[Guest Post] JM Cabral on Reading Formats

Hi y’all! I’m JM and I’m the guy behind Book Freak Revelations. I’m also 1/3 of the Arctic Books team, and 1/4 of the team behind Bookworms Unite PH. I’ve been an avid reader for 10 years now, and a book blogger for almost 4. I’ve had my fair share of reading YA novels in different formats and so when my friend Fay asked me to come up with a post for Bibliophile Soprano about my experience with this, I was more than happy to say yes, and I’m elated to be featured and talk about whether I love to read books digitally, in print, or if I prefer to listen to audiobook programs instead.

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[Guest Post] Part-time Working Girl, Part Time Blogger by Nicka Jerao

Work-life balance and how I maintain my presence on social media:

It’s never an easy thing to balance your work and personal life. I am no professional. To be honest, I am a newbie with this whole adulting phase in my life. When I had my first job I didn’t expect it would take too much of my time and motivation. With work keeping me busy for 8 hrs., it’s impossible for me to do the things I used to do or so I thought. I made a rule for myself that I shouldn’t think about work when I’m at home. The moment I walked out the door of my office, the rest of my day is for my reading, writing or time with my family. I have a 9 to 5 job, I write for a magazine in the Philippines and sometimes blog about books, my travels and basically everything about me.

During the weekends, I make sure that I have time for myself and regain my strength. One thing I learned is that you don’t have to overwork yourself. I’m slowing learning little habits that can make me productive even though I’m loaded and stressed with work.

I don’t post regularly on social media like I used to. I’ve been in a 6-month long hiatus because I was so demotivated and uninspired. Moving to a new country has been a great achievement for me; experiencing new culture and meeting new people. But now, I post in my #bookstagram once in a while. I’m active on Twitter but I just post random stuff there. Maintaining an active presence on social media is a tough thing to do if you don’t plan anything out. It’s better to plan ahead and organize.

How I pick the books I read and how I squeeze reading time in my everyday life:

Back then, I would stick to my monthly TBR. But now, I discovered that I’m a mood reader. I read based on my mood or what my mind is craving for. No pressure on how many books I have to read in a month. I’ve never been that reader who has to read new releases when they come out. I’m more of a backlist reader.  I don’t discriminate books, I don’t judge on how they look (sometimes). If the synopsis gets my attention I would definitely read it no matter how it looks or how cheesy it might sound. I read diverse & non-diverse books. I like to keep my options open, as long as I know I will learn from the characters’ point of view. I don’t get discouraged whenever I see bad reviews of books, I have to read it and share my own opinion.

To be honest, I am currently on a short hiatus. I’m not reading as much as I did before.  I don’t pressure myself to read a book because I‘m behind my reading challenge. I read when I want to read. I read what I want to read. There’s no one stopping me to read all the books in the world. Can I be immortal?


[Guest Post] The Myth of the Wrong Books by KB Meniado

Bookbed was born in 2010, in the hope of finding a solution to my perpetual problem of “where do I get money to buy more books.” I was just out of a job then (my contract ended), my savings account a joke, so I was worried about how I was going to sustain my book buying habit, which was one of the few things I’ve built my happiness around. I know, I hear you—parents. Mine are always so generous and supportive, but they were already paying for my bills as it was. I was 20, and if I was serious about learning how to be an adult, including affording my own wants, I had to somehow try my best in many ways, didn’t I? So one of my ~great ideas was book buying and selling.

Now I don’t mean that Bookbed was my gateway to maturity, financial stability, and my best self, because nah, fam. The point I’m trying to make is that when I started doing Bookbed—at least the first version of it which was an online secondhand bookstore thing, I learned so many things about readers, and I was able to connect with a lot of them. This was kind of mindblowing and magical to me, because growing up, reading had always been more of a solitary experience. Sure, my high school barkada and I also bonded over romance and young adult novels, but one, they were already my friends, and two, they seemed like they could live without all of it, unlike me. In the world of online book buying and selling, I was meeting strangers, forging friendships with them, finding out how much books meant to them.

It was life-changing.

But it wasn’t always ideal. Because there were a lot of times I wasn’t selling any and just more of buying many. I remember thinking “shit, I’m reading and buying the wrong books and now I can’t get rid of them.” (Excuse this insecurity, I was my particular kind of young idiot.) But digging deeper, it was an insight on how different readers are, and how differently we all read. Sometimes it’s not about the bestsellers, and other times it’s not about the cult reads. Or it’s not even about the literal printed word at all! I should know, illustrated books sold out before I could even say “nope, no discount.”

I learned way more about how and what people read when Bookbed became a community in 2014. This was because aside from book buying and selling, we put up a book blog that was (and still is) open to one-time and regular contributors. Everyone and anyone could write about whatever book they wanted, and we would publish the review or feature, given that it followed our easy guidelines. We, like others, also accepted review requests, collaborated with other communities, and worked with authors and illustrators. We, like others, worked to create a safe space where all kinds of people, voracious readers or not, could read whatever they wanted and talked about it however and whenever they want.

Know what all those years of doing Bookbed work drilled to me? That every freaking book has a reader. It doesn’t matter what genre or who it is by or where it is set, there will always, always be someone who will want to read it and who will want to talk about it. So again: it’s not about selling the wrong books. It’s about finding the right people to sell it to. Sounds easy? With social media trends and all those bajillion freaking hashtags, just one click and there they are, all the new book buddies and buyers.

