Latest Haul (Birthday Gifts)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

My birthday is not until Sunday and yet I've already gotten gifts from people. First, a good friend of mine got me a gift card to Half Price Books. I was so excited. I went and got six books that's been in my tbr list for a while now. 
  • An Unquiet Mind by Kay Redfield Jamison - a mental health memoir about manic depression
  • Wasted by Marya Hornbacher - a mental memoir about anorexia and bulimia
  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • Where'd You go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  • Siddheartha by Herman Hesse
  • Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger
Aside from the books, I also received this awesome mug from my boyfriend. It says, "I like to party and by party I mean read books." No truer words have been said.

It's Mother's day on Sunday.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Since it's Mother's day on Sunday, I thought I'd get a head start in celebrating it by honoring the mothers in books we've read. Here are the mothers that I think deserve the recognition! Of course, if you are reading this, I challenge you to write down your own list of fictional moms that are memorable to you.

  • Mrs. Weasley from the Harry Potter series
    Molly Weasley was the first one that came to mind when I thought of this. She is kind, brave, and loyal. She also is generous with her motherly love as she has proven time and time as she pretty much took Harry (and Hermione - as well as others) as her own. 
  • Lily Potter from the Harry Potter series
    Even though we didn't get to see Lily as much, I have always been fond of her. First of all, she sacrificed herself for Harry, and through the stories told throughout the series, it was evident that she was a kind and gentle soul. 
  • Rosa Hubermann from The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    She's sassy and a bit tough on Liesl, but there is no denying that her intentions and efforts were pure and simply out of love. She worked hard and she loved her family more than anything.
  • Claire Abshire from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
    Her undying devotion to her family is like nothing else. Despite the special circumstances she's in, she never fails to remember why she does the things she does. 
  • Margaret March from The Little Women
    She plays both the mom and dad in the March family, and through it all, she remained her wise and gentle self. She is a great listener and she always encourages her children to go for whatever they may want.
  • Vianne from The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
    If  you haven't read The Nightingale yet, despite the fact that I've mentioned it again and again, you really must! It's a heart wrenching and beautiful book, and Vianne is an unforgettable character. She is a mother that would do anything and everything for her family and those she loves no matter what.
Also, I figured it wouldn't be fair to mention the good moms without mentioning the antagonistic ones. They're moms too after all ;)
  • Mrs. Lisbon from The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Euginedes
  • Margaret White from Carrie by Stephen King
  • the bad mother from Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Now it's your turn. If you are reading this, I tag you to make your own list before or on Mother's day! It's actually surprisingly more challenging than I thought, coming up with this list, so good luck. 

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Genre: Literary Fiction - Modern Classic? 
Rating: 5 stars
I've always wanted to read this book, but it has always intimidated me. I'm glad I finally picked it up. Even before reading it, people had already warned me that this novel was one of those that you either love or hate, depending heavily on what you think of Jack Kerouac's views and his writing style. I am ecstatic to say that I loved it. 

There was just something about this novel that captured my interest while reading it. It felt like I was getting the chance to have an intimate look into one's scattered brain. Jack Kerouac's prose is also just lovely to read. It reads like a heavy stream of consciousness. It's a little messy and sometimes random, but the most important part is it's honest and real. 

I do see the flaws that the people in the book have (especially Dean), but I appreciate how realistic they were. Despite some negative attributes and actions, there were clearly good things that anyone can appreciate and learn from them. I love their free spirit and enthusiasm, and how they never seemed to lose their sense of wonder. They actively searched for the meaning of their lives in all the places they went and the people they met along the way. Through everything, they never lost their adventurous souls. 

I could easily go on and analyze its themes and messages. I could also just say that it's a book that can be appreciated academically due to its brilliant literary merit. However, for me, the book meant more than that. I loved it for its realistic take on humanity and one's struggles, fears, hopes, and dreams. It also proved to me that the only thing that can make you richer in life is experience. It pushed in my mind that there is nothing worse than not doing things you want to do, out of fear of the possible consequences. It reminded me that I should take risks even if it's the scariest thing to do. It made me think about these well-known lines from Erin Hanson's poem: 
There is freedom waiting for you, on the breezes of the sky, and you ask, "What if I fall?" 
Oh but my darling, what if you fly? 

