Book Guilt: Books I Haven't Read

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

If I try to take 'Books You Must Read Before You Die' list, I would probably fail. I've finally come to terms though that I will just never be able to read all the books I want to read in my lifetime, and I think that's truly okay. However, there are some specific books that I haven't read and still feel embarrassed that I haven't. For today, I will just name a few out of a handful. 

1. Lolita byVladimir Nabokov
This is in my immediate tbr list. I have always wanted to read this one, and I really think 2014 is the year for this.

2. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
I have owned a copy of this book for years now, but never picked it up.

3. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
I have read a few of John Steinbeck's books, and loved them. I also want to visit his house in Salinas, CA since I don't live that far. Sadly, I've never read this classic.

4. Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer
I am actually currently reading this one, so I am slowly trying to fix not having read anything from Jon Krakauer. I am thinking Into Thin Air is next.

5. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Thanks to Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon, I finally read this one. For the longest time though, I've always been so embarrassed that I've never read this classic. Oh but now that I finally have... I can definitely say how happy I am that I finally went for it. It was a lovely read, and might do an actual review on it soon.


So there we go! I have to say, it feels strangely satisfying to admit my book guilt. I might just make this a regular thing on the blog, where I will be talking about books I haven't read, but know that I should have already. Let me know what books you are most ashamed of that you haven't read, or if you ever feel book guilt at all!

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary
Rating: 2.5 stars

I picked this Contemporary Young Adult to read as my 2nd book for the 24-Hour Dewey's Readathon that just passed, mainly because it only had 215 pages. I also tend to fly through contemporary YA, so this was a perfect choice for that.
I enjoyed my time reading this and I got exactly what I wanted - something fast-paced and something cute. 
It was a bit too quick though, to the point that I felt it was rushed. And reading this, I have learned that I simply am not a fan of stories that give us "immediate love stories" where it's sudden, where there's no build up, no development. I like my love stories that take their time, and gradually grow over time. 
And to be honest, I didn't feel like there's any depth to the story. The characters all seem one dimensional to me, and I might not be able to tell them apart if I didn't know their names. 

It's not a bad book by any means. It was such a quick read, probably good for a beach read. For me though, I wasn't particularly wow'ed by it. 

Readathon Summary!!!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

It's 5am, and the readathon is officially done!! I am actually sad that it is! I have been awake for a while though and I am ready for bed. But I had so much fun dedicating a whole day to reading and talking to fellow readers. I've interacted with so many on twitter and instagram throughout the day, it was pretty wonderful!

Here's my final stats:

My start time: 5am
End time: 5am
Books Read: 4 and 1/2 books
Pages Read: 757 pages
Hours Read: 14 hours
Had work: 4.75 hours
Napped: 2 hours
Challenges: Only one sadly - Click here to check out my story

Since I woke up at 6:30am to go for a four and half hour shift at work, I missed the first few hours of the readathon. I read right away after though, and took a two hour nap in the afternoon. That really got me through the night! I had two cups of coffee consumed, and that helped too. So yes, I managed to stay awake until the end of the readathon!!

I don't know if I've mentioned it here on the blog, but I am also donating one book per hour that I read + per book that I read. I am trying to decide where to donate it to - Salvation Army, Goodwill, public library?

But oh my goodness, this experience was fantastic. Everyone was so nice on twitter, and add the fact that #readathon was trending the whole 24 hours!!! Just awesome. 
Thanks also to the cheerleaders: #TEAMAUSTEN! And to all the other cheering from fellow readathon-ers! You made time go by fast, and everyone was so encouraging! And thank you especially to our hosts, Heather and Andi, for all the hard work. If you participated, please link me to your blogs!

Until next time... happy reading! 

