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

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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!

ReaderCon 2012 Filipino Friday 4: Books and Friends

Filipino FridayHappy Friday everyone! It feels like I’m waking up from a long, kind of unpleasant dream today, with the rains and floods that’s happened in Manila lately. I hope everyone’s okay, though, or at least, recovering well!

On another note, it’s a little over a week till the 2nd Filipino ReaderCon! Ahh, I’m so excited! Are you? :) It will be a very busy day for me, but I won’t mind. It’s going to be on August 18, at the Filipinas Heritage Library — if you haven’t pre-registered, make sure you do so now so you can secure your slot!

I also really like this week’s Filipino Friday topic — enough of the rambling now, let’s answer it. :)

August 10Books and Friends. We will have book discussions hosted by several book clubs during the ReaderCon, so to prepare us for that, let’s talk about books and friendships and book clubs. Are you a part of a book club? If yes, what made you join one? What’s your favorite activity that you have with them? If you’re not a part of one, will you consider joining one? Why or why not?

Or if you’re not (yet) a part of a book club, do you have friends who share the same passion for books as you do? Do you have a “bookish” best friend? If yes, tell us about them! How did you become friends? What’s your favorite memory with them?

I’ve been a part of Goodreads – The Filipino Group since late 2010. I’ve talked about the first meet-up I attended on the blog before, and like what I’ve kept on saying, it’s really one of the best decisions I’ve ever done. I’m a social person, and I really want to share the things I like with people who has the same interest. My online communities often die because I end up lurking forever, so I was kind of expecting that it would happen with this, too. But I guess meeting people in the flesh makes it different because ever since that first meet-up, I’ve been meeting with them quite regularly, and I can say that they really are my friends. *sniff*

gr-filipinos

The first meet-up I attended with TFG

It’s been two years since that meet-up, and we’ve done so many things as a group. We used to have palengke meet-ups, or just informal meet-ups where everyone talks and exchanges books and all that. We watched movies together, hunted for books together, attended conferences together, partied together, and even went on some trips out of town with each other. Our big meet-ups used to be four times a year, but just recently, we’ve been meeting more often because of our monthly face to face discussions.

*cue photo dump!*

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