Well, I wish that always worked. Because while I love how the online book community is so happening and revolutionary right now, sometimes everything can get a little too intimidating, isolating, and, dare I say, derivative. Please don’t think I’m being all high and mighty here because I’ve fallen into those traps as well, and all I can say is that… there will be more, for sure. What I suggest we can do is to practice self-awareness and mindful consumption (and that goes for everything else in life). Say, this book is going viral? You don’t necessarily have to read it – or you absolutely may, I mean, it’s your life. Do what you want!

And that’s the ~moral lesson of all this, basically. (Remember book review assignments, anyone?) Your life, your choices. It’s not about having the right books, or the right number of followers, or maybe even the right amount of money. It’s about the right to choose what you want to read, and the right to be free to enjoy what you choose. Try your best to do that and you’ll see the right people and books will find their way to you (or vice versa, it can go both ways). It’s really mindblowing and magical, take it from me.

In author Orhan Pamuk’s words, KB Meniado read a book one day and her whole life was changed. She believes that reading helps shape dreams, and dreams help build lives. Visit the community she put up in the name of her love for stories and books on BOOKBED.ORG.


[Guest Post] Guilty Pleasures: I Secretly Love It When

Hi! I’m excited to be here today on Fay’s blog! We decided on the topic of Bookish Guilty Pleasures…which is such a fun topic! To be honest, I don’t think I have a lot of “guilty” pleasures because I don’t really feel guilty for what I do or don’t like. But I do have likes that feel mostly unique to me, so that’s what I’m going to talk about. Let’s just get to it, shall we?

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[Guest Post] Writing My Autobiography: A Revitalizing Experience

Writing My Autobiography: A Revitalizing Experience

by Racquel Sarah A. Castro

I have given a chance to write my first Non-Fiction Book because of a nomination in the prestigious Virtue Christian Book Awards for my first published story, When Fate Speaks Big Time.

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[Guest Post] Behind the Face of Project TIMES

Behind the Face of Project TIMES

by Marigold Uy

If someone asked me why I created Project TIMES, I know I said it’s a group to inspire other writers and authors but to be really honest? Looking back at the first of February this year, I think I invented the group because I only got curious.

And because I have a habit of collecting short stories in one document and formatting them with pretty designs.

Project TIMES is a product of one of my snap decisions. Everything actually is. From the issues, to random posts in the group. I was too excited about the idea, too engrossed of the outcome that I even had stop myself and say, ‘what the fudge am I doing?’ And to think I was doing all the inviting and planning at the same time. In the car. While travelling to Claveria, Cagayan.

Authors and writers alike have already signed up, agreed to be a part of my crazy idea that I couldn’t just tell them ‘okay, I know that was stupid and ambitious, let’s not get on with it.’ I couldn’t, now could I? And besides, they loved the idea so much and that fueled my enthusiasm more.

Project TIMES was just supposed to be a single anthology about love because when I first invited authors, it was almost Valentines’ Day. And the fact that I wrote something about love, I thought, ‘why not share this with others and then they share something to me?’

What was supposed to be a single issue, suddenly became a part of a ‘huge’, experimental scheme and hopefully a successful imprint.

There are many groups like us–bigger ones, smaller ones–all with the same goal and I have thought of times when I thought I should give up on the group. I had reasons: lack of feedback and my personal bitterness of not having a better place in the industry. It’s a crazy roller-coaster of emotions, really.

But the love for writing and reading always gives me inspiration to continue the project. I have plenty of ideas, some of my members can attest to that and I just can’t help sharing them.

When I first launched Hearts for Sale, Project TIMES’ first two-part issue, I had mixed emotions for it. First, I was worried if someone would actually buy it. What if they don’t like it? What if all the money I spent for it will all go to waste? I had worries that I thought would bug me until I get forty.

But more than that, I loved the books. I cried tears of joy, even. And I was nervous because it was the first two books that will carry the name of Project TIMES. It was like sending your son off to college and you keep on worrying whether he’s doing well or not.

Mine isn’t an extravagant group. I don’t usually post anything outside of it. I seldom promote it even. And I don’t hold events that feature it. We don’t have writer forums. We don’t have mentors. We’re simple like that. I even remember saying it’s just a freewheeling group.

All I actually want is for us to be productive.

And perhaps the most important feeling I have for the group is that I love it. Despite not being an active one. And not just because I found it either. But perhaps the fact that something I created is there and thriving could affirm that, despite thinking of it as too ambitious, I may still be sane. And it somehow brings a sense of achievement too. That’s actually good news, especially for someone like me, who has forgotten the feeling of ever accomplishing anything once upon a time.

[Guest Post] The Struggle is Real

Melissa - Banner

Bookstagram is an amazing feed on Instagram where we can see all these amazing bookish photos that basically makes you want to get all the books. I love the different styles of each bookstagrammer and their creativity. It’s simply beautiful and fun. However, we all know it’s hard work too. Angles, lighting, props, camera, themes, which books to feature, etc. are just a few things that put our brains to work to get the right picture.

Now, my blog’s feed (@thereaderandthechef) is fairly new and we still haven’t mastered the art of bookstagramming, but we do have one theme well founded: Books & Food (mostly desserts).

We love our theme/style and it makes us happy, but boy do we struggle with it! Because 85% of the sweets (& sometimes food like ramen or fries or pizza) we feature along with our lovely books is stuff my sister makes.

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