I decided for this year, I won’t be borrowing any books from the library or buying any books until I finish reading the books from my bookshelf. I bought these books because they caught my eye or because I added it to my order to qualify for free shipping. I also was on a waitlist for books from the library. When it arrived, I kept extending the hold because I already had other books I was reading. Based on the books on my shelf and on my waitlist, I think I already have my to-read pile for 2022. Not borrowing anything new or buying any books will be a challenge. Since last year I read 31 books, my new goal for this year would be to read 34 books making it about a 10% increase from last year.Continue reading January #whatsonyourbookshelfchallenge and my favorite books from 2021
If you come to my house for coffee, you’ll probably find me all covered in paint from head to toe but that’s because I’ve been painting my kid’s room. I know I paid someone to paint Lana’s room a couple of weeks ago, but there’s this one wall in Lana’s room that was not painted and it’s a plywood wall that scream the 1950s. This house was all built in 1953 after all. I was not sure if I wanted to keep the plywood wall or replace it with drywall. The painter said if I were to put drywall, he can come back another time to paint that wall for free. But after much thought, I decided to keep it but I’m going to paint it myself. Over the past week, I’ve cleaned, repaired some of the panels, spackled, filled gaps, and sanded. Today is the day for priming and painting. Working on the plywood wall is more work than painting the drywall. I can’t imagine how much more the painter would have charged me.Continue reading Covered in paint from head to toe
I decided to participate in the #Read21in21 challenge for this year to help me build a daily habit of reading. Surprisingly, I have yet missed a day of reading. I squeeze time for reading by listening to audiobooks on the way home from work or read for 21 minutes before going to sleep. Here is what I read for January:
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life — until the unthinkable happens.
My take: I enjoyed listening to this audiobook during my drives home. I could definitely get lost in her words.
The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms
Overworked and underappreciated, single mom Amy Byler needs a break. So when the guilt-ridden husband who abandoned her shows up and offers to take care of their kids for the summer, she accepts his offer and escapes rural Pennsylvania for New York City. Usually grounded and mild mannered, Amy finally lets her hair down in the city that never sleeps. She discovers a life filled with culture, sophistication, and – with a little encouragement from her friends – a few blind dates. When one man in particular makes quick work of Amy’s heart, she risks losing herself completely in the unexpected escape, and as the summer comes to an end, Amy realizes too late that she must make an impossible decision: stay in this exciting new chapter of her life, or return to the life she left behind. But before she can choose, a crisis forces the two worlds together, and Amy must stare down a future where she could lose both sides of herself, and every dream she’s ever nurtured, in the beat of a heart.”
My take: I’ve had this book in my Kindle for a while. I do need a few guilty pleasures in my rotation because somedays work can be brutal. I truly did enjoy this book, especially as a new mom of three months. There are times where I do feel I almost lose myself in caring for her, the books reminds me that I should care for myself too.
Books I read to Lana
In the beginning of the reading challenge, I use to count reading books to my daughter as part of the 21 minutes. I still read to her daily but it is extra reading on top of my daily 21 minutes.
Rejected Princesses by Jason Porath
Well-behaved women seldom make history. Good thing these women are far from well behaved…
My take: I’ve had this coffee book table in my living room for years. I enjoy reading it. Occasionally I read passages to her. There are some stories that are not kid friendly, but she does not know that yet.
Bringing the Outside In by Mary Siddals
A rollicking book that reminds young readers to go outside and play!
My take: A fun book on enjoying the seasons.
I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott and Sydney Smith
What if words got stuck in the back of your mouth whenever you tried to speak? What if they never came out the way you wanted them to? Sometimes it takes a change of perspective to get the words flowing.
My take: I loved the artwork and metaphor. I would borrow this book from the library again when Lana starts to learn how to pick up a book and read.
