May Wrap-Up

In May I read 31 books (well, it’s the 30th today and I have one more day to read a book but I doubt that’s happening). Of these 31:

  • 20 were from the library.
  • 11 were from my TBR pile.

So um, I read a lot of books from the library this past month.

I acquired 20 books this month. Of these:

  • 14 were review books
  • 6 were books I purchased.

Not too bad I’d say.

The TBR pile stands at 499 currently. Sigh.

Books I read in May:

  1. Korean Children’s Favourite Stories – Kim So-Eun
  2. Vietnamese Children’s Favourite Stories – Phuoc Thi Min Tran
  3. A Gathering of Shadows – V. E. Schwab
  4. Words – Lora Rozler
  5. Emily of New Moon – L. M. Montgomery
  6. Little Red Gliding Hood – Tara Lazar
  7. The Ballad of Black Tom – Victor Lavalle
  8. Grayling’s Song  – Karen Cushman
  9. Mad Kestrel – Missy Massey
  10. Roses and Rot – Kat Howard
  11. The King of Attolia – Megan Whalen Turner
  12. The Animal Report – John Swartzwelder
  13. The Fire Children – Eric Maddern
  14. Last Night’s Reading – Kate Gavino
  15. Stiletto – Daniel O’Malley
  16. The Hollow of the Hand – P. J. Harvey
  17. Migritude – Shailja Patel
  18. Marked in Flesh – Anne Bishop
  19. Love Style Life – Garance Dore
  20. The Whatnot – Stefan Bachmann
  21. Nine Coaches Waiting – Mary Stewart
  22. How Mirka Caught a Fish – Barry Deutsch
  23. The Vegetarian – Han Kang
  24. Once Upon a Time – Leila Sales
  25. Binti – Nnedi Okorafor
  26. Sweater Weather – Sara Varon
  27. Here I Am – Patti Kim
  28. The Star-Touched Queen – Roshani Chokshi
  29. Come Close – Sappho
  30. Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms – Fumiyo Kouno
  31. Shadow Queen – Deborah Kalin

The Reading Forecast

Reading Forecast

I had an interesting reading week which is to say I took my time reading, DNFed a whole lot of books that didn’t work for me for various reasons. I’m a ruthless DNFer because I operate on the principle that there are too many books in the world that I want to read for me to waste my finite time on the mediocre ones. Mediocre to me, mind you.

Anyway, here are the books I did manage to read last week:

  1. I read How Mirka Caught a Fish by Barry Deutsch, the third in a graphic novel collection about Mirka, a Jewish girl who has adventures of the magical kind.
  2. Finished Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart. Happy to report that it picked up in the second half but I still don’t love it.
  3. Finished The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Yep, still disturbed.
  4. Continued and finished One was a Time by Leila Sales. Loved it.
  5. Read Binti #1 by Nnedi Okorafor. It was lovely and I can’t wait for the sequel.
  6. Sweater Weather by Sara Varon. This was okay. Not as fun as I had expected it to be but it provided some appreciated laughs.
  7. Here I Am by Patti Kim. A wordless picturebook that speaks loudly.
  8. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshni Chokshi. I loved the worldbuilding and the writing is exquisite. It was a bit mushy but I can live with that. Review on The Book Wars someday soon.

Currently Reading:

  1. Shadow Queen by Deborah Kalin
    Just a few pages into this and I’m liking the writing and the setup so I’m cautiously optimistic.
  2. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making – Catherynne M. Valente
    That title is a mouthful and then some.
  3. A Drop of Night – Stefan Bachmann
    I read his other book week before last so I may as well read another by him. ^^
  4. Black Wolves – Kate Elliott
    I have trust in Kate’s writing but male protagonists don’t do much for me. Still I’m only on page 48 right now so there are more than 700 pages to go so…
  5. The Dragon of Heaven – Alyc Helms
    Hmm. I don’t know. I’ve read only a few pages but I already have mixed feelings. We’ll see.
  6. Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms – Fumiyo Kouno
    A manga volume I know nothing about.
  7. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
    I read two chapters. Progress!
  8. Dara Palmer’s Major Drama – Emma Shevah
    I super enjoyed Shevah’s past title so I reckon I’m going to like this one a lot too.

And there you have it. The books I’m reading and intend to read over the course of the next week.

Love Style Life

25241664

Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Spiegel & Grau
Source: Publisher

Garance Dore’s Love, Style, Life is easily touted as one of THE books fashionistas flock to (or so it seems to me after the sell-sheet sent my way). To be honest, I had no idea who Garance Dore was before I got the book and most of the people she talks about in the book, industry friends, people who I am sure are powerful and inspiring in their field are simply names to me. I must not be much of a fashionista, eh?