Readathon Mini Challenge: Write Your Own Story

Saturday, April 26, 2014

I fail at challenges, I haven't done any all day. This is going to be my very first one, and it's created by The Bibliophibian! I couldn't resist this one, it sounds fun and indeed a challenge! For this challenge, you're supposed to turn to page 35 of your current book, go to sentence #3, and write a short snippet of a story out of it! 
Currently, I am reading The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, which is a classic.
Page 35, Sentence 3 reads as: 
He always said that the country was going to the dogs. 

Here's my story, accompanied by a photo taken by Mhitchner that inspired this a bit.

He always said that the country was going to the dogs. Yet a sudden hint of loneliness enveloped him at that moment. This was a strange feeling to him as he never particularly thought highly of his hometown - after all, it was a place where people grew up, but nobody wanted to stay in. Despite this though, he found himself surprised by his own thoughts, as he began to imagine himself being transported to that familiar place. 
As a child, he always woke up to the sound of the roosters, all ready for the day. After getting dressed up for school, he would follow the scent of warm, freshly baked bread downstairs. There would always be milk ready on the kitchen table, set for him and his sister. They would eat breakfast quietly, waiting for the clock to strike 8:00. 
Like all the other days, they would hear a car rumbling outside, and they would get up from their chairs and head out. Mr. Mckinley, their English teacher, who also happened to live two houses from them would pick them up, and together, they would go to school. 
It was always warm and sunny out, and they would always stick their hands out of Mr. Mckinley's car to feel the breeze. They could smell the apple orchards on their way to school, and they could see the farmers working hard: a usual occurrence. By the time they get home, the sun is already setting, and it touches the fields and turns them into gold. 
For people who lived outside of the country side, their town was merely a tiny place, but it brought comfort and a sense of familiarity everyday. Everybody knew each other, and nothing strange ever happened. It was safe, and though as he got older, the economy faltered and their small town could barely survive, it was still the same safe haven he remembered it to be. So maybe now that he found out that his prediction was right - his hometown has indeed turned into an empty, deserted place, he felt a tinge of sadness. Though the everyday routines that came with living in the country side bored him as he got older and made him want to leave as soon as he turned eighteen, it's also the reason as to why he sometimes missed it so. The quiet, the peace, the assurance that everything was going to be alright at the end of the day. Perhaps the saddest part for him was the possibility of not having any home to go back to when all of this was said and done. 

Follow Friday (meet my dog!)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

This Week's Question: Do you have any pets?

Yes, actually... I DO!!!

His name is Kobe (pronounced kow-bi like Kobe beef, but really named after Kobe Bryant). He is 6 years old, and we had him since he was 8 weeks old. He is a pure Maltese, and only weighs 6 pounds! Sometimes less, if he hasn't eaten yet :P He is not a puppy anymore, but he sure acts like one sometimes. His favorite toys are the tennis ball, a small Nala - from The Lion King - stuffed animal, and the tire/rope combo. 

Someday, I would love to adopt a Golden Retriever! And maybe a Border Collie too.
Do you have any pets?
And if you are new here, please leave your links below so I can visit you!

My Readathon Book Stack + Overall Game Plan

Here we are! My official picks for Saturday's 24 hour readathon! My strategy for the readathon is to read books that are less than 300 pages (if not less than 100). I also wanted to pick books that are a bit more light-hearted, or "fun" to read.While I don't think I'll go through and finish ALL of these, I wanted to have various options.

