Reading till they drift off to dreamlandBy Alex Vergara, Raoul J. Chee Kee, Cheche V. Moral
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Model, blogger, beauty products executive
“The Power of Habit,” by Charles Duhigg. I decided to read the book because two colleagues I look up to highly recommended it. They said that the book helped them transform their personal and professional lives.
“Write Here, Write Now,” by AA Patawaran. I always keep this by my bed. It inspires me to write while giving me practical tips to help me get started or write more effectively. I re-read it often.
“Mom’s Little Angel,” by Gregory E. Lang. A gift from my mom, the book contains stories on the special bond between mothers and daughters.
“What Einstein Told His Cook,” by Robert L. Wolke; “Einstein’s Dreams,” by Alan Lightman; “Music For Chameleons,” by Truman Capote.
I really don’t have any particular reason why I am drawn to these books, but I enjoy re-reading them.
The first title explores the kitchen, from basic ingredients to cooking processes told from a scientific point of view, hence the title (absolutely nothing to do with Einstein).
The second title is a brilliant book of short stories, picking on Einstein’s theories, taking you to worlds of “what-ifs.”
The third one is a collection of beautifully written stories by Mr. Capote, my favorite writer.
Arnel ‘AA’ Patawaran
Journalist, book author
Right now I’m reading “Empress of Fashion,” a Diana Vreeland biography by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart. I can only read half a chapter or less before I sleep, because I’m an e-book virgin, and so far I’m not liking it.
But in Vreeland, I am always interested; and also in the women who made up her world—Wallis Simpson, Chanel, Babe Paley. I look forward to finishing this book, so I can see how much of the truth was stretched in the Vreeland autobiography “DV,” a favorite of mine because, as she would say, “Now I exaggerate—always.”
On my bedside is Gyles Brandreth’s “Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders.” It’s the second of a series of whodunits. The first, “Oscar Wilde and a Death of No Importance,” was a page-turner, so I intend to start with this second one only when I’m not too busy to turn the pages. But apart from entertainment, what I want from this murder mystery is everything I can learn about historical fiction or how—like Vreeland—we can stretch the truth, without lying, to write better stories.
Believe it or not, but since college I’ve had within reach from my bed the first of Marcel Proust’s multi-volume “Remembrance of Things Past” (this English translation is now called “In Search of Lost Time”). I don’t think I’ve read half of it. I’ve given up trying to finish it, but I read any random page or two whenever I feel at a loss for words or insecure with my writing skills. I’m a frustrated Prussian fan, but I’m in love with the idea of worshipping Proust.
“Salvador F. Bernal: Designing the Stage,” by Sir Badong’s good friend, Dr. Nicanor Tiongson. It delves into the creative process of our first National Artist for Theater Design. Thankfully, this book documents the breadth and scope of his legacy. A must-read not just for students of production design but for all Filipinos to realize that we don’t have to look to other countries to emulate a world-class artist.
“Playing with Fire,” by Eileen Blumenthal and Julie Taymor. The public associates Julie Taymor with her groundbreaking “Lion King” and recently her debacles with the ill-fated “Spiderman.” This book shows that she is so much more than Disney musicals.
Much of her aesthetics are influenced by her journeys to Asia, particularly her two-year immersion in Bali, Indonesia. One realizes that a lot of her theatrical and puppetry techniques reference traditional Asian theater and rituals.
Once it becomes “Disneyfied,” our colonial mindset thinks it’s Western, when, in fact, this amazing woman from the suburbs of Boston found her catharsis in Japan and Indonesia.
“I’m Afraid of Heights (Or Why I Can’t Social-climb),” by Thelma Sioson San Juan. It’s a compilation of the author’s profiles of our country’s lifestyle celebrities. I usually read one personality profile at a time. The writing, while very astute, is light and charming. Within a lot of the articles is a sense of irony, which demystifies the personae of our society’s movers and shakers.
At my bedside now are “The Wisdom of Compassion,” by the Dalai Lama; “Clean,” by Alejandro Junger, M.D.; and “Before You Leap,” by Kermit the Frog. When I was younger, I like getting lost in the lives of fictional heroines while reading till sunrise. These days, I just like light reading, one chapter, one short, inspiring story before sleeping.
Jun Jun Ablaza
Interior and accessories designer
There are always several books on my bedside table; my choice is dependent on my mood. These are the books that I am presently reading and most of them are coffee-table books: “Alexander McQueen: The Life and the Legacy,” by Judy Watt; “Couture Interiors,” by Marnie Fogg; “Bals: Legendary Costume Balls of the Twentieth Century,” by Nicholas Foulkes.
The books that I read are real snapshots of me at a moment in time. There are always a selection of books that I just like dipping into until I can’t keep my eyes open any longer—books that nevertheless unite the decorative minor and major arts in a way that is quite unique: haute couture; art of entertaining; adornment; setting with style; decorating with flowers; painting; jewelry; and the marvelous gift of creating a compelling visual theme, evoking an atmosphere, transporting those who read it to another world or another time, and, above all, creating an emotional response, which I believe is the defining truth of all art, whether so-called high art or the decorative arts.
Dr. Joven Cuanang
Chief medical officer, St. Luke’s Medical Center
“Cutting for Stone,” by Abraham Verghese; “Manila, My Manila,” by Nick Joaquin; “The Brain That Changes Itself,” by Norman Doidge; “Lugar,” by Augusto Villalon; “Crowded with Genius: Edinburgh, 1745-1789,” by James Buchan.
