Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994

The Strand’s Last Stand?

November 25, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Money, Places


Naah, the famed New York bookstore is still doing well in the age of Amazon, but its survival depends on whether the next generation of owners continues to love books. Because they are sitting on very expensive real estate.

Read How the Strand keeps going in the Age of Amazon, in New York magazine.

Amy Tan: Without trauma, you’ll never be a writer.

November 25, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books

amy tan

Here at last is our interview with Amy Tan. Thanks to Chad at National Bookstore for the audio file, and to Deo for the transcription. It’s a long transcript that we had to cut for publication. An outtake:

Jessica Zafra: One of the consequences of being a bestselling author is that you become a public figure and you’re held up as a role model. How do you feel about this, given that whether you like it or not, people are going to see your story as the template for whatever they want to achieve?

Amy Tan: Yeah, well, that’s like the pressure my mother put on me, you know, that I’m gonna be a brain surgeon and I’m gonna be a concert pianist, now you’re gonna be a role model. And I’m afraid of that because I don’t know what people expect of a role model. I would feel that I’m going to do things that people think are not good role models. Being in a band and wearing a costume as a dominatrix, is that a good role model?

So what I advocate more is the notion of individuality and finding your similarities, things that touch you and you know as truth in yourself from many different people and not one single person. If you try to get it from one single person, that person is going to fail you for sure. And I know that now because I have these fans on Twitter and Facebook and they’re just wonderful fans, they love everything I do until there’s this one thing I do that I tweet about or I post about and they’re shocked.

JZ: Or you can say something like, “I like this movie,” and if they all hate it, they feel betrayed.

AT: No, here’s how small it is. I once posted a photo of the hotel soaps I got from my book tour and so it was soap, it was shampoo, and I know it’s funny—you use the bar soap one night, you’re gonna take it home. That’s wasteful, you know, to leave it there. But somebody said, “Ach! Are you so poor you have to take home hotel soap?”

They actually said, “Why do you this? Why do you do this?” It’s like my mother used to say, “Why did you do that? Why do you do this?” So that person no longer sees me as her role model. You never know what it’s going to be so I caution, “Never choose one person as your role model.” I would disappoint you, I guarantee you, if you choose me, I will disappoint you in many little different ways.

Read our column at

Get 4 tickets to CinemaJam in today’s raffle

November 25, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Contest, Movies, Music, Sponsored

Last year’s CinemaJam. Photo from gmanetwork.

Do you want four tickets to see Bamboo, Franco, Pedicab, Itchyworms, Urbandub and other top bands at CinemaJam on Saturday, November 29 at the Greenfields District Central Park in Mandaluyong?

Post your name in Comments to join our raffle. The winner will be announced tomorrow.

The concert will cap a full day of activities, art installations, and open-air screenings of Now You See Me and Letters to Juliet. The gate opens at 10am.

Tickets to CinemaJam are now available at Ticketworld. Call 891 9999, or go to Part of the proceeds will go to World Vision.

CinemaJam is a project of Crizal Transitions, which has partnered with Essilor to develop Crizal Transitions Signature lenses, which provide more natural vision and true color perception in a variety of light conditions.

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The winner is Aida Cruz-Guinto. Congratulations! Please email to claim your four tickets.

The mystery of Vivian Maier, the nanny who was a secret photographer

November 24, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Art

The story of Vivian Maier, whose genius as a photographer was discovered accidentally after her death, is a cross between a Patricia Highsmith novel and an episode of Storage Wars. Her work would never have come to light if someone hadn’t bought the contents of her locker. She is supposed to have taken come to the Philippines and Southeast Asia in the 50s—we want to see the pictures from that trip.

“Just use a viler cheeriness.”

November 24, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Contest, Language

medieval flying cat
Medieval rocket cat via io9.

The title of this post is not just an anagram of “Jessica Rules the Universe”, it also sums up our world-view. Anagrams, we love them, they point out hidden meanings. We thought of doing an anagram LitWit Challenge, then we remembered how many free anagram generators there are on the net. While wasting time on the Internet Anagram Server, we discovered these anagrams for the name of our site:

A recessive sleuth injures
Eviscerates slushier June
Injures shirtless evacuee
Ace heresies sliver unjust
Jet uses sushi irrelevance
Eeriest slur shuns jive ace
Ace juvenile hires trusses

You can come up with band names this way. We found over 50,000 anagrams for our cat’s name, Matthias Urban, including Maharani Butts and Trauma Absinth.

We’ll have to think of another LitWit Challenge so we can give away this fresh new hardcover of The Bone Clocks.

We’ve also updated our official bio.

When the problem is that you have no problem.

November 22, 2014 By: jessicazafra Category: Books, Psychology


Thanks to Tina for the alert.