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