I only got three books from this year's National Book Fair last Saturday.
I bought the latest edition of Thomas Friedman's "The World is Flat" from PowerBooks although I haven't finished reading the book's "Release 2.0."
Now I'm in Chapter 2 of "Release 3.0."
I also got a discounted copy of John Grisham's "The Innocent Man," which I haven't read although I know a friend of mine has a hardbound copy since last year.
Thanks to Father Toots of the Carmelites, I got my "review copy" of "Fired from Within," a book that tackles the "spirituality of the social movement." (I'm excited to immediately plunge myself into reading it.)
I missed a lot of things (and people) in this year's fair. As expected, the big book shops and publishing houses dominated the five-day event. There were few giveaways. Time and NewsWeek were not even distributing free copies this year. (At least when I was there on Saturday.)
A lecture on the writings of Virgilio Almario was still "standing room only." I had to stay outside the door of the lecture room to listen to snippets of wisdom from the speakers. Rio Alma of course was there later in the afternoon to speak before the students who were brought (by the busloads) by their teachers.
There were no more familiar faces unlike before. I saw a party-list representative, a political opposition spokesman, one or two young writers, and hundreds of children and students, some wearing their school uniform, ushered by their teachers.
I missed the freebies, the small publishing houses offering cheap, sometimes second-hand books, friends and colleagues who used to congregate at the fair during its weekend run.
On Sunday, I dropped by my favorite mall on the corner of EDSA and North Avenue in Quezon City. I chanced upon Jose Marie Chan who was on a rare mall tour for his latest album (the first in six years) "Love Letters and Other Souvenirs."
I had to buy the CD for a seat to listen to the songwriter/singer of "Christmas in Our Hearts," a song that became my favorite since I first heard it the first time several years ago. The CD of the song is one of the best Christmas gifts of all time I got. (Baduy na kung baduy, a dear friend gave it to me last Christmas.)