I do agree that this book is not for everyone. I understand why some give it a one-star rating, so my my advice is for you to just see if it's something you might like. I would generally recommend this to you if it's been on your TBR for a while. Consider this a little nudge for you to pick it up already. I would also recommend this if you like literary fiction or want to wander around the genre. For me, I'm glad I finally read it and I can't wait to read his other books as well. 

Review: The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Monday, May 4, 2015

my instagram
Genre: Thriller
Rating: 5 stars
The Good Girl is about Mia Dennett, a teacher, who on one night, leaves with a seemingly nice man from the bar. What she didn't expect was that the decision to go home with him was going to be the biggest mistake in her life. 

That's all I can say about the book. If you want to read it, do not look up else much about it or believe anyone when they say it's the next so and so book. I think that setting up those expectations can automatically kill any book. I believe every book deserves to be read with an open-mind, and in my opinion, be read without knowing much about what it's about except for its basic premise. That is exactly what I did with this novel, and I think because of that, I ended up loving it and enjoying it so much.

I won't say a lot, but this book was mysterious, thrilling, and riveting. The author, Mary Kubica, definitely knows what she's doing because she tells this story in such an engaging way. Every chapter will pull you in, giving you more, but also leaving you more curious and more intrigued than when you started. This of course results in some serious late night reading, encouraging sleep deprivation. Basically, what I'm trying to suggest is you should proceed with caution when you pick up this book because once you start, you won't want to stop until you're done with it. It is pretty easy to read too as it is incredibly fast-paced. I finished it in two days! That being said, I highly recommend this if you love page turners. It's quick, easy, and definitely entertaining. The characters are realistic and believable, and the writing is effortless.

I have read mixed reviews for this though, saying it was predictable. Don't let that discourage you because personally, even when I was getting all sorts of clues throughout for what was to happen, I still liked the execution, and I think that's the most important thing - how the author does it. It worked for me, so pick it up and give it a try. 

Books I Plan To Read in May

Friday, May 1, 2015

I read 7.5 books in April, which makes me happy. I love when I am on a reading high. I am determined to make May just as good, if not even better. Here are the five books I'm planning to read this month. 

  • On my Kindle - borrowed from the library - A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Tess of the d' Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
Have you read any of these books and what did you think? Also, let me know what's on your TBR list for this month! Happy reading!

April Favorites!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

April was quite a month. It was both busy and exciting as there were so many things going on. I do live for hectic months and schedules though. I love it when I feel useful and productive, and when I take a break, I feel like I deserve it more! Anyway, here are my favorites for the month of April.

  • Autism Awareness Day: #BlueBooks
    I wrote a whole post about this here if you're interested, but on April 2, it was Autism Awareness Day, and because the cause is close to my heart, I wanted to try to spread and encourage awareness and education about the misunderstood disorder. I started #bluebooks on Instagram, so together, as readers we could light it up blue. 
  • Bay Book Festival
    In the beginning of April, I became an official part of the digital marketing team of the very first book festival in the Bay Area. This is such a huge deal for me, because I wanted to be a part of this inaugural event! So far, I've been handling literary-related games and memes and one of the ones in charge of different social media accounts for the event. It's such a great opportunity and feel honored to be part of it. Read more about the free event here.
  • Exchange with another Book Blogger
    Brandie from Brandie is a Book Junkie and I decided to do a little gift exchange. This was the package she sent me! So many things that I love in that box! A book, peppermint chocolate, pink lip gloss, Paris-themed post it notes and journals, Cafe Bustelo (amazing!), travel related bookmarks, a personal card, and her copy of Firefly Lane! I was overwhelmed when I got this. Thank you again, Brandie!
  • Game of Thrones Season 5
    FINALLY! I could not wait for this season to start again. I am happy where they are taking the story lines so far, even with the changes, to be honest. 
  • Great Gatsby Themed Dinner
    On the 90th year anniversary of Great Gatsby, I went to have dinner with coworkers for a little get together with a Great Gatsby theme. 
  • Erik Larson Event
    I attended an author event here at a local bookstore when non-fiction writer, Erik Larson, went to the Bay Area as part of his tour for his new book, Dead Wake. I got two of my other books signed, and also got the newest one signed too. He also remembered me from our Twitter conversation! I got to ask him a question (I was so nervous!) and overall, he was a funny and engaging speaker! 
  • Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon
    I participated in the 24 hour readathon again and loved it as expected. See my wrap up post here to see how I did!
  • On the Road
    I didn't expect to love On the Road as much as I did. My review will be up tomorrow, because I have so many thoughts!
  • Daredevil
    I recently started watching Daredevil on Netflix, and it is fantastic! It's about time that a show has done this character right. It's dark and gritty, just as it should be. I love the casting and the overall feel and mood of the show. This is how you do a Daredevil adaptation! I love you, Netflix. For real. 
That's it for my favorites this month. What are some of your favorite events, books, moments, movies, shows, music? Let me know. And here is to an eventful May! 

