2017 Year in Review | Books

Maybe, I’ve been very picky now with the books I’ve read. I’ve learned the art of not finishing a book which I felt no inclination to finish.

Gladly, this year, from setting the expectation of 25 books to read this year, I’ve read 31 books.

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Book 2

Book 3

Book 4

Book 5

Book 6

Book 7

Book 8

Book 9

TOP 5 BOOKS OF 2017

1. Kung Alam N’yo Lang by Ricky Lee. Lee never fails. He is my go-to Filipino author. This book is really deep and discusses the inconvenient truths of  the world. Mind-boggling. Heart-wrenching. Poignant.

This is me after reading KANL:

2. Britt-Marie Was Here by Frederick Backman. This novel is a heartwarming tale of an old woman, her cowardice and OCD. A tale where she brave the world outside and finally making a mark in the lives of people of Borgs. It is like an unintentional Nanny McPhee in a deeper level.

3. Found: Letters on Love, Life and God by Isa Garcia. A collection of letters for the sole purpose of finding oneself in the middle of this mess up world.

4. Regret No More by Nelson Dy. A non-fiction book which tackles on how to live a life of no regrets.

5. Everyday by David Levithan. It is a poignant story of love, life and identity. It questions the very things we are not capable of understanding or if we do understand, we are not capable of doing: Can we really see a person, deeply, not the way he/she acts or gestures, not the way he/she waves his/her hands, not the weight he/she gained, not the darkness or the fairness of his/her skin, but the way his/her soul connects with us? Can love really conquer all?

That’s it! Still thinking how many books I will be challenging myself to read next year.

What’s your favorite read this year?

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Best of 2017 (Sort of)

To start, this blog is an online personal journal, so if you are reading this, I am warning you that this will be another nonsensical post, a waste of space and time.

17 Best Books I’ve Read So far… (or those books that really left me shattered or boggled and/or inspired).

  1. East of Eden by John Steinback (Read: May 2017)
  2. Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom (Read: June 2009 and re-read many times)
  3. The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis (Read: February 2014)
  4. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (Read: December 2016)
  5. Para Kay B by Ricky Lee (Read: October 2010 and re-read many times)
  6. All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Read: July 2015)
  7. Kane Chronicles: The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordan (Read: October 2016)
  8. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Read:  September 2015)
  9. The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis (Read: February 2014)
  10. Britt-Marie Was Here by Frederik  Backman (Read: June 2017)
  11. The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom (Read: December 2013)
  12. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (Read: June 2013)
  13. Si Amapola sa 65 Kabanata by Ricky Lee (Read: November 2014)
  14. The Unicorn Road by Martin Davies (Read: October 2014)
  15. Kung Alam Nyo Lang by Ricky Lee (Read: November 2017)
  16. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien (Read: January 2015)
  17. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Read: April 2014)

17 Best Songs I’ve Listened to so far… (or songs that I couldn’t get over. It’s either I am speechless while listening to it or I would be dancing or singing my heart out)

 

 

Book of the Quarter | 02 | She Was Here

It has been a long time since I have been this in love with a book. The last, as far as I can remember was last December, with The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon.

For me, a good book could boggle a mind, make you question about your own existence, your life. A good book could also make you feel emotions you know you don’t have. A good book must resonate through your soul. And that’s what Britt-Marie Was Here by Frederick Backman gave me.

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Britt-Marie is used to being not noticed by anyone and she is actually fine with that. But one particular news has changed her life forever, a woman with no family died alone and only to be discovered when her remains stink. That’s why she looks for a job for the only reason of someone will take notice if she died.

This novel is a heartwarming tale of an old woman, her cowardice and OCD. A tale where she brave the world outside and finally making a mark in the lives of people of Borgs. It is like an unintentional Nanny Mcphee on a deeper level.

