2015 Half-Year Report

Oops, I didn’t forget this blog again!

I’m not going to make excuses to why I wasn’t able to blog in the past month, though, because really, it’s just going to be the same. I think we’ve (or at least, I) have come to accept that this will be updated when I feel like it, or when there’s a blog tour and all that jazz. Which seems to be a trend nowadays, so let’s sort of not dwell on that anymore.

So instead of dwelling, let me do a little update on what the first half of 2015 has been in terms of books. :)

Screencapped from my 2015 shelf on Goodreads :D

Screencapped from my 2015 shelf on Goodreads :D

I read 24 books in the first half of 2015, and that’s a little bit halfway through the 52-book goal for the year, not counting a couple that I reread that I didn’t add here. Most of these were 4-star reads, which has sort of become my default rating for books for some reason. Haha. I even managed to finish one dare book, so yay.

Best book from this half-year list? It’s a tie between Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen and Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami. They’re very different, but also they somehow evoked the same feel for me as I read them.

It’s been going slow ever since July started, though (but it’s really just what, 7 days in, so what do I know). I have been picking books from my shelf every now and then but for some reason they’re not capturing me. I feel like maybe I should be reading this because my book club is reading it, or I should be reading that because it’s supposed to be next. But sometimes you just have to follow your gut, and just read what you want for the time being.

Especially when work is being kind of stressful and you don’t want to think and you just want to settle into a good book and just read.

Oh, and another new reading thing I’m doing: I’m reading manga. Never thought I’d say that, because I’m not a manga person, but I just finished watching Attack on Titan/Shingeki No Kyojin and I need to know what happens next. So my good friend gave me the links and I binged on them last weekend. 20 chapters to go! (And my heart is not so ready yet.)

So, there. I do think I’ll reach my 52-book goal. But I’m probably going to follow my gut for most of the time and reach for the one that it wants to read. I have a feeling it’ll be time to read another David Mitchell after I finish this St. John Paul II memoir. That sounds about right.

Hello, I’m still alive

Okay, this thing is still on, right?

Yesterday, I went to a video shoot to talk about books (what else) with some fellow book bloggers, carrying the credentials that I am a book blogger and a book club moderator. I felt just a little ashamed that my book blog is hardly alive, and that is why you are now reading this entry. :D

Why have I stopped blogging? Well, the default reason is I just got busy, with the old job and moving to a new job. The other reason is that there was a time I was on/off in the bookish circuit because of some personal things, and I just really enjoyed being with other people and not really getting all stressed out with the blogging responsibilities. Not that I thought it was really stressful; it was more of I just didn’t feel like writing anything here. The last reason is that I liked the freedom of not writing anything after reading a book. You know, just sitting down and reading it and then moving on with the next when I was done.

Except now I kind of miss it.

So here I am! I know I said this several times before, so if I disappear again you know I probably just didn’t feel like writing. But I am going to try, and I am going to think of bookish things to blog about again, if only to not completely lose it. :D

And because this is a book blog, here’s what I have been reading, have read, and will plan on reading/doing:

What I just finished reading:

ifyoufindthisletter weddingnightstand
If You Find This Letter: My Journey to Find Purpose Through Hundreds of Letters to Strangers by Hannah Brencher
Howard Books | 272 pages | Ebook

I bought this because I love Hannah’s blog, and the bloggers I like have non-fiction books out. (Bucket list for me, maybe?) I really enjoyed this one – I read this during March as my birthday read, and I wanted to stop every now and then to savor her words. Hannah has a big, big heart, clearly evident in the pages, and I felt like we were just talking over coffee while I read this. I had a huge, huge desire to go to New York City (more so than usual) after reading this, and also a bigger desire to write letters to strangers and leave them here. This book shows the power of words, and the power of love that shines through the words that we write, even if we do not know who will receive it.

Rating: 

Wedding Night Stand by Mina V. Esguerra (A Chic Manila short story)
Bright Girl Books | 28 pages | Ebook

Hee, Damon. I am still a Lucas Fairy Tale Fail fangirl, but hee, Damon. :”>

Rating:

What I am currently reading:

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby – TFG book of the month; still halfway through, need to read faster because discussion is next week. (Except I’m not really liking Rob right now)

The Mysterious Benedict Society  by Trenton Lee Stewart – I needed something fun and light, and this has been in my TBR for aaaages. Really liking it so far. :)

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami – been stuck on page 100 for the longest time now. Not because it was uninteresting, but because I just didn’t pick it up again. Maybe I should put it on hold for now. Or maybe I should pick it up and read it. Hold on, HM.

