Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

Archive for December, 2017

What are your personal projects for 2018?

December 31, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Projects, twisted by jessica zafra 19 Comments →

I’m so eager for the new year to begin that I’ve been going around asking friends about their plans for 2018. You have to have projects, especially if you feel that the world is going to hell in a hand basket; otherwise you may as well bury yourself. (This would be a really good time for aliens, as in extraterrestrials, to make themselves known).

Robert Alejandro designed the very first Twisted book. We had planned on a catch-up lunch in the new year, but even before we had agreed on the details, I ran into him. I was ten minutes early for a lunch appointment, his lunch appointment had finished fifteen minutes early, and my lunch appointment was thirty minutes late. In short, we had catch-up time! So I’m adding to my list: Make another book with Robert.

The next day I had my catch-up lunch with Ige Ramos, who designed Twisted 2 and nearly every one of my books after that. In the last decade Ige has become well-known food historian, for which I take credit because who do you think hounded him to write? Ige has designed hundreds of books, but this year, his first self-authored book, Republic of Taste: The Untold Stories of Cavite Cuisine, will finally be published.

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At lunch with my first workshop group yesterday (Nearly all of us finished our novels! Absent: Angus, who was out of town), I asked everyone to write down their big projects and pose for photographs: this way there is a record and a reminder of what they have to do. (Click photos to read the lists.)

Reading is not a vice; fake-complaining about all the books I have to read is the vice.

December 20, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books 6 Comments →

Reading has been called the solitary vice (a title it shares with the more obvious one). I think the real vice that readers enjoy is fake-complaining about how many books we have in our backlog, how the stack of unread books on the bedside table grows higher and higher, and how half the floor has disappeared under unread books. This fake-complaining is really boasting: I have so many books to read, I can ward off boredom AND avoid pointless social media battles! Plus: I grabbed the last copy before you did, nyahahaa.

These are the books that will occupy me in the coming months. I would like to declare a moratorium on book-buying, but why would I do that to myself? Why would I deprive myself of this pleasure when there’s so much heinousness in the world? Also I just ordered something from Book Depository.

I am currently reading Thus Bad Begins by Javier Marias. I bought the book from Shakespeare & Co to keep from hearing the poetry reading upstairs and laughing maniacally. (Never take me to a poetry reading. No matter how good the stuff is, when the reader puts on the “poet” voice my eyeballs start rolling. I like poems read conversationally.) This is my umpteenth attempt to read Marias (the digressions exhausted me) but I think I finally get it.

Books of the Year, Angus Miranda’s pick: Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

December 17, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →

Galignani Bookstore in Paris, two or three blocks from the Louvre

Reader: Angus Miranda

My favorite book this year is Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. How predictable! Isn’t this the recent winner of the Man Booker Prize? Shouldn’t Americans be banned from the Booker? (I said that — JZ) And haven’t there been enough books about Lincoln? Not enough, for sure, especially about Lincoln mourning the death of his son, Willie.

The night of Willie’s death, a state dinner is held. The Civil War is yet to begin. Many historians attend the dinner. In their accounts, they offer competing opinions on every available perspective at the event, from the perfunctory smiles of Lincoln and his wife, the inappropriateness of the dinner, to the color of the moon (was there even a moon at all?).

ProBernal AntiBio is the best Filipino film book of the year, maybe of all time

December 12, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Movies No Comments →

I got my copy from Butch Perez at lunchtime, opened to page 1, and did not stop reading until I finished the whole book. So no work was done today, and it was a day very well spent.

Intelligent, wicked, sometimes vicious (Bernal did not spare anyone, especially himself), this anti-biography is presented as a wide-ranging conversation between filmmaker Ishmael Bernal and his closest friend, the scholar and screenwriter Jorge Arago. Mercifully many of Bernal’s targets are long-dead, because he murders them.

Savage justice: Colm Toibin dares retell the Oresteia of Aeschylus

December 08, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Books No Comments →


The long stairway to the nearest cat (can make the wretched sigh)

December 05, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Cats, Places, Traveling 2 Comments →

According to my friend Rebecca, there is a large colony of cats living on the hillside around Sacre Coeur, and she sees some of them on the street every morning when the neighborhood cat lady feeds them. I didn’t see any of the hill cats. Whenever I missed my feline overlords at home, I had to climb the long stairway to the cafe with the resident cat extortionist, Me.