I have only one book on my bedside, “Pandasal,” by St. Paul Society. When I open my eyes, I do my morning prayer and get hold of my “Pandasal”: Go over the Gospel reading, do my reflection and try to discern God’s message for me for the day. I have no time to read in the evening anymore.
I also have “Julia’s Kitchen Wisdom,” by Julia Child. I like reading that book over and over again.
I have lots of real books at my bedside, many of them about food, which makes me hungry, like “My Life in France,” by Julia Child and Alex Prud’Homme.
Chef, restaurant owner
“What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self,” by Ellyn Spragins; “William and Kate: A Royal Love Story,” by Christopher Andersen; “The Restaurant: From Concept to Operation” (5th edition),” by John Walker; “The Hunger Games” Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins.
Cebu-based host, radio announcer, travel writer
I’ve never really understood e-books. I need the scent of pulp! Bedside reading: “Son of a Witch,” by Gregory Maguire; and “Just My Type,” by Simon Garfield
I grew up with books instead of toys and took up speed-reading for two summers. An important part of it, I recall, was really running your fingers along the page. Nothing beats the texture of book paper!
“Perfumes,” by Luca Turin and Tania Sanchez; “What the Nose Knows,” by Avery Gilbert (I’m a perfume collector); “Light, Science, and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting,” by Fil Hunter, Steven Biver and Paul Fuqua; “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,” by Arthur Conan Doyle; “Pippi Longstocking,” by Astrid Lindgren (I prefer children’s literature); “Lady Gaga X Terry Richardson: The Book.”
Head of mobile business, Sony Phils.
“Alexandria Quartet,” by Lawrence Durrell, beautifully written; book came into my life at a particularly difficult time.
“Anything,” by William Henry Scott. I’m a great admirer of his work on the Philippine Cordillera, one of my favorite parts of the country.
“In the Shape of Tradition,” by Eric Moltzau Anderson, probably the most exhaustive work to date on the material culture of the ethnolinguistic groups of the Luzon Cordillera.
Restaurateur and jewelry designer
“Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter,” by Seth Grahame-Smith. I was drawn to this because I love history and I love horror; it was interesting to read how the author combined fact and fiction.
The “Game of Thrones” series—“A Song of Fire and Ice,” by George R. R. Martin. I couldn’t wait for HBO to produce the rest of the series; I wanted to find out what would happen next ASAP.
The Grimm fairy tales. I love reading the “real stories” and always prefer them over the Disney versions.
Executive producer, “Bandila”
“Sweet Tooth,” by the author of “Atonement,” Ian McEwan. Intriguing story: A Cambridge student and daughter of an Anglican bishop has an affair with a married professor, and is then recruited to the world of espionage during the Cold War in the ’70s. But is she willing to give up the spy game when she falls in love with a young writer? I’m looking forward to a sweeping narrative and unexpected plot twists that McEwan is known for.
“Talking with My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater,” by “Top Chef” judge and host Gail Simmons. Delicious read! Simmons is not just a know-it-all food critic on TV and magazine. She worked hard to get where she is. She’s actually a trained classical chef who sweated it out in the kitchens of the best master chefs in the world! You get to know the foods that defined special moments in her life. She also shares juicy tidbits about how she landed the best gig on TV.
“Winter of the World,” the second installment in the “Century” trilogy of Ken Follett (author of the best-selling “Pillars of the Earth”). Gripping wartime story about the entangled, sometimes scandalous, lives of five families from Britain, the Soviet Union, the United States, Germany and Austria. Book 1, “Fall of Giants,” opens with World War I, then progresses to Book 2, about the next generation swept up in World War II. It makes you realize that many of the reasons that sparked a war get lost in the process and, in the end, nobody wins.
Daphne Oseña Paez
“Grace, A Memoir,” by Grace Coddington—I joined the bandwagon and got this book in National Book Store. I love how it picks up from her being surprised at her instant fame and celebrity after the documentary “The September Issue” came out. Anna Wintour was supposedly the star but she was the one who shone. The book chronicles her life (obviously) during interesting times in the 1960s; the rise of supermodels; the fast-changing fashion industry.
“Blog, Inc.: Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community,” by Joy Cho—I’m a fan of “Oh Joy” blog by Joy Cho. Here is a book that writes about what I already know since I’ve been living and breathing my blog www.daphne.ph since 2007. But it is always good to read about your industry and your world through different eyes.
“The Fault in Our Stars,” by John Greene—Young Adult fiction. Love. Sadness. Easy read.
Model and actress
“God Never Blinks: 50 Lessons for Life’s Little Detours,” by Regina Brett. This book is a compilation of 50 short stories based on the author’s experiences. Easy reading, very inspirational, touching and rich in wisdom. I love reading about other people’s experiences, their honesty about, it and picking up a lesson or two from it. Sometimes it also makes you realize things that you simply take for granted, and, more often than not, you will feel very blessed and thankful for the life God has gifted you with, and you will realize how beautiful life is in every sense of the word.
“The Winner Stands Alone,” by Paulo Coelho. Aside from Paulo Coelho being one of my favorite authors, this book struck me because it’s a psychological thriller which takes place within 24 hours, something different from the other Coelho books I’ve read. It’s quite interesting how this book unfolds stories of characters chasing their dreams and the extent they go to at getting it, therefore exposing the negative consequences of the desire for fame and power.
“A Prisoner of Birth,” by Jeffrey Archer. This is a classic literary novel that revolves around fate and fortune, redemption and revenge. I just love compelling and page-turning books, and this one is definitely one of those, being a Jeffrey Archer book, which will keep you up just to find out what happens next.