How To Prepare For Your Thesis Defense

As I may have said a couple of hundred times already, I’m defending my thesis on the 18th of September so I have roughly a month to prepare for it. I shall give you some basic steps on how to prepare for a thesis defense (or defence, I don’t think it matters):

1. Don’t.

Really, don’t. Just do something else. Watch a drama, read a book, go outside. Have a staring competition with a strange marmalade cat who looks at you like you’re the devil incarnate (which you may be). Play with your niece, sing nursery rhymes at the top of your lungs. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

Aka procrastination. I know you’re all acquainted with it.

2. Write a synopsis for your book.

Warning: writing a synopsis is more difficult than writing your entire book. Once you  have a rough copy, send it to your friends. Maybe they’ll give you some feedback. My friend Yash helped me out. So did Aline. Here is what my final synopsis looks like:

Croi is a brownie, a sharp-teethed, light-fingered creature who makes mischief as she moves invisibly among the humans. She has been a brownie for almost seventeen years and has no reason to suspect she’ll be anything else – until the day her invisibility fails. Soon, her bones start shifting and changing and she wakes up one morning with a summons in her head. The Hag, her only companion, will only tell her that her mysterious, absentee mother put a Glamour on her and changed her shape. Now the Glamour is breaking, and Croi is no longer a brownie. Who she is underneath the Glamour is a mystery Croi must solve on her own. 

As she sets forth on her journey, pulled by her mother’s compulsion spell, Croi garners some unlikely allies. But as the Glamour gets closer to fully breaking, Croi begins to see magick shimmer and wonders why it’s lonely song makes her want to weep. Who is she really? What is she? What place does she have in the Fae world? And more importantly, what is she going to have to sacrifice to find out the answers to all her questions?

3. Email your thesis supervisor with a list of all the things you’re going to talk about.

How I Spent Most Nights Awake Staring At The Wall Because My Thesis Was Driving Me Nuts.

4. Dance to Michael Jackson.

Thrillerrrrr….

5. Consider learning Prezi because you’re always so much cooler and more polished when you have Prezi. Fail. Twice. Put it off for another day.

6. Write a blog post about preparing for a defense you haven’t yet prepared for. Win.

 

defense

Changes Are Good for the Bookish Soul

A few posts ago, I briefly mentioned that changes are coming to Bibliophilic Monologues. As you may or may not know, I contribute reviews fairly irregularly to Cuddlebuggery and am one of the founders of the children’s lit blog The Book Wars. The Book Wars in particular is quite demanding in terms of blogging and social media-ing so I have not been able to devote as much time to this blog. Truth be told, my passion for this blog started lagging as well. However, since I have spent four years of my life here, it seems like a waste to just shut up shop and move elsewhere. I don’t want to do that. I enjoy having this platform to talk about books in a far more informal manner than say over at The Book Wars. I also like focusing more on non-children’s lit related stuff.

So what are the changes, you ask?

Well, I’m going to be posting more non-children’s lit. related book reviews here. This doesn’t mean that I will stop blogging/reviewing children’s/YA lit entirely on BM, just that, I won’t be doing as much of it. I will be posting more YA/Children’s Lit reviews over at The Book Wars so if you’d like to follow me there, please do so.

As for BM, I’m going to shift focus slightly here. While I will still be looking at the world through bookish eyes, I will no longer just be looking at books. I would like to start discussing things that are still pertinent but not just related to books. I want to discuss the sorrows and horrors visited upon a struggling writer (no longer young, ha), writing, watching Kdramas, life and current events, adventures around the city and more. I will still be reviewing books here but that’s not all I will be doing. I feel like this is a good way to compromise without giving anything up. I don’t know how frequently I will be posting but I do know that doing daily posts will most likely not be happening. I do promise to write thought provoking articles though so I’ll be posting three or four times a week not including the Artist Spotlight post which will continue unchanged.

If you no longer wish to follow me in light of these changes, I completely understand. Thank you for your support up till now.

The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez

18465852

Hardcover, 286 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Knopf
Source: Publisher

The Book of Unknown Americans is absolutely beautiful and will wrench your heart out and give it back to you on a platter, bleeding and raw. Cristina Henriquez gives an authentic voice to the faceless and yes, unknown Americans who live their lives with a frustrated dignity, far from all they hold dear and often treated as sub-human. These unknown Americans who leave their homeland for various reasons and out of various needs and end up in America which promised them a liberty that it more often than not fails to deliver. If anything, it delivers the opposite.

Henriquez details the lives of two particular families in detail. The Rivera family who hail from Mexico and the Toro family who are from Panama live in the same apartment building complex and become friends with each, sharing food, laughter and a nostalgia for a home that has changed so much that they wouldn’t recognize it were they to return. The Rivera family come to America hoping to better the mental health of their young, beautiful daughter who suffered brain damage after an accident at her father’s construction site. Mayor, the youngest son of the Toro family, falls in love with Maribel Rivera and as their lives entangle, the families hurtle towards an explosive ending.

