In our first blog entry with Camille Pilar, she spoke of her love for poetry, and showed us some of her tattoos inspired by her favorites! For part 2, we explore the prose in her bookshelf, the significant novels that have touched her life and even, at some point, mirrored it.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

“This will never leave my top five. I really remember how I read it in one sitting and the whole time I was riveted. It wasn’t happy, it wasn’t sad, but it was just so full of feeling. I knew that in book, I was recognizing myself. That book was a mirror and I saw myself in the old man and what he went through out in the ocean.”


Dark Hours by Conchitina Cruz
“I really admire her work. Those are the poems that I wish I wrote.”


A Concise English-Chinese Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo
The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan
A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments by Roland Barthes
“I like how this [A Concise English-Chinese Dictionary for Lovers] is a story about words, about language. An English man and a Chinese woman and how they fell in love. The book is structured like a dictionary, what the word means generally, and what it means to her.

“I know the charm of The Lover’s Dictonary is that it’s short, and you already get the full story. In this one, it needed to be drawn out more because she was struggling with language, and she was living in a different place. It was how she came to grasp English and at the same time, how she discovered who she was, and how she realized and learned something about herself. Also, she fell in and out of love, all those things are in this book, that’s why I love it so much.

“If you really want to go to the godfather of all ‘Lover’s Dictionaries,’ it’s this: A Lover’s Discourse. But he explains it philosophically.”

Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
“It’s also one of those books that I didn’t expect to like. Salinger’s language is very peculiar, especially by today’s standards. He really writes long, descriptive sentences.
There was something about this book, I was just hooked reading it. I guess because Salinger’s language forces you to read continuously.

“At the end of it, I realized, ‘I read all of that, but what did I get out of it?’ Then slowly the revelatory phase happens. I remember that feeling. It’s not really the words or the book I remember, but I remember that feeling after reading Franny and Zooey. It was like a mini-marathon inside me. It was a bit victorious. You can’t just forget feeling victorious after reading a book.”

Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock
|I like this one for its usage of art. I like letters; how you write in a letter is different from how you write in a story, because it’s a lot more personal when you’re talking to someone. I like that structure. The book is made up of envelopes and you really pull out the letters. I haven’t opened my copies but I had read this before from a friend, and then it never left me. It’s not only style but it’s also substance.  The letters are tangible, you really pull them out. The excitement of pulling out a letter from an envelope is there, made literal, in that book.”

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
The Hours by Michael Cunningham
My favorite classic is Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf! I actually have one of the first editions. It was being sold online. This is from 1928. This is my favorite classic.
I really like this, plus The Hours. My love for this book was highlighted after I read The Hours by Michael Cunningham. And when I saw the movie, I loved that too.

Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer
“I have come to accept that this is one book that just wasn’t meant to be read! (laughs) I tried so hard! I felt so pretentious trying to read a cut out book. I have come to realize that the brilliance of this book was in how it was published. I’m not gonna try. Some people did and props to them!”

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
“I love this book because of Oscar, the character! He’s so adorable. The movie version of him didn’t do him justice. This is another book that’s really creative. It’s very stylistic with its words. I got everything I wanted – language, artistic display, great structure, great pacing, great storytelling, it’s something I will cherish forever for hitting all the checkmarks of what I look for in a book. It turned out to be an easy read, too.”

“When I buy books, I realized that the joy wasn’t only in reading the books but in acquiring them.  That was also a delightful experience. Just hoarding them and having them, and actually seeing them arranged in my shelf gave me that feeling of deep satisfaction! That’s why I also feel like I have to have it. It was just so fulfilling to see that these are your books, and it looks so nice.”

You can follow Camille on Twitter and Tumblr 🙂

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