What I plan on reading next:

I quit on the Required Reading meme like late last year (but some friends are still doing it, so yay) because I just lost interest. But here are the books lined up as of now (assuming I don’t go all fickle and read something else):

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz – book club book for May. (This, I will not fickle out on :D)

Tabi Po 1 & 2 by Mervin Malonzo – because these are graphic novels and should be fast reading. (Also because, haha, best time to read anything remotely scary is during the summer, in broad daylight. :))

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey – Recommended by friends, and it seems right up my alley. :D I read the preview for this and I’m excited to get into this.

#buqoYA books – I joined this writing class but didn’t get to finish, but it doesn’t mean I can’t support my fellow authors. One of the reasons why I am resurrecting this blog is because of the #buqoYA book tours I joined. Watch out for that. :D

Okay I am all blogged out for today. Excuse me while I go blog-hopping because hey, I missed that, too. :)

2014 Book Report

So after the last post, I had some intentions of reviving this blog because I realized that I missed book blogging, somewhat. But of course, intentions are just that, until they are acted upon. Which I wished I did, but of course, as we all know, life happens, and we forget our intentions because life.

I’m actually kind of tired of using that excuse, and I’m sure you are tired of hearing that, too, if you’re still one of the people who read this blog. So I’m sorry, and let me try to make it up to you with this early year-end bookish recap! Yay.

Overall, 2014 was a pretty good reading year because even if I stopped blogging halfway through the year, I still read a lot. I don’t go out without books – Hannah the Kindle is still my best friend – and I still go and buy books every now and then. So I won’t say that 2014 is bad books-wise, just different in a lot of levels.

I’m going to do this the way we do it at work, because it’s easier to do that.

Image from We heart it

Image from We heart it

Highlights:

  • I met my reading goal of 52 books way earlier than expected, because I had some spurts of fast reading sometime when I wasn’t really busy. This is where Hannah the Kindle comes in – I just read faster when I have it, compared to having a book. Perhaps it’s because I carry it everywhere, and it’s even more used than Astrid the Kindle. As of this writing, I have finished 66 books. That’s as many as 2009. :)
  • I read a lot of Filipino authors this year. You know what, next year, I won’t put that in my goals anymore, because now reading local authors is almost like an instinct. I see someone release a new book, I buy it, I read it. I think it also helped that I am also an author now, so buying and reading other people’s works is like giving support for myself, too. :)
  • And I suppose that this is also a highlight, even if this isn’t a really about reading but it IS about books: I finally released my first contemporary romance novella. :D (And it’s free on Smashwords until December 28, use NT22P on checkout :D)
  • We had our first joint book discussion with another big book club in the Philippines, Flips Flipping Pages. We’ve wanted to do this in ages, but it only happened this year, so yay. I hope we have more in the next year? :)

Lowlights:

  • I hardly blogged. In fact, I only had 27 posts this year, and this is my 28th. I was busy, but to be totally honest, I also got tired of it. I do miss writing thoughts on books, and going back to these thoughts whenever someone asks about them…but then it was also quite fun just reading and not thinking of what to write about them. I don’t know if I still want to review, or maybe I just need to find a balance later on. (But I’m not shutting this blog down, because this is what, five years worth of book reviews? That’s so much content.
  • I missed a lot of book club discussions this year, because of some personal circumstances, and work. It was…well, hard, especially since I’ve always been present in the first two years of us doing the discussions. In turn, I also missed out on a lot of fun, and missed out on reading some really good books that they discussed, too.
  • I stopped doing Required Reading because work got in the way, and because it wasn’t really helping me anymore in getting through my TBR. As a highlight, though, not setting a required reading goal for the month allowed me to read whatever I want, and it was liberating.

Stats!

Total books read: 66
Total pages read:
16,254
Total print books: 31
Total ebooks:
35
Total audiobooks: 0
Total rereads: 2

Written by male authors: 16
Written by female authors: 50

Ratings:
5 stars – 10
4 stars – 32
3 stars – 22
2 stars – 3
1 star – 0
Did not Finish – 0*
I didn’t DNF any, but I have several books that I put back on my TBR because they didn’t just captivate me as I expected.