I thought about adding Ariel by Sylvia Plath, but I thought it might put me on a somber mood, so after thinking and debating, here's my official book stack.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde 
229 pages. Fiction - Classics
  • My "challenge" book. I have a reader confession: I have never read this classic, which I know is a little shameful and embarrassing for a reader and English teacher like me, but I want to fix that. I am not sure how fast-paced this book is, so I will see on readathon day if I can get through it! 
 The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
78 pages. Fiction - Children's Classics
  • This one will be a re-read, but I haven't read it since I was a tween, so I'm excited for this! I read the first two chapters while teaching my 7th grade English class, and fell in love all over again.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
236 pages. Fiction - Contemporary Young Adult 
  • This has been in my TBR list for a while now, so when else will I read it than now? I picked this because I tend to fly through Contemporary Young Adult. It's also supposed to be adorable and cute, so I thought it'd be perfect as it's an easy read. 
Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod 
250 pages. Memoir - Travel
  • I picked this one because if you guys didn't know already, I'm a bit of a Francophile. I've never been to Paris or France though, and I have only fallen in love with the city and country through listening to French music, reading French literature, and watching French films. This memoir sounds charming, so I will live vicariously through the author's stories. 
The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
120 pages. Fiction - Fantasy
  • I love fairy tale retellings, and Angela Carter is apparently one of the best. I picked this one because it's a collection of easy short story retellings. 
Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Graphic Novel Adaptation by Tim Hamilton
149 pages. Fiction Adaptation: Graphic Novel
  • This one is the graphic novel version of a wonderful book by Ray Bradbury! I am incredibly excited for this one the most. I love the fact that there's an introduction by Ray Bradbury, and was 'authorized' by him. 
As far as the overall plan of the day....
  • My start time (I'm in California) is 5am. I have to wake up at 6:30am to come in to work to get stuff done at 7:45am-11:45am. It's a short shift, so I'll be home by noon. I might nap for two hours, then the reading will begin. 
  • Fuel: I will go to Trader Joes (aka my favorite grocery store) and get my favorite trail mix, ice cream, and chips and salsa. I will also get ready-to-eat salads so that will serve as lunch, and for dinner, possibly another salad, soup, and a sandwich? Sounds good to me. 
  • COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE throughout the day, and some English Breakfast tea. 
  • I am a night owl and stay up very late, so I might stay up until 5am on Sunday :) 
Alright, tell me what's in your reading stack and share what's your overall game plan for the day! Link me to whatever readathon-related post you have. And tweet tweet tweet. 

Follow Up: Top Influential Books In My Life

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Almost a month ago, I wrote a post listing my top influential books in my life. The biggest challenge for that exercise was NOT to say any reasons whatsoever. I decided to write a follow up post to that, but also decided to film a video talking about them! I gave very brief reasons and I tried not to ramble. If you have time, please watch.

If you would just like to read, here are my very basic reasons as to why these books are included in my top influential books list. 
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling 
    This was my gateway to reading, writing, and all things books. It made me realize the power of imagination and creativity, and my dreams were heavily inspired by this series.
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
    I opened my eyes to the realities of human condition, and made me want to learn about mental health. It also made me realize the importance of stability, not just in our careers, finances, and goals in life, but also in our relationships with others, but more importantly, our relationship with ourselves.  
  • 100 Love Sonnets by Pablo Neruda 
    This introduced me to the world of poetry. In high school, after reading this book, I started writing a lot of poetry, drawing inspiration from his work. Sonnet 17 is still my favorite poem/sonnet of all time.
  • Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
    I read this the week of my high school graduation in 2007, and this was recommended to me by my English teacher! It was an interesting read, and the process was a great learning experience.
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    The is the one book that got me started interested in learning about that time in our history as human beings. It was a powerful testament that life can be good despite the rough times, and it also made me see the true power of words in our lives.
  • Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    This was one of the first books I read when I first came here to the U.S. after living in the Philippines for 15 years. English was hardly a second language to me; I understood and spoke it fluently, but my vocabulary wasn't that great. This book had tons of words I couldn't really understand or haven't used before, so it opened up so many opportunities to learn more. It what ignited my appreciation and love for linguistics and language.
  • The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan
    I read this during a tough break up. It was a good book to accompany me during the healing process!
  • The Stranger by Albert Camus
    I was 10 years old (or so) when my grandparents sneakily took my cousins and I to the bookstore. At that time, my parents didn't want me to get more books because they were only supposed to be given as a prize if we were doing good at school, etc. But my grandparents told us we could pick ONE book of our choice anyway, no questions asked. The cover of The Stranger caught my eye, and it was in a language I couldn't understand - French. It sort of was the beginning of me being a Francophile, but in all honesty, I just loved that my grandparents let me pick any book, giving me freedom. Having grandparents who not only supported reading, but also encouraged it, will always be something I will be thankful for.
  • The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
    I was a kid when I first read it, so I only appreciated its story and its artwork (which is fantastic!) But now that I think about it, it's what inspired me to start writing short stories, and I remember always imitating the book's style. Today, I feel like there was so much more to this book. It contains so many hidden messages about life and humanity. 

