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On my bedside table.

They say one can be defined by the things they sleep with -- you can tell what kind of person you are simply by the things you hold dear before traipsing in slumber. Well, I guess I'd leave you the judge of that, based on the books I have stacked beside me by my bed. I'm not the type of person who can just settle reading one book, I have to read at least two novels to push me into finishing them. I don't know, I guess I get bored easily and the idea of having more than one story and numerous characters makes it all the more challenging and exciting for me. I'm weird like that.

1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
I never get tired of reading it, sometimes going over the whole thing, other times just sifting through my favorite parts. The seminal tale of a middle-aged man falling madly in love with a 12-year-old nymphet is undeniably one of the best novels written, not only because of its riveting plot but because of its beautiful prose. The words alone are enough to seduce you and reel you inside Humbert's mind of lust, love, and longing.

2. Noli Me Tangere by Jose Rizal (Translated by Leon Ma. Guerrero)
I just started reading it last week. I've always wanted to reread Rizal's work because discussing it in high school made it seem so tedious and uninteresting -- as do most high school classes. Hehe. Besides, it was in textbook Filipino, which made it all the more difficult. I guess reading its translation (and the most accessible one at that, or so Guerrero claims) will fulfill my desire of appreciating Rizal's novels for what it is: a cultural phenomenon, a masterpiece. I can't wait to get to El Fili!

3. Ilustrado by Miguel Syjuco
The book that got the local literary scene talking by gaining international awards. I just finished reading this last week but it's still on top of my bedside table. Definitely one of the best local novels out there. Miguel Syjuco presents a seemingly simple story in a complex but intricately woven manner that makes it easy to read but quite tough to digest. One has to read between the lines to get through the humor and message, which makes it a very thought-provoking and entertaining read. Syjuco certainly did the nation proud.

4. Doomed Queens by Kris Waldherr
Subtitled "Royal Women Who Met Bad Ends, from Cleopatra to Princess Di", it may seem like a clever book not for the modern-day woman who wants history backing up her ambitions. Sure, it's a compilation of accounts about all the feisty, strong women from the Biblical era up to the present and how their lives took a tragic turn after gaining power -- and that might get to the audience across as, "Let's kill girl power because it just killed girls!" But reading about Cleopatra (who knew she married her brother?), Anne Boleyn (poor girl) and other more obscure but equally fascinating queens just only fuels the desire to step up and do better. Fearless femme fatales, oh yeah!

5. Dirty Italian
It's my birthday gift from The Boy-nospace-friend, back when he was still a boy-space-friend. It was supposed to be funny, because I used to manipulate him to flattering me in Italian before, and besides, it's a book full of curses and naughty phrases, but I think it was really thoughtful of him to give me this :P And besides, it's an awesome book! Now I can curse (and flirt) in Italian! -- except that no one understands. :))

(Off-topic: Speaking of Italian, my new piece for this semester's piano recital is Italian Mariner Song by Robert Schumann. I'd also be having my first exam in Italian 12/13 on Friday. And I'm listening to my favorite Italian song Non Amarmi by Aleandro Baldi and Francesca Alotta. I italiani devono fiero di me! HAHA!)

What's on your bedside table? ;)