a relaxing autumn night.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Fall is my favorite season, there's no question about that. I love the weather, the possibility of rain, the leaves, the colors everywhere, the perfect sunsets. And while I love reading all year round, there's something about reading during the cooler months.
Since I didn't have to work early in the morning, and because rain is literally trickling slightly outside, I decided to take advantage of it and have my very own relaxing autumn night. 

I love a good old cup of tea, and this one's a pumpkin herbal tea. I also decided to light a candle, and it pretty much makes my whole room smell like there's a bonfire happening around here. As for my book of choice, I am currently reading House of Leaves. I don't know what to think of it yet, as it's a bit of an intimidating read, but I am interested in finishing it. 
With that as well, I recently got a new journal called 624 Things to Write About, which is basically a book full of writing prompts to inspire and spark creativity. It's been a lot of fun looking at the prompts and attempting some of them. 

What is your idea of a relaxing autumn (or winter) night? Also, what are you currently reading? Let me know!

Recommendations: Disturbing Books

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Since it's the month of October and it's almost Halloween, I figured I should make a list of books that not only I highly recommend, but that I found are incredibly disturbing. These books aren't necessarily horror novels, but they definitely disturbed me to no end, and I do appreciate an old fashioned creepy-can't-get-it-out-of-my-mind story. In no particular order.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 
I figured I would begin with the latest book that disturbed me. This book wasn't perfect, but it was 100% effective in terms of giving me the creeps. It's such a thrilling, suspenseful page turner that left me with a few goosebumps along the way. Gillian Flynn has a knack for creating messed up characters, and she does it so well that I believe every word! I did see the movie adaptation, and I thought it was so good! The actress that played one of the characters here was great, and I highly, highly recommend everybody to watch it, even if you're not interested in reading the book. But the book... always read the book first ;)

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Next up is a classic disturbing book! A Clockwork Orange has Alex, who is one of the most memorable characters ever. He will forever be stuck in my mind. Such a well-structured and engaging story! I do have to admit though that there's something extra special and extra disturbing about the movie adaptation. The actor that plays Alex just truly captures everything about the character, and I love everything about the movie. Such a classic film, and something I wish everyone would watch at least once. 

Misery by Stephen King
Such memorable characters in here. And some of the most memorable scenes as well. If you're looking for a Stephen King book to read, check this out. It's very different from his other novels, and it's what made me appreciate King as an imaginative author. I do have to mention the movie, as Kathy Bates was incredible in it.

American Psycho by Bret Easton Elis
This list can not exist without this book. Some of the events that are told in this book have been some of the most agonizing things I've ever read. It's one of those rare books that made me put it down several times, thinking I could not continue with it! And yes, the movie... must watch. 

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
This book is about an unstable kid, and the story is told from the perspective of a mother who also disturbed and unstable. Put them together and you have this realistic story. I have not seen the movie adaptation, but I hear it's well done. 

Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
Chuck Palahniuk has always been such an out there author, and I have to include his book of short stories on this list. Haunted is an amazingly well-written collection of disturbing short stories. Its themes vary, but every story is unique and well thought out. 

Because we're talking about disturbing things, I can't leave this list out without listing the most disturbing film I've ever seen - Requiem for A Dream. Based off a novel as well, but I actually haven't read it. However, the movie... *shudders*

Anyway, that's it for my list. Please let me know what you think of my picks, and if you have any recommendations for disturbing books, do recommend them. 

Readathon On A Reading Slump: It's A Go!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I have to admit that signing up for a readathon while on a terrible reading slump sounds unwise to me, but I enjoyed my time so much last readathon in April that I knew I couldn't pass it up. Back then, I read quite a good chunk. This time around, I think I will take it easy and attempt to finish at least one book. Mostly, I plan and look forward to interacting with other readers through twitter and instagram, as those were my favorite parts in the event. 
My start time is 5am, but I do have to come in to work at 7:30-1pm. I might take a much-needed nap, but then after that, I will have the whole Saturday for the readathon. Here's my book stack.

As for snacks, I have my Snapea Crisps ready, brie and crackers for maybe night time, and lots of coffee. If interested, please check me out on:
If you have accounts for those platforms as well, please link below so I can follow you and your day tomorrow! Happy readathon, everyone!

