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


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. :)


  • 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. :)

Required Reading: May 2013

Wow, where did April go?

April was, in a word, busy. I was out every weekend, and I was on midshift at work, too, so I was always home late and up late, too. Everything was a whirlwind last month, and my personal life was also like that, too. So I think I made the right decision to choose just two books to read for my April reading list, because I only finished…one.

  • Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (4/5) – our book club’s book of the month, which I really liked. I found it slow, but it was the right kind of slowness that made it beautiful. :)

I’m have about less than 200 pages to go for Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, but I think I’ll be able to finish that soon since things are finally picking up. :)

Required Reading: May

May is still a bit busy but not in the book club sense. I have two weddings to attend to this month, and my dad’s going to be home, plus a bunch of birthdays, so…yeah. But it won’t be as busy as April, so I picked a few more books than the usual. There’s no theme this time, except maybe that the books are roughly around the same length. And that I didn’t spend for any of the books on my list. :D

Required Reading for May 2013

  1. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff – our book club’s traveling book, which has been passed around since last year. It’s finally my turn, and I’m really excited to read it since everyone seemed to have good reviews for it. It’s pretty thin, so I’m pretty sure I’d be able to finish this in a day. :)
  2. Smaller and Smaller Circles by FH Batacan – our book club’s book of the month. I read this one back in college so I’m really just rereading it now to refresh my memory. I won this during our book discussion last Saturday, where our moderator gave away two copies. Also speed reading it now so I can pass my copy to other people in the club. :)
  3. The Orange Girl by Jostein Gaarder – I got this one from DC, who recommended the book to me last month, and provided a copy so I can read it. This is supposed to be passed around in our book club, too. So whoever wants to line up for this, let me know! This is technically my first Gaarder, since I didn’t really finish Sophie’s World when I tried to read it in college. ^^
  4. Essays In Love by Alain de Botton – Borrowed this from JL. I’ve been wanting to read a book by the author ever since I followed him on Twitter, but I’m not a huge fan of non-fiction or philosophy. But the topic of this book is too irresistible, so I’m glad that I have a friend who reads these kinds of books. I know this is more apt for February, but I figure since I’m attending two weddings this month, I could read it now. :)
  5. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver – Borrowed from Angus just last Saturday when I was able to check out his shelves after our discussion. He had a rave review for this, and again the subject is something I like reading about. Plus, again, weddings this month.
  6. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke – spillover from April. Again, I have less than 200 pages left. I should be done with this soon. :)

And so, there. A lot more books than my usual list, but they’re all less than 250 pages (save for the last, but I’m counting the pages I have left to read) so it should not be so hard to finish, yes? I realize how different these books are now, and I don’t even have a YA book here. Looks like I really am expanding my reading horizons, yes? I should blog about that.

So, what are you reading this May? :)