Sunday, October 4, 2015

Book Geeks: Smaller and Smaller Circles

This weekend, the Book Geeks braved a horrid hazy Saturday to attend F.H. Batacan's appearance at Books Kinokuniya before adjourning to my place for the book discussion and dinner.

I read the first chapter and found it way too gory and stopped reading. (Gore really is not my thing at all unless it's in a TV show about snotty sorority girls getting stalked by a killer or killers *SCREAM QUEENS*  shout out.)

But kudos to Batacan who first started writing the book in her  20s and finally managed snag a coveted publishing deal in her 40s through her agency, Jacaranda. Set in the Philippines, two sleuthing catholic priests attempt to track a serial killer before he/she commits another gruesome murder.

Since I didn't finish the book, I helped out with dinner instead. Rilla told me that she wanted to learn how to make Roti Jala months ago so I convinced my mum to teach her.  Now it's not that often that Mum cooks  but since Rilla made the request and seeing as it was the first time I was hosting the Book Geeks,  Mum made an exception; she dusted off her antique Roti Jala maker and hit the kitchen. the last minute Rilla called, saying that she had to go for a photo shoot and cancelled on us! "Please don't kill me," she implored.  At that point it was too late for me to read the  book for some ideas, so I watched an episode of 'How to get Away with Murder' instead. 

The other absentees, Catherine and Benjamin, kindly apologised for being unable to make it. And as for Emma, well, she just plain forgot about it until I asked if I could expect her. The answer was no!

Cooking for the evening meal started right after lunch. On the menu: the aforementioned roti jala, chicken curry and beef rendang and Claire's amazing corned beef stew.

SNOB Family dinner. Doesn't this look like a Chinese family portrait

I didn't make it to Batachan's book event at Kinokuniya for the reading to presumably help out at home. It's needless to say helped by staying out of the kitchen.

Dave was the first to arrive with a bottle of wine in hand. Amelia, Felicia, Myra, Adan and Ken traipsed over from Kinokuniya with chocolates, chips, dips, chocolates, tiramisu, and a bottle of  muscato and more drinks to start off the evening. Oh they brought flowers for Mum too! Claire, in the mean time, was still desperately trying to hail a cab in the hazy conditions - thanks once again for polluting our air and putting us all at risk for lung cancer,  Indonesia!

Once everyone was settled, I tried to usher all the women in the kitchen to finish up the cooking but they were adamant that they didn't want to play any traditional domestic roles. So we all settled at the dining table to start discussing the book.  

Mum and Dad stopped by to say hello, before heading out for the night and while our family helper, Marylene, finished prepping dinner, we discussed the book for a bit.

Dinner ©Ken Quek

Then Claire, who also hadn't read the book, arrived with her corned beef curry stew which was really delicious as was the bottle of muscato! As we ate, we discussed the book and how the murders and gore were just devices used to highlight other social issues such as abject poverty etc. 

Dave and Claire kept a diplomatic silence on the matter.  Like me, Amelia didn't seem to like it and kept comparing it unfavourably to The Alienist.  Truth be told,  this was the second book that Felicia picked that I did not like--the first was Terry Pratchett's 'The Colour of Magic" which I refer to as the 'magical book of boredom'. I was originally planning to propose a motion that she be banned from picking another story. Amelia was prepared to second that.

But since  Myra, Ken, and Adan loved it, I guess I'm willing to give the book another shot. For now, Felicia has a reprieve from a SNOB book selection ban.

After dinner we just sort of chilled and chatted about a host of other things.  I would tell you what we talked about but that's private! :P Thanks for a fun evening everyone. Can't wait for Catherine's book discussion on Halloween.

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