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. :)

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 →

A Case of the Blues

So I was lazily reading (by lazily, I mean it — I’m still such a slow reader from last month) one day this month when I noticed a little curious thing.

It seems like I have a case of the blues.

Literally.

Check out the print books I’ve finished reading lately:

Blue, blue, blue, blue, blue

Okay, Ender’s Game isn’t exactly that blue like the others, but the cover has dark blue tones. But look at all the blue! Even the ebooks I’ve been reading have (mostly) blue covers:

Wonder by R.J. PalacioFreshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin

Have you ever noticed that with what you’re reading? I don’t pay huge attention to covers, but this is pretty cool how I seem to gravitate towards blue covers. Not that the blueness really means much to the stories in the books. There may be a psychology in this, with how there seem to be more blue-toned covers out there, right? Is it because it presents stability (as this infographic says)?

Of course there’s a part of me that makes me want to break this record of blues. I suddenly find the color of the cover affects how I’m choosing the next book I want to read. Just to break the color consistency.

So how about pink? :)

Tada! Pink!

One of those truths in life

People who see me in my glasses often assume I got them because I spend a lot of time in front of the computer. But I beg to disagree. Here’s the truth:

I wrecked these eyes reading

Okay, but most of the reading I did when I was young is not the same kind I do today. When I was younger, having eyeglasses were the cool thing and I thought it looked nice on me, but my parents don’t want to get me those fashion glasses. I figured the only way I can get glasses is to make me need it. We used to have a lot of power outages when I was a kid, so I would read some of my school books by candle light, or read while I was lying down. Come 5th grade, I had my eyes checked and I finally got my glasses.

Now I’m sort of regretting wrecking my eyes. :P I think the amount I spent on glasses, contact lenses and lens solutions is more than the cost of waterproof cameras. I’m not regretting the reading, though.

So. Who else have wrecked their eyes reading here? Say aye!

NaNo Update!

First off, the winner of my High Society giveaway is:

Monique

Congratulations! Expect an email from me soon! :)

* * *

Next, time for a NaNoWriMo update, I think? :)

So it’s Day 19 of National Novel Writing Month, and so far, this has been the strangest NaNoWriMo for me, ever. Just look at my graph:

NaNoWriMo 2011 update

I tried to keep up with the daily word count quota of 1667 words per day starting November 1, but by November 5, I started to fail. Why? Well, by first write-in, I realized that my original idea is not heading anywhere. So during the first write-in (Day 5), I decided to start again with the same story idea but pushed it back a few decades so instead of my story being set post-apocalypse (yeah, I was trying to write a dytopia novel :P), it was set during the apocalypse.

I kept my first 6,000 words in first because I figured that since they’re the same idea, it should still count. However, 5,000 words later, I realized that I don’t know where my story was going again. It was forming to be a chick lit / dystopia / conspiracy novel, but I had no idea how to write a conspiracy novel. I thought I’d have better luck writing about rv repairs instead. *headdesk*

So by the second write-in (Day 7), I was at a loss. I knew if I continued writing my novel, I would hate it and I would end up slaving over it and I would never, ever want to see it again. I needed to do something about it, but I’m not sure if I could still stick with the story.

I was also toying with the idea of writing what I know, particularly, what I read. Not fanfiction, of course, but you know, writing a genre that also want to read. By the night of Day 7, I was toying with the idea of starting my novel from scratch and going for a genre that I have been reading all year: young adult. I mean, the reason I wrote chick lit a few years ago was because I kept on reading them. So why wasn’t I reading a young adult novel this year when practically all that I have read last year was young adult?

Love Books? Write One!So by Day 8, I decided to try writing the start of a contemporary young adult novel I have been toying with since last year. And…I decided to stick with it. I started my word count from zero and worked from there. That’s why there was a sudden decline in my word count — I couldn’t really include the ones I’ve written for that other novel in this novel because I didn’t think it was fair. So with a new word count quota (2300 words a day), I set to work.

The new novel is easier to write and definitely more fun. I guess reading all those contemporary YA novels really helped because it was so easy to get into the world now (especially since I have set the story in my college alma mater — will change that during edits, but for now this should work). It was easier to write that I managed to get 9,000+ words in a day (Day 12-13), and by Day 17, I finally passed daily word count quota.

This is the first time in my eight years (!!!) of doing NaNoWriMo that I changed stories within the month. It was still early when I did that, so it didn’t really make that much of a difference, and I am confident that I will get to 50k words this month. Of course, my story would be far from finished by then, but still, at least that’s a NaNo win. Let’s also hope that I actually finish this novel too, yes?

So that’s basically what made my NaNoWriMo interesting. :D This is me taking Chris Baty‘s words seriously for this year:

“What should I write about?” is a hard question. “What would I like to read about?” is easier. The answers will be the same for both.

Yep, I’m doing exactly that. :) I am at 32,000+ words as of today. See you at the finish line!