[On The Shelf] Astigirl

3 07 2011

And now for something completely different! I’ve been featuring games exclusively on On The Shelf for awhile now, but it’s time to spread my wings a little to my other interests. One of these interests is in books and I just stumbled on a book that definitely fits the bill: Astigirl

Tweet Sering’s second book – this time a self-published effort, compared to her debut Wander Girl – is one of those book types that have managed to pop up recently – the-blog-turned-book. I’ll forgive you for having doubts about it the moment you read “blog”. The book is composed of 29 essays by Ms. Sering – with the only two bookends being original. Everything else has already been published online via the Astigirl blog. It was launched this March 3 – and I only just got a copy.

Why is that? Because as Ms. Sering puts it, the book was consigned to the “Siberia of Filipino bookstores”, the Filipiniana section. At the risk of sounding decidedly unpatriotic, she’s correct – mostly because I myself browse the Filipiniana section only twice a year.

Anyway, to return to Ms. Sering’s book, it’s an essay collection similar to Jessica Zafra’s much lauded Twisted series of books – with a decided difference. It’s a chronicle of growing up – with more-or-less a decided end point. As Ms. Sering points out in her opening essay, she felt that she’d said her piece by the time December 2010 rolled around and decided to cap it all by putting out a book. And what a book it is!

One of the definite attractions about buying the book is that it is, to use Ms. Sering’s words, “a first-world production.” None of that cheap paper or paperback cover; Astigirl comes in two edition, hardbound and paperback, but they are both wonderfully produced. You can swear that this was published in New York and not in the Philippines. The paper has a definite texture and the ink is clear. Additionally, as I so delightfully mentioned to Ms. Sering when I bought a copy, it smells foreign. The heady scent of the mixture of high-quality ink and paper is like the bouquet of a freshly-opened bottle of wine to a connoisseur of the bibliophiliac bent.

This is not to say that the content is any less in quality. From a stirring defense of Bella of Twilight fame to a rumination of personal politics, they cover a wide range of topics; all of which contribute to a picture of Ms. Sering as a person. Some of it can be quite uncomfortable – especially to a male reader as myself – but it is well worth the slog. You will know Tweety Sering the individual by the time you finish the book and she is a delight to know.

Anyway, it’s well worth the cost. The books can be found at Powerbooks Greenbelt 4 (hardbound and paperback) and Powerbooks Alabang Town Center (paperback only). The hardbound price is P799, while the paperback is P585.

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