Saturday, December 31, 2005

Fodders for the New Year

FODDERS. I went around Davao city before the Christmas holidays and had real trouble finding an SM city mall second floor bookshop because it has been replaced by another shop selling Christmas gift wrappers, gifts and souvenir items.
Talking to the guy of another bookshop at the ground floor, I learned that the owner of the bookshop was lending out the space of the upstairs bookshop to a friend for the holidays. The books will finally be back some time in February. It’s a long wait for my book-starved soul but anyway the one running the ground floor was pouring into their rummage bins a horde of dusty, crumbling paperbacks put on sale at P10 a piece. There, I found a sturdy paperback edition of Maya Angelou's "I Know Why the Caged Birds Sing," a crumbly copy of Sylvia Plath's "The Bell Jar," Philip Roth's hilarious parody of former US President Richard Nixon’s stance on abortion "Our Gang," and other paperbacks by Jack Kerouac, and by the author of "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest," Ken Kesey. Forgive me for sounding so pathetic but my state of penury is now reaching 'poetic' proportions. The garbage bin is my last chance of nourishing my soul. It is perhaps, my last chance of getting an education!
Thanx to UP Prof. Butch Dalisay for his column too is a rare, delightful holiday treat. Hope he doesn't mind that I post here a part of his Philippine Star PENMAN column to brighten the prospects of another year. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A treasure trove
By Butch Dalisay
The Philippine STAR 12/26/2005

”Speaking of books, let me share my joy in discovering – or make that rediscovering – the treasure trove of used and remaindered books on the fourth floor of National Book Store in Cubao. (I believe they have the same setup at NBS Quezon Avenue.) I found myself with a free hour on my hands a couple of weeks ago and remembered Clinton Palanca mentioning to me once that he went up to that floor for his fix of French books. I don’t read French, but any bookstore that has a corner for such rare treats must have something more, and I gave up my usual foray into the seafood section of Farmers Market for a stroll though the NBS shelves. What a cornucopia it turned out to be – shelf upon shelf and row upon row of books in glorious disarray; there was some effort to put all the books, say, about the vacation-spots of England in one corner, and all the computer books in another, but ultimately a grand disorder prevailed, refreshing and compelling in its challenge for you to explore the place for its hidden prizes. I’d stopped buying books for some years, having hopelessly fallen behind in my reading of what I already had, and I’d forgotten what a pleasure it was to brush the deckled edges of carefully bound books or to savor the prose of an unremarked genius. In the end, I came away with a fine balance between interests old and new: the hardbound and well-illustrated In Search of Shakespeare by Michael Wood (P500), and a thick paperback I just couldn’t resist, Infinite Loop (How Apple, the World’s Most Insanely Great Computer Company, Went Insane) by Michael S. Malone (P360). There went my budget for crab and shrimp, but I’m not complaining.

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