So that's it for my reasons!! Tell me your reasons for your list that you added. 

Here were the other bloggers that participated in this challenge. 

Dewey's Readathon this Saturday!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon is this Saturday, the 26th already! This is going to be my very first time joining a readathon (can you believe it?) and I seriously can't wait.

The 24 hour readathon is basically an event that happens twice a year, where we read as much as we can, talk about our reading throughout the hours, and visit other blogs that are participating in the event. Throughout the day, there are also mini-challenges, which sounds extremely fun. The last time I checked, there are 281 readers signed up! 

I don't have an 'official stack of books' yet, but I am thinking of books that are 300 pages or less, short stories, and graphic novels/comics. Since I live in California, my start time is at 5am, but I have to work that day at 7:45-11:45. Other than that though, the whole day will be pretty much devoted to the event.

I wanted to put this post up as to ask you if you are joining the readathon as well, and if you are, please link your blogs and twitter accounts below, as I definitely want to follow you before Saturday! 
Let me know also your planned stack of books, and random question... what's your must-haves during the day? Snacks, etc. Haha. Anyway, I hope you have a great rest of the week! 

In the meantime, follow me on twitter! 

New Blog Look + Easter Sunday

Sunday, April 20, 2014

First thing's first. I have a new blog design! This is a pre-made template that I got off from a graphic designer and web designer online.  I still adore my old blog design created by a good friend and fellow book blogger, but after four years, I just needed change. I went for more of a minimalist design, and a bigger blog text space. I hope you like it!

I also hope your Easter Sunday was eventful. We went to a local winery and had a simple picnic. It was nice and quaint, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon. 

I made sure to sneak in a bit of reading time. Currently, I am reading Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, which I haven't read. 

How was your Easer, or if you don't celebrate it, how was your Sunday? What are you currently reading? And what do you think of the new blog design?
Anyway, I hope you have a happy week ahead!

Bookish Related Things: Update

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Last year, I wrote a post, showing all the bookish related things I own. Since then, my collection has grown. Not by a lot, but some awesome items have been added for sure. If you have the time, please watch the video on my new youtube channel, subscribe, and share!

I also tag YOU to do this challenge. I love looking at people's bookish items so I am definitely looking forward to seeing yours! 

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Friday, April 18, 2014

Genre: Historical and Contemporary (narrator switches from 1930s to 2011)
Rating: 3 stars

I have to give this book a 3 star rating. While the book itself was overall a good read, it does have many flaws - a seemingly rushed ending, underdeveloped characters, odd pacing, and overall execution of the conclusion.

The good thing about this is that it is a quick read. I read it in a matter of two days. It was a very easy read and an engaging one at that. I liked the author's way of narrating the story; I thought that she did a good job telling it in a way that naturally flows.
As far as the subjects behind the story, they are topics I am not entirely familiar with, which I appreciated. I like the fact that the author dealt with these unfamiliar themes.

However, as I have mentioned, the ending seemed a bit rushed for me, and I didn't feel like the main characters were completely developed just yet. I was just starting to get to know them, I was just starting to root for them. I also felt like their relationship with each other was odd, as I didn't feel that they really connected all that much. All of a sudden though, we were near the end and before I knew it, the plot was concluded. I felt like there were so many finer details missing in between. It lacked events that supported its overall conclusion. And that ending... it was done and presented in a neatly tied bow, which I just didn't buy.
I think that the subject matter is a darker part of our history, and should have been explored more, not just touched on. 
Like I said though, it was still a solid read. 