Best Books:

  • Daring Greatly by Brene Brown
  • Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
  • All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins
  • The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jesse Rothenberg
  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
  • The Light of Faith by Pope Francis
  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Letters to a Young Poet by Rainier Maria Rlike
  • The Mythology Class by Arnold Arre
  • Trese 6: High Tide at Midnight by Budjette Tan and KaJo Baldisimo
  • Darkness In the World by A.S. Santos

And that’s my 2014 reading year. I have two more books in my currently reading shelf, but I don’t think I’ll finish them before 2014 ends (not in a hurry, anyway). Here’s hoping for more good books in 2015, and hopefully, get back to book blogging. I’m not making any promises, but I will try. ;)

From we heart it, again :)

From we heart it, again :)

See you in 2015, lovely book people! :)

Books Kinokuniya – Singapore

I’m trying to make it a point to visit bookstores whenever I go on a trip outside the country, just because it’s fun. Plus for a bookish person like me, it’s always interesting to see various editions of books, especially the ones translated in the country’s local language. The first foreign bookstores I went to were during my trip to Europe. I was only able to check one bookstore in Jakarta (and I wasn’t able to blog about it, eep!). So I went to Singapore last week, and as I was planning my itinerary, I knew there was one place that I should go to: Books Kinokuniya.

I’ve read really great things about this place — and by great, it’s really more This is such a big bookstore and There are really so many books inside. On my third day at Singapore, I hopped on a train to Orchard to get to Takashimaya Mall and looked for this bookstore.

And…I was amazed.

I wasn’t able to take a lot of photos outside and inside that aren’t sneaky photos (I haven’t had that tourist-y talent down pat yet). I was alone when I went there, and I was really too amazed at the selection of books more than I wanted to take photos. Here are some photos I took, though:

kinokuniya02

Rows and rows of shelves!

Two versions of The Lover's Dictionary

Two versions of The Lover’s Dictionary

Continue Reading →

2013 Mid-Year Report

I saw some of my friends do a post similar to this, and I was checking my archives and as it turned out, I haven’t really made a list like this in my past years of book blogging. Since this book blog has been feeling a little bit lonely lately, So I figure I’d write something like this. And yeah, maybe do a check on my goals, too, to see if I am still sort of on track. :)

Image from we heart it

Image from we heart it

Best Books of 2013 (So Far):

In no particular order:

  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel: “The ending left me…reeling. A friend told me about the twist in the story, but I wanted to be surprised and boy was I surprised. I couldn’t wrap my head around it for a while, and I had my first case of a book hangover for the year, which was extended right after watching the movie.”
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: “One last thing: I hope that when Death comes for me, he’ll find my soul sitting up.
  • Iscariot: A Novel of Judas by Tosca Lee: “Would there have been redemption for Judas, if he had just waited? Could he have become someone like Peter, who denied Jesus but accepted mercy which led him to become the great church leader that he is? If he had just waited until Sunday, would he have believed that Jesus was indeed the person he had been waiting for his entire life?”
  • 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff: “If you happen to pass by 84 Charing Cross Road, kiss it for me? I owe it so much.
  • What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver: “Because really, what do people talk about when they talk about love? My friends and I do this a lot, and while we all have these ideas and dreams and everything, I don’t think we will ever grasp what love really is about. The best we can do, I think, is try.”
  • Icon of the Indecisive by Mina V. Esguerra: “Let’s just say this book had me…er, squeeing more than half the time. Hee. There were many, many things I wanted to ask at the end of the second book, but I’m very glad to report that this third book delivers.”

Honorable Mentions:

2013 Goals Checkpoint:

  1. 52 Books – upped to 75, when I realized that I will probably reach 52 a bit earlier. Then I got into a reading slump. Heh. But I am at 38 books now, and Goodreads tells me I am 1 book ahead. So yay.
  2. 5 Classics – 1 out of 5. Eep. I have to catch up.
  3. 4 Chunksters – 2 out of 4. Reading my third this month!
  4. 20 Filipino Books – 10 out of 20. Good job, self. *pats*
  5. Required Reading – I am surprisingly managing this well. There were some books that I postponed reading (for the future (hello, May books), but other than that, I think I hit my monthly goals quite well.
  6. The Reread Factor – I’ve reread several books but I didn’t get to review them. Oops. Maybe next time. :)

I don’t review all the books I read now because sometimes I get too lazy to review and by the time I realized that I should review it, it’s been too long and I can’t remember what to write anymore. So…there. But don’t worry, this blog isn’t going anywhere. :D I’m just a little busy with other life things. :)

Happy reading for the rest of 2013!