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30th Manila International Book Fair

September 22, 2009


  • “A Game of Thrones” by George R. R. Martin
    Original Price: 385ish pesos Bought at: 85 pesos
  • “Gourmet Rhapsody” by Muriel Barbery
    Original Price: 630 pesos Bought at: 504 pesos
  • “2666” by Roberto Bolaño
    Original Price: 555 pesos Bought at: 444 pesos

There were fewer booths, smaller stores, not very spectacular selections and deals. For a 30th it’s a bit lame and easily overshadowed by the previous years (the 28th and 29th come to mind) but the fact that we still have something like this in the most trying of times and that there is definitely a market crowding the venue makes it all seem not too shabby.

I was there for two days, Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday visit was a let down because the shelves were getting wiped out and people informed me there won’t be restocking anymore. Cue in panic. I had been so sure that no one would be into the books I liked. Of course I was to be proven very very wrong. I speak of 2666 in particular. I kept my eyes peeled for this book ever since it started making raves last year. Then I saw the book last Sunday at Robinson’s Galleria Bestsellers but didn’t have enough to buy it (only because I finally bought new clothes, something that has been postponed for ages, in favor of books no less). It did scare me that it was the only one left so I was crossing my fingers. Fully Booked only had the Spanish version in stock. Then come Saturday, I didn’t see this in the NBS Booths although Bolaño’s “Savage Detectives” was on stock. I asked if there was a stock left (yes there was one but it was sold) and if there ever will be a restock (nope, there won’t be). Cue in despair. My Japanese Lit enthusiast sister was mortified to find out that the Murakamis were down to “Kafka on the Shore”.

Well, it was there the next day 😀 Waiting for me, obviously.

That is actually my only bookfair purchase (plus three Crystal black ballpens that I don’t need). The other two books were purchased in the Fully Booked and NBS branches, both in MOA. I’m particularly pleased with “A Game of Thrones” because I only got it for 85 bucks. I saw a brand new copy months back but I was very hesitant to buy it. I wasn’t sure I’d like it. But now HBO’s making a new mini-series and many people are talking about it, so I decided to see what the fuss is all about except I’ve never seen Book 1 again. Imagine my delight when I saw this in the bargain shelf in NBS. Yes, its pages started to yellow and you can see some tears on the cover, but at least it’s not like a high school chick wrote all over it (I’m looking at you, “Princess Bride” copy) so it really works for me.

I bought “Gourmet Rhapsody” from Fully Booked because of “The Elegance of the Hedgehog” (written by the same author), which I haven’t read yet btw (yes, this happens a lot. I already got screwed once or twice. But does it stop me? No.) but I have a good feeling I’d enjoy it. Fingers crossed.

Besides browsing through a conglomeration of books and items I don’t ordinarily see, I love going to the fair because of the friends I meet and the unexpected people I come across. Dad was sitting with National Artist Rio Alma in the food area and he obviously had no clue. I’m satisfied with my (humble) loot and hope it would be better next year.

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