Henriquez has an ability to get inside a person’s head and speak from their heart. Even the simplest truth becomes heartbreaking under her pen. She pays meticulous attention to detail in order to draw out a subtle narrative that lets the story breathe even as it guides the reader toward what she wants him/her to experience. The voices of the characters are varied and I really loved how the narrative is interspersed with various voices who all experience immigration in different yet no less real ways.

This book packs a punch and the ending had me sobbing and I rarely cry over books. Beyond its entertainment value, I think The Book of Unknown Americans is an important read for everyone as it pushes for an awareness and some understanding of people and for people who rarely ever get any. Highly recommended.

The Reading Forecast

Another week, another reading forecast. Here’s hoping I return to a more reliable posting schedule now that I have sorted out my thesis somewhat. I had no internet for almost the entirety of last week, well okay, 4 days but it felt like a week. And you would think that having no internet would mean I would read more. It didn’t because I was doing final revisions on my thesis so I could sent it along to the second readers. Perhaps that is just an excuse though. I was reading The Hero of Ages and it’s such a long, complex, dense novel that all my attention was stuck on it. I did manage to finish it though and I read some other books so maybe I’m whining about nothing.

What I Read Last Week:

  1. Scale Bright – Benjanun Sriduangkaew
  2. The Hero of Ages –  Brandon Sanderson
  3. The Days Are Just Packed – Bill Watterson
  4. Blacksad, Vol 1 – Juan Diaz Canales, Juanjo Guarnido
  5. The Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
  6. Rookie Yearbook Two – Edited by Tavi Gavinson
  7. Above the Dreamless Dead – Edited by Chris Duffy

What I’m Currently Reading:

Nothing. I just finished The Red Queen a few minutes ago and I’m trying to read only one book at a time.

What I Plan to Read:

  1. The Glass Sentence by S. E. Grove
    I must read this before I have to return it to the library. It’s a beast though so I hope it doesn’t take up the entire week.
  2. In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jenny Hwang
    This graphic novel has been a long time coming. It looks really fun and not that long so I should be able to do it.
  3. Elizabeth is Missing – Emma Healey
    I’m going to start it this week and read a chapter a day or a certain number of pages per day. I have a feeling this is a book you need to read slowly so that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
  4. Servants of the Storm – Delilah S. Dawson
    I really should get around to reading this. I have had it on my pile for long enough.

100 Happy Book Days: Days 1-10

I thought that since my readers don’t all use Instagram, I’d share the first ten books I chose for the #100HappyBookDays challenge I’m doing on instagram. If you haven’t yet heard/read me talking about it, check out the details and participate!

The History Of Love by Nicole Krauss. Perhaps my favourite book ever. The reason i love it is because it is because the writing is so evocative. The words feel like the truth. It's heart wrenching and made me cry on the bus but it was worth it.
The History Of Love by Nicole Krauss. Perhaps my favourite book ever. The reason i love it is because it is because the writing is so evocative. The words feel like the truth. It’s heart wrenching and made me cry on the bus but it was worth it.

