Saturday, December 31, 2016

My Year in Numbers + 20 Favorites

In 2016 I read 106 books. These were:

69% by female authors, 31% male
54% by American authors, 16% English, 12% Filipino
89% fiction, 11% nonfiction
53% e-books, 47% physical copies
49% of physical copies were secondhand, 45% brand new, 6% from the library
76% were published between 1995 and 2015

My favorite books I read were:
1. Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman
2. Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham by J.R.R. Tolkien
3. Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
4. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
5. Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson
6. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
7. The Martian by Andy Weir
8. I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
9. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
10. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
Short Stories
11. Dear Distance by Luis Joaquin Katigbak
12-15. The Queen's Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
Filipino Fiction
16. Banana Heart Summer by Merlinda Bobis
17. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
18. Wouldn't take nothing for my journey now by Maya Angelou
19. Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth
20. It was snowing butterflies by Charles Darwin

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

WWW Wednesday 16

This meme/link-up is hosted by Taking on a World of Words
What are you currently reading?

Returning to this link-up after two months feels like telling the priest it has been n days since my last confession. Haha. I seem to have misplaced Macarthur by Bob Ong, and I'm pretty sure The Passion of Mademoiselle S. is at the bottom of a tote bag somewhere.

What did you recently finish reading?
Since my last confession update I've read three more of the best books I've read this year. The first one is Dear Distance by Luis Joaquin Katigbak, a collection of 20 short stories filled with nostalgia and a little regret. I also loved The Elements of Style by Strunk, White, and Kalman, though I'm not sure if the guide would have had the same levity without those gorgeous illustrations. Now to apply those lessons in my writing. Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman was a short, beautiful book on different scenarios involving time.One of the blurbs called it "meditations on time," but to me it felt more like visualizing human nature or human responses to time. Nine Stories was my second try at J.D. Salinger, and I have to say, I still don't get it. 

What do you think you'll read next?
I've stopped setting goals for myself with regards to reading, at least until the end of 2016. I've already set aside a 2017 TBR, a very reasonable 8 books. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

WWW Wednesday 15

This meme/link-up is hosted by Taking on a World of Words
What are you currently reading?
Macarthur by Bob Ong is still buried under notebooks, lab logbooks, and mind maps for my thesis. The Passion of Mademoiselle S. has migrated to the top of my closet, keeping company with The Grapes of Wrath . I'm currently "ctrl + F-ing" my way through Numerical Recipes in C, because programming is challenging and matrices make me want to cry.

What did you recently finish reading?
50 Foods: A Guide to Deliciousness by Edward Behr was an enlightening read filled with trivia, but also with a bit of snobbery about how you can't get decent ingredients in America since everything good is from Europe. I guess that would be true for certain cuisines but it was kind of annoying since I'm from Southeast Asia, hmm if I can't get any decent pasta here I'll just never eat it again? 

Beginner's Guide: Love and Other Chemical Reactions by Six Delos Reyes is the second Filipino romance novel I've read. The language is a little clunky, even for romance novels, but in my opinion the really cool concept (lab geek conducts a science experiment to find love, ends up falling for her control) lived up to its potential. I really liked the cover of this one, too.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is based on her TEDTalk (and was sampled on that Beyonce song), and it's one of the best books I've read this year. I mean, 
The problem with gender is that it prescribes how we should be rather than recognizing how we are. Imagine how much happier we would be, how much freer to be our true individual selves, if we didn't have the weight of gender expectations. 
and a lot of other quotes that resonated with me but I haven't shared on social media because of how they might be misinterpreted or reacted to (and isn't that exactly the problem). But really, this book was amazing. I had to sit down and copy out everything that made me feel things, but that was the whole book so I just wrote down everything that felt "universal" or sounded like advice to me.

Sugar & Salt by Ninotchka Rosca is a sort of "fable" of Filipino women's history, from before the Spaniards came and during the colonization, sort of about how they lost their power and are weighed down with wisdom. I can't explain it properly, but I liked it a lot as well.

