Required Reading: January

So yay, it’s the new year! January is one of my favorite months of the year, mostly because of the newness and all the possibilities of a new year. Especially in reading — don’t you like it when you see your read shelf for the year still zero and you wonder up to what number you can get to by December 31 this year? :) I know I do.

And because I had so much fun with this last year (and it really helped me knock off books from my TBR), I am going to have a go at this again. Hello Required Reading 2012! :)

Required Reading is a reading challenge that is really about getting some books off the Mt. TBR. Just as the name of the challenge meant, Required Reading is about choosing some books that must be read within the month. It doesn’t have to be the only books you read in a month, but they should be read (or at least, started) before the said month ends.

I had some rules on this last year that really applied to me, but in case other people want to join me, here are the rules:

  • Books chosen for the challenge should be in the current TBR pile as of the month of the Required Reading post. So if you decided to join at March, the books you choose for the month should be in your TBR pile as of February.
  • Galleys and ARCs can be included.
  • Posting reviews aren’t necessary (but don’t you want that out of the way, too?).
  • I’ll be posting a theme every month but you don’t have to follow that. You can choose a theme for yourself if you want to — what’s important is the books that you put there are books that you want to get to reading.
  • And since this is a TBR reducing challenge, it would be very ideal if the books you choose aren’t a part of any other challenge. Just so you can read more. But seeing as I bent this rule so many times last year, you can bend it too. :)
  • Lastly: have fun. If you don’t finish a book, it’s okay! If you finish it, then…feel free to reward yourself with something. :)

I’ll be posting a linky every month of a Required Reading post so you can leave a link to your Required Reading post there. (Not that there’s a lot of people who joined this last year…but you never know :D)

Now we are on for January. :)

Required Reading 2012: January

I love the end and the start of the year because there are so many books that I end up putting on my wish list after everyone starts making their best-of lists. Of course, that doesn’t really bode well for my book budget. :P It also makes me feel like I should READ. ALL. BOOKS., at least the ones they listed as very good that are in my TBR.

So for January, my required reading list will contain the books that I noticed were in a lot of best-of-2011 book lists among my blogger friends. Let’s call this Best-Of Catch Up. :)

  • Saving June by Hannah Harrington – “Saving June has everything that I look for in my contemporary reads…” (Chachic’s Book Nook)
  • Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park – “Loved it. You know those books where you’re excited to tell the world about? I think this is one of them.  The more I think about Flat-Out Love the more I feel this “I need to pimp this book” feeling.” (Janicu’s Book Blog)
  • How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr – “From the assured writing to the authentic characters, How To Save A Life is a book that will both pluck at your heart strings and make you grin to lasting effect.” (Book Harbinger)

Oh look, all of them are contemporary books! Since I know I will probably end up going through these in a flash, I am adding two more books to the list:

So…that’s a sizable book list, don’t you think? I’ve started on one and already more than halfway on another, so at least I’ve started. :)

2012 Reading Goals and Challenges

Ahoy there! Greetings from 2012! :) It’s been 2012 on my side of the world for more than 12 hours, and it’s been quiet so far. But that may be because I’m alone at home right now. :P The best time to blog is always at the start of the year, so I’m going to make use of all that optimistic energy by getting as many posts in now and not just follow this link with all this spare time.

So anyway, a new year means new reading challenges. And if you know me, I’m all about reading challenges. Or, okay, not really, but I like challenging myself to see how far I can go. I’ve got some interesting challenges I’m going to join this year, and instead of making a post/page for each, I thought I’d put them all in one. :) (Oh, and here’s my 2011 reading statistics, if you’re curious :D)

Well, not necessarily buy... :P

Reading Quantity – >125

I don’t really set the number of books I’m going to read since I believe it’s about quality and not quantity, but I am going to try to top last year’s number (125). I don’t know if I can get to 150, but I will try. Let’s see. :) Print books and ebooks will still be here, but I also really want to start trying out more audiobooks this time. They’re fantastic in the gym. :D

Classics – 5 books in 2012

It was very rewarding to finally reach the five book goal for my classics reading challenge. This year, I’m still sticking to five, but I will try to read classic books I haven’t read yet, and no more thin novella-like books. This tentative list contains Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, 1984 by George Orwell and Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. I won’t decide on the fifth one just yet, because I’m still debating if I will finally read Vanity Fair.

