Required Reading: February 2014 + January Recap

Hello, and happy February! How was your January? I hope it was filled with joy and lots of good books. :)

Before I go to the books I read in January, and the books I will read for February, let me talk about some things first. You know, for a change, to shake things up. :D

First off: the Bloggy Birthday Giveaway Winner!

I meant to announce this earlier, but life and work got in the way. Eeps, sorry about that! But thank you to everyone who greeted and left recommendations in my blog’s birthday post. You just made my wish list longer! :) Here are the recommendations:

  • From Goldie: I Want to Go Home by Gordon Korman, Airport by Arthur Hailey, Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella, and The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  • From Maria: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley
  • From Louize: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • From Bennard: Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
  • From Monique: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • From Lynai: Hinds’ Feet in High Places by Hannah Hurnard
  • From Tin: Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • From Chris: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
  • From Kat: The Devil and Miss Prym by Paolo Coelho

Thanks so much for the recommendations! :) I will find a way to read all of sometime (probably not this year, but I will find a way :P). Thank you so much for the well-wishes for the blog, too.

And now the winner, thanks to random.org:

Chris

Yay, congrats, Chris! I will send you an email about this soon (and figure out what will go in the package :D).

Second: First Book Club Discussion for 2014 + Book Club Feature

Our book club had our first discussion for the year last January 18. We talked about The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and we dared each other to read books. It was a fun afternoon, as always, except that my immune system gave in the middle of the discussion, so I started to get sick by the end of it. Massive headache, followed by my voice going away, perhaps as a sign not to speak! ^^;

TFG's F2F25 - Photo c/o Joy

TFG’s F2F25 – Photo c/o Joy

Thanks to everyone who attended, and thanks to The Appraisery in Cubao X for the venue! :)

Speaking of the book club, we were featured in Wanderrgirl! :)

TFG at Wanderrgirl

TFG at Wanderrgirl (And that photo there is so family-ish)

My friend Isa asked if I could write about the book club for Wanderrgirl last December, so of course I said yes. :) It was an absolute surprise to see it posted yesterday. Click here to read the entire post (and yes, I may have gone a bit sappy there :’) )!

Third: January Required Reading Recap

I did say that I read more in January, and true enough, I finished 8 books. 10, if you count the rereads. Of course, two of them were pretty short, but still. :) I was quite surprised that I finished two nonfiction books, too. And wrote a bit more reviews than I did in the past months. :D

  • History in English Words by Owen Barfield (3/5) – My first Barfield was an interesting reading experience. I promised I’d write a review, so I’ll save all other thoughts for that. :)
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (5/5) – just as lovely as the first time.
  • Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown (4/5) – So, so powerful. This made me laugh, nod, and cry at so many parts.
  • The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr (4/5) – I really missed reading contemporary YA, and I’m so glad I had Sara Zarr to fall back on. Really liked this one. :)
  • Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews (3/5) – A fun romp back into Kate Daniels’ world. :)

I’ve managed to get ahead with my quantity reading goal, so I can sort of rest easy for a while. I think. :D

Fourth: February Required Reading

February 2014 Required Reading

And now we go to my February reading list! I used to always go for the love theme for February, but this year I sort of decided not to go too much into it. Oh, there’s still love in some of the books I will read, but I won’t go all sappy and read too many romance novels this time around. Like I said, just to shake things up a little. :)

feb2014books

  • The Zigzag Effect by Lili Wilkinson – I’ve tried to read this before in previous challenges but I never picked it up because I lagged behind from the other books. Oops. :D
  • Cathedral by Raymond Carver – Our book club is reading What We Talk About When We Talk About Love this month, but since I’ve already read that, I thought of picking up this book instead.
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss – And there’s my “love” book for February. I’ve heard rave reviews about this book from book club friends, so I’m pretty sure I will be in for a treat.

And there you go. This is quite a long post! I hope you all have a delightful, love-filled February. :)

Happy 3, TFG, Part 1: Outreach Activity

I meant to write about this activity sooner, but as always, I wasn’t able to because I have too many things to do after this event happened. It’s kind of good that I got stuck in a reading rut now, so I have some time to blog. But since I don’t feel like writing any reviews just yet, I decided to go back to my recap of this because I want to remember this event, too.

So last April, our book club, The Filipino Group on Goodreads (GR-TFG) celebrated its third year of existence.1 In the past years, we had an extra meet-up time for the anniversary, but this year we decided to do it a little differently because we had too many activities planned and too little time. We decided to move our book club’s outreach activity from February to April, so we’d have more time to prepare and because anniversaries are the best time to give back to the community, right?

This year, our group decided to adopt another community and help build their library. We wanted to focus on teens, and we wanted to share with them our passion for reading by providing them books and spending a day with them. We decided to team up with Kaibigan Ermita Outreach Foundation (KEOF). KEOF is an independent, non-profit NGO that works on taking care of and the development in the urban poor areas in Manila. They have various communities all over Manila, and last April 20, our book club had the chance to meet teens from these areas.