2nd Favorite Book This Year So Far.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I finally picked up the first mystery thriller in the Millenium trilogy by Swedish author, Stieg Larsson. 
I have long avoided this book for many reasons, but I am so glad that I finally just read it, because I absolutely loved it. 
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is essentially a mystery where a journalist and a world-class computer hacker team up together to solve the mystery of someone's disappearance. While doing so, the author also delves into each of the character's own stories. I have to say that the character of the introverted and unique computer hacker, Lisbeth Salander - who is the girl with the dragon tattoo- has got to be one of the best written characters I've read about in a while. Though I can not relate with her as a character, I root for her to no end, as she lives her life exactly the way she wants to. 
The plot behind the book is intelligent and complex, and the pacing was very fast. The mass paperback was 700 pages and I read it in two days, and I'm not a fast reader at all. It was exciting, suspenseful, and difficult to put down. 
I have to say that the other thing that really engaged me here wasn't just the story itself, but the fact that this was written by someone like Stieg Larsson. The author said that when he was 15, he witnessed a gang rape and that started his abhorrence towards men that violate women.He became a political activist who truly fought and spoke up about what he believed was right. He was against violence towards women, racism, among others. Because of his background, it was easy to understand why there was so much graphic violence in here. These are things that happen in real life, and there's no use pushing it under the rug and denying it. So yes, it's dark and tough to read at times, and be warned that it can be triggering for some, but knowing the author's background makes it more profound and important, in my opinion.
I absolutely loved the book that I picked up the sequel the day after I finished it because I can't read anything else but this trilogy. So yes, at the end of the day, I highly recommend it! 5 stars!

I try to form words about Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Friday, July 25, 2014

My blood still howls in my veins like the wind itself,and it shakes the empty nest and asks where all the birds have gone, where have they gone?

Burial Rites was a true testament to everything I said on my previous post about why I love reading so much. THIS... this is exactly why I love books. 

Truthfully I expected this book to be good before picking it up, because of so many positive things said about it, but oh my goodness, I honestly did not expect for me to feel this much for it.

First off, Hannah Kent's ability to write a factual-based story is so effortless. She gives you information in the most engaging way possible, and at the same time, lets you in the characters' world. Because of the wonderful narration, it's as if you can really hear the characters speak for themselves and you can really see everything that they go through and feel. The author not only builds this story with excellent pacing and suspense from beginning to end, but she also transports you into that very world she is painting for you. Her writing is incredibly atmospheric, that even in 80 degree weather in California, I imagined that winter chill in Iceland in the early nineteenth century. I could see the scenery, the characters, the events that took place. And the emotions I felt for these characters were indescribable.
I couldn't put this down especially towards the end.  I didn't want to blink, didn't want to read too fast for fear that I would lose these people in the story. "Not so fast, don't end yet," I kept thinking to myself. And when it did end, tears and goosebumps were inevitable. I just wanted to tell everyone how much this story touched and broke my heart.

There's honestly not much to be said aside from those above, but I will say that this is story telling at its finest. It is a beautiful story that I will remember for a long, long time. 5 stars and nothing less. My favorite read this year so far, hands down.

Why do you love reading so much?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When people ask me this question, I usually can't think of a quick, direct response. So many answers pop in my head, and various reasons cloud and mix together. After all, there are countless reasons why I love reading, why I love books, why I love literature. I love reading because I love words in general, I love creativity and imagination, I find it relaxing and therapeutic, I find it fun, inspiring, and amusing at times. I love reading because of the fact that it allows me to feel everything there is to feel.

Mostly though, I have always said that reading was a form of escapism for me. It was a gateway to different worlds, different people, different experiences that I do not get to live in real life. It is my familiar place, my refuge, my little break from the mundane and sometimes stressful things of everyday life. It is sometimes even my escape from the more difficult times in my life.

And yes, I still do see all that.

However, this year in particular, I feel like I've discovered a bigger answer to the question. To me, I feel like reading has evolved and has become a closer look at life. How? Through the events and situations that occur in books, through the subject matter and themes explored, and through the characters' stories.

Through the variety of these stories, I have a closer look at my own life and my own experiences. I get to see a closer look at my own dreams and aspirations. I get to reflect on my past, my present, my future. When I read, I see my life in one way or another in them. I get to inspect how I live my life, what I can change, improve, what I can continue to do. It's also how I learn ideas and concepts, different opinions and viewpoints.

Secondly, books not only let me see my life, but it also opens my eyes to different situations and issues about the universe we live in, and lets me learn about different types of people and the things they go through. Books have opened doors to endless opportunities for learning and discovery, understanding and empathy. 

I feel like when I put a book down to continue to live my own life in the real world, I become, even just a tiny little bit, a much more well-rounded, sensitive, and open-minded individual than when I started the book. Because of all those things that reading does for me in my life, books have become a necessity, no longer just a hobby or a past time. It is a part of who I've become today, and who I will be as a human being later. You know that saying that books feed one's soul? I believe that to be absolutely true. Tell me what books and reading mean to you, and your reasons as to why you love reading so much.

Books I've Read So Far This Year

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Last year, I probably only read 10 books, and that to me, was a huge difference compared to my usual reading habits. I have to say I am very happy that I have now passed that number, and I have not had a slump this year... yet. It might happen, but for now, I am excited to be so into reading like this again. 

These are the books that I've read so far this year in no particular order. 
For a complete list, click here.
*The Little Prince and Game of Thrones are re-reads.

As you can see, I've mixed mostly general fiction with a bit of sci-fi, autobiography, classics, nonfiction, and young adult. What has been your favorite read so far this year? Let me know in the comments below. As always, happy reading!