What do you think you'll read next?
I've kind of been focused on my thesis proposal writing, but I did buy some secondhand books from my university's Christmas bazaar: The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin (since I loved It was snowing butterflies), Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger (I didn't like Catcher but aren't short stories usually more accessible?), and The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (because it was in paperback size, not the kid chapter book format I usually see). I also bought Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from an online friend so I'll probably read that soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

WWW Wednesday 14

This meme/link-up is hosted by Taking on a World of Words
What are you currently reading?
Looking back at my previous WWW's, I see a lot of stuff left unfinished. I still haven't finished Macarthur by Bob Ong, and it's actually buried under a pile of notebooks and lab logbooks. From 50 Foods: A Guide to Deliciousness by Edward Behr, I only have Vinegar and Walnuts left unread. The Passion of Mademoiselle S. is still gathering dust in its corner on my desk. There also hasn't been any progress on The Shell Collector by Anthony Doerr or Noble House by James Clavell since I switched to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley on my e-reader.

What did you recently finish reading?
Maya Angelou's Wouldn't take nothing for my journey now was a beautiful read. It wasn't necessary to agree with everything she had to say to enjoy how she said it. 
Catch a Falling Star by Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo came to me through a book exchange in April. It's a book of short stories about a young girl, set a few decades before I was born but still oddly familiar and nostalgic. 
Our Darkest Hours is a collection of short stories by Jose Miguel Arguelles, about how humans handle frustration. Some of the stories were too dark for my taste, but I should have expected that.  One in particular stood out to me, about indigenous boat dwellers facing off against the zombies on the mainland. It was an interesting concept and also pretty well-executed in my opinion.
This Side of Sunny by Agay Llanera is about a Fil-Am girl who returns to the island where her parents met, to try and find her missing mother. It's a romance where she falls for the local who ends up being her tour guide, and he also has a dramatic backstory. It was kind of predictable, but I enjoyed the local flavor and the island setting.

What do you think you'll read next?
I should really focus on my thesis proposal writing, so I won't put anything here for now.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Annotated TBR #5: Recommendations and Links masterlist

This is yet another masterlist of everything I've recently added to my TBR, but not my Goodreads To-Read List, because I want to credit all the recs I get from book bloggers.

The Afternoon Chat: What are you reading right now? on Go Fug Yourself always blows up my TBR, and I've only read two of those chats so far. I forgot to note the names of the commenters, though. 
Stranger in Their Own Land by Arlie Russel Hochschild
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
The Little Paris Bookshop
Lady Susan by Jane Austen (and the Love and Friendship movie?)
Swan by Frances Mayes
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
The Special Power of Restoring Lost Things by Courtney Elizabeth Mauk
Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (in audiobook form!)
The End of the Affair by Graham Greene (read by Colin Firth)
The Summer Before War by Helen Simonson
The Nix by Nathan Hill
Dr. Siri Paiboun series by Colin Cotterill
Dancing With the Tiger by Lili Wright
The Boy is Back by Meg Cabot
Dear Fang, With Love by Rufi Thorpe
You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott
Fill the Sky by Katherine A. Sherbrooke
The Mental Floss History of the World
Siracusa by Delia Ephron
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
Tent City Urbanism by Andrew Heben
The Heaven Tree by Edith Pargeter
Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta
Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
High Wind in Jamaica, Richard Hughes
Seating Arrangements, Maggie Shipstead
The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer
The Strangler Vine, MJ Carter
Eligible, Curtis Sittenfeld
The Antagonist, Lynn Coady
The Observations, Jane Harris
The Asylum, John Harwood
No Great Mischief by Alistair McCleod
Bird Box by Joshua Malerman
A Room with a view by E.M. Forster
The Shape of Snakes by Minette Walters
Sorcery and Cecelia by Patricia Wrede
The History of the Rains by Niall Williams
Two Summers by Aimee Freedman
The Song of the Quarkbeast by Jasper Fforde
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
The Gallery by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
The Name Therapist by Duana Taha
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Pretty Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatton
Three Men in a Boat
Mystic River
The Fisherman
Under the Udala Tree
Death Comes to the Archbishop
The Warmth of Other Suns
Shores of Women
The Mysterious Benedict Society
Dostoevsky but only the Pevear/Volokhonsky translations
Rachel Dratch's book
N.K. Malesin
The Language of Food
East of Eden
Ta-Nehisi Coates

