and eventually checked himself into a psychiatric hospital due to his inability to fend off suicidal thoughts. He meets other patients in the hospital, some of them are friendly towards him. While recovering, he discovered his true talent–making stylized human figure maps. He eventually returns home and starts appreciating little things that make him happy. Another great compelling read from an awesome author.
- Battle Royale (Koushun Takami)–The moment I saw it at a bookstore in Cubao, I knew I want to read it. But I have to endure a nine-month search, until one day I saw it at a book store near my place and immediately bought it. Set in fictional fascist Japan, it is a dystopian novel about a military program (run by the authoritarian Japanese government), where an entire class of third-year junior high school students (including Shuya Nanahara, Noriko Nakagawa, and Shogo Kawada) are forced to kill each other with various weapons until the ultimate survivor emerges and is declared the winner. Apparently, the three remaining students managed to disarm the collar (that serves as a sensor and will explode when taken off) and confronted the program’s supervisor Kinpatsu Sakamochi. They killed Sakamochi, Shogo died on the way to the mainland, and Shuya and Noriko escaped to America. The novel itself is controversial due to its gory and violent content, but it becomes a bestseller when it was released in Japan. I loved the book’s ending, it gives a feeling of a pair of people trying to escape from the clutches of a restrictive society and into the freedom. The intense scenes from the book are a compelling read as well.
- Chinese Cinderella (Adeline Yen Mah)–An abridged version of the author’s story. In this book, she recounts a variety of good and bad experiences from her childhood. I find the book extremely compelling that I’m planning to buy and read her more comprehensive memoir, Falling Leaves.
- Candyfreak (Steve Almond)–A non-fiction book that focuses on his journey to different candy companies in search of the uncovered truth about the candy business. More than that, it also features how the author grew up on candy and the ever-changing candy business. A sweet title with a bittersweet truth about the candy industry in the US.
- Dekada ’70 (Lualhati Bautista)–The only Filipino-language novel I’ve read as of this writing. A political novel with a feminist theme set during the Martial Law era, Amanda, mother of five boys, narrates about the things that happened in her life and her sons during that time. While she is just a housewife to her husband and mother to her five boys, she takes on a challenge to fulfill a woman’s predefined role despite social, political, and familial difficulties. She is eventually proved to be worthy of acknowledgment and respect as a woman for facing a lot of hurdles and finding a way around it, something that no other woman can do due to the fact that women are seen as subordinates of men.
Okay, so I may have read a lot of books, but only a few titles in my collection are deemed interesting by yours truly and are worth my reading pleasure. Well, I’m not good at giving reviews about the books I’ve read… yet, but maybe one day I’ll learn all about it. Right now, I’m either biased or I’m just a terrible reviewer.
Well then, I’ll probably list down the frustrations of a book collector, from finding rare and obscure titles, to book damage. More on this on the next post!