“At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing- how should you live your life-”

“At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing- how should you live your life-” (7)

“At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing- how should you live your life-” (6)

“At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing- how should you live your life-” (5)

“At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing- how should you live your life-” (4)

“At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing- how should you live your life-” (3)

“At a certain age almost all the questions a person asks him or herself are really just about one thing- how should you live your life-” (2)

What I like about the book is its narration, it is not too pretentious but has this fair amount of metaphors and simile that makes me want more.


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Consistently Inconsistent

I have been really consistently inconsistent in updating this side of my blog. Even though I tried so hard to rationalize and reason out why I’ve been MIA here in my Book of the Month feature, no reason will ever suffice; because the real reason is I am too lazy to think, review and write about this particular topic.

Also, it is hard to choose a book which really gets my emotions. I’ve been reading fairly average lately and it seems no book has really captured my heart that much. Actually, I am really missing reading something dark or deep or something mind-boggling enough. The last time I can remember was last December, I’ve read The Sun is Also a Star in one day. However, the books I’ve been reading now-a-days are just too familiar or what I call my cup of tea: funny Mythology, Christian Non-fiction, an overrated YA novel, Classics from Lewis & Steinback and a Christian book adaptation. All those are in my comfort zone.

I am just looking for something that will resonate my deepest emotions, that can give me a heartbreak (without the actual heartbreak), or something that will challenge my preconceived notion about life.

So, instead of telling you about my favorite book for the 1st quarter of the year, I’ll be giving you some quotable quotes from the books I’ve read:

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy

_We are define by the things that we do, Detective_

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Skulduggery 2

Regret No More: Letting Go of Yesterday’s Sorrows by Nelson Dy

Second chance

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Found: Letters on Love, Life and God by Isa Garcia

Found

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Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

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Of Mice & Men by John Steinback

Of Mice

The Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan

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War Room: Payer is a Powerful Weapon by Chris Fabry

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Who Would Have Thought by Acel Van-Ommen

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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Magnus Chase: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

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So, I think that’s it. Hopefully, this suffice my MIA for months.

The Takeaways: The War, The Surrender and Everything in Between

What if your life is crumbling down before your eyes? What if all you know is starting to look like a lie? What if being in control brings more trouble than surrendering?

Finally, I’m done reading War Room. It’s been 3 months since I’ve started opening it and tried to read. But unfortunately, haven’t read it continuously because I’m too busy reading other books.

Only this February, I picked it up again from my bookshelf and read it. And this time, with the intention of finishing. And boom… this book hits home… and it hits home hard enough to make me fall on my knees and surrender.


WAR ROOM TAKEAWAYS:

  • You cannot win a battle on your own.

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  • There is no sense on fighting a battle that has been already won by God.

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  • Praying is not a matter of God granting a wish, but it is more of aligning your heart desires to His plan.
  • Stop taking control. Stop doing it on your own. Let Him do driving.
  • So much God can do to your life, allow Him to work with your heart.

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  • Praying is the best battle plan to defeat the enemy.

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  • Trust God.
  • Praying for other people is liberating.

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to be continued…

Book of the Month: Found by Isa Garcia

“This is a story about love, adventure and friendship with a heroine who dares to disturb the universe because she can rest in the certainty that she will always be… FOUND” – Found, Isa Garcia

Before I start, I wanted to tell all of you that this month I am fully fulfilled as a book nerd.  I did not expect to read 5 books on January. One Yey for me.

With these five books, I can’t choose which book will be the Book of the Month. There you have Regret No More by Nelson Dy in which I  learned so much from it; Skulduggery Pleasant The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy which I did not expect it will be good and of course the cliffhanger; Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, my first YA of the year, which is unexpectedly good also; Of Mice and Men by John Steinback which is as usual can rip my heart into a million pieces, and; Found by Isa Garcia.

But because Found is too beautiful both its aesthetics and context, I will choose it as January’s Book of the Month.