From Parnassus Books' lit journal Musing's 43 Books to Read Right Now
The Care and Management of Lies by Jacqueline Winspear
As Good as Gone by Larry Watson
The Atomic Weight of Love by Elizabeth J. Church
and Ann Patchett's notes on the Read Harder challenge

Books set in Africa from Anne Bennett at My Head is Full of Books
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, 
Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, 
West with the Night by Beryl Markham, 
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein, 
The Bitter Side of Sweet by Tara Sullivan, 
Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell
also from Anne Bennett: Exit, Pursued by A Bear by E.K. Johnston, previously on TBR but recommended again

African Literature from Diana at A Haven for Book Lovers
Born on a Tuesday by Elnathan John
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives by Lola Shoneyin

11 book pairs that match your childhood favorites with what you should read now from Modern Mrs. Darcy
Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (to match From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E, Frankweiler)
Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis (to match The Chronicles of Narnia)
Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis (also to match The Chronicles of Narnia)
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (childhood match-up for The Grapes of Wrath)
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
and from the comments:
The Paris Architect
The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart
The Bone Clocks

20 books everyone will be talking about this fall from Modern Mrs Darcy:
The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote, from M reads books
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy by John Le Carre and
To Serve Them All My Days by R.F. Delderfeld from Karen at Booker Talk
The Crepes of Wrath by Sarah Fox and
Out of Circulation by Heather Day Gilbert from Carrie at Reading is My Superpower:
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway and
The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie Sue-Hitchcock from Bri at Transported by Books
Fakes, edited by David Shields and Matthew Vollmer from Bennard at The Book Hooligan
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold and
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman from Stephanie at Don't Be Afraid of the Dork
Behind a Mask by Louisa May Alcott from Geoff Whaley at The Oddness of Moving Things
Anina ng mga Alon by Eugene Y. Evasco from Amber Garma at Bookbed
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan from L at Big Reading Life

Anubha Yadav/Huffington Post's 14 Contemporary Short Stories That Will Spark Your Mind
Cait at Paper Fury's Historical Retelling Wishlist
Cait at Paper Fury's Fairy Tale Retelling Wishlist
On the Inimitable, Exhausting Wonder of Physical Books by Petr Knava on Pajiba

Monday, September 5, 2016

Cancelled shows, all-time favorites, and books that should be on TV (Top Ten Tuesday #11)

September 6:  In honor of Fall Tv, do a tv-themed topic! Top ten favorite tv shows of all time, ten new shows coming out this Fall that are on my radar, tv shows I wish never got cancelled, tv shows I would recommend to book characters, books I wish would be tv shows, ten favorite shows from the late 90's or early 2000's, ten tv shows for every fantasy lover, etc.

Ten shows I wish never got cancelled: 
Bunheads - Small town shows are great, and this one had a great cast. 
Agent Carter - Easily my favorite Marvel thing ever.
The Carrie Diaries - I've never seen Sex and the City, but I loved this. Not sure if it's historically accurate, but the aesthetics were something else. And Maggie's storyline! :((
Galavant - This is impossible to recommend to my friends! It's a TV show that's a musical about a knight and fairytale tropes... and it's really funny. I did get them into Hamilton, though, so there's hope for our ass, after all.
Forever - The show's premise was so unique for me, and Henry's relationship with Abe was just... I loved this show.
Limitless - I'm not sure if this was actually a good show or if I just had a soft spot for Jake McDorman since he played Evan Chambers on Greek.
Selfie - I have a thing for modern adaptations, even if I haven't seen the source material. Plus, John Cho!
Grandfathered - Such a ridiculous, adorable family. 
Telenovela - It felt like behind the scenes of The Passions of Santos at first, but Ana and Mimi and the rest of the cast and crew really grew on me.
Make It Or Break It - This was one of the things I bonded over with my first college friend. I think she gave me a CD of the episodes. It's so frustrating how they didn't even get to film the Olympics episodes.