Books written by Filipino authors – 20

I didn’t reach my goal last year, but 15 isn’t a bad number. This year, I will try reading the 20 again and hope I get to reach that goal this time around. I think it may be easier now since there’s Flipreads so there are more Filipino ebooks now, and I still have some leftover Filipino books on my TBR pile. Also, I will make it a point to review these books I read.

2-digit TBR pile

This is going to be a little harder than my other goals because…well, book-hoarding is an addiction! But anyway, this year I will try to reduce my TBR pile from 130+ to somewhere below 100. If I can maintain that at the end of the 2012, then good, but I’ll be happy if I manage to reach a 2-digit number for my TBR pile sometime within the year and go back to 3 digits again because of book acquisition. :D

Chunkster Challenge – Chubby Chunkster: 4 chunkster books

Since I read more YA than I read non-YA books, I’ve always felt a little intimidated by those oh-so-thick books. With the amount of books on my TBR pile, I feel like anything more than 400 pages is too much of a time investment. But it’s time to stop thinking that way and start reading those awfully thick books that everyone has been raving about. So this year, I am joining my first Chunkster challenge, at the Chubby Chunkster level, which is 4 Chunkster books. Here’s my list:

  • Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet (976 pages)
  • A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R.R. Martin (835 pages)
  • The Passage by Justin Cronin (766 pages)
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (465 pages)

Required Reading 2012

I enjoyed setting monthly books for this challenge, so I’m doing it again this year. Watch out for my first Required Reading post of 2012 coming this week! :)

Re-read Challenge – 10

This is really just for me and my obsession at finding out if the books I liked/loved during the first read. I want to know if I would still like/love them when I read them again. Ignore me, I’m just OC (but if you want to join me, I’ll post about it :D).

Book Acquisition: Borrow instead of Buy

This isn’t a reading challenge, but more of an acquisition challenge. LOL. This year, I plan to really keep track of the books I buy for myself. I tried doing that last year but lost steam later on. This year, I will do better with that, and for books that I kind of want to read but not sure if I’d want to have a copy, I’ve resolved to just borrow. I will only allow myself to buy books for auto-buy authors, and pre-order of books that I really, really want — preorder because it’s cheaper (see this list).

Blogging: Interact and participate more

I will continue to interact with other bloggers and I will up the ante this year. Which means, well, leaving more comments, and participating in Twitter conversations and things like that. I will also participate in Armchair BEA again, and Book Blogger Appreciation Week too (I missed joining BBAW last year because I was too busy).

This also includes participating in local things, like in my book club’s discussions and Filipino Book Blogger events. :) It looks like it will be an exciting year for us, too. :)

Blogging: Come up with blog features and fun stuff

I think it’s time to have some changes in this blog and post things other than reviews. This means some more author interviews, maybe some more giveaways (when I have budget, of course), and then some guest posts here. I’ve got some things under wraps — I will post about it soon. :)

And that’s it! I think these things are pretty doable. I’m not going to stress myself out — I plan to have as much fun (even more, if possible) this year with my reading like I did last year. Let’s do this!

Share your reading goals in 2012 in the comments! I’d love to know what you’re up to this year. :)

2012 Books I Can’t Wait to Get My Hands On

So hello, it’s 2012. I will be all cliche and stuff and say that I can’t believe we’re at a new year all over again. Didn’t 2011 just start yesterday?

Happy 2012!

And now I’m done being cliche, I will not stop blathering on and share some of the reasons why I’m looking forward to this year (even if the Mayans think the world will end by December) — good books for another year, they’re things to be excited about, yes?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green (January 10). You know this isn’t even a question, really. Anyone who’s a fan of contemporary YA novels should be looking forward to this, especially because: (1) It’s by John Green and (2) All pre-ordered copies were signed by the author himself. You still have time to pre-order this if you haven’t — go and do it now!

Blackout by Mira Grant

Blackout by Mira Grant (June 7). If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog or my friend in real life, you would know how much I love the Newsflesh trilogy. So much that I’ve given away so many copies of Feed and Deadline already. Now the end is near, the end of this amazing trilogy is also near. I’m so excited for this that I already pre-ordered it on Kindle. :D

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers

This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (June 19). And more zombies! I haven’t read all of Courtney Summers’ stuff, but I liked Some Girls Are and the news of her releasing a zombie novel just tickled me pink. :) Or maybe that wasn’t the right term to use. But anyway, with a creepy cover like this, who wouldn’t be excited?

