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Filipino Readercon 2015: Will Read for Feels Sounds BIG! Plus, FREE Books...

December 4, 2015       Arts and Culture
Filipino ReaderCon 2015
Enjoy Reading for Feels, Alternative Alamat,
and Free Books

ReaderCon might not be as jam-packed as Komikon or the ToyCON events but fans of books definitely get more out of attending this unusually interesting yearly shindig than you may expect.

Filipino ReaderCon occurs every November during National Book Dev Month, which is also the same as National Novel Writing Month.   When you do attend the event, expect plenty of local author events: book signings, author talks, book fan discussions and the like.  This year, there were some sessions devoted to reading advocacy outreach programs, development studies and library restorations in far flung areas of the country by volunteers committed to keeping reading a viable and thriving learning activity.

At Filipino ReaderCon you get unexpected surprises: from riveting live readings taken from cheesy pulp romance novels to panel discussions on lotsa good stuff for book lovers and rabid readers: poetry sessions, anthology discussions, and the FREE book raffle.

We expect MOAR next year from the good people that make Filipino Readercon one of the more worthy events to waste an entire day.  For reading for feels. 

Readercon has been going on for quite some time now and is slowly snowballing every year into larger events with more people taking notice.  With books making big as the main jump off point for blockbuster media entertainment, book lovers are getting the best of everything right now and we expect bigger and better events similar to ReaderCon sprouting up in the future.

Live Reading:  #RomanceClass

Not for saving the best for last, we start with a rabid recommendation that you go to Filipino Readecon for the live readings of pulp romance if you want a taste of something really big for the local book community that may become an entire festival of its own in the future. 

Will Read for Feels
is both the rally cry and an active website of local romance writers' contributing to writercraft and reader-fan events called #RomanceClass.  At every Filipino Readercon, these chicklit authors offer a session of live readings from recent pulp romance hits by authors whom they enjoy and are also members of #RomanceClass as both community and event.

For the 2015 ReaderCon, renown theater celebs Gio Gahol and Rachel Coates made what were rather lengthy and drawn out 'kilig' moments and 'pakipot' scenes into lively, heartfelt and amazing romatic interludes worthy of an audiobook contract.

Despite the expected heavy cheese of locally written pulp romance (local chicklit reads like female fantasies of self-idealized bad boy romances or the opposite: klutz guy getting wooed by hot girl), the event is something to look forward to every year: if only to hear which writer can out-cheese the other and draw out a 'kilig' scene past humanly possible (no man behaves like chicklit dude characters in real life--promise) .  Good stuff!  Even if you read the last sentence otherwise.  Reading for the glow of some loving feeling before its gone...oh no...whoa no. Get down on your knees chikclit guy like you used to do....

(P.S.  Mina Esguerra, author of Fairy Tail Fail, and facilitator of the #RomanceClass session looks really gorgeous in person, not like the typical chubby grandmamas (think Larry Johnson) who really excel at this gig--pulp romance I mean.)

Alternative Alamat Fan Discussion

Editor Paolo Chikiamco curated a collection of short stories around 2012, titled Alternative Alamat, based on a very popular theme right now: fairy tales set in urban settings, ala Fables or Once Upon a Time and all of its variants.  Local authors seem to have captured the flavor, using local folklore characters from Pinoy lower mythology pantheons and legends and setting them in alternative retellings or just casting the popular mythic characters in an unusual urban fantasy setting. 

The book panel discussion for this anthology was more on the light side, centering on what readers got out of the stories and characters: Example, the moderator asked book fans what memory they would exchange with Maria Makiling for some special object, another pop question--what movie would anthology fans trade with a magical being for a story they could turn into a get the picture.  Mostly fanboy and fangirly stuff.  Which is not bad since the event is a reader gig rather than a craft writer gig. 

Maybe the next panel discussion can provide engagement on the writer side of book lovers.  If only to encourage book lovers of ANY sort of popular collection to write their own stories too.  So that more of this STUFF can be put out there. 

After all, every great story that haunts a fanboy or fangirl so bad may turn a blessed few into lifelong authors for the next generation of genre readers (And you don't need to win any literary award to get your feet wet if you just want to write a good haunting story, just to clear up misconceptions--nobody mentioned this at the event).  Start the endless cycle with craft tips or inspiring anecdotes about weaviing a yarn into something forever haunting.

Reading Advocacy and Library Restoration

The National Book Development Board chairperson expressed its concerns about providing all they could for creating an environment for a reader revolution to prosper in our reading resource-starved country.  Other reading development and library restoration speakers described how the far flung areas in the country can be provided book and library resources. The current efforts today center around providing and restoring libraries as well as engaging the communities in storytelling sessions as a means for keeping an oral tradition alive for indigenous cultures.  So far in the storm-surge afflicted south, restoration of libraries is still a work in progress even with landmark contributions like the D.R.Y. library charity program of celebrity inspirational author Mitch Albom and local bookchain, National Bookstore.

This presents a priceless opportunity for anyone with great ideas for reading development such as open source libraries, open source education, and open source ecology communities.

You Don't Get Nothing Out of ReaderCon:  Free Books

If you hate everything on the schedule, or get disappointed by the lighter fanboy and fangirl reader discussions about books, reading, and opportunities in the field...the highlight of the event may be worth the price of admission: Free novels!  Lots!  For this event we got The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare (yay for another prose stylist reference), and The Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton, a fantasy YA book with a female heroine.  Not bad at all. 

And we did get a lot of insights from the panel discussions that helps us understand this side of the local reader community and publishing arena as well as local reader development activities going on.  Other books we spotted on loot raffle table included Marian Tee's erotica romances, several copies of Mockingjay, tons of YA books and local pulp romance books. 

For next year, you might be seeing a Filipino ReaderCon staged in other parts of the country to bring the whole booklover festival to other reader communities. Also, expect Reading Festivals or booklover events similar to ReaderCon starting up soon from the legion of rabid Filipino reader AND writer communities--all fueling the next reading revolution for all of us who hope for unlimited opportunities to cultivate both readers and the writing profession.


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