Top ten favorite shows of all time: 
White Collar - I got into it for Matt Bomer, but the art heists and forgeries made it a lot more interesting to me than any other crime-related show. And Mozzie was the best.
Elementary - I haven't actually kept up with this, but every episode I've seen so far has been great. Sherlock and Watson have a great relationship, and the whole Moriarty twist was amazing. 
Greek - Just. All the friendships. Wow.
Jane the Virgin - This is so important to me because it's probably the most Catholic show on TV and it portrays family in a way that's very familiar, even if Jane and her family are from a different culture than mine. Also, that narrator. 
Parks and Recreation - Leslie Knope is the greatest and I want to grow up to be like her. Jean-Ralphio is iconic.
Leverage - I think Parker had the most subtle/least dramatic character development, and I loved her and Hardison. The format was kind of cheesy, but Nate was kind of cheesy anyway.
Grace and Frankie - The premise of this show is so great! So much awkwardness all the time but these two lolas are so endearing.
Agent Carter - Peggy was the most badass character on TV. And this show was the prettiest thing too, and Ana Jarvis was a delight.  
iZombie - While trying to describe this to a friend, I mentioned washing down a mouthful of potato chips with ice-cold soda. I don't know. It gives me the same sugar rush. It's about zombies trying to prevent the zombie apocalypse while solving crime.
Younger - Sutton Foster from Bunheads! Nico Tortorella from Make It or Break It! And Hilary Duff from... life! A 40-something suburban mom pretending to be a 26-year-old hipster (?) in order to get work is sad, but also hilarious.

Books I wish would be TV shows: 
After watching The 100 I have decided that a lot of YA series would make great shows or mini-series. The Raven Cycle, The Mediator, The Lunar Chronicles, and Six of Crows come to mind.

Crazy Rich Asians would also make a great TV show, since there are so many separate-but-related storylines to follow and they could jump from country to country. 

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett would be an amazing mini-series. It's about a hostage situation, so it'd be difficult to draw out to more than a handful of episodes, but I feel like a movie wouldn't do it justice.

Scruples supposedly has a series in the works, but I'm mentioning it anyway because the lush setting (luxury department store, but also France and uh... a vineyard?) and the drama would make this such a treat.

And wishes that have already come true: Queen of the South by Arturo Perez-Reverte has both a telenovela and a US TV series! Outlander had a TV show before I started reading the series, though I finished all the books first before watching it. Lastly, Call the Midwife has a show too! But I've only watched the first episode.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Annotated TBR #4: Books from 2016

(I came across this idea on Badass Romance.)
This is less of an update and more of a masterpost. Here's everything I bought in 2016 that I still haven't read:

From a Fully Booked sale (they were transferring to a different level):
When We Were Romans by Matthew Kneale, About the Size of It by Warwick Cairns, The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Way Things Work by David Macaulay

From a huge (for me) BookSale haul:
Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin, 
The Paris Review 213Telling Tales edited by Nadine Gordimer, The Color of Tea by Hannah Tunnicliffe, Water Tales by Alice HoffmannBlood Orange Brewing by Laura Childs

From Diplomat:
The Runner by Cynthia Voigt and Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary

Penguin Little Black Classics hoarding:
The Fall of Icarus by Ovid, A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees by Kenko, The Gate of the Hundred Sorrows by Rudyard Kipling, Anthem for Doomed Youth by WIlfred Owen
From a birthday splurge:
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, Here by Richard McGuire, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan

Part of my efforts to buy more Filipino books:
Alternative Alamat edited by Paolo Chikiamco, Our Darkest Hours by Jose Miguel ArguellesMacarthur by Bob Ong, This Side of Sunny by Agay Llanera, Beginner's Guide by Six De Los Reyes, Sugar and Salt by Ninotchka Rosca, Dear Distance by Luis Joaquin M. Katigbak, Shine by Candy Gourlay 

Random secondhand buys, from book bloggers' recommendations:
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

From the Manila International Book Fair: 

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (Penguin English Library edition), To Be Or Not To Be by Ryan North, The Yellow Wall-Paper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (recommended by, The Elements of Style illustrated by Maira Kalman, We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

From Yumi Thrift Shop:
Hardcovers of How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez (duplicate, I have a paperback) and Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley

From a friend who's selling her books for a move:
A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle and Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

From a friend of a friend, via the #SaveTheCulture book exchange tag on Facebook:
Manila Men in the New World: Filipino Migration to Mexico and the Americas from the Sixteenth Century by Floro L. Mercene

For my sister's birthday:
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler and Maira Kalman, Blue is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

From my beloved Little Free Library, which I feed with romance paperbacks from my aunt's collection:
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith 
I still want to cut back on my reading for now and focus on my research. Maybe five books for this month would be reasonable.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ten Books I Should Really Get To Reading (Top Ten Tuesday #10)

Via The Broke and Bookish 
August 23: Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven't Read Yet (this is going to be sad considering how many of those I have unread six years later...)