Astrid the Unstoppable by Maria Parr
Speed and self-confidence, that’s Astrid’s motto. Nicknamed “the little thunderbolt,” she loves to spend her days racing down the hillside on her sled, singing loudly as she goes, and visiting Gunnvald, her grumpy, septuagenarian best friend and godfather, who makes hot chocolate from real chocolate bars. She just wishes there were other children to share her hair-raising adventures with. But Astrid’s world is about to be turned upside down by two startling arrivals to the village of Glimmerdal: first a new family, then a mysterious, towering woman who everyone seems to know but Astrid. It turns out that Gunnvald has been keeping a big secret from his goddaughter, one that will test their friendship to its limits. Astrid is not too happy about some of these upheavals in Glimmerdal — but, luckily, she has a plan to set things right.
A chapter book I read to Lana. Personally, I enjoy it, it’s a fun book where she skis, sleds, and sings out loud even if it annoys a certain someone. I enjoy acting out the characters for her even though she may not understand what is going on yet.
Fairytales of Charles Perrault (Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Puss in Boots, Bluebeard, Cinderella)
My take: I am trying to avoid introducing Lana Disney versions of fairytales for as long as I can, so I am looking into other versions of fairytales like Perrault’s version of Little Red Riding Hood and Puss in Boots. They’re messy, wild, and teach actual lessons.
WOKE: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne with Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood
Historically poets have been on the forefront of social movements. Woke is a collection of poems by women that reflects the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination to empathy, and acceptance to speaking out.
My take: I would buy this poetry book to have as part of our bookshelf.
My First Chinese New Year by Karen Katz
Chinese New Year is a time of new beginnings. Follow one little girl as she learns how to welcome the coming year and experience all the festivities surrounding it. Karen Katz’s warm and lively introduction to a special holiday will make even the youngest child want to start a Chinese New Year tradition!
My take: I don’t celebrate Chinese New Year, but my husband does. I thought this was a good first book to learn about CNY for Lana and me. I would borrow this book again when she starts to learn how to pick up a book and read.
I thought it would be fun to plan out what my next reads would be. Maybe I could explore a different theme each month? Here are the themes I came up with for the following months.
January: it was about getting my feet wet. So no theme here.
February: Books by Black authors
March: Books written by women
April: Books turned into films and TV series (Not that I’ve seen the films either)
May: Books by Asian authors
June: Social justice/America
July: Summer vacations
August: Books translated from a foreign language
September: Banned Books
October: Books written by Hispanic authors
November: Books written by Indigeneous people/Native tribes
What did you read in January? How do you decide what to read next? Comment below!
In 2018, I will probably read less books because I will not have a lot of recreational reading time due to graduate school. But that does not mean I won’t be able to carve out time. I usually like to read a paper book before going to bed to relax my eyes after interacting with my phone, a computer screen — heck any screen — all day. Here are a few bits of my reading wish list:
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
When Nadia and Saeed fall in love in a distant unnamed city, they are just like any other young couple. But soon bullets begin to fly, fighter jets streak the sky, and curfews fall. As the spell of violence spreads, they flee their country, leaving behind their loved ones. Early in Exit West, the author Mohsin Hamid explains that geography is destiny, and in the case of his two young lovers, geography dictates that they must leave. Hamid offers up a fantastical device to deliver his refugees to places: they pass through magic doors. Rather than unmooring the story from reality, this device, as well as a few other fantastical touches, makes the book more poignant and focused, pointing our attention to the emotions of exile rather than the mechanics. Surrounded by other refugees, Nadia and Saeed try to establish their places in the world, putting up different responses to their circumstances. The result is a novel that is personal, not pedantic, an intimate human story about an experience shared by countless people of the world, one that most Americans just witness on television.
Why is this in my wish list? I guess from the sypnosis, it gives this air of magic elements in a story we see in the news everyday. I’ve heard great things about Exit West in other reading circles, and it’s been in my read list for quite some time.
I See You by Claire Mackintosh
It all starts during her commute home one night. Zoe Walker glances through her local paper and sees her own face staring back at her in a classified ad. With the grainy photo is a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.
In the following days, she sees other women in the same ad, a different one every day, and nearly all of them show up in the newspapers as victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder.
With the help of a determined cop, Zoe uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…And suddenly, the man on the train sitting across the car—the one smiling at Zoe—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move.
Why is it in my wish list? Ms. Mackintosh, you have a repeat reader! I loved her first book, I Let You Go. The story was twist and turns to the very end and it stayed with me.
Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff
The first nine months of Donald Trump’s term were stormy, outrageous—and absolutely mesmerizing. Now, thanks to his deep access to the West Wing, bestselling author Michael Wolff tells the riveting story of how Trump launched a tenure as volatile and fiery as the man himself.
In this explosive book, Wolff provides a wealth of new details about the chaos in the Oval Office. Among the revelations:
— What President Trump’s staff really thinks of him
— What inspired Trump to claim he was wire-tapped by President Obama
— Why FBI director James Comey was really fired
— Why chief strategist Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner couldn’t be in the same room
— Who is really directing the Trump administration’s strategy in the wake of Bannon’s firing
— What the secret to communicating with Trump is
— What the Trump administration has in common with the movie, “The Producers”
Why is this on my wish list? The excerpts I hear from the news all week are so outrageous, who could make this stuff up? Nobody, that’s who! — Unless it is all done before your very eyes. This book affirms what I’ve been hearing on the news and it makes fictional comedy shows come off as period pieces. I purchased this book on Friday — it may take 2 to 4 weeks before it arrives to my house. I can’t wait to read it!
Check out my Current Reads page!
Any books you plan to read in 2018?
“There’s a difference between really loving someone and loving the idea of her.”
I finally got around to reading Gone Girl this year. I know…if you’ve seen the movie, I am 3 years too late and if you read the book, I am five years too late. Most of the time, I don’t read the latest book because I already have a high to-read stack as well as a high current reads stack. Yes, I do read multiple books. There’s always a book in my bag. I have a kindle in my purse which handy in bus commutes, a book in my backpack which is handy in train rides and business flights, an audiobook on my phone which keeps me entertained when doing chores, and 2 books on my night stand to read a few pages before bed.
Also, I am glad I took my time to wait for Gone Girl — both the movie and book hype to die down. I wanted to rid the opinions my friends planted me whether it was the book or movie. It was long enough for me to have my own thoughts and no confirmation bias.
“We weren’t ourselves when we fell in love, and when we became ourselves – surprise! – we were poison. We complete each other in the nastiest, ugliest possible way.”
As always, I want to share my thoughts without giving too much away. To me, it is more than two stories shared by two perspectives: one is unreliable and unlikeable, the other is intelligent…and unhinged and drags us for the ride. I felt this was a wild study (I mean it in the most extreme cases) of marriage. A book about he said, she said. A book about knowing the real person you’re marrying. It reminded me of the many situations where long-time couples finally moved in together to then break up a few months after. I don’t think the act of moving in changed the person, I think you saw the person you did not see all this time.
“Friends see most of each other’s flaws. Spouses see every awful last bit.”
I listened to the audiobook version and it kept me entertained when I was cleaning up our yard on the weekends. You may not get Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike to voice Nick and Amy but that is fine. I thought the person who narrated Amy sounded like one would imagine a spoiled, sheltered rich girl.
Also, the Overdrive application on my phone has been fantastic! I get access to loads and loads of audiobooks for free. It has certainly made my chores more enjoyable.
Recommendation: I recommend this book to the people who like to read what everyone is reading. Also if you are interested in the unconventional female tropes. There is certainly no pixie manic quirky dream girl here.
Have you read Gone Girl? What are your thoughts?
Wild Eclectic Book Club (Name in Progress): I am trying a blog series where every other Wednesday I review a book from my ever-changing Current Reads page. The hard part about writing these reviews is as much as I want to share what’s in the book, I don’t want to give anything away.
I decided to make this week’s “5 Things” thematic and decided to gear it towards things I can do not related to social media. I was inspired by this post on Thrive Global.
I confess, times I’ve been burnt out from social media because there’s so many outlets nowadays. I do a bit of social media on my job and I do get sucked into the numbers games not only at work, but also in my personal social medias. I am not against social media at all for either personal or work life. It’s a wonderful tool to share information and build community within hobbies and industries. But once in a while having a break is the healthy thing to do. Having a list of things to “unsocial media” yourself is a checkpoint on what you can do instead of mindlessly going streams of social media feeds and focus on enjoying life. At the moment, instead of social media I should…
Continue reading 5 Things…to do to other than social media