Currently Watching #1

Knowing as you guys do, my predilection for Asian dramas/movies, I figured I’d make this a feature over at BM. I will share what I’m watching and sometimes listening to because hey, hobbies.

So the drama in the spotlight is Mondai no Aru Restaurant.. A feminist Jdrama which is flippin awesome. Seriously seriously awesome. I won’t say much about it now but I will probably do a review when it’s done.

I will leave you with a series of gifs that I got from tumblr. I don’t know who made them but they are not mine.

The Reading Forecast

Oh dear. It’s Monday again. And I had such a reading week this past week. A book made me almost swear off reading altogether (I’m exaggerating) and yeah. I read a lot of manga to get my feels back into place. But here they are, without further ado, the books I read last week:

  1. I Will Fight Monsters for You by Santi Balmes (3 stars)
  2. 19 volumes of Kamisama Kiss by Suzuki Julietta
    I know. I just couldn’t read anymore of this other book.)
  3. 1984 by George Orwell
    I do not enjoy reading about torture. I don’t. I understand that this book is important for the questions it raises and the themes it discusses but it was not for me.
  4. Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks
    I liked this one. I will be reviewing it at the Book Wars on Tuesday.
  5. Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
    I enjoyed this quite a bit.
  6. Pennyroyal Academy by M. A. Larson
    I did not like this one at all. Ugh.

So huzzah, I finally finished the monstrous 1984. I learned a good lesson from this. If I’m not enjoying a book but force myself to finish it, I will fall headfirst into a reading slump. It’s not even “not enjoying” but I was actually dreading reading this book. I hated it. I don’t usually have visceral reactions towards book–okay, I don’t often–but this book made me sad in real life. Gah. Never again.

What I’m Currently Reading:

Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
1984 was heavy enough for me to not feel like wading into this one but I’m going to continue it this week. I’m still only 80 pages in but the writing style is engaging and the issues current so I should be able to make some headway into the book this upcoming week.

Thorn Jack – Katherine Harbour
This is a fae story and so far it’s pretty compelling. I’m only 60 pages but it’s only 328 pages so I don’t foresee it taking me too long to complete. I don’t think.

What I Plan to Read

  1. A Teacup Collection – Molly Hatch
  2. The Ugly One – Leanne Statland Ellis
  3. Gretel and the Dark – Eliza Granville

February Wrap-Up and Book Haul

February was a bag of mixed tricks for me. I read a lot and then I read a particular book and it threw me into despair and I no longer felt like reading (1984). Guh. So I read manga. A lot of it. That helped me get over my reading slump.  So here they are, the books I read this month:

  1. Prince of Dogs – Kate Elliott
  2. Girl Talk – Christie Young
  3. Owl and the Japanese Circus – Kristi Charish
  4. We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  5. A Bollywood Affair – Sonali Dev
  6. The Lotus Palace – Jeannie Lin
  7. Amulet vol 6. – Kazu Kibuishi
  8. The Ill-Made Mute – Cecelia Dart-Thornton
  9. An Inquiry into Love and Death – Simone St. James
  10. Alphabetique – Molly Peacock
  11. Copper Magic – Julia Mary Gibson
  12. Friendship Is… – Lisa Swerling
  13. The Vine Basket – Josanne La Valley
  14. Ravencliffe – Carol Goodman
  15. Lark Rising – Sandra Waugh
  16. Beastkeeper – Cat Hellisen
  17. Freedom’s Gate – Naomi Kritzer
  18. Cocaine Blues – Kerry Greenwood
  19. Peace is an Offering – Annette LeBox
  20. Path of Fate – Diana Pharaoh Francis
  21. Midnight Thief – Livia Blackburne
  22. I Will Fight Monsters For You – Santi Balmes
  23. Kamisama Kiss vol 2-19 – Suzuki Julietta (ahem)
  24. 1984 – George Orwell
  25. Murder Most Unladylike – Robin Stevens

My favourite book of the month: Freedom’s Gate by Naomi Kritzer.
Least liked book was A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev.
Longest book was Prince of Dogs by Kate Elliott at 625 pages.