Aside from everything else on my August TBR, here are 10 books I've had for too long. I put the books I own on the "Currently Reading" shelf, so as not to mix them up with the books I want but do not have on my "To Read" shelf.

Five from my "Currently Reading:"

1. Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Novels and Stories, Volume 1 by Arthur Conan Doyle: I wonder if I'd be more inclined to read these stories if they were packaged separately. 

2. Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antoine Fraser: My grandmother lent this to me close to a decade ago. I wonder if she remembers I have it. 

3. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke: I'm maybe a hundred pages in, but I got the big, one-volume edition and I find this book's weight and surface area to thickness ratio daunting. It's also kind of slow-paced, and I can't maintain interest in all these old men.

4. The Life and Times of Akhnaton, Pharaoh of Egypt by Arthur Weigall: I have no idea why I bought this. I can't even get past the introduction, but my pride won't let me give up on it.

5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: I loved Wide Sargasso Sea, so I want to read this and to love it as well.

and five from my "To Read:"
6.  Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta: I enjoyed Finnikin of the Rock, but I'd just come off a Grisha Trilogy binge so I switched genres and forgot to get back to this series.

7. S. by J.J. Abrams: I put off buying this book because it was too expensive at the time. But now I'm in a phase where I consider graphic novels as 'investments' and I should probably get to investing in this.

8. The Same Stuff as Stars by Katherine Paterson: Jacob Have I Loved is one of my favorite books of all time. This one has an even better title, and I want to read it soon.

9. Any of Tamora Pierce's other books: I read all the Emelan books but can't decide which series to start next. Hoping for recommendations.

10. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle: I'm still looking for a copy that's both affordable and attractive, no luck so far. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

WWW Wednesday 13

This meme/link-up is hosted by Taking on a World of Words
What are you currently reading?
I bought Macarthur by Bob Ong, the first Tagalog/Filipino book I've bought that wasn't required reading, and the first chapter wasn;t as difficult as I'd thought. It helps that he doesn't go for the ~literary~ language and just writes the way people actually talk.

What did you recently finish reading?
The Camel Bookmobile by Masha Hamilton was an interesting read, and I think it's based on her real-life experiences with an actual camel bookmobile. That would be such a great job to have, though over here you'd probably transport books by water buffalo or by motorcycle. I can't help but get weirdly judgey whenever people do "white savior" things, but this was pretty self-aware and didn't provoke any eyerolls from me.

The Uncommon Reader is a novella by Alan Bennett about what would happen if the Queen suddenly starts reading like she needs it to survive. Five stars from me.

I caved and got myself a copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Some people were saying they couldn't embrace it as canon, like it felt like fanfic, but that's how I felt about Deathly Hallows and this  script actually made more sense to me while I was reading it. I loved Scorpius and how he approached everything, and I found this more satisfying than the "19 years later" epilogue.

I also read two delightful Tolkien short stories, Smith of Wootton Major and Farmer Giles of Ham. Smith of Wootton Major was a little more serious, and Farmer Giles of Ham was completely hilarious. I think Tolkien is now one of my favorite authors. 

Be More Chill by Ned Vizzini was a bit of a letdown. I got so excited about the supercomputer, but as I was reading it I could only think that if I'd read it as a teen, my suspicions would only have been confirmed: boys are the worst. I kept comparing the book to Limitless (the TV show, not the movie) and thinking of all the wasted potential. Quantum computing seems interesting, though.