Calvin amd Hobbes by Bill Watterson. Calvin's thoughts and interactions with Hobbes though couched in humour are profound at times. Watterson captured childhood so perfectly in his comic strip and juxtaposed it brilliantly with an adult cynicism that served the medium well.
Calvin amd Hobbes by Bill Watterson. Calvin’s thoughts and interactions with Hobbes though couched in humour are profound at times. Watterson captured childhood so perfectly in his comic strip and juxtaposed it brilliantly with an adult cynicism that served the medium well.
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers by Xiaolu Guo. This book is beatiful and complex that it invites different readings and if you love analyzing stuff this book will make you happy. It plays with language, written from the perspective of someone who starts off with barely any English and improves dramatically by the end. I love it for the sheer beauty in it.
A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers by Xiaolu Guo. This book is beatiful and complex that it invites different readings and if you love analyzing stuff this book will make you happy. It plays with language, written from the perspective of someone who starts off with barely any English and improves dramatically by the end. I love it for the sheer beauty in it.
Day 4: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. I loved this when I first read it when I was a kid and rereading it as an adult just reaffirmed my love for Anne Shirley and the beautiful world she lived in.
Day 4: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery. I loved this when I first read it when I was a kid and rereading it as an adult just reaffirmed my love for Anne Shirley and the beautiful world she lived in.
Day 5: The Arrival by Shaun Tan. This graphic novel wordlessly manages to depict with verisimilitude and sensitivity immigrant experience. The surreal art is phenomenal to the extent that it manages to make language unnecessary when telling the story. The sepia colours and the use of shadows are amazing. The fantastic element goes a long way to evoke the strangeness of the new landscape. I love this a whole lot.
Day 5: The Arrival by Shaun Tan. This graphic novel wordlessly manages to depict with verisimilitude and sensitivity immigrant experience. The surreal art is phenomenal to the extent that it manages to make language unnecessary when telling the story. The sepia colours and the use of shadows are amazing. The fantastic element goes a long way to evoke the strangeness of the new landscape. I love this a whole lot.
Day 6: Generation X by Douglas Coupland. The writing in this made me catch my breath and wonder how my truths were being spoken by someone else. The novel catches the liminal lives of people exactly.
Day 6: Generation X by Douglas Coupland. The writing in this made me catch my breath and wonder how my truths were being spoken by someone else. The novel catches the liminal lives of people exactly.
Day 7: I've always liked travel memoirs but this one is in a league of its own. The text is limited but the artist manages to capture something quintessentially Japanese in his drawings of the landscapes he experienced...cityscapes? The art is bright and so very gorgeous.
Day 7: I’ve always liked travel memoirs but this one is in a league of its own. The text is limited but the artist manages to capture something quintessentially Japanese in his drawings of the landscapes he experienced…cityscapes? The art is bright and so very gorgeous.
Day 8: Real World by Natsuo Kirino. This book is about four girls and one boy, all high school students. The boy kills his mother and flees and the girls develop an unhealthy obsession with him. The book is chilling and a discourse on adolescence and the lengths kids will go to escape the ennui that's gripping their generation.
Day 8: Real World by Natsuo Kirino. This book is about four girls and one boy, all high school students. The boy kills his mother and flees and the girls develop an unhealthy obsession with him. The book is chilling and a discourse on adolescence and the lengths kids will go to escape the ennui that’s gripping their generation.
Day 9: How To by Julie Morstad. People often mistake picturebooks as being books meant strictly for younger readers and thus miss out on the pleasure of reading something that looks simple but is in fact a complex art form. How To expresses in beautiful art and minimal prose how children see the world. I would argue that this book is for adults, to remind them of the beauty of childhood and to keep them in touch with their adventurous and creative sides.
Day 9: How To by Julie Morstad. People often mistake picturebooks as being books meant strictly for younger readers and thus miss out on the pleasure of reading something that looks simple but is in fact a complex art form. How To expresses in beautiful art and minimal prose how children see the world. I would argue that this book is for adults, to remind them of the beauty of childhood and to keep them in touch with their adventurous and creative sides.
Day 10: This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki. This graphoc captures the essence of summer and friendship perfectly. The story is told delicately and with sensitivity. And the art is superlative. I love it.
Day 10: This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki. This graphoc captures the essence of summer and friendship perfectly. The story is told delicately and with sensitivity. And the art is superlative. I love it.

An Apology and Some News

So I’ve been pretty much absent from the blog for the past week apart from the reading forecast post and I apologise for that. I didn’t have internet connection for the better part of this past week and what time I did have was spent last-moment revising my thesis so I could send it to my second readers.

I have decided some stuff for the blog and I will go into detail about that at a later time in a different post but suffice it to say, fun things, new things are coming this way. The news that I can reveal is that I have a defence date scheduled – I’ll be defending my thesis on the 18th of September which is a little over a month away. I’m excited and super nervous and unprepared for it right now but I hope to be more confident nearer to the date.

I have some reviews written and I will be posting much more regularly in the next week. Thanks for hanging around!

The Reading Forecast

My dearest readers, the past week was extremely good where reading is concerned. For me anyway. I don’t know about the rest of you guys but I got a lot of reading done. Maybe it’s because I was determined to read my way out of the reading slump or maybe I finally read some books that made me want to keep me reading. Most probably it’s because I have no internet at home right now which allows me to stop wasting time online and spend it reading instead.

Anyway, the books I read last week include:

  1. Worn – Edited by Emily Spivack
  2. Hereville vol 1. – Barry Deutsch
  3. Hereville vol 2. – Barry Deutsch
  4. Stray – Elissa Sussman
  5. Ninja Librarians: Accidental Keyhand – Jenn Swann Downey
  6. Brutal Precious – Sara Wof

Currently Reading:

  1. The Days Are Just Packed – Bill Watterson
  2. The Hero of the Ages – Brandon Sanderson
  3. Scale Bright – Benjanun Sriduangkaew

I Plan to Read:

Once I finish Calvin and Hobbes, I’m going to read the second year Rookie Year Book. It will take me the entire week to read the The Hero of the Ages because I’m pacing myself at 100 pages/day. Scale Bright is not difficult to read but I’m finding it difficult to get into the book. These are the titles I do plan on reading in the coming week:

  1. In Real Life – Cory Doctorow
  2. Rookie Yearbook 2
  3. Above the Dreamless Dead – Chris Duffy
  4. The Glass Sentence – S. E. Grove