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.

Book 1

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)

 

 

Life Lately | 01

It’s the first week of December already and I haven’t posted anything yet here for almost 2 months I guess. And I absolutely regret to leave this blog on a negative tone, my last public post was really a melancholic one. I have a few good reason for being MIA: first, life is really happening right now and I don’t have ample time to write; second, I tried to write, I tried really hard but I cannot make myself write anything cohesive, and; third, I’ve written some poetry and prose, however, I deliberately did not post it on this blog.

Please excuse me for this waste of space and time.

What happened, October?

Many firsts happened last October:

  • First Out of the Country Travel!!! Meaning 1st time to be out of my comfort zone… meaning meeting new people… meaning seeing new culture. We (my sister and I) went to Malaysia and Singapore.

To my surprise, I was somewhat comfortable with the new environment. I could sleep well on a different bed which was very unlike me. I could eat well on a different environment which again was very unlike me. I’ve never seen myself comfortable in a new environment which was very surprising.

  • First time I was really disappointed with Neil Gaiman’s work (*ehem* Stardust).
  • First time to really have my heart feel the way I felt. Okay, that’s vague but I cannot rewrite or re-explain myself… just read this link.  It is not like I am not proud of this new season I am in, but, this is the kind of thing I am not comfortable talking about, my friends can vouch for me about this.

What happened, November?

  • I’ve finished reading three books!

Kung Alam N’yo Lang by Ricky Lee

Ricky Lee never disappoints. Love is really an understatement for this masterpiece!

The Maps that Contain Us by Marla Miniano & Reese Lansangan

First time to read a collection of flash fiction and poetry and it did not disappoint.

Holding Up The Universe by Jennifer Niven

Review is on Goodreads.

  • November I became a certified Tita of Makati… meaning I am really busy taking care of my niece.
  • November also was the month of rekindling friendship.
  • I am back from art slump for almost 2 months!
  • 1 month in a relationship. Yey! No, I will not elaborate.

Life lately was full of surprises and unexpected circumstances. I learned so many things and lessons from what happened the past months. And I am happy on how life unfolds before my eyes. I am still in awe on how God orchestrate everything. I love how grounded I can be in this season of my life. I am forever grateful to God for all the blessings He has bestowed me. I am forever grateful.

There is a time for everything. – Ecclesiastes 3:1


 

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.


Yien 06.25.17

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_

Chief end(2)

Skulduggery 2

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

Second chance

Chief end

 

Chief end(1)

Chief end(3)

Chief end(4)

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

Found

Found(1)

Found(2)

Found(4)

Found(5)

Found(6)

Found(7)

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl

Fangirl(1)

 

Fangirl(2)

Fangirl(3)

Fangirl(4)

Fangirl(5)

Of Mice & Men by John Steinback

Of Mice

The Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan

Sobek

War Room: Payer is a Powerful Weapon by Chris Fabry

War room(1)

War room(2)

Who Would Have Thought by Acel Van-Ommen

thought

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

EE(1)EE

EE(2)

Magnus Chase: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

Magnus

Magnus(1)

Magnus(2)

Magnus(3)

Magnus(4)

Magnus(5)

Magnus(6)

Magnus(7)

Magnus(8)

Magnus(9)

Magnus(10)

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

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.

Creation + Passion + New Project

“Creativity is intelligence having fun” –  Albert Einstein

Maybe, I get God on why He chose to create this world.

Creating something out of nothing is fulfilling. And it is more fulfilling to know that the thing you create serves as an inspiration and gives you a purpose.

One of my many passions is creating something out of nothing — putting it into 3 letters — DIY. I love creating stuff. Creating an ordinary item into an extraordinary one. Recycling unusable items into a usable one. I love generating and implementing ideas. I love how simple ideas come to life. I love the idea that on a simple thing you do, you make the world a better and pretty place.

And to my surprise, many are just like me. Maybe doing DIY is more cost-efficient or maybe it becomes a hobby. But what I am sure of is making art is purposeful and fulfilling.

In these, I am inspired to work on a new project involving arts. And now, I am inviting all creatives to answer this brief survey, actually it is more of knowing your story as an (frustrated) artist/creative.

 

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

the_throne_of_fire_cover

-Yien

 

Zombie

Scroll down. Like. Read. Share.

Scroll down. Judge. Click. Like. Share.

Scroll down. Like. Comment. LOL.

Scroll down. New feeds. Click. Refresh. Scroll down.

A month full of scrolling down. Like a Zombie in a new era of technology plague. I can’t stop. I tried to and still am trying. But to no avail. I’m still scrolling down. Scrolling down until my shoulder hurts, until my arms can’t take no more, until my eyes get sprained from all those eye sore (mind sore) status ranting. Instead of a zombie running for brains, I am running for “connection.”

Books piled up on my bed wanting to be read by their master. Oh! What have I done? I abandoned my love of reading for Social Media? This is not me, not my normal me. I supposed I’ve been hypnotized by a several likes, shares and somewhat superficial connection between “friends.”

Is this a part of me wanting to please everyone? To be relatable? To relate?

Is this a part of me wanting answers to life questions?

Oh! I need to stop this addiction while I still can. I need to stop this madness. I need to stop this zombie-fication. I want out of this machine. It doesn’t feel like freedom.


Yien 081416

7 Things My Father Taught Me (Post Father’s Day Thought)

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I never had a deep conversation with my earthly father. Never had he advised me of anything directly. But, what he doesn’t know is that he taught me many things in life.


(1) My father taught me to be angry. Angry to injustice. Angry to impartiality. Angry to things I should be angry about.

Anger is the right response to something that is so wrong. – The Shack, William Young

(2) My father taught me to respect. Respect the elders. Respect authorities. And most of all, he taught me to respect my mother.

Respect your mother more than me. – My father, every time one of us argues with my mother

(3) My father taught me to be prudent. Prudent about things. Prudent about money. Prudent about the things I worked hard for. If he could recycle things, he will. Well, that’s why I am “thrifty” FRUGAL!

(4) My father taught me to protect everyone I love.

I remembered that time when my father saw me crying in a food court. He asked me why. I said, I had an argument to a guy who whined about me being there at his table. You know, what he did, he looked for that guy. I was thankful that the guy wasn’t there anymore because if he was there, he would see a father in his volcanic eruption.

(5) My father taught me to halt. Halt when I know that I will never win an argument. Halt when life slaps you in your way. Halt when things go wrong.

He never won any argument with my mom. In that case, he just shut up and listen to my mother.

(6) My father taught me to accept things as they are.  Accept life. Accept consequences. Accept failures.

(7) But most importantly,  as much as I need to accept failures and consequences as it is, my father also taught me to go on, not to give up, not to drown myself with things I cannot control.

Many failures and problems have come my family’s way. My father faltered in a moment, but through his acceptance of the situation and his unending care for us, he got up and get back to the real world.

My father, through his actions, reminds me to keep moving forward. He reminds me that love is not only a noun, but a verb, an action word. He reminds me that in this conditional world, we can still find unconditional love (with a mixture of whining on the side. hehe!).


Belated Happy Father’s Day!

Julienne