Image from KEOF website

Image from KEOF website

But before that — we had to do a lot of book collection first. I wasn’t with them on their activity last year because I was out of town, so I so I was organizing this without prior knowledge of how it was done before. We formed committees in the group, had several meetings and started collecting books from our members that we will donate to KEOF. So one of our first events was an afternoon of book-covering, since we wanted to make sure the books will last so more kids can read them.

Some of the books we covered that afternoon. :)

Some of the books we covered that afternoon. :)

Our group collected 374 books to KEOF. :) I love how everyone had books to give away, and some of them were even brand new.

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  1. By “existence”, it was more of an offline existence — the club has been alive since 2007 or something, but the first official meet-up happened in April 2010 []

Happy Book Club Anniversary!

♥

I should be writing reviews, but I’m not, but since this is a bookish thing, anyway, I will write about it. :D

It’s our book club’s third anniversary today! Technically, our book club was born online in Goodreads around 2007, but it wasn’t really alive, until around 2009 or so, when people started posting. And then in 2010, they had their first meet-up.

I wasn’t there, but I was at the second meet-up. As I always say, that has been the best decision I have ever made in my life. I am thankful to the one who invited me, and everyone else who made staying in the group (and being a moderator) awesome. :) My reading life has been more colorful because of this group, and my life has been funnier because of these people. ♥

We have a lot of events lined up for this month, so if you’re a Filipino on Goodreads and you’ve been looking for a book club to join — we are right here! If you’re a lurker, then this is the best time to unlurk! :) Come and join the fun (and the clinginess)!

Happy 3rd anniversary, Goodreads – The Filipino Group!

On Dead Stars and Romantic Afternoons

I had a draft of this post from last night early this morning, before my shift ended, but I decided to chuck it all because that was my end-of-night-shift self talking and that self is usually more talkative than my usual self (imagine that). Let’s start over.

I wasn’t supposed to moderate a discussion for this year, but being one of the head moderators/administrators, I was ready to pick a vacant month to moderate in case no one steps up. It came a little early, after a friend made a deal with me and told me she’ll handle our other activity if someone else moderates for this month. It just so happened that the previous days, I was chatting with another friend about several activities that we can do for the group, and I realized that maybe if I moderate again, I will be able to make those activities happen.

So when 2013 rolled around, I was actually already planning my discussion. It didn’t even matter what book won, because I was going for an easy read — an easy and romantic read, because my discussion was during February. I was all about embracing the inner romantic of course! :D

The “book” that won was actually a short story, Dead Stars by Paz Marquez-Benitez. My original book of choice was Fourteen Love Stories but I could’t find a copy of it anywhere. So I decided to just stick with that story, and it won, mostly because of familiarity as this was one of the stories discussed in Literature class for most of us.
f2f14b

We had the face to face discussion last Sunday. I honestly felt more prepared for this discussion than my first one, probably because I have been preparing for this for so long. Heh. Plus the fact that I had several sick days in February, and I ended up having a lot of time on my hands despite my busy schedule. I had several activities planned, and while I was very excited, I was also kind of wary. Will it fly? Will people like it? Or will they think it’s too corny/cheesy? Am I just doing everything for my own fulfillment?

Discussion time :D

Discussion time :D (Photo c/o Reev)

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A Very Bookish TFG Year

Last Saturday, our book club had our last face to face book discussion for 2012, as well as our Christmas party. It was another awesome event, and really, I never expected anything less because weekends with my book club friends were always the highlight of my month. I’ve always meant to post about every meet-up like this, but I never got to, obviously (save for one post on my personal blog). I figure the year-end is always a good way to make a recap, so here we go. :)

tfg logo

 

Oh but wait – look we have a new logo! Thanks to Angus for bugging his friend to make one for us. :) Isn’t it purty? :D

A little background: our book club started out as an online book club that discusses books online but meets offline. When I joined, we didn’t have any book discussions offline, because our meet-ups weren’t always too many. We had about 3 big meet-ups every year from 2010, and then during those meet-ups we just talk books and gave away books and stayed together till everyone needs to go home. Late in 2011, someone came up with the idea to have a 100 Favorite Books List, which birthed the idea of finally having face to face book discussions.

I honestly wasn’t sure if it would fly. In fact, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to go to the first one because I was a bit busy then, and I was going through some personal stuff. But because I was made a moderator by late 2011, I felt that I was obligated to join them for that, even if it was my real first time to join a discussion. But again, we weren’t really sure if we could sustain the momentum, because a monthly meeting almost felt too much, especially coming from the meeting every quarter (not counting the smaller random meet-ups we have). I didn’t want it to die down, but I wasn’t really expecting it to really, really grow into a big event every month, you know?

But boy, was I surprised. :-)

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