The book is remarkably attractive. Good quality paper with beautifully composed pages that make for easy reading. There are many pictures of beautiful people being beautiful in beautiful ways. Dore herself features in many of these pictures and well yeah.

The prose, what little there is of it, divulges Dore’s beauty secrets and we get an extended look into her tumultuous love life. Love, Life, Style is not exactly a fashionista’s bible in that it contains no guides to wonderful lives, beauty, and fame. It is, however, a soft promenade through Dore’s life and we are invited to view her journey from a little village in France to the slick city streets of New York.

The book is not as immediately relatable as say Mindy Kaling’s book–actually, I’m not gonna lie, I never relate to Dore. But I did enjoy the glimpses of her life. I didn’t take much away from the book except that blush makes anyone look prettier (which is lie btw, I put on blush and I looked like a clown though that may have had something to do with the colour of the blush I put on so liberally).

If you enjoy fashion, this would be something to check out. If you enjoy people, you will probably enjoy this. Hmm, and now that I think about it, the book will make for a wonderful gift to the fashion loving friend/family member.

The Reading Forecast

Reading Forecast

Another week, another reading report. This one will be a lot sparser than the usual because I haven’t been reading as much. Or so I thought but 5 still seems like a decent number. Here is all I read last week:

  1. The Hollow of the Hand – P. J. Harvey
    A photo collection with some poems thrown in. I liked it well enough.
  2. Migritude – Shailja Patel
    Mind blowing. I will be discussing this on The Book Wars this coming week.
  3. Marked in Flesh – Anne Bishop
    I understand that the romance is slow but the lack of it is making me twitchy. The teasing is there but that is all it is.
  4. Love Life Style – Garance Dore
    Hm. I will probably discuss this a bit more in an upcoming post.
  5. The Whatnot – Stefan Bachmann
    Next month is Fae month at The Book Wars.

Currently Reading:

  1. Nine Coaches Waiting – Mary Stewart
    210 pages in. Not feeling it. Will hopefully complete it soon.
  2. The Mysterious Benedict Society – Trenton Lee Stewart
    Hmm. Don’t rightfully know how I feel about this at this moment. A few pages for me to completely evaluate my feelings.
  3. The Vegetarian – Han Kang
    Still only 40 pages in. Still disturbed.
  4. Once Was a Time – Leila Sales
    Still only 11 pages in but I reckon I ought to make a dent in it in the coming weke.
  5. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
    I’ll read another chapter tomorrow.
  6. Giants of the Frost – Kim Wilkins
    I like the heroine’s part. The love interest is super meh at this point.

To maybe add to the currently reading pile in the coming week:

  1. Dragons of  Heaven – Alyc Helms
  2. Forest of Memory – Mary Robinette Kowal
  3. The Cosmic Clues – Manjiri Prabhu
  4. Dara Palmer’s Major Drama – Emma Shevah
  5. Radiance – Catherynne M. Valente

When the Rejections Come Pouring In

I wonder if all writers come to a point in their (invisible, allegedly nonexistent) careers where they wonder:

“Who am I kidding? I am no writer.”

Because I feel about an inch tall and I reckon I have reached it.

I have a tendency to keep these things in because who wants to read about my insecurities but I suppose I have reached a point where writing this down and having it in words staring accusingly at me from the screen will be some kind of masochistic catharsis.

I mean, what if I am kidding myself and have no business trying to be a writer? What if I cannot write at all and these constant rejections are simply assurances of that fact? The evidence of my inability to write something that people will take a risk on is undeniable.

Maybe I should have listened to that prof who told me I had no business writing.

Okay listen, I am not saying this to gain pity. It’s just that…I am tired? Maybe that’s it. And there’s no one around me right now who gets it so I figure the computer screen will do.

I am going to be horrified I wrote this in a little while. I am sure. I don’t like being this vulnerable to anyone but ah, damnit.

It hurts.

I should have done accounting or something. Heh.