Have you ever felt that seemingly in this world full of people, no one can get you? No one can feel you? I, sometimes, feel that way. I thought no one is feeling and thinking the way I do. I thought I am alone in this. But then, there is this book that speaks whatever my mouth cannot utter, my mind cannot put into precise context and that’s Found by Isa Garcia. And I am grateful to read this.

Found is a collection of letters on love, life and God. I love the letters inside plus the postcards.

So, as a whole, Found is an easy read and inspiring book. If you are a girl who is lost or who finds it hard to get along with life… this book is for you.

2016 Year in Books

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Starting 2016, I am in the hunt for new books to love. One of my goals is to read more. However, life seems to ignore the fact that I have 35 books to read this year. There you have some uncontrollable circumstances that hindered me to read more. Or that halfhearted weekends when I want to read but I also want to practice my new found hobby: lettering. Or those times I ended up scrolling my phone for  the latest news/gossip in Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.

This year I have only read 31 books. Unlike last year where I read 34 books or the year prior last year, 37 books. To be honest it frustrates me because why on earth I only read 31 books this year? WHY???

And aside from reading less what I’ve expected, only quite few books that resonates me (in no particular order):

 

The Last Apache Girl (paperback) by Jim Fergus

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“Yet only the atrocities of the conquered are referred to as criminal acts; those of the conqueror are justified as necessary, heroic, and even worse, as the fulfillment of God’s will.”
Jim Fergus, The Wild Girl

When Breathe Becomes Air (ebook) by Paul Kalanithi

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“That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.”
Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

Hollow City (ebook) by Ransom Riggs

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“I liked this idea: that peculiarness wasn’t a deficiency, but an abundance; that it wasn’t we who lacked something normals had, but they who lacked peculiarness. That we were more, not less.”
Ransom Riggs, Hollow City

The Little White Horse (paperback) by Elizabeth Goudge

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“Nothing is ever finished and done with in this world. You may think a seed was finished and done with when it falls like a dead thing into the earth; but when it puts forth leaves and flowers next spring you see your mistake.”
Elizabeth Goudge, The Little White Horse

The Hidden Oracle (ebook) by Rick Riordan

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“Not all monsters were three-ton reptiles with poisonous breath. Many wore human faces.”
Rick Riordan, The Hidden Oracle

And Again (ebook) by Jessica Chiarella

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The Throne of Fire (ebook) by Rick Riordan

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“The right choice is hardly ever the easy choice.”
Rick Riordan, The Throne of Fire

The Sun is Also a Star (paperback) by Nicola Yoon

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“How can you trust something that can end as suddenly as it begins?”
Nicola Yoon, The Sun is Also a Star

Other books are just okay, not astounding enough for it to resonate.

So here’s the summary of my 2016 Books

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What I Learned from The Throne of Fire

It is 12 midnight, not my usual hour to sleep but I am engrossed on reading, here’s the climax, I said. One more chapter, I plead to my sleepy head. I can confidently say, reading wins, it always wins.

Now, it is Bes turn now. Ok. I cannot believe what I just have read. *spoiler alert* He risk his ren, his soul, the part of himself that contains who he was and his experiences. HE RISK IT ALL. For what? For greater good.

That scene left  me dumbfounded and teary-eyed. How could this particular middle-school fantasy novel hit home that hard?

Risk. For a person as cowardice and conventional like me, risking is a bit of a hardcore. Living in the comforts all my life, I came to believe that life is about being here, just being here. And not to my surprise, I am WRONG again. Sometimes, we need to risk something in order to have that one thing we desire. I think selfishness is the number one reason why a person like me is having a hard time risking even a little bit of myself.

And here’s Bes, an Egyptian god, the protector of household, risk not just a little bit of himself but all the essence of him, his name, his ren, his soul.

Courage. It takes a greater courage to risk.A cowardice can’t risk because he is bound inside his comfort zone. And there’s Bes again, he goes all out for his friends, Sadie and Carter.