the 24 Hour Readathon that was.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

It's 5am my time and that's officially it for the readathon! I am so happy I joined again this year, because it's even better. 1,800+ readers participated which is amazing, and I had a fantastic time interacting with each and every book lover online. I spoke to some on twitter, but this time, I was definitely more active on Instagram.

My start time was at 5am, but set my alarm for 6am. When I woke up, I decided there was just no way I would last all day if I got up then. So I slept in until 8:30ish. I made breakfast - a waffle with strawberries and brewed coffee. I started reading On the Road by Jack Kerouac (307 pages) in bed, my favorite place to read.

4:30pm. I finally finished my first book.I went downstairs to make a quick lunch and read a little bit outside. I made a salad with avocados, quinoa, craisins, walnuts, and feta cheese. I started reading Animal Farm by George Orwell (141 pages).

7pm. Sun is almost setting. I finished Animal Farm, and I was surprised how fast-paced and short it was! After reading two full novels, I decided to re-read Watchmen, a favorite, and ignore my planned books for now. I also participated in the #bookishbrews challenge, and had a quick snack during this time - two cookies and dried apricot with homemade iced coffee.

11pm. Hour 19. An hour or so after dinner, I decided to get ready for bed. I have this shirt on because it speaks nothing but the truth, and started reading Ten Short Mysteries by Edgar Allan Poe. It is a collection of ten short stories, which I thought would be perfect to end the night with.

Since I work at 10am today (Sunday the 26th) I didn't really want to stay up too late. I would have if I could, but I opted for the smarter decision to just go to bed. As I write this post, I am about to get some much-needed sleep. Overall, I had a fantastic time. I read from 8:30am-12:30am. That's 16 hours. 1,073 pages. In addition to that, I again "met" many new bookish people online. That is probably my most favorite part! Tell me how the readathon was for you! 

my books for the 24 Hour Readathon

Friday, April 24, 2015

The other day, I posted about some book recommendations for the readathon, but failed to show my own stack of books. I was a little indecisive about the options to be honest, but here's my final choices. I am so excited for the readathon tomorrow. I have the full day off, and I look forward to a day of reading and interacting with the book community yet again.

  • The World's Greatest Love Letters - compilation
    This is a compilation of love letters from various figures in history. It's going to be great because I can read a letter or two at a time when I need a break from the novels.
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell - novel
    I just mentioned the other day how guilty I feel that I have not read this book before. I really liked 1984 and thought it was a very thought-provoking book, so I think this should be a good one. 
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac - novel
    Again, here's another book I've been wanting to read but haven't yet. I will read this first, because I just can't wait. I also am doing a readalong of this book with a fellow book lover online.
  • Ten Great Mysteries by Edgar Allan Poe - short story collectoin
    Short stories are great for readathons. It doesn't need a lot of time to get through it at all. Also, I've been meaning to read more from Poe, so I figured this would be the perfect time to do so.
  • The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley - novel
    I borrowed this historical fiction from the library in ebook format, so I know I must get on this soon. What better way to read it than during a readathon?
  • Twenty Love Poems by Pablo Neruda
    Pablo Neruda is my favorite poet. His Sonnet 17 is still my favorite work of poetry. I have not read this yet, but can't wait to. 
As for snacks, I have a lot of strawberries, dried apricot, and trail mix. I also might go out to a coffee shop for a few just to change the scenery, instead of laying in bed all day. We will see though. You can follow me on Twitter and Instagram where I'll be on all day! Happy reading.