If I Stay Trailer!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gah. When I first read this book, there are honestly no words to express how it made me feel. I sobbed for quite some time after finishing it! Now the trailer for the movie is here. It looks pretty promising. Can't wait.

Have you read this YA novel?
I rated the first one with 5 stars - read here.
I rated its sequel with 5 stars - read here.
Did you like it, and if so are you excited? I am!

This Star Won't Go Out by Esther Earl

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I am not sure how to begin this "review," if I could even call it that. If you don't know who Esther Earl is first of all, she was a fellow nerdfighter who inspired so many people in (and outside) the  nerdfighter and Harry Potter community. She was diagnosed with metastasized papillary thyroid cancer in 2006. She died in 2010. She was 16.

This Star Won't Go Out is a collection of her journal entries gathered from her physical journals as well as her online entries. It also has words, letters, and testimonials from her family, friends (both 'in real life' and on the internet). It has doodles, drawings, and photos.

She meant so much to the community and to so many people that John Green's The Fault in Our Stars, though it is not about her, is dedicated to her and her short but amazingly meaningful life. 

I read this book out loud to someone, who has never heard of Esther Earl and isn't as familiar with nerdfighteria. But let me tell you this: it was hard for him to listen to this book because of how emotional it is, and it was incredibly difficult for me to keep my emotions in check. The whole time I was reading, I was on the edge and just wanted to start bawling. My chest was  so tight as I read; I couldn't help but think about how life can be cruel and unfair sometimes. Yet, I also couldn't help but feel amazed and inspired at how a young person can do so much in the short amount of time she had. If there's one thing I know for sure, Esther is so alive in this book, and I felt every word she wrote. 

I also couldn't help but laugh at times. She was funny, light-hearted, positive, and so enthusiastic about life. She was also mature and smart beyond her years. 
I read this in one sitting, and read several parts again in the next few days. All I have to say is I've always been amazed at her story, but more so after reading this. She will always be a special one, and having the opportunity to read her words, as well as her loved ones', was so special. 

Where Are You From and Places YOU Want to Visit

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I've been blogging for four years, and got my 700th follower yesterday! So funny that my 700th follower has the same name as me! Shout out to Jillian of Jillian's Books.  

Anyway, this post is random and out-of-nowhere. I am curious as to where you all are from! What country, what state. You don't have to say which city of course (privacy reasons and all) but I am curious as to where this blog's readers live or have lived!

I was born in California, but moved to the Philippines when I was a few weeks old. I grew up there, and when I was fifteen, my family and I moved back to the Bay Area in San Francisco, California. I love my hometown, and am proud of my Filipino heritage. I also love the city of San Francisco; it is an interesting and fun place full of so many different cultures and eclectic people and activities! I have to say my favorite place would be Washington State though; I fell in love with that state (especially the area in and outside of Seattle). It's similar to San Francisco, but more low key and more nature-y. 

As far as places I want to visit, here are the top of my realistic must-visit places.
1. New York (I've been there, but I want to go back!) 
2. London 
3. France (Paris and the country side) - my top travel destination for sure!
4. Go back to the Philippines for a visit

Tell me about where you are from and where you live, and the top places you would like to visit someday! 

my immediate TBR list.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

I have many books I want to read. My official to-be read list and pile are almost never-ending. I figured though that instead of looking at that list as a whole, I should create an immediate-tbr list, so I can prioritize the books and not get too overwhelmed.

 These are those books.

Cat's Cradle Kurt Vonnegut (fiction)
The Bloody Chamber Angela Carter (dark fairy tale retellings)
The Undead and Philosophy (collection of essays from our professors where I went to university) 
Ariel Sylvia Plath (poetry collection)
The Husband's Secret Liane Moriarty (contemp. fiction)
S J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst (fiction)


I also aim to re-read these two. I've read Slaughterhouse Five a few years ago, and is one of the most influential books in my life. I want to re-read TFIOS by John Green just because I want to see it from a different perspective this time around, before the movie adaptation comes out in the summer time.