Book Haul

I decided to film a blurry low quality haul on my webcam even though I have a perfectly good DSL camera because too much work and I’m not that invested. Anyway, here it is:

It’s long, rambly and mumbled so in case you didn’t want to sit through (snerk, no one should want to, I caress books a lot), you can visit my book tumblr here dedicated to showcasing books I receive in 2015. http://bibliophileblues.tumblr.com/

If you just want a list of books, I will indulge you. Here ya go:

Books for Review

  1. A Teacup Collection by Molly Hatch
  2. Valiant by Sarah McGuire
  3. The Lie Tree – Frances Hardinge
  4. I Will Fight Monsters For You – Santi Balmes
  5. The Sculptor – Scott McCloud
  6. The Word Exchange – Alena Graedon
  7. Salad Love – David Bez
  8. Peace is an Offering  – Annette LeBox
  9. The Battle of Versailles – Robin Givhan
  10. Life. Love. Beauty – Keegan Allen
  11. One More Thing – B. J. Novak

Birthday Presents

  1. Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan
  2. Through the Woods – Emily Carroll
  3. A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett
  4. Anne of Green Gables – L. M. Montgomery
  5. Saga vol 4. – Brian K Vaughn
  6. Bad Feminist – Roxane Gay
  7. In the Afterlight – Alexandra Bracken
  8. Into the Grey – Celine Kiernan
  9. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  10. The Ghosts of Heaven – Marcus Sedgwick

Purchased

  1. The Glasswright’s Test – Mindy Klasky
  2. We Should All Be Feminists – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Review: Alphabetique by Molly Peacock

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Hardcover, 160 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by McClelland & Stewart
Source: Publisher

Alphabetique is a collection of 26 short stories and each protagonist of the 26 stories corresponds to a letter of the alphabet. The stories are accompanied by a page of collage drawn/created by Kara Kosaka. Molly Peacock is a poet so the lush lyricism of the stories is expected and even anticipated. The collection is, primarily, an unabashed celebration of language. Each story is told with words beginning with the letter under discussion, for example, when the protagonist is J, there is an influx of words starting with j such as jeremiad.

Sometimes the focus on using the words that corresponded with the letter under discussion detracted from the coherence of an actual story but at other times, Peacock found a balance between the two. When the focus is not on filling the story with as many words as possible, the stories find moments to breathe and evoke subtle emotions.

Peacock does not just explore the letters by their function but also their physical selves: their curves and lines. I really liked the dimension this gives to the stories.

If you are looking for something rich, something a bit quirky, and not a little bit hedonistic, I recommend this to you. Glut yourself on words.

Original Writing: A Fairy Tale Vignette

From the Desk of an Evil Queen

I am a queen. One of those fairy tale queens that spend a lot of time sighing over their reflections in front of magicked mirrors. Needless to say I am tremendously beautiful. Which is probably why I am also evil. Evil and beauty, you know, go hand in hand. I am also decidedly not pure; I enjoy sex a bit too much for all that nonsense. I am an earthy woman; beautiful and powerful. Of course I am evil. How could I be anything else?

The times I am not in front of the mirror squeezing the zit that has dared to invade territories forbidden to it, and others of its ilk, I spend fawning over dresses made of silk imported from countries so far away that the people there speak a different language and look unlike me. Though there are few (none) who can match the perfection I am. Whatever little time I have left over from indulging in these hobbies, I run a country. I run it smoothly. Like a well-oiled machine. Nobody’s starving and crime rate is down because I am the greatest criminal of them all and no one wants to compete with me.

My husband died. He was old; he was going to die anyway. I may have helped him on his way. Sometimes I am merciful. I even cried at his funeral. Not a lot but still, he did make me a queen. Truthfully, I can’t be too sad. He married me when I was but ten years old. Tried to rape me when I was thirteen. That’s when I started slipping him some poison, which had interesting effects on his potency. That is to say, he wasn’t anymore. Even at thirteen, I was evil.

My dead husband has a daughter. Dead kings usually leave behind things like that. Poor kingdoms and helpless daughters. The kingdom I rescued but the daughter? Her I can’t stomach. She’s one of those pure kinds; the kind who treasures her virtue beyond anything else. She’s beautiful, I suppose, if you like the bland unspiced milk type. No fire in that one. No spark. She sits by a window and she moons. Some call it grief. I call it a distinct lack of imagination.

I have heard whispers from the courtiers. That the peasants want her on the throne and not me. That they think I am evil. Well. I am evil. They say I am jealous of the way she looks, of her youth. This last accusation I don’t understand. Why would I be jealous of her youth when she is not doing anything with it? I asked her this morning at breakfast what she wants to do with her life now that she is unfettered by her pedophile father and she blinked her bovine eyes at me and whispered, “I want to be a wife.”