The Reading Forecast

Reading Forecast

Another week looms but before we do any looming in return, here’s a reading report. I didn’t get to read as much as I usually do last week. First, things were busy at work and I was happily doing stuff (!!!) and secondly, I have been sucked back into the Kdrama world. Another Oh Hae Yong is kinda amazing so far. I might do a review of the first four episodes but only if I have time and recently, I just don’t have much time. Also, I was reading chunky books so that too is a reason. But still, I managed to finish 4 or 5 books so let’s see what they were…

  1. The King of Attolia – Megan Whalen Turner
    Gah, this was FANTASTIC. Gen, you guys, is such a wonderful character to read about. I love him.
  2. The Animal Report – John Swartzwelder
    This was amusing. Written by the dude who writes for The Simpsons, this was both absurd and funny.
  3. The Fire Children – Eric Maddern
    This picturebook is a creationist story from West Africa (I believe). I enjoyed it.
  4. Last Night’s Reading – Kate Gavino
    Gavino attends readings by authors and poets and then reproduces for her readers, in comic form, a quote from the reading. Neat stuff. I enjoyed this collection.
  5. Stiletto – Daniel O’Malley
    This was the 600 page chunker that took up all my time. I enjoyed it immensely though I did want a little more of Mafynwy than we got.

So those are the books I read. Here are the ones I am currently reading:

  1. Love Life Style – Garance Dore
    I am enjoying Dore’s advice and let’s admit it, reading fashion books is huge entertaining even if you are not overly concerned with it.
  2. Migritude – Shailja Patel
    This collection of writing (poetry, vignettes, essays) is blowing my mind.
  3. The Whatnot – Stefan Bachmann
    I have only read 11 pages but I have liked what I read so yay.
  4. Once Was a Time – Leila Sales
    Hmm. This too is promising though once again I have only read 11 pages.
  5. A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
    I love James’s writing. It’s so fresh and clear and just fun. Though obviously the themes in this work is everything other than fun or anything like fun. I am reading this super slowly but with good things you have to savour them.
  6. The Vegetarian – Han Kang
    40 pages in and I am very disturbed. This is a short book and relatively easy to read despite the disturbing nature of the story so I should have it completed by the end of this coming week. Or so I hope.
  7. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
    I was going to read this next after Stiletto so I didn’t read any of it while I sampled the other six books. But then I read a page of the next one and I knew this one will have to wait.
  8. Nine Coaches Waiting – Mary Stewart
    A friend recommended this to me and I thought it was time I read it so I checked it out of the library, read the first page and promptly fell in love. Now I have to carve out some time and just read this.

To read in the coming week:

Everything I am currently reading. Hah. And maybe some other books if they appeal to me more. Who knows?

Aziz Ansari and the Modern Romance

23453112

Hardcover, 277 pages
Published June 16th 2015 by Penguin Press
Source: Publisher

I had heard a lot about this volume before I acquired a copy. I had also read Mindy Kaling’s latest memoir (which incidentally I talked about here somewhere) so I had all these expectations before I actually read even a page of Modern Romance.

I should have known that the book wasn’t targeted towards me but I expected something that would be funny and illuminating–and I truly realize that I am in the minority feeling this way but feel this way I do.

I thought the book was okay. It didn’t impress me but maybe people for whom the things he mentions in the book this book could possible be revolutionary. Or not. I don’t know. I feel very ill-equipped to actually write this review.

See, basically, this is a book that is basically an exploration of the modern romance stripping the courtship of the actual (flower/fluttering/feelings) romance and just presenting it as a way a couple (strictly hetero but Ansari states that it is and sets the limits to his research etc. which I appreciated) meets and finds love in the modern age.

Here are two things I got from this book:
– people have lots of choices.
– people are kinda horrible with their choices.

In the age of Tinder (I had no idea what app even was), modern human beings being spoiled for choice find it difficult to settle for one person and instead just do serial dating. Sometimes some people find other people they like and want to be with and other times they don’t so they continue looking. Ansari peppers the narrative with his irreverent style commentary, pseudo-science, and a lot of repetition of stuff.

There are some anecdotes that Ansari shares particularly about his experience as a slyly single mingling in different crowds on two different coasts. He goes to Tokyo, Japan and Brazil and Paris and tries to tap into the dating scenes there. He finds differing attitudes towards cheating in Europe and North America and somehow suggests that maybe people should be more understanding to those who cannot control their carnal appetites.

He was sometimes funny, mostly not. For me, that is. I was expecting a sharp commentary on modern dating not a guide to modern dating which is basically (when stripped of everything else) what this book reluctantly becomes.

Ansari’s takeaway:

  • Don’t judge too quickly.
  • Give people more than the first date to make an expression (treat them like people and not Japanese hosts.)

I mean, hardly groundbreaking things?

I don’t know, you guys. This book didn’t do anything for me. Read it or don’t.