What do you think you'll read next?
I should really focus on my thesis proposal writing, so I won't put anything here for now.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Rewind: Ten Gateway Books (Top Ten Tuesday #9)

Via The Broke and Bookish 

August 9: Top Ten Tuesday REWIND -- go back and do a topic you missed over the years or recently or a topic you really want to revisit -- I've made a handy spreadsheet to help (currently in the process of finishing it)

"All of us readers have those books that really started us on our way to becoming book lovers. It could be something we read as young children, or it could be a book we picked up in adulthood after years of a reading drought. Or, it could be an author or book that introduced us to a new favorite genre. This week's Top Ten Tuesday puts a spotlight on those books and authors that we credit with our bookishness."

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling: I think everyone read this in kindergarten. My classmate lent me her copy at recess, I lost it, replaced it, and that was the first time I realized books cost money. But this was also the first thick book I ever read, the first one that didn't have pictures on every other page. And, obviously, it was my gateway to the wizarding world.

2. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden: This was the first "grown-up" book I read, at the tender age of 8. Most of the adult stuff went over my head. I'd previously tried reading my father's hardbound Noli Me Tangere, but only made it as far as the friar losing it over getting the chicken neck instead of the drumstick (or something like that). That was when a whole new world of non-kid books opened up to me.

3. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster: When I got this for my birthday, I thought it was a ghost story because the tollbooth mysteriously appeared... like a ghost. So I refused to read it for months, but I finally caved and was enchanted by how clever it was. I like to think this was my gateway to similar-ish authors like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams.

4. The Baby-Sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin: My aunt, who lives in the US, likes to buy in bulk and would send me boxes of these books, maybe 10-20 at a time. But those boxes came once or twice a year, and I'd run out of unread books, and that is how I learned to dig through piles of secondhand books in Booksale. 

5. Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily von Ziegesar: Before the TV show came out, I used to beg my mother to let me stay in NBS while she ran errands in the only big mall I knew then. I'd find unwrapped copies of these and read them as fast as possible to try and finish one before she finished her trips to the supermarket and the hardware store. It was my first introduction to what I then called  "chick lit," stuff my parents would never pay for (nor would I ask for them, because of the embarrassing covers and the scandalous (for me) summaries). 

6. Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett: This launched me into a Discworld obsession, but I had to stop after 10 books or so, because everything was blurring together and I needed to get back to the real world. I still love this series, though. I think this was one of the first books I bought from one of the secondhand bookstores on campus. That store was in the social sciences building, and I thought their stock was carefully curated to appeal to a highbrow/pretentious clientele, and this was one of the least intimidating books. I later learned not to be intimidated by all the authors in translation, or by their "critical acclaim," and that by avoiding certain shelves I could almost always get something enjoyable and relatable, and now most of my books come from that bookstore. (Not recently, though, since I'm trying to accumulate receipts for a discount card from one of the big bookstores.) I'm more open to reading new genres or unfamiliar authors thanks to these bookstores. 

7. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky: This used to be such a big deal on Tumblr, and all my friends were gushing about it, so I borrowed a copy. I learned that I'm not going to enjoy every book that's popular, and that's okay. That had previously happened to me with Twilight, but it almost immediately became cool to hate on the series, so I didn't feel as conflicted as I did with Perks. On a more positive note, this was also sort of my gateway into YA. 

8. The Firm by John Grisham and Without Remorse by Tom Clancy: These were the only novels on my father's bookshelf, mixed in with the civil code, the family code, other legal stuff, and sports biographies. They set me off on a year-long exploration of these two authors, in which I tried to develop a taste for... crime fiction? Thrillers? Whatever the hell they were. I still have a soft spot for John Kelly and Jack Ryan, but I'm not as interested in that kind of fiction anymore. 

9. Skin and Other Stories by Roald Dahl:  This was how I learned that Roald Dahl didn't write for children exclusively, and where I felt his writing fit better. This was also how I got into short story collections. 

10. A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel: Another aunt sent me this for my birthday. It was a slow, months-long read, but this is how I was introduced to  nonfiction and how I learned that some books don't need to be devoured in hours but are better savored in tiny chunks. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Annotated TBR #3

(I came across this idea on Badass Romance.)

I didn't read any of the books from last month's TBR. Maybe it was because I got caught up in reading my Filipino graphic novels and the sequels to The Winner's Curse, but it may also have been because nothing on my TBR appealed to me.