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be a wife. In these times, a husband comes in handy when a woman wants to eat. My next question was “Is there someone you want to marry?” To which she replied after blushing for a long minute, “Oh no, I couldn’t presume to choose for myself. I shall wait for him to find me.” “Him who?” I asked not a little baffled. “My prince,” she said with a sigh that sounded like someone was strangling her.

I am forced to admit it here: I do not understand the dead king’s daughter. The woman is only two years younger than me. How can she be so complacent? Does she not understand the dangers that lurk about her? I have seen the way that men, noble or not, look at her. It is not love that lights up their eyes when she passes by them.

At least I have the cover of evilness. But why should I concern myself with her? She brings her end to herself and worse yet, she welcomes it.

Yet. I couldn’t do nothing.

So I called the woodsman. He and I have spent many afternoons together, getting to know each other in ways that would make my ladies-in-waiting, had I still any, swoon. I told him to take the princess outside. To leave her in the company of seven dwarves, friends of mine, who will teach her things (not that kind of things, not if she doesn’t want to) about the world; who will let her taste the freedom of making choices about her own life. She will thank me someday.

Now I shall go and have some prisoners executed. I am an evil queen after all. My people expect me to do things like that.

The Reading Forecast

It’s Monday, glorious Monday. Last week I read a lot of books. They include:

  1. Lark Rising by Sandra Waugh ♥♥
  2. Beastkeeper by Cat Hellisen ♥♥♥♥
  3. Freedom’s Gate – Naomi Kritzer ♥♥♥♥♥
  4. Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood ♥♥♥
  5. Peace is an Offering – Annette LeBox ♥♥♥♥
  6. Path of Fate – Diana Pharaoh Francis ♥♥
  7. Midnight Thief – Livia Blackburne ♥♥♥♥

I am currently Reading:

  1. Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
    I’m about 50 pages in and absolutely appalled by the way women are treated. I will discuss this book once more when I’m done.
  2. The Somnambulist by Essie Fox
    I haven’t actually read any of this yet but I plan to this coming week.
  3. 1984 – George Orwell
    Well…it’s on the list still. I think once I get done with the library books, I’ll make myself read it.

What I Plan On Reading Next:

  1. Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens
  2. Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks

Review: Friendship is…: 500 Reasons to Appreciate Friends by Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swerling

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Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2015 by Chronicle Books
Source: Raincoast Books

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I love little books like this one. They work so well as gifts to give a bff you love or something to flip through when you have had a fight with a friend and it’s beyond you to think of a reason you are still friends with them. Hey, these things happen. Now, Friendship is… lists about 500 reasons friends are good and has cute cartoons that accompany these reasons. I do think that many of these reasons are just repetitions with a word or two changed but hey, I am not complaining too much. I enjoyed this little book and was inspired to make a list of my own. So, *clears throat* here it is:

10 Reasons Nafiza Appreciates Her Friends

  1.  Fangirling buddies. I met some of my oldest and closest friends on a forum for this obscure make-believe Korean couple. Yes, I’m still ashamed by how immature I was but since it brought me these ladies, I don’t regret anything.
  2. People to talk books with. Really, almost all the people in my life know of my bibliophilic tendencies but only my MACL people actively encourage me in it. Thank you. I love you guys.
  3. Share foodie adventures with. My friend Teng and I have illusions of being foodies and we try to check out as many different places as we can. Since she is now in Ottawa and I am here in Vancouver, we only have that luxury a couple times a year but it’s all the more special for it.
  4. Skype Dates. Really, this one is Teng again. Sometimes technology fails us and then we flail.
  5. Viber sticker conversations. It is entirely possible to have an entire conversation in stickers.
  6. Bookstore shenanigans. Who else understands how it is to go in a bookstore, pick up a book, caress it, whisper to it, hug it and then tearfully put it back promising to be back one day when there is actual money in the wallet and not make-believe money.
  7. Someone who laughs (loudly) at your mistakes and keeps you humble. Hubris, man. Avoid it. Friends help.
  8. Someone who gives good advice. Even when you don’t ask for it.
  9. Someone who tells you the honest truth even when you don’t want to hear it.
  10. Someone who believes in you when the entire world seems to be against you. When you feel like a failure and think you are going to die in a cardboard box on a rainy day.

There are tons more reasons but I reckon these ten will do!