Posted by: nastypen | January 24, 2008

Mommy, I’ve Been a Very Bad, Bad Boy

Over Christmas holiday, my room has been cleaned and organized. So, it doesn’t look like a refugee camp. My books are in neat rows. Now, if you have gone to my room, you will normally see that I surround myself with books. I splurge my money on books. I calculate if I put together of what I spent for books in my “libraries” here in Makati, in Novaliches, and in Cebu, I could have bought a couple of SUVs and a condo unit. Ah well, cars can be stolen, books, as I always assert, are better company than most people.

After the Herculean task was done, my mother turned to me and said, “Stop buying books. You don’t have space in your room.” I felt a sharp stabbing pain to my heart and it was not the pizza I ate.

My mother does have a point. My room is tiny. My mother said there is no space for other people. But that’s the thing, I DON’T WANT OTHER PEOPLE in my room. But if I keep on buying books, i might have to eject my bed and sleep on books. It was suggested to me that I give away the books I read. No way.

I remember how some “friends” would borrow books from me only to lend it to their friends. I’m still waiting for my copy of Alan Lightman‘s Einstein’s Dreams returned to me. I’ve been waiting since 1996. One of my favorite novels is Rita Mae Brown‘s Rubyfruit Jungle. It was borrowed by a friend who lent it to the girlfriend and they broke up. That friend of mine didn’t even bother to replace it. There is a bigger chance for me to have 12-pack abs than see that book again.

Anyway, books….. it is hard to resist books.

So, I went to the mall to buy pentel pens and I heard the sirensong from the bookshelves. Now, my room has more books to deal with. I’m sorry, ma, it could be worse. I could be addicted to straight men who use gays to pay for their kids’ milk and diapers. Worse, I could have been straight and addicted to women and have children when I was 17. Brrrr… as a dad and married to a woman….pass me the imodium, I need to shit that thought out.

Anyway, I stare to my right and the small pile is there waiting for me to caress their pages and moan in pleasure at reading some great sentence construction.

I bought the following:

Umberto Eco‘s On Ugliness

I like Eco. This book is not a survey on how ugliness is projected in western art history but also a selection on poems, stories, novels of the Western world that highlights an aesthetic of the sordid, pus-ridden, monstrosities. Eco does not sit well that ugliness is merely the opposite of beauty. I can’t wait to read his chapter on ugliness and the modern world. He featured a picture of Marilyn Manson. Eco citing the shock rocker is one of the wonders of the world.

The Book of Other People, edited by Zadie Smith

I have yet to read Zadie Smith. I heard she’s pretty good. But what caught my eye is that this anthology included three of my favorite cartoonists/comics creators such as Posy Simmonds (I love Gemma Bovery), Dan Clowes (Dan Pussey is fantastic), and Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan is one of the best graphic novels of all time). Penguin has published classics with their covers done by noted comics creators. I believe this is the first foray I have seen of this incredible publisher to include comics in their collection. Hey, even one of my favorite novels’ author High Fidelity‘s Nick Hornby is part of this collection that is all about stories of characters.
Alan Weisman‘s World Without Us

I’ve been aching to buy this book for months. I remember answering a questionnaire about the environment. Oneitem asked me how do we solve the problem of enviornmental destruction. One of the choices there was “End the human race.” I checked that one. Now, the abovementioned book is a marvelous exercise of creative speculation and journalism/research. What if humanity just suddenly disappeared? What would happen? Which structures will be obliterated and which ones will endure? Which art works will survive? How will nature reclaim the urban cities and will the dogs fare well without human companionship? This book is the perfect antidote to the egocentric stance most people have. We are really nothing in the bigger scheme of things.

Augusten Burrough‘s Possible Side Effects

This is one of my favorite writers. His memoir Running with Scissors made me grateful that my family is quite boring and not as dysfunctional. I don’t know how I will react had my mother made her therapist adopt me. I don’t know how I would digest my adoptive father reading “messages from God” by the way his shit is positioned in the toilet bowl. Now, this collection of personal essays make me giggle with his observations and quick wit. He is one of the funniest people of America. He is wry and a not a stand-up comedian. He is a writer and his punchlines are not funny faces or contorted limbs but a gash on the head by his stringing of words.Of course, there has to be the token graphic novel….

Popgun Volume 1

Kids, there was a time on this earth that the iPod is science fiction and mp3 may have been a secret formula for a soft drink and downloading could mean taking a dump.

I remember making mixed tapes growing up. I would be plastered by the radio with my fat index finger hovering on the record button just in case I hear my favorite songs played. I used to store these tapes in my drawer and listen to them whenever I do not like to deal with high school physics homework. I would listen to Green Day‘s Longview one minute, Annie Lennox‘s Little Bird the next. The concept of the mixed tape is the underlying theme for this comics anthology. this is an interesting mishmash of short comics stories. One may be about vampires, the other may be about duelling Mexican masked wrestlers. It is not ensconced in a particular genre but borderline pastiche which is great for those looking for variety.

Now, I don’t have space in my shelf so there is a small pile of books next to my pillow and I don’t mind.

Now, if you think my room is groaning from my books….wait till you see my DVD collection.



  1. I love “Rubyfruit Jungle” too! Well, “love” is too strong a word, but that book helped me look at love and human relations in a genderless vantage point.

    Oh and I love that she’s just so irresistable to both men and women.

  2. same problem…when i have to ship back my stuffs from SG to Phils, one balikabayan box is filled up with books….mum is not too happy about it either, as we only have a lungga for house…and they say it gets hotter during the summer because of the book(dunno how)
    still, i can’t help resisting buying more books and neatly piling them to my reading queue box (incl world without us :D). sometimes all i need is a good light, good chair and good book.
    I aslo have encounters with ‘friends’ forgetting to return books and ‘friends’ who will return your books full of creases, cofeestains and humongous dog ears..tsk

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