So what’s the point of this entry? The point is we can never truly live if we don’t risk anything at all. Sometimes in our life, we need to be courageous and selfless in order to live… to truly be alive.

William Shedd was right when he said, “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” Imagine we are the ship and we are only in the harbor, are we living our purpose? Are we living the life?

Opportunities, possibilities and life  only happen when we step out from our comfort zone. Risk. Have courage. Live.


Book of the Month (October): The Throne of Fire (Kane Chronicles #2) by Rick Riordan

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-Yien

 

Book of the Month: And Again by Jessica Chiarella

Hi again fellow bookworms! I am still guilty of not reading as much as I can. Yet, I have reasons why I haven’t read that much this September. And one of those I should have yet to tell you soon because it deserves another story. But mind you, it is a sad story.

It is already October but I have not yet disclosed my September’s pick. Without further ado, my September’s Book of the Month is And Again by Jessica Chiarella. It is all about 4 people and how an advance experiment change their lives forever.

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Actually, it is a nice read with a good concept. It is about second chances; about living in a body without any mark of the past but only memories, and; about finding out that you are a stranger of your own body. However, it is not as mind-blowing as I expected it to be. But it has so many potentials.

What I like about this book is I can relate to it. I can feel the characters’ dilemma. Here are some quotes:

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If only we could turn back time without ruining everything.
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Be the good girl you always have to be. Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know. (*Frozen*)
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It is what time does in a relationship, it can ruin it or make it flourish. But by this time, it is ruined.

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My world had grown so small that the only thing left to do was to leave it.

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Beauty is fleeting
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When silence is deafening

Yes, that’s it. It’s October I haven’t finished any books yet! I am 2 books behind as scheduled. 😦

Book of the Month: Wonder by R.J. Palacio

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This season was such a not good season for reading. I have many valid reasons why I haven’t read that much. However, I think you all know my reasons, that never-ending “LIFE HAPPENS.” Luckily, I got the chance to read a light and heart-warming novel of R.J. Palacio. At first, I felt like not reading it… since the story line seems childish. But who am I fooling? I love children’s book. So for this month, I read Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Wonder is about a boy named Auggie who has facial deformity (I think that word is such a light word for his illness) and how he brave the world full of judgmental and critical people.

I can’t say that Wonder has a great and complex story compared to other stories about illnesses, disorders and disabilities. But it brought me to the core, the heart of someone who is different which where other stories seems to falter. Its sincerity and realness are the main reasons why I loved it. And this light read is what I needed right now after a month of reading hiatus.

After reading the book, I came to realize many things. Wonder allows me to see the beauty of the world despite of its share of ugliness. A book that will let you see pass through the physical and let you see the soul, its beauty and its kindness. The kind of book that can touch one’s heart because of its rawness and Auggie’s somewhat innocent but the realest of heart.

And these quotable quotes really struck me while reading Wonder:

“If every person in this room made it a rule that wherever you are, whenever you can, you will try to act a little kinder than is necessary – the world really would be a better place. And if you do this, if you act just a little kinder than is necessary, someone else, somewhere, someday, may recognize in you, in every single one of you, the face of God.”

This world will be a nicer place indeed!

“MR. BROWNE’S SEPTEMBER PRECEPT:

WHEN GIVEN THE CHOICE BETWEEN BEING
RIGHT OR BEING KIND, CHOOSE KIND.”

Choose kindness!

“no, no, it’s not all random, if it really was all random, the universe would abandon us completely. and the universe doesn’t. it takes care of its most fragile creations in ways we can’t see. like with parents who adore you blindly. and a big sister who feels guilty for being human over you. and a little gravelly-voiced kid whose friends have left him over you. and even a pink-haired girl who carries your picture in her wallet. maybe it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end. the universe takes care of all its birds.”

Nothing is an accident!

“It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.”

You can change the world one person at a time.

 

I think that’s it! That’s August Book of the Month. Oh! This is such a coincidence… Auggie’s real name is August! 🙂


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