The one book I should really finish reading is The Passion of Mademoiselle S., which I won in a Goodreads giveaway months ago. Aside from that, I want to take the Modern Mrs. Darcy Reading Challenge,  There are 12 categories for the challenge:

1) A book published this year: The Raven King, published April 26th, 2016
2) A book you can finish in a day: Trip to Tagaytay, read July 25
3) A book you've been meaning to read: I'll Give You The Sun
4) A book recommended by your local librarian or bookseller
5) A book chosen for you by your sibling
6) A book published before you were born: Night Flight, first published 1930
7) A book you previously abandoned
8) A book you own but have never read
9) A book that intimidates you
10) A book you've already read at least once

I probably won't have any trouble finding books that fit 7-10. Getting a recommendation for #4 will probably be toughest, unless I pick something from the bestseller pile and pretend that counts. My sister has already picked out No Comebacks by Frederick Forsyth
Funnily enough, in one of MMD's reading challenge-related posts, I'd commented a short TBR. Here it is, for future use:
Some books on my 2016 reading list are Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth, Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl by Donald Sturrock, One Hundred Names for Love: A Memoir by Diane Ackerman, and Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. I also hope to finish The Strange Story of the Quantum by Banesh Hoffman (started last year) and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (started in 2012).
I've only read two from this list, so that's 5 left, with 5 months to go. But I have a feeling my reading will slow down in the coming months because of all the schoolwork ahead.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Ten Books I Would Buy Right Now (Top Ten Tuesday #8)

Via The Broke and Bookish 
August 2: Ten Books You'd Buy Right This Second If Someone Handed You A Fully Loaded Gift Card

For this TTT I used BookDepository links to make this a sort of wishlist masterpost, should I ever be lucky enough to have someone ask. 

1. The entire Anne of Green Gables series: This Puffin in Bloom hardback and a complete set in this paperback edition, please.

Anne of Green GablesAnne of Green Gables

2. The entire Little Women series: I already have the Puffin in Bloom edition but I'd want the full set, maybe in this Puffin Classics edition
Little WomenGood WivesLittle Men Jo's Boys

3. The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen: I haven't even seen the movie adaptation because I want to read this first. It's about a 12-year-old genius cartographer who goes off on a solo adventure and that's as far as I read the summary before I was sold.
The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet

4. A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman: We had to read selections of this for English 1 and it was the strangest, freshest new thing I'd ever read back then. I've only ever seen one copy of this for sale, and I regret letting that go. I think it was this edition. 
A Natural History of the Senses

5. To Be or Not To Be: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North: This is a choose-your-own-adventure version of Hamlet. There's also Romeo And/Or Juliet. 
To Be or Not To BeRomeo And/Or Juliet

6. Anything Maira Kalman has ever written and/or illustrated: I've already read The Principles of Uncertainty as well as Why We Broke Up, but I'd love to have her other collaborations with Daniel Handler, Girls Standing on Lawns, Hurry Up and Wait, or Weather, Weather. Other books I'd want: My Favorite Things, Microscripts by Robert Waiser, or Maira Kalman by Ingrid Schaffner and Kenneth E. Silver
Girls Standing on LawnsHurry Up and WaitWeather, Weather

My Favorite ThingsMicroscriptsMaira Kalman

7. Snowpiercer by Jacques Lob: I was so shaken by the film that I immediately banished all traces of it from my computer, but it's still one of my favorite movies of all time. I'd love to read the graphic novel that inspired it

Snowpiercer: Escape v. 1

8. Plotted: A Literary Atlas by Andrew DeGraff and Daniel G. Harmon: I mean, obviously if you have a gift card you'd go for as many illustrated volumes as possible, right? This has imaginary landscapes of literature. 
Plotted: A Literary Atlas

9. Lab Girl by Hope Jahren: This blurb I got from Book Depository says it all: "[Lab Girl] does for botany what Oliver Sacks's essays did for neurology." - Michiko Kakutani, New York Times. (Though I've only ever managed to get my hands on a water-stained copy of The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat.)
Lab Girl

10. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston: I read a great review of this somewhere and promptly lost the link. Good job, self. 
Exit, Pursued by a Bear
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Maira Gall