Ten Ten Ten!

It’s October 10, 2010. You know what this means, of course?

I’m not one to believe in lucky numbers or days, but I can’t really pass up the chance to blog on this day, if only to remember what I did, or to say that I actually have a post on this once-in-a-lifetime date on my blogs.

So hi, happy 10.10.10!

I was supposed to join the 24 hour read-a-thon this weekend, but I decided to sit it out this year since my family and I were busy with my dad’s arrival and my brother’s upcoming wedding. It would’ve been an excellent way to spend 10.10.10 reading wise, but I have to face the fact that I have a life outside of books. But in the spirit of this binary date (I’m a geek, of course I have to point that out), I thought I’d sort of take a break from all the book reviews and squeeing and post something a little more personal, but still somehow related to reading (this is a book blog, after all). I know I’ve gained some new followers in the past months, so consider this a re-introduction post. :) Since it’s 10.10.10, let’s go for 3 sets of 10’s, shall we?

10 things about me:

  1. My name is Tina, and I’m a 24-year-old sort of all around geek from the beautiful (and sometimes chaotic) Philippines. :)
  2. I work as a full-time web content developer in one of the big multinational companies in the…well, world. I love my job even if it can be repetitive and somewhat frustrating sometimes. As of now I still see myself in that company for a few more years. I don’t know if I’ll be doing that I’m still doing, but I hope whatever it is, I would still love it. And since I’m a web content developer, you see now how I can manage to blog every now and then. ;) Blogging is practically second nature.
  3. I own three more blogs outside of my book blog, plus a semi-active Tumblr, a very active Twitter and a dead LJ and Plurk accounts. I’m also very active at Goodreads, more active than I was before ever since I met the Goodreads Filipino group people. :) I have a very big internet footprint, and it’s too late to do anything about that. ^^
  4. I love to run. I’m not sure if it loves me back, but I love it very much. :) I’m not really a sporty person, but running is not really a competitive sport so I caved in and joined the thousands of people who liked to run races here, too. I started running this year, after my friends and I set a goal to run races, and I haven’t stopped till then. I started with 5k distance then immediately stepped up to 10k, and been running 10k ever since. I’m hoping and planning and praying to run my first half marathon early in 2011. :)
  5. Speaking of praying — I’m a devout Catholic. I’d like to believe I’m not a religious nut, but rather spiritual. I value my faith and beliefs, hence it influences what I read and how I review the books I read.
  6. I dream of publishing my own novel someday. I need to get moving and keep on writing (hence my insistence on joining NaNoWriMo every year), and I need to find the courage to actually submit my work somewhere. One day, one day.
  7. My brother is a wedding videographer. I may be biased, but he’s a very good one, too. Just look at his works here. :)
  8. I am a semi-health nut. Ever since I lost a lot of weight in the past year, I’ve been very careful to keep the weight off. Hence the running, and lots of gym, and watching what I eat. I still love ice cream and sweets and other sinful stuff, though but always in moderation. ;)
  9. My most common random fact that I always share: I name all my gadgets. It helps me take care of them better. I have two laptops named Teo (work) and Aslan (personal), Macy the iPod, Elyon and Cornelia the mobile phones, Wes the external hard drive, Ginger the USB flash drive, Ashley the camera and Astrid the Kindle. I also name my credit cards in an attempt to not always use them, but I fail at that. ;)
  10. And for the 10th thing about me is…I don’t know why I keep on writing lists like these! I forgot how hard it is to write 10 things about myself! Hah. But I’m somewhat of a masochist sometimes. I like challenging myself. I’m not really a daredevil, but I try to find things that would make me try new thing and would (hopefully) make me a better person in the end. :)

10 Favorite Books read in 2010 so far:

  1. Fire by Kristin Cashore
  2. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
  3. Feed by Mira Grant
  4. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  5. Unwind by Neal Shusterman
  6. Happyface by Stephen Emond
  7. The Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
  8. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  9. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  10. Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

10 books I can’t wait to get my hands on:
(Always subject to change ;))

  1. The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell
  2. Plain Kate by Erin Bow
  3. Archangel by Sharon Shinn
  4. AEIOU: An Easy Intimacy by Jeffrey Brown
  5. The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde
  6. Dust City by Robert Paul Weston
  7. Rot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
  8. Matched by Ally Condie
  9. What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
  10. Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Well that took a bit of time to post. Whew. What about you, do you have any 10’s to share? :)

The last day of the rest of your life

Before I Fall by Lauren OliverBefore I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Publisher: Harper Collins
Number of pages: 470
My copy: ebook

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

* * *

I really wasn’t planning to read this book, because despite the blue eyes that looked out at me on the cover, I felt that it wasn’t something I would be interested in. Maybe it’s because I just glaze over the summary, or maybe I thought it would be just like the other contemporary YA romances that I haven’t felt like reading, lately. Maybe it reminded me too much of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, which I thought was a really good novel already, and I didn’t want to read a book that seemed to be a copycat. Or, shallow as this may seem, I didn’t want to read it because it’s still in hardcover, and I’m not fond of hardcover books.

Regardless of my initial avoidance, I still ended up getting a sample of it from Amazon, and the sample kind of piqued my interest. Eventually, I got myself a copy and started reading, but I always put it off for some other book. It wasn’t until last week that I started to really focus on the book, and even then, I wasn’t sure if I would stick with it. The blurb pretty much tells it all: Sam Kingston is one of the popular girls in school, and she pretty much has a perfect life. February 12 is supposed to be one of the best days of her life, but the day goes horribly wrong at the end and Sam dies in a car crash. Although I was curious, it wasn’t something I thought I need to read immediately. That changed when I reached the end of the first chapter, and then I knew I just had to read it until the end. Just read Sam’s chilling words at the end of that chapter (Note: edited out some spoiler-y parts):

I know some of you are thinking maybe I deserved it…there are probably some of you who think I deserved it… — because I wasn’t going to save myself.

But before you start pointing fingers, let me ask you: is what I did really so bad? So bad I deserved to die? So bad I deserved to die like that?

Is what I did really so much worse than what anybody else does?

Is it really so much worse than what you do?

Think about it.

I had to pause my reading to really absorb that part, re-reading the previous parts to really get the impact of what Sam was asking me, as a reader before I continued to the next pages. You see, I couldn’t really empathize with Sam because I never had first hand experience with the high school life and the cliques that this novel (or any other YA novel that is set in high school, for that matter). I studied in a very small high school, and I don’t think these kinds of cliques are really present in high schools in my country, especially the small ones. Sure, there were groups — or barkadas as we call it — but there was never a “popular clique”, the one that everyone fears, hates and worship at some level. That being said, I didn’t like Sam and her friends immediately. I guess all those TV shows and novels where the popular clique is synonymous to the meanest people in the school, it was easy for me to put them into that label too. And in the first chapter, they really make it easy. Sam, Lindsay, Elody and Ally are the classic mean, popular girls that we all know. They were mean and self-centered. They picked on people in school that they don’t like. They cheat on exams because they can and people are afraid of them. They worry more about their image rather than the other important things in life. They drank and smoked excessively, they didn’t follow traffic rules, had sex with various people. They lied, they do things only for their own good, they made up rumors about other students and the others followed suit. They were just nasty people who I know I’d avoid if they studied in my high school.

But does she deserve to die that way? Does anyone deserve to die because they’re mean and nasty, because they did something wrong, because they hurt other people, because they’re not very likable? Borrowing Sam’s words: is what these people did really worse than what anybody else does? Than what I do? Than what you do? Is it?

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