I am very curious to hear what's on your immedate tbr as well as your re-read pile!

Book Inspired Outfits: Divergent Factions

Friday, April 4, 2014

It has been a long time I have done one of these posts. Previously, I have done women in the YA genrewomen in the Classics,  and Hogwarts Houses.Today, we are tackling Divergent. Now I have read the book before, but didn't completely fall in love as much as others did. However, I've always liked the idea of the five groups and thought the concept was quite unique. After watching the movie adaptation very recently, I was immediately inspired.

I not only went with their faction colors, but I also tried to capture each of their main personalities, values, and characteristics. I also wanted things that I myself could wear, depending on my mood. So here we go. Very loosely inspired by the five factions...


Those who belong in this faction value selflessness. They are the least vain of them all, avoiding looking at themselves in the mirror, and wearing loosely fitted clothing that will be sure NOT to grab attention. Their faction color is grey, and they try to be as plain as possible, only allowing themselves a simple watch for their accessory. 


Cute outfit I would wear to work!
Those in Erudite are dedicated to intelligence and knowledge. They are told to wear at least one blue item of clothing because the color blue releases calming chemicals which supports their saying that A calm mind is a clear mind.

Of course, my favorite. The bad asses.
This faction gets to wear all the black they want. I like this color palette a lot, just because you can play with so many different textures of clothing and fabrics: leather, suede, faux fur, polyester... you name them, as long as they are in black, they can probably wear them. Dauntless are the warriors of their society. They are brave and almost fearless.

Fun one to create! I would wear this during the summer time. Those in Amity tend to wear red or yellow. They value peace more than anything else. They are carefree, easy going, laid back, and loving. Imagine these people playing in the fields during a nice summer day, running around with huge smiles on their faces.


Do you work in a more formal office setting? Have a job interview coming up? Dress like someone from Candor would. Aside from their usual 'uniform' of a black suit and tie, I wanted to give them a bit of style too. This would be something they would wear if they are discussing important matters and the truth about other factions or other people ;) They are also bad asses in my opinion, but in a more refined and sophisticated way. 


There you have it! I invite you to maybe do your own, or tell me in the comments if you agree with my choices or if you would change anything! Again, this is just my interpretation of their fashion choices, based off their color themes as well as their main duties in their society. For more, check out the other inspired outfits I've created in the past. Links for them are above! 

The Only Time I Would Recommend a Book I Haven't Even Read

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

When I recommend a book, it is likely because I have read it and loved it. Never have I felt the need to recommend a title in which I haven't even actually read it yet. However, I had to make an exception for this one. Because... LOOK!

S is written by J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Lost, future Star Wars) and Doug Dourst. It is a book that contains another fictional novel written by a famous fictional author. Two readers (strangers to each other nonetheless)  begin to read it separately and write messages to each other talking about it. The book contains their notes, their comments, photocopies of their research, etc.

I first heard of the book's concept on someone's youtube channel (which I will try to find) a while ago. Then, I heard of it on an interview with J.J. Abrams on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. I had to have it simply of how unique it sounded, and it intrigued me to no end. I went on a hunt for this one, and though I know I could have easily bought it off Amazon, I made it almost like a challenge for myself to find a copy. I almost gave up one day when I went to a used bookstore near me and when I was about to pay for my purchases, I saw it just staring right at me in the front! It looked so lovely on that stand; it was new and still covered by plastic. I went and got it. As soon as I got to my car, I opened it and took photos. 

I have never been this excited to start reading a book in a while. It sounds like even if I end up not liking the story itself, I think I would still admire and appreciate how incredibly creative this work of art is. Sounds like it would be an awesome reading experience either way.

Have you read it? What do you think of this unique idea? Definitely puts book design to a whole other level. I think it's neat, and I can't wait to dig into it!