The Return of the Shandar

The Last Dragonslayer # 3: The Return of the Shandar by Jasper Fforde (November 2012). This is also really no question. I love Jasper Fforde, and I loved The Last Dragonslayer. I’ve yet to read The Song of the Quarkbeast, but since I’m a completist for Jasper Fforde, I must have this. :)

Thursday Next # 7: Dark Reading Matter by Jasper Fforde (July 12). And here’s another Fforde! I love that he has two-books-a-year release deal, so now we get to know more about what happens next to Thursday next sooner rather than later. Awesomeness.

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand (January 17). I’ve read and loved Unearthly last year, and I’ve also already read and loved the next book. It’s probably high time I get myself a print copy of both books. I hope this one is as shiny and pretty as Unearthly. :)

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund (June 12). I loved Rampant, even if I have never read the next book, I still think Diana Peterfreund is someone to look out for. And then, she comes out with a new book. That is dystopian. And is based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion which I also loved. How. Freaking. Awesome.

Discount Armageddon by Seannan McGuire

Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (March 6). I haven’t read any Seanan McGuire books…oh wait, she’s also the same person as Mira Grant. One more time. I’ve never read any October Daye books and I plan to, one day. But I can’t deny being excited over Seanan’s new series. This sounds so interesting, and knowing the author, I’m sure it’s going to be great, too.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. While I didn’t really like Lola and the Boy Next Door as much as I liked Anna and the French Kiss, I can’t deny that I’m a fan of whatever Stephanie Perkins writes. I know that Isla brings us back to one of Anna’s friends in the first book, Josh, and it has that romantic feel of “I like this guy but he has no idea that I exist“. Aw. </3

Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews (August 2012). A spin-off in Kate Daniels universe — how exciting is this!!!!! (Yes, the exclamation points should express my excitement even if it’s not enough :D)

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (May 1). It’s been a long, long time (okay, fine, two years) since I read Fire and Graceling, and I’ve waited for so long to get my hands on this. Finally, the wait is about to end! :)

Interim Goddess of Love by Mina V. Esguerra. And finally, I can’t ignore a local book coming out, yes? One of my favorite local authors is coming out with a YA book! We were talking on Twitter about this one time and I told her that I want to put her book in my list, and that would make her focus. it is. Yay for more Filipino YA! :)

I’m pretty sure there are more books to look forward to in the coming year, but let’s be surprised at that, yes? I hope 2012 becomes a good reading year for everyone! What books are you looking forward to in 2012?

2011 Book Report

I still have a few reviews (two, actually) to write, but I was out yesterday partying with my friends so naturally, I didn’t have any time to write. But now that we’re less than 8 hours to 2012, I have time to give a recap for 2011.

Total books read: 125
Total pages read:
Total print books: 70
Total ebooks:
Total audiobooks: 1
Total rereads: 4
* Includes 564 pages from The Message Bible and 218 pages from Come Be My Light

Written by male authors: 38*
Written by female authors: 91*
* Books written by a male and a female author count twice

Reviews written: 121

5 stars – 25
4 stars – 53
3 stars – 35
2 stars – 8
1 star – 2
Did not Finish – 2

2011 Challenges Status:
20 out of 20 books for TwentyEleven Challenge
5 out of 5 classic books read
15 out of 20 Filipino Books
30 Required Reading Books

Well, this was a pretty good reading year, if I may say so myself. I’ve read and discovered a lot of fantastic books this year, and I think I managed to read more from my TBR pile even if I still keep on adding to it. It’s kind of a good thing I didn’t really receive gift certificates for books as much as I got old navy coupons (or wait, I really didn’t get that, either), because I might’ve bought more than I did. :P Plus, I read five classics! Granted, they’re not all long ones, but still, I finally got to five! :)

This year was also a bigger year for my blogging. I got to join Armchair BEA, met new bloggers online and interacted with people more. There were also other bookish things I attended here — like Goodreads and FBB meet-ups, the Filipino Reader Conference and book launches. I also started writing for another online magazine about book-related things, which is always a good thing. I would definitely do more of these things next year. :)

So yeah, 2011 was all sorts of awesome for reading (and blogging). Next year should be more interesting, especially when I finally pin down what challenges I’m going to join. :)

Now I probably won’t be able to blog again later, so let me take the chance to greet all you lovely readers and visitors a HAPPY HAPPY NEW YEAR! May 2012 be more awesome for you and may you